I Spy With My Little Eye ….

I Spy With My Little Eye   …..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tophatal ……….


NBA news ……..

2019 NBA Playoffs

NBA salary cap (2019)

NBA free agents (2019)

Salary cap players (2019)


NFL news …

2019 NFL schedule (regular season)


MLB news …

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

MLB standings (division)

MLB Important Dates …


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Continue reading “I Spy With My Little Eye ….”

Brackets,jackets and tip-toeing around the patently obvious …

Brackets,jackets and tip-toeing around the patently obvious …

The seedings have been decided upon for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and quite rightly so. The Kentucky Wildcats having ended the season ranked number one in the nation, as well having an unbeaten season bearing a 34-0 record will enter the tournament as its prohibitive favorite, to win it all . John Calipari and his coaching staff head into the Tournament knowing, the first slip-up made, will essentially put to an end a season where a great deal more was expected.

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Players on this Wildcats’ team know a winning season and the NCAA Tournament title will certainly insure great deal of plaudits and the near- certainty of a high draft position in the upcoming NBA Draft this upcoming June . With three consensus first round draft picks among this roster of stars. The names of Karl Anthony Towns , Willie Cauley-Stein and Dakari Johnson simply stand out, as players likely to be taken in the top-ten picks of the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft. If not, then there is something seriously wrong among the general managers and head coaches within the NBA at this juncture.

The four seeds in the regional tournament of the NCAA Championship are Kentucky, Villanova , Duke and Wisconsin . All four teams are in regional draws which will have their pot-holes along the way . where at least one or two upsets are likely to take place as the tournament progress. Opening salvos will be fired in the when the first four teams take to the court on the 17th and 18th March , 2015, as the NCAA Tournaments gets underway to decide the Men’s national champion.

Mike Krzyzewsk and the Duke Blue Devils will certainly have their work cut out for them in this tournament, as their path is unlikely to be easy. As the top seed in the South Regional phase of the Tournament where their biggest challengers could very well be other than their own complacency a , will be the other seeded challengers in the regional phase , with those topping the list said to be , Gonzaga , Georgetown (Hoyas) and Iowa State. As talented as the this Duke team might be considered to be , I do not believe this will be the year in which Mike Krzyzewski guide the program to their fifth national title , all coming under the coaching acumen of the renowned head coach.

With either Derrick Rose or Joakim Noah missing from the Chicago Bulls’ lineup at some point of the season, it easy to understand the reasons why the team has continued to struggle in the aftermath of having lost their League MVP point guard to another season-ending injury , likely curtailing Rose’s long-term future and the rest of his career. Add in the fact, the ongoing relationship between head coach Tom Thibodeau , GM Gar Forman and Head of Basketball Operations John Paxson , is now said to have reached an all-time low, and one wonders how the franchise can gain anything meaningful out of this all, should they fail to make the playoffs .

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Bulls’ forward Jimmy Butler is seen here with Tom Thibodeau . In the absence of either Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose . It has been left to Butler to provide the bulk of team’s offense over the course of the season. Thibodeau’s relationship with the organization has been tenuous at best often becoming heated between the coach and executives, John Paxson and Gar Forman . Courtesy of USA Today/ ..

Not only has the rancor between the head coach and the front office said to have reached an unacceptable level , but it is believed with Thibodeau unwilling to resign, there is no likelihood Paxson or Forman will make the decision to fire their beleaguered coach and their having to honor the remainder of his contract. With Derrick Rose sidelined, it has been left to his teammate Jimmy Butler to step up to the plate in the absence of his more heralded teammate to lead the team by example.

With the Cleveland Cavaliers now raced to the top of the Central Division of the Eastern Conference , the Bulls are now left having to wonder, what to make of their season , while also seeking to play catch-up within the conference. A nine-point road loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder , a road defeat . Butler and his teammates’ next contest will be againstthe Indiana Pacers whom they host on Wednesday evening at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois ,.

In the contest between the Thunder and the Bulls, point guard Russell Westbrook continued his scintillating displays where he almost posted another triple-double . Easy to now understand why he become a consensus favorite for this season’s League MVP. Consider the fact also, Westbrook has been doing this all in the absence of his teammate , Kevin Durant.

Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks must be now salivating at the thought of Durant’s imminent return and the chance of his teaming up once again with Westbrook, to provide one of the most dominant and productive duos in the NBA. With only fifteen games left to be played in the remainder of the regular season, it will be interesting interesting to see how the teams acquit themselves as the season winds winds down .

All is fair in love and war . Granted, LeBron James has proven himself to be something of a warrior this season, as the Cleveland Cavaliers seek to justify themselves as the best team in the Eastern Conference. Their record suggests otherwise when compared to that of the high-flying Atlanta Hawks , who might just be the surprise team the regular season within the NBA . Hawks’ head coach Mike Budenholzer certainly has to be considered one of the leading favorites for this season’s Coach of The Year Award , as it would a complete travesty , were he not among the top vote-getters for the prestigious accolade.

(7)    Alonzo  Mourning   now a  senior   executive  within   the  Miami  Heat    organization   has   been  extremely  critical  of    former   Heat   player    LeBron  James   after  his   decision  to  leave  the  franchise  and    return  to  the   Cleveland   Cavaliers  .  Mourning ,   failed  to   suggest   why  Heat   failed  to  surround   James     with   players   complementary  to   his    skills    capable  of   actually   of  being   competitive   enough  to  have   won   last    season's   NBA  title  .   Getty   Images/  Paul  Miller

Alonzo Mourning now a senior executive within the Miami Heat organization has been extremely critical of former Heat player LeBron James after his decision to leave the franchise and return to the Cleveland Cavaliers . Mourning , failed to suggest why the Heat failed to surround James with players complementary to his skills capable of actually of being competitive enough to have won last season’s NBA title . Getty Images/ Paul Miller

At present, Atlanta and the Golden State Warriors are the only teams with fifty victories or more to their respective resumes`. A possible Finals’ meeting between the two seems a reality, but I believe it to be unlikely given the competitiveness of the Western Conference. Steph Curry and his Warriors’ teammates are having a terrific season , albeit, many would not have considered this to have been one of the teams to beat at the start of the year, with the transition of easing in a new head coach, and Steve Kerr assuming the reins after his predecessor, Mark Jackson’s idiotic decision to alienate himself by foistering his hypocritical beliefs outside the game , upon his players and then to some extent , denigrating the organization . Joint team-owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber had no other choice but to dismiss Jackson, ” freedom of speech” rights or not . There is no longer any space for outright bigotry within the realms of sports , let alone the fact , the former head coach showed a great deal of disrespect for the franchise, with his inflammatory remarks .

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Former Golden State Warriors’ head coach Mark Jackson , foreground and his successor , Steve Kerr. This season the Warriors have not only the best record in the NBA , but the team also happens to be the league’s , most potent offense , leading the NBA in a number of offensive categories . Getty Images

If Mark Jackson wishes to make a point , then let him do so while not representing Warriors and most definitely, if he choosing to express his personal beliefs, it should not be done in such a venal way, with his wantoned disregard of others , his own ethnicity and historically what African Americans have gone through in this country, without then seeking denigrate others, because of their own sexuality. Obviously, Jackson’s own religious beliefs and his comprehension of Biblical teachings, indicates his lack of intelligence and compassion. This has nothing at all to do with “political correctness” having run amok, but more to do with simple bigotry . You don’t cry ” fire ” in a crowded theater , or show downright bigotry of others , without their being severe consequences , and those wishing to excuse such behavior are simply naive or just imbeciles.

In what turned out to be a surprise overtime win over the reigning NBA champions , the San Antonio Spurs . New York Knicks’ head coach Derek Fisher suggested the team should be rewarded for the efforts in this victory. Unfortunately, victories for the Knicks have been few and far between.

If Fisher is of the opinion his players ought to rewarded for those victories , then he sure as hell does not hold these very same players accountable, for the losses amassed over the course of the season. Fisher has shown as a rookie head coach, he still has a great deal to learn , and learning on the job when you have an inadequate group of players , and a front office which remains clueless, it becomes patently obvious to see why this franchise has been a complete mess and the ongoing butt of so many jokes around the NBA. Those subscribing to the fact Phil Jackson remains a basketball genius should really rethink that whole synopsis and realize it has been his ego and complete lack of knowledge in assessing talent which has also led to this debacle. Next up for the Knicks will be a road trip to visit the equally abysmal Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday evening.

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New York Knicks’ head coach Derek Fisher is seen here two of his assistant coaching staff Jim Cleamons and Kurt Rambis , as they discuss a pregame strategy in the lead-up to a game to be played the franchise’s home venue , Madison Square Garden , New York City , New York . On the road as well as at home the franchise has simply been pitiful , having been the first team this season to have lost in excess of fifty games , with a league-leading fifty-three defeats as of 17th March , 2015. AP Photo / Mark Warren .

With both the Knicks and Timberwolves likely to be part of the Lottery Pick for the right to the top pick in the upcoming NBA Draft , it will be interesting to see which of the two teams in question or one of their other fellow banal franchises will be joining them as part of this ongoing facade created by the league to seek in the Draft process.

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The NCAA Tournament will likely create a great many thrills and spills, with one or two surprises along the way, in terms of the results. This tournament will ultimately provide us with another D1 collegiate champion in Men’s Basketball. Given the excitement created in last year’s tournament, with the 2015 NCAA championship now underway, let all of the excitement now begin. I may well be wrong , but I do not believe there is now an outright favorite for this year’s NBA title , and granted, there have been two or three teams over the course of this season who have proven themselves worthy favorites or perceived contenders. Yet, a caveat remains , buyer beware, beyond stating the obvious , the only conclusion and sure thing , has been the winner from each conference championship will have an equal chance of being named the NBA champion for the 2014-15 season.

Which programs do you believe will rise to the occasion and become this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Champion ? With NBA regular season now winding down , which teams do you believe have been the biggest disappointment to the league and to the fans ? Also which franchises from the Eastern and Western conferences, will be the Finals’ contestants for this season?

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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.

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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.

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

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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 .

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(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 ….

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🙂

tophatal ………….. 2014/03/19 02:15 PM

Follow tophatal on Facebook : Tophatal’s Blog

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NCAA Men’s Basketball and news

NCAA Tournament (Basketball) Men’s Bracket

NCAA Tournament schedule 18th March 2014

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NBA news and archived news

NBA standings (division) and standings by conference

NBA schedule 18th March

NBA results 17th March and top performers

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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

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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

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Yaris  Sanchez/

The voluptuous Yaris Sanchez

Hype will be the death of sports and then some ….

Hype will be the death of sports and then some ….

Well there is nothing like a littler hyperbole to set tongues wagging and to get the most idiotic of prognostications from analysts and fans alike. Nowhere does this happen to be more prevalent than within the world of the NBA and NFL . The 2012 NFL Draft , may well have been the best draft of the past decade in terms of the depth of talent made available by way of the players who declared their eligibility . The NBA has seen its wealth of talent makes its way into the league with the current class of rookies now making a name for themselves by contributing to their teams’ success during this season . Already, a little more than one-quarter of the way through a rigorous eighty-two game regular season schedule and talks already amiss concerning the 2014 NBA Draft and whether not Kansas Jayhawks’ rookie phenom Andrew Wiggins will be the top player taken in that upcoming draft. Now as good as Wiggins just happens to be , and he is very good, given the talent already on display for the Jayhawks. I truly believe that Wiggins might not be the best player, likely to be available in the draft. That accolade quite frankly, should go with the Duke Blue Devils’ own rookie sensation Jabari Parker , who is coached by the legendary Mike Krzyzewski .

Now while there is a great deal to be said for both of these respected programs, in terms of Duke and Kansas, do not make the mistake that both coaches Mike Krzyzewski and Bill Self are unlikely to take anything for granted concerning the aforementioned talents in question. What we do know , is that Parker like Wiggins , both make their teams considerably better when they are on the court , than sitting on the sidelines watching their teammates at play. Both Duke and Kansas are currently ranked in the AP Top Twenty-five , with the unbeaten Arizona Wildcats (11-0) sitting atop of the heap , followed by the number ranked Syracuse (Orangemen) , also unbeaten with a record of 10-0.

Duke (7-2) coming off a recent ten point 79-69 victory over John Beilin’s Michigan Wolverines , will be seeking to push their mark to 8-2 , while seeking to move themselves up in the ACC standings , where the Pittsburgh Panthers (10-0) and Syracuse both lead the way in the overall standings , but the conference lead is held by Maryland (Terrapins) and the Virginia Tech Hokies (1-0) . Next up for the Blue Devils, will be one these always nondescript out of conference games that tend to make up the more mundane side of a top programs’ schedule. Facing Duke in that contest, will be Gardner Webb of the Big South Conference , in a meeting that is not likely to prove too much of a mental or physical test for Mike Krzyzewski’s players .

Jabari Parker will undoubtedly prove to many that he is not only the best player on the Blue Devils’ team, but clearly has to be thought of as one of the best collegiate players in the nation. Andre Wiggins for his part, has been making analysts and fans sit up and take note of his game . . While the Jayhawks recently came unstuck, when they faced Billy Donovan and the Florida Gators , it was clear, that those in attendance for that contest , were indeed witnessing a very special talent in Andrew Wiggins, albeit , that the Gators came away with a well-deserved victory . Subsequent to that defeat, the Kansas Jayhawks were able to rebound with a rather lopsided 80-63 victory over New Mexico .

At this stage of the Collegiate Basketball season , there still remains a great deal to play for , but at the same time a number of teams are exuding a great deal of confidence.

The nation’s top ranked program in the AP Polls , the Arizona Wildcats are playing some very good basketball , and the case be made that with their current RPI , the plaudits are justified in their current ranking of the program. Much of that credit for the team’s early season form has to go to Sean Miller and his coaching staff . Miller and his team will play host to Southern University on Thursday night, at the McKale Center , in Tucson , Arizona,.

I have no wish to anoint a player as being the next big thing in any professional team endeavor , as has often been done by these on air analysts . Only for those very same individuals to then go on to have selective memory loss , when posed the question, why it is that their choice, has not fulfilled those expectations ?

It has to be said that the NFL has not only proven to be a complete joke this season by way of the poor coaching , pedantic play , but even more so, players long thought to very good or anointed as being “ the next big thing” , have simply offered nothing of substance . If that premise could not be better emphasized, then anyone who witnessed Sunday’s home game at Texas Stadium , where the Dallas Cowboys played host to the injury riddled Green Bay Packers , who were without quarterback Aaron Rodgers , will know that this game unraveled , simply because the Cowboys possess no stomach for any type of adversity on a football field . A twenty-three point lead by Jason Garrett’s players was simply squandered , as Garrett , his coaching staff and the team were unable to answer the unbelievable rally , as Matt Flynn led his team on an improbable comeback , that quite possibly may well have sealed the Dallas Cowboys’ postseason aspirations .

As Tony Romo and a weeping Dez Bryant , now ponder what might have been. It begs the question, if Bryant as he claims, is the best wide receiver currently playing in the NFL. Then where was the skill-set so often hyped over, which was simply nowhere to be seen during this contest? As to those, who are still jumping to the support of Tony Romo, being one of the best quarterbacks in the league. My question for those , who still believe that to be true , why is it that this player, has no leadership ability or and whose postseason career has been mired in mediocrity ?

The Dallas Cowboys, in perhaps their worst loss of the season , will now have to live with that experience , as Jason Garrett seeks to regain some type of momentum for the team. A divisional game against the still self-imploding Washington Redskins in week sixteen , in what is likely to be either a putrid contest or something thrilling. I am liable to think that it will be the former as Tony Romo and his teammates seek to close out their season on a competitive high. Yet, it could very well be the final game of the season that could ultimately decide the fate of the Cowboys, in what is likely to turn out to be a highly physical contest against the Philadelphia Eagles at Texas Stadium in Arlington, Texas , could very well be the difference of the Texas-based franchise being part of the postseason makeup or sitting at home , watching the participants in the NFL postseason foray.

This season’s NFL rookies have acquitted themselves well in a number of cases , even if their teams are not necessarily competitive. We have seen the travails of Geno Smith whose rookie season with the New York Jets has simply been abysmal . A great deal of the player’s woes, stem from the fact that he was not an NFL ready quarterback and his game has simply been far too inconsistent for the Jets to have been competitive . Furthermore, in what is eerily , looking like a situation that could very well see the departure of Rex Ryan and his entire coaching staff . There is a growing belief that GM John Idzik, no longer has any faith in the one-time bombastic head coach. The coaching staff is unlikely to be the only remnants jettisoned at the end of this season , as several players on this roster are likely to be as superfluous to the franchise’s needs as well as Idzik seeking to slash the team’s payroll .

Coming off a ten-point loss to the Carolina Panthers , in what was simply a pre-audition for the playoffs, for Ron Rivera’s team, as they seek to challenge the New Orleans Saints within the NFC South . Just about every area of the Jets’ game in this contest was abysmal , and it is a further damning indictment of Rex Ryan having lost the team, where there seems to be no on-field leadership, not from Geno Smith or from any of the veterans on this roster. The sooner, the departure of Rex Ryan becomes a reality, rather than the continued idiocy of his reign remaining intact, the greater the likelihood of this franchise continuing with its ever-growing incompetency.

A season of indifference and now the talk has to be, how and why the New York Giants have failed so miserably this season . Having missed the playoffs last season, the front office saw fit to do some house cleaning , seeking to get rid of several players that aided the franchise in winning two Superbowl titles in the past six seasons. Eli Manning , for his part, his play has been indifferent, with coach Tom Coughlin not seeing fit to call out his veteran quarterback and for his lack of leadership this season. If nothing else, Jerry Reese must now be blamed for several of the transactions that led to the departures of Mario Manningham, Osi Umenyiora, Michael Boley and several others who contributed in that success.

This past weekend the Giants were on the wrong side of a lopsided defeat against the Seattle Seahawks , as Russell Wilson led his team to a 23-0 whitewash of the NFC East based franchise. At 5-9 New York’s season has all but ended , with their being few positives to have been gained at all from the team’s schedule, by way of the productivity of the players and with the rookies unable to add little of note. It’s likely to be, back to the drawing board for Tom Coughlin and his coaching staff , who are likely to work in conjunction with Jerry Reese to assess the needs of the franchise. Needless to say, Eli Manning has to know that a great deal more will be expected of him , given his status with the franchise and amongst the highest paid players on the roster , as well as at the quarterback position in the NFL .

The two remaining games on the New York Giants’ schedule , will pit them against the Detroit Lions in week sixteen, to be followed by a divisional contest in their final regular season match-up, where they will meet the Washington Redskins . Victories in both games, would end the year on something of an emotional high, but the common belief has to be , that the franchise has simply under-achieved in 2013.

I’ll say it again , of the four major professional team sports , nowhere is the hype greater than within the NBA ! Each season , the crop of rookies entering the league are being anointed for no other reason , than the less than knowledgeable on air analysts, feel the need to feed into the idiocy , that their insight happens to be the only thing that matter. Granted , when you have the piety of _ Mel Kiper and Todd McShay being thrust upon you at each NFL Draft , the fans get the feeling that the idiocy doesn’t only remain within the NBA alone.

The 2012 NBA Draft brought us a less than memorable rookie class and likewise it has been the same for this season. In the midst of it all, the league’s brand has deteriorated with the play of the teams seemingly mediocre , but meanwhile the NBA hierarchy and its broadcast partners would have us believe that it is simply a cyclical effect, and that the marquee stars are still playing at the highest level . There are, but a handful of ” elite players ” in the NBA, yet an abundance of average to mediocre teams , with no more than four or five franchises that would be considered credible contenders for the NBA title.

Last season’s NBA Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard .. excelled in his role with the Portland Trailblazers (21-4) , and with the Indiana Pacers suddenly looking far from impervious or invincible , it has been the Trailblazers and coach Terry Stotts’ team with the best record in the Western Conference as well as the NBA, with Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge leading the way for the Northwest Division based franchise who lead their closest divisional rivals the Oklahoma City Thunder by a mere game in the standings.

The Trailblazers’ young point guard along with a number of his peers from last season are off to notable starts this year , and a somewhat similar case could be made for this season’s crop of rookies , where Michael Carter-Williams , Victor Oladipo and Trey Burke lead in scoring . In the assists’ category , the leaders there are again , Carter-Williams, Burke , with Nate Wolters being given due consideration.

It would be correct to suggest that this season the two biggest stories in the NBA season, are the not so implausible facts , that both the Brooklyn Nets (9-15) and New York Knicks (7-17) continue to be mired in mediocrity, in terms of their play , collectively . Never mind the fact that for all of the alleged insight of their fans , even they , cannot acknowledge the fact that neither team has the propensity to play defense . Personally , I believe the more ridicule heaped upon both of these franchises , the more justifiable the claims can be made that owners Mikhail Prokhorov and James Dolan are out of their depth as proprietors of a professional sports’ franchise , never-mind the incessant stupidity still being shown by Billy King and Steve Mills .

With New York coming off another defeat , which in many respects has been symbolic of their season. I cannot help but wonder , how long before a revolt takes place amongst the players , with the blame being apportioned upon the shoulders head coach Mike Woodson and his coaching staff ! ! The turmoil is beginning to take its toll on a number of players on the team, many of whom have no wish to be held accountable, much less with their being any leadership shown by the veterans on the roster. That one point loss at home to the Washington Wizards , where in the third quarter of the game was essentially broke open by the offensive output of the Hawks . From thereon-in, the Knicks were left found wanting , showing very little heart in the waning moments of the contest. . Next up for the laboring New York franchise, will be an away game against the Milwaukee Bucks , that is likely to tell us about the mental capacity of this team.

Brooklyn’s blowout victory over the Philadelphia 76ers might not be seen, as this Jason Kidd coached team turning the corner, but for the moment , it might well have loosened the noose that appeared to be around his neck. This much we do know, even with the front office , giving the coach their full backing , a case can be made, where if the season for this franchise should become more woeful , then a decision has to be made whether or not, he should be retained in his current position. . Kidd and the Nets will play host to the Wizards at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Wednesday night , as the team seeks a second consecutive victory.

Do you believe, that it is worthwhile hyping up an athlete , purely based on speculation or what they have achieved at the collegiate level , when there is no guarantee that success will come their way at the professional level ? Your thoughts, on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

🙂

tophatal ….

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NCAA Men’s Basketball

NCAA Men’s Basketball schedule

NCAA Men’s Basketball results 15th December

NCAA Men’s Basketball Conference standings

AP Poll Men’s Basketball rankings

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NFL news

NFL results week fifteen

NFL standings (division)

NFL schedule week sixteen

QB stats week 15

Rushing stats (week 15)

Receiving stats (week 15)

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NBA news

NBA results 16th December

NBA schedule 17th December

NBA standings (division)
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Mack Wilds …… “Own It”

😉

Wendy Fiore

You Had Me At Hello ………. !

You Had Me At Hello !

In the Cameron Crowe directed and written movie ” Jerry Macguire” there’s a scene in the movie where Tom Cruise’s character Jerry Maguire ____ his wife in the film played by Oscar winner Renee Zellwegger says the words “you had me hello ” . Well here’s a case in point as I survey the world of sports and the news forthcoming within that arena . The NFL is still looking as if their problems now will be litigated within the US Federal Court system and in which an upcoming case will be heard in Minneapolis , Minnesota. What both the NFLPA ( union) and the NFL continue to show is that neither side is apparent in actually resolving this matter in which an amicable resolution is reached , albeit that owners Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft have stated that’s what they seek with the union led by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and its executive committee . Pardon me for saying this , but common sense went out the window concerning these deliberations the moment that the union sought to decertify in order that players could challenge the NFL’s antitrust exemption status and its legality within the judicial system.

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Slide show for your perusal .

What might be further illuminating and shows that intelligence on the part of the players is merely a preconception , is the fact that they state they’re now prepared to negotiate directly with the owners rather than NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell . Less I’m mistaken wasn’t the action to instigate the lockout done at the behest of the owners and was enacted by Goodell as the NFL’s highest ranking official within the league’s hierarchy ? Well folks , there’s more to come from this soap opera’s saga and the outcome that most sorely await.

Can someone explain to me why it is that everyone is so sold on the New York Knicks even after the team’s acquisition of Carmelo Anthony instigated by GM Donnie Walsh and team owner James Dolan ? The problem is that in spite of Anthony’s acquisition along with that of Chauncey Billups the New Yorks Knicks have been a rather pedestrian 7-8 whereas the Denver Nuggets in exchange are an impressive 9-6 after Anthony’s departure under coach George Karl as the Nuggets try to make a play for a playoff spot in the Western Conference . Something that many may well have felt beyond the Nuggets after this trade was made by GM Masai Ujiri .

I’m not thoroughly convinced that this Knicks’ team even with the addition of Anthony and Billups are still good enough even with perennial All Star Amar’e Stoudemire leading this team and that’s with the advent of Mike D’Antoni’s coaching philosophy or lack of it thereof. Please don’t try and convince me that the Knicks are legit , when they can’t even play with any semblance of consistency be it on the road or at home . People were so in awe of this trade that they seem to have forgotten that neither Anthony or D’Antoni’s teams have never been known for their defensive capabilities and that clearly has been the case once again with the New York Knicks under D’Antoni’s tutelage. Madison Square Gardens may well play host to its litany New York celebrities such as Spike Lee and Chris Rock who may well be in awe of this team’s aspirations over the course of the season but the Knicks are going to in for a big surprise should they make the postseason and are still playing at the fame level inconsistency we’ve seen from the team .

Now as many of you know I’m an avowed boxing fan but as of late I’ve become disenchanted with the sport and just about anything that’s associated with the sport be it from a world title fight or the latest news involving Floyd Mayweather , Manny Pacquaio , two of the sport’s biggest stars. I’d recently written a piece that dealt with the fortieth anniversary of the fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier . To my mind that first fight and the duo which followed after-wards to make up the trilogy of fights which has made up the greatest series of boxing matches ever to have been staged at any weight category over the sport’s history ! Well this past weekend were led to believe that once again the heavyweight division was once again relevant as Vitali Klitschko would be defending his WBC title against the mandatory number one challenger Odlanier Solis in what was meant to be a bout that the fans would long to see.

The fight itself lived up to the expectations one would come to expect when you have an over hyped challenger and a title holder whose record has been based on meeting opponents either well past their prime or who essentially have been asked to step by now what I largely believe are unscrupulous promoters who don’t necessarily are what the fans think just as long as they’re making money from these staged promotions . Solis a Cuban emigre essentially gave up after one round having been knocked out Klitschko with effortless ease. Solis’ record of having been undefeated merely showed me that the heavyweight division is genuinely devoid of any real talent in spite of what the boxing journalists out there are trying to sell the public. Beyond a disinterested Manny Pacquiao who now merely is fighting for the money and a way of satisfying the ego of his promoter Bob Arum , boxing has now become mundane and about as interesting as watching paint dry or a political debate between two intellectually challenged candidates. Does anyone remember the Vice Presidential debates between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin ? Need I say anymore on the matter ?

A number of my friends know that I’m a former military member who served in the Royal Marines for a 8 1/2 year period serving in various parts of Europe and North Africa . During that time I’d seen active service having been stationed in Northern Ireland , Ethiopia , Eritrea and further afield. And I have to admit those experiences have molded me into the person I am along with my upbringing and post military experience has given me a great deal more insight than I could ever have hoped for . I’ve long maintained that without the experience of having traveled or an education then your life can be something of a void . Luckily enough having brought up by a single mother and being the eldest of the three my mother drummed it into us that education is of the utmost if we’re to strive . Having graduated from high school my initial thought wasn’t to enter college as I’d no real idea as to what I wanted in terms of a vocation. So being rather capricious I entered the military much to the dismay of my mother , and my younger brother and sister. That being said after my stint in the military I was lucky enough to be hired by a bank working within corporate finance and my employer at the time paid for my education having enrolled at UCL and then LSE where I was able to obtain an MBA and degrees in International Finance and Economics .

Now in light of ESPN’s most recent series of their 30 For 30 series of documentaries to commemorate the outlet’s thirtieth anniversary as a sports programming content provider . Their most recent edition was on Michigan’s Fab Five which was that hyped team led by Juwan Howard , Jalen Rose and Chris Webber which went to two straight Final Fours in the NCAA Tournament .

This specific episode though commissioned by the cable outlet provider was in fact produced by Rose’s own production company (Three Tier Entertainment) in conjunction with ESPN and the episode was one of the better made documentaries made shown by ESPN. In the aftermath of the episode’s showing Rose who is also an NBA analyst on TNT’s NBA show has been particularly vocal in the fact that he hates the Duke Blue Devils and the very fact that he’s felt that African Americans who’ve played for Mike Krzyzwewski have been Uncle Tom’s . Much of Rose’s anger in making that statement comes from the fact that he wasn’t recruited by by Duke when he became eligible as a college player. I can understand Rose’s statement but I do believe that the issues raised shows his ignorance and immaturity as a human being ! . Not only that given the fact that even if he’d come from a single parent home it doesn’t change the wholesale environment if what any recruit has to go through once given the chance as a student athlete at any educational establishment . The criteria that has to be met doesn’t necessarily change because of one’s socio-economic standing or ethnictiy , as Rose clearly believes that it does .

In the aftermath of this all , perhaps Duke’s greatest player Grant Hill took umbrage at the statements made by Rose and wrote a concise and illuminating op-ed piece in the Washington Post challenging Rose’s statements and preconceived ideas. If it’s not bad enough that in this day and age young African American males and female have very few role models to which they can look up to, we now have an idiot like Rose now looking to drag down African American males within his own race who just happen to role models that many of today’s youth can look up to , regardless of ethnicity and their sexual identity. What might be even more telling is that Rose hasn’t yet issued any type of formal apology or any further statement having made that original remark. It may well have been done as an effort to further publicize the Fab Five episode but if anything to my mind whatever damage done be it slight in some peoples eyes may well be something that can’t be recanted and looked at as merely a player feeling aggrieved over an issue. The fact of the matter is as great as Rose’s college career may well have been his professional career paled into insignificance where there was nothing exceptional that actually stood out !

Rose may well look back on the statement with some regret but for the moment it looks as if he’s prepared ride it for all that it’s worth while it provides the actual episode that little extra publicity it might not actually get from ESPN from any additional advertising on the cable network.

It’s extremely rare where you get a young athlete that simply takes a sport by storm and where now the expectations become so high after that individual does something that no one literally thought possible. At UFC 128 — Jon Jones the light heavyweight challenger for Mauricio Rua’s UFC title belt made such an emphatic statement that has sent a seismic shock wave across the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). In the space of three brutal and clinically decisive rounds Jones literally beat the formidable Rua and in doing so took the title holder’s belt with discriminate ease. What was scheduled to be a five round title fight where many felt that Jones would be tested by the vastly more experienced Rua simply didn’t come into being. If anything it was the young 23 year old fighter who took the fight to the champion , had him bloodied , bewildered and disheartened long before the fight came to an unlikely ending with a TKO in the third round of the five round title fight.

Now Jones will have to deal with other title aspirants within the division such as former title holders Rashad Evans , Lyoto Machida and the always dangerous and perennial title contender Ryan Bader .The speed and impressive way at which Jones (13-1) has moved up the ranks of the sport and in particular the light heavyweight division with so little allout experience in the UFC ranks speaks to how he has applied himself and the skills that he brings into the genre as a former All American collegiate wrestler. His jujitsu has improved greatly and it only adds to his all round weaponry within MMA . A prospective rematch with Rua seems unlikely given the nature of Jones’ victory over the Brazilian . And now what may well await him is a big money defense of his title against Evans the number one mandated contender for the title . Jones replaced Rashard Evans he’d suffered an injury in his preparations to fight Rua at UFC 128 , his replacement was Jones who took the fight on short notice although he’d been in training for an upcoming fight , seen as an eliminator for the light heavyweight title. Now with that belt now his own the newly anointed champion can now pick and choose his challengers while along the way gaining further notoriety , fame and wealth.

On the opposite side of the MMA genre we have the woefully inept and mediocre situation now arising within the sport of boxing . I’m sorry but I can no longer see the relevancy of the sport when the fights that the fans desire to see aren’t going to take place ! Over this past weekend Vitali Klitschko (42-2-0 ,39KO’s) defended his WBC heavyweight title against what we’re led to believe was a credible mandated number one contender by the WBC in Odlanier Solis . Well the fact that this bout took place in Cologne , Germany gives you all the credcence you need to know why the heavyweight division is no longer taken seriously . The boxing scene and in particular the the division no longer resonates with anyone within North America and the very fact that the division is now dominated by a group of lackluster and character devoid aspirants of fighters chasing greatness makes this all the comedic . There hasn’t been an undisputed champion within the heavyweight ranks for almost 7 years and it’s unlikely that there’ll be one anytime soon.

Solis came into this fight with a record (17-0 , 12 KO’s) that if anything that on paper seemed impressive but as they say what you see on paper doesn’t actually represent anything in terms of a legitimate resume’ . This fight was over before the initial bell rang for the opening round and for the fans in attendance at the Lanxess Arena , Cologne had to have been disappointed in seeing the challenger barely last three minutes into the first round having been knocked flat on his backside from a punch that on appearance didn’t seem to be all that devastating much less having any real power. But this is now what the sport of boxing has now become by way of many of the fights now being staged for the apparent appetites of the fight fans out there. I’m sorry but seeing an overweight bloated specimen being knocked flat on their ass much less lying prostrate on their back isn’t what I for one find anywhere near entertaining ! And that’s in spite of fans and boxing writers now talking as if Vitali Klitschko and his brother Wladimir are now the faces of boxing as far as the heavyweight division is concerned . The two have refused to face each other in order unify the titles within the division and create an undisputed champion within the heavyweight ranks. And fight are suppose to take either seriously within the world of boxing ?

Now one can understand why the sport of boxing and in particular the division can’t be taken seriously as a legitimate concern . I can only surmise that’s why both Don King and Bob Arum as the sport’s pre-eminent promoters aren’t overly concerned with the division or promoting any of the top ranked contenders within the division who just happen to be Europeans ! In doing so they know for a fact that they’d be facing a losing endeavor in trying to gain anyone’s interest in a proposed bout on this side of the Atlantic which is and has always been the epicenter of the fight game.

I personally have lost all faith in the legitimacy in the sport of boxing as it has become devoid of talent , character and most certainly promoters who actually wish to give the fight fans what they want and that’s competitive and entertaining fights . That’s not really too much to ask at this juncture is it ?

Well it goes without saying the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is in full swing and there have already been one or two upsets that most hadn’t envisaged. Suffice to say if your brackets have already imploded because of an errant pick on your part take heart in the fact that you’re probably amongst millions who’ve seen their situation ripped asunder because of that pick . I for one am looking forward to the rest of the tournament as we’re now down to the ” Sweet 16 ” as from hereon in it’s now going to be about the contenders being separated from the pretenders .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the weekend’s sporting events what if anything has been your own most enjoyable moment ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the issues raised within this piece and any sporting topic you wish .

Alan aka tophatal …………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

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(1) FILE – In this file photo taken Feb. 1, 2010, then Houston Texans guard Chester Pitts makes a point to members of the House Judiciary Committee during a forum in Houston. Football labor negotiations with the NFL involving a federal mediator broke off March 11, 2011, without an agreement. NFL players have been warned for years about the need to save and the importance of budgeting their money in case of a work stoppage. Well, the lockout is here. All the players have taken a bit of a financial hit already because of the lockout: NFL teams no longer are paying for their health insurance. AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, ……..

(2) NEW ORLEANS, LA – MARCH 21: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones attends the NFL Annual Meetings at the Roosevelt Hotel on March 21, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Despite a NFL owners imposed lockout in effect since March 12 the league is conducting its annual owners meeting in New Orleans. Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images …….

(3) Three of the in famous Fab 5 of Michigan’s basketball team of the early nineties that had the five freshmen reach two consecutive NCAA Final Fours . From left to right Juwan Howard , Jalen Rose (center) and Chris Webber . AP /Reuters/ Chris Hill ……………

(4) New York Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni argues a call with referee Ken Mauer (41) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, March 20, 2011, in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Bucks won 100-95 . AP Photo/Morry Gash ……….

(5) Milwaukee Bucks’ Andrew Bogut , right, has some words with New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, March 20, 2011, in Milwaukee. The Bucks won 100-95. AP Photo/Morry Gash ………..

(6) Pictured a badly beaten Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is somewhat dismayed after his loss to Jon “Bones” Jones. In losing to Jones at UFC 128 Rua lost his light heavyweight title in his very first defense to his younger opponent. MMA Fight Weeky .

(7) Jones (right) took the fight to Rua from the opening round here he’s seen unleashing a kick to the champion during their UFC light heavyweight title fight at UFC 128. Both fighters have been suspended by the UFC pending the outcome of their post-fight medical medical results . MMA Weekly.com Ken Pishna …

(8) Jones delivers a frontal kick to Rua’s midrift that he was able to avoid but only partially. Jones would use his athleticism and quickness to defeat the Brazlian jujitsu expert with considerable ease. MMA Weekly.com Ken Pishna ………..

(9) Ukrainian heavyweight titleholder Vitali Klitschko celebrates with the winner’s belt after defeating Cuban challenger Odlanier Solis after their WBC heavyweight world championship boxing match in the western German city of Cologne on March 19, 2011. World heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko won the fight and defended his WBC heavyweight title with a shock first-round knock-out of Cuban challenger Odlanier Solis. Photo credit should read PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images ………

(10) World boxing champion Vitali Klitschko of the Ukraine, right, watches challenger Odlanier Solis of Cuba go ing down during the first round of the WBC heavyweight title bout at the arena in Cologne, Germany, Saturday, March 19, 2011. Solis lost in in the first round with an injured knee. Klitschko’s win was declared k.o. by the referee. AP Photo/Martin Meissner ………..

(11) Cuban challenger Odlanier Solis gets help as he leaves the ring after he lost the fight with Ukrainian heavyweight titleholder Vitali Klitschko in their WBC heavyweight world championship boxing match in the western German city of Cologne on March 19, 2011. World heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko won the fight and defended his WBC heavyweight title with a shock first-round knock-out of Cuban challenger Odlanier Solis. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZ

(12) Ben Hansbrough (23) of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish reacts on the bench in the second half during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the United Center on March 20, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Florida State won 71-57 in regulation. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……..

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NCAA Men’s basketball results

Sweet 16 draw

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Continue reading “You Had Me At Hello ………. !”

Not As Good As Advertised !

Not As Good As Advertised !

I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again if you’re going to put up an argument about anything you had better put both sides of the argument in place and state the case with authority. Idiots around this environment had tried to state the case that Ohio State as the nation’s number one ranked men’s basketball team were good enough to win the NCAA Tournament and actually end the season unbeaten. Fact of the matter is, the Buckeyes succumbed to the Wisconsin Badgers —- 71-67 at the Kohl Center this past weekend. Thad Matta’s team as good as they’ve been this season has never really been good on the big stage . The loss to the Badgers summed up everything that you need to know about a team that was starting to believe in its own hype and what the print and tv media were saying about them.

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Jared Sullinger in his post game interview was sullen and peeved that he was treated in such a way as a visiting team by the Wisconsin fans. He may well have been denigrated by the Badgers’ fans but what was he expecting to be adored and have the opposing fans throw rose petals at him at the end of the game ? What ….. all of a sudden Sullinger becomes as soft as a wet piece of tissue paper ? Man up and shut the hell up rather than whining like a bitch ! Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor outplayed Sullinger and if anything made a case that when placed under pressure he knows how to play when it really counts. Sullinger may well be putting up the stats and is being talked about unlike any other rookie freshman in college basketball but until he proves that he can lead with authority he’ll simply be thought of just another phenom being lauded up and down the country and within the media.

Now pardon me for saying this but the reality here is that Ohio State may well be good enough to win the NCAA Tournament but I wouldn’t bet my life on it. Any team with a view to staking their claim to be thought of as a contender has to be playing with consistency and at the time of the tournament they had to have hit a rich vein of form. I don’t know that we may well be saying that about the Buckeyes but there’ll be those who’ll be stating that there’s still a case to be made that they can win.

The last time a team ran the table, having won the national title and be unbeaten happened in 1976. And while others have come close , well close simply isn’t good enough as being damn perfect ! And that’s how the great teams if they want to be judged as to their greatness in the annals of college basketball then they need to show that they’re not good but damn perfect when it matters most.

A great deal has been made that the ACC is having a down year and that in particular Mike Krzyzewski’s —– Duke team isn’t anywhere good as thought. But anyone who knows Krzyzewski and how he gets his players ready for the big games then they’ll know that this Duke team will rise to the occasion when it matters most. As defending NCAA champions having won their fourth national title under Krzyzewski’s reign and it has to be said that anyone thinking that they’re not a contender then they ought to consider the resume’ of the coach during his tenure with the Blue Devils. If that’s not evidence as to what Krzyzewski has been able to achieve and the consistency that comes along with it then you have to be either naive or simply know nothing about the game but you merely love the sound of making rather asinine prognostications.

Now as the world awaits the latest rankings to come out as to who’ll the number one spot we will no doubt see a new team ascend to the the top spot . In all likelihood that may well be the Texas Longhorns or the Kansas Jayhaws . If anything this Longhorn’s team may well be the most balanced team D 1 basketball and are certainly now beginning to look the part . And if you simply believe that they’re not a worthy candidate of winning the NCAA Tournament if not their conference championship then simply look at their statistics this season ?

I’ve no doubt as usual the NCAA Tournament will be what we’ ve always come to expect with a great deal of suspense and one or two surprises along the way. It’s clear that of all of the sporting highlights of the season the men’s NCAA Tournament may well be the most suspenseful , exhilarating of all the the tournaments that take place within the sport’s calendar. We get all of the hype of the Superbowl and all that it offers the fans as a spectacle but given the length number of competitive participants the NCAA Tournament itself might just be the best competition that there is from a fan standpoint. You get the chance to adjudge the teams as the competition gets underway through its knockout basis through the regional rounds . Sixty five initial starters through the process of elimination gets down to the Sweet Sixteen , Elite Eight , Final Four and the Finals itself . What else could anyone actually ask for from a competition ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As to the fate of the Ohio State Buckeyes as the rest of the season plays itself it will be interesting to see what lies in store for the team under Thad Matta and how they are able to regroup from this loss. How do you see the season panning out for the Buckeyes and which particular team if any do you see as a possible threat or winner for the NCAA Tournament this season ? Conference Champions and invitees notwithstanding this tournament will be one which I believe will have the fans intrigued ! So by all means simply chime in with a comment as to your thoughts on this topic and any thoughts you have on the college basketball season so far.

Picture and slide show details below.

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(1)Ohio State head coach Thad Matta reacts to a call during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Wisconsin Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011, in Madison, Wis. AP Photo/Morry Gash …..

(2)Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor and Keaton Nankivil , right, are smothered by fans after beating undefeated No. 1 Ohio State 71-67 in an NCAA college basketball game against Ohio State Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011, in Madison, Wis. AP Photo/Morry Gash ……….

(3) Ohio State’s William Buford (44) tries to drive past Wisconsin’s Mike Bruesewitz (31) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011, in Madison, Wis. AP Photo/Morry Gash …………

(4) Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger (0) tries to drive on Wisconsin’s Keaton Nankivil (52) and Jordan Taylor (11) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011, in Madison, Wis. AP Photo/Morry Gash ………..

(5) Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor (10) looks to pass as he drives the baseline past Iowa State guard Diante Garrett (10) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011. Taylor scored 14 points in the game. Kansas defeated Iowa State 89-66 . AP Photo/Orlin Wagner ………

(6) Kansas forwards Marcus Morris (22) and Markieff Morris (21) celebrate a basket as a timeout is called during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Iowa State in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011. The twin brothers each had a double-double and keyed a 23-4 first-half run that carried No. 2 Kansas past Iowa State 89-66 on Saturday. AP Photo/Orlin Wagner ……….

(7) Texas forward Gary Johnson , left, and forward Alexis Wangmene , right, celebrate the win over Baylor in an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011, in Austin, Texas. No. 3 Texas won 69-60 . AP Photo/Michael Thomas ……….

(8) Texas forward Tristan Thompson , right, brings down a rebound against Baylor forward Fred Ellis , left, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011, in Austin, Texas. Thompson tied Jordan Hamilton for Texas high scorer with 17 points. No. 3 Texas won 69-60 . AP Photo/Michael Thomas ……

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😛

Alan aka tophatal ………………………….

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Eye candy ……………. Rebecca

Wet on the net ……. Carrie and Jenny

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Outkast …… feat’g Killer Mike ……. “The Whole World”

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Hey Geno For Once And For All Shut The Hell Up And Simply Bask In The Glory


Hey Geno For Once And For All Shut The Hell Up And Simply Bask In The Glory

Now while I’ve no real love of women’s sports barring the rather lasciviousness of tennis wherein the likes of Maria Sharapova , Martina Hingis , Ana Ivanovic , Caroline Wozniacki and one might say the Williams sisters made that sport sexually gratifying to watch. Now I could go on to say that the LPGA Tour is also wonderful but herein lies the real problem other than Natalie Gulbis , the scene on the LPGA Tour with its plethora of players seemingly has a number of females that on appearance alone would have one questioning their sexuality.

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Now it goes without saying that amongst women’s basketball at present Geno Auriemma and his U Conn Women's Huskies reign supreme over the sport of women's basketball. Other than Auriemma in recent years the only other ascendant program has been Pat Summitt's —- Tennessee Volunteers (Lady Vols. All else simply pales into comparison and beyond that there isn't really much else to say. Tonight the U Conn Huskies take on the Florida State Seminoles in a game that should the team win would surpass the wins' total of John Wooden's renowned UCLA Bruins&#039 basketball teams which went on an 88 game winning streak that was ended by Notre Dame . And while that mark is embedded in our memories and sports' folklore it has to be said that this U Conn feat should it be accomplished will be remarkable but to my mind nowhere near as impressive as that of the UCLA Bruins. While both teams have a common factor in the fact that they have remained dominant I do feel that it's somewhat asinine to make comparisons between the two feats by way of their overall achievements ! Look we're talking women's basketball here and one hand the men's game remains far more physical and exciting whereas watching a women's game is somewhat akin to watching paint dry. Dominance being all well and good but please we are talking women's basketball here !

Courtesy of The San Francisco Chronicle

UConn Women Victims of Realism, Not Sexism ……..

By David Whitely of The San Francisco Chronicle

HARTFORD, Conn. — UConn won its 89th game in a row Tuesday night, and I’d like to write about what a fabulous deal it was.

I’d like to, but it might ruin Geno Auriemma’s image of sports fans in general and the media in particular. He thinks most of us were “pissed” that the Huskies were closing in on UCLA’s record of 88 straight wins. And having to cover their quest had turned us into “miserable bastards.”

I don’t presume to speak for everybody, but I wasn’t pissed that UConn beat FSU, 93-62 , at the XL Center . It was a grand occasion, right down to President Obama calling in his congratulations and Auriemma giving away Nintendo Wiis to two lucky fans after the game.

I’d say Richard Nixon never called John Wooden, and that UCLA’s coach probably didn’t give away a Pong after the Bruins won No. 88. But the accomplishments of UConn and UCLA should not be compared in any way.

Or should they?

I say no way, and not because I’m a miserable bastard. I’m happy for the Huskies. It’d be fine by me if they won 8,800 straight games. Given the depth of women’s college basketball, they just might.

That’s a big reason why their streak should not simply be called “The longest in college basketball history.”

It is the longest women’s Division I streak. Yet not lumping it with UCLA has become evidence of gender bias. Auriemma essentially turned it into a national referendum when he ranted about the lack of coverage after win No. 88 two days ago.

To be precise, he said women are happy for the Huskies. Most men who have to cover it are miserable and pissed. And as soon as UConn breaks the record, we’ll just pat them on their heads and say, “Send them back where they belong in the kitchen.”

There’s no doubt a lot of people are biased against women’s basketball simply because they are women. But Auriemma’s attitude has exposed bias isn’t limited to the media and fans.

First, he assumes women automatically like women’s basketball. I know a lot of women who don’t, and it’s not because they hate women.

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And while no amount of praise can't be heaped upon Auriemma for the way with which he's made his program so dominant I do feel that former Hoosiers’ coach Bob Knight went completely overboard in an assessment stating that if he were an AD looking for a coach to start a program men or women by far the best coach out there would be Auriemma. Now while I've great deal of respect for Knight I do feel that he may well have been at one time been in the accompaniment of Miley Cyrus when she was hitting that bong and digesting that salvia. Bitch grow up get laid and stop trying to impress everyone with the fact that you're in reality nothing more than a talentless teen with an average voice and very little else by way of any redeeming talent. As to Knight, hey Bob it's time to shut the hell up and stop making a complete ass of yourself with some of your nonsensical comments . If Auriemma to your mind he is the best coach in collegiate basketball then you obviously haven't got a damn clue . I'd have thought that Duke's —– Mike Krzyzsewski would be atop of your list ? But what the hell do I know I'm merely a British guy who happens to be black and who's resided here for almost two decades and has watched Krzyzewski make that Duke program one of the pre-eminent athletics program in all of sports . And oh yes along the way he's done something that you've never achieved and that's to win an Olympic title and World Championship as the national coach in your reign . And less we forget his four national collegiate titles (NCAA) along the way as well.

Now it goes without saying that whatever the outcome tonight Auriemma ought to be praised but the coach himself ought to respectful of the convened press rather than bitching and whining about the fact that the sport and this particular feat isn't getting enough publicity . What Geno Auriemma seems to forget is that until the women's game reaches the heights of its male counterparts on an athletic and competitive nature then the public's interest in women's sport , in particular women's basketball will remain somewhere along the lines of watching paint dry and mating ritual of pachyderms (elephants). So for those of you now who'd prefer to switch to Animal Planet then by all means do so.

It may well be that the U Conn Huskies will win this game with a great deal of ease after all more than almost 40% of their victories have been by double digits or more . Do you get what I'm simply saying about the game and in particular the dominance of Auriemma's teams ? They're simply aren't being tested at all whereas that wasn't necessarily the case for Wooden and his teams during their reign and basketball immortality. Suffice to say let this merely be about what this team is about to achieve by its own measure and simply stop with the comparisons to Wooden's program . It's a no contest and that's with due respect to USA Today's Christine Brennan and her renowned love of women's sport and its promotion in all circles. Even she can't be foolish enough to think that matching this feat of John Wooden ____ one can say that the U Conn Huskies would ever be that team's equal by any stretch of the imagination .

And to Auriemma once again I simply ask and implore you to bask in the glory and the acclaim as of now because once it's all gone there won't really be that much notice being taken about your sport much less the U Conn program other than the Huskies' faithful who choose to follow the happenings in Storrs, Connecticut and nationally.

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What thoughts if any do you above on this feat were it to be achieved by Geno Auriemma and the U Conn Huskies ? Is it merely much ado about nothing or should it be really considered an amazing feat merely by the fact of its precedence amongst women's sports ? By all means simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on this matter and as usual thanks for the continued support as it has always been appreciated !

NB: This piece was completed prior to the Huskies lopsided victory (93-62) over the Seminoles last night.

U Conn Huskies Women’s Basketball Schedule 2010-11 .

U Conn Women’s Basketball Roster 2010-11 . Could they actually now surpass the century (100) mark for consecutive victories ?

😉

Alan aka tophatal …………… 😛

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Tahiry Lay

Eye candy for your perusal so do enjoy . Tahiry Lay . And lay she must I’ve no doubt !

The Sporting Weekend That Was ……… Misfires And Positives ………..

The Sporting Weekend That Was ……… Misfires And Positives ………..

Well the MLB season has kicked off in full swing and oh yes , the baseball fans are simply now in heaven . Two things have caught my eye , the Yankees and Red Sox rivalry will be ‘as heated as ever’. And low and behold ESPN has made the announcement that former Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling will be joining their staff as an on air analyst for their pre-game and radio shows covering baseball. Now don’t get me wrong if ESPN feels that someone as opinionated as Schilling, is what they need to lure even more fans to watch their coverage . Then , so be it ! Schilling will also be providing live analysis , giving his undoubted experience and some might say in depth analysis of the game. I’m wondering if Curt will try to pass himself off as baseball’s answer to Charles Barkley ?

Schilling the entrepreneur .

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

ESPN hires Curt Schilling as analyst

Bristol , Conn. (AP)—Curt Schilling has been hired by ESPN to work as a baseball analyst.

The network says that the former pitcher, who won World Series titles with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox, will appear on “Baseball Tonight” and ESPN Radio, in addition to contributing to ESPNBoston.com and the company’s main Web site.

He will make his debut Sunday during ESPN’s pregame coverage of the big league opener between the Red Sox and the New York Yankees.

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Well it appears that the Donovan McNabb saga wasn’t going to be drawn out as the fiasco that’s now once again unfolding in Minnesota with Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings . The Eagles sent the Pro Bowler to the Washington Redskins for second round pick and a third or fourth round pick next year.

Donovan  McNabb  of  the  Philadelphia  Eagles.   The  player  was   traded  to  the  Washington  Redskins  a   divisional  rival     in the  NFC  East.   It  adds  to the  flavor  this   upcoming   season    when   the  player  meets  <u> his   'former   team' </u>.    photo appears  courtesy  of   Getty  Images/ Hugh  Malcolm ....................
Donovan McNabb of the Philadelphia Eagles. The player was traded to the Washington Redskins a divisional rival in the NFC East. It adds to the flavor this upcoming season when the player meets his 'former team' . photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Hugh Malcolm ....................

For the Eagles , their coach Andy Reid , GM & President Joe Banner this now becomes about the immediate future and the handing over of the reins to Kevin Kolb . And given the fact that the Eagles’ fans have never truly accepted McNabb and embraced him openly. I’m now wondering what they’ll make of the fact that the player has been traded to a divisional rival ? Will there be effigies of both Banner and Reid hanging outside the stadium should the team not fare well at all during the upcoming season ? Now call me naive but would it not have been far more advantageous for the organization to trade the player to another team outside the division (NFC East) ?

Mike Shanahan and team owner Daniel Snyder , they may well view this as their coup-de-gras in obtaining the Pro Bowl quarterback. And for Jason Campbell , he now must be left wondering as to what his immediate future may well be within the organization. My own opinion is that he’s no more or less , your rather average backup quarterback ! He simply can’t be entrusted to lead the Redskins with any great aplomb. Granted , he’s had to deal with the revolving door of coaches and offensive coordinators from his very first day with the team until now. And no player mentally or physically should really have to deal with such a situation. But this is simply what makes the Redskins one the NFL’s more comical organizations in terms of their managerial and executive structure .

Courtesy of The Washington Post

Washington Redskins’ trade for Donovan McNabb is a perfect fit

By Michael Wilbon , Sports Columnist

The only reservation in Donovan McNabb’s voice Sunday night was over finding and talking to Jason Campbell. After all, when things were going rotten for Campbell, when he was being benched and booed, it was McNabb, after an Eagles-Redskins game in Washington, who sought out Campbell to buck him up, tell him he’s got the tools to be a fine quarterback in the NFL. The quarterback fraternity is small, and the black quarterback fraternity is even smaller, and McNabb didn’t want Campbell to think for one second he’d been lying in the weeds for weeks, waiting to take his job.

McNabb, for the record, didn’t know until the last second where he was going to wind up. The rumors that the Vikings were atop his list were erroneous; McNabb told me that himself last week. The Raiders were a team that was interested, but not the only team. McNabb and I talked about the business of football the other night in Arizona, a totally off-the-record conversation. But I was reminded that night, with all due respect to Campbell, why McNabb is about the best fit around to be the quarterback of the Washington Redskins . . .

…Because Donovan McNabb has done most of it and seen all of it. Even on an evening when the Eagles, the only team he has played for, were trying to trade him, he was completely unfazed. We’re talking about an 11-year veteran who was booed by Eagles fans from the moment he was selected. He’s dealt with injury, the harshest criticism imaginable, idiot teammates such as Terrell Owens, roiled up locker rooms. He’s watched his team draft his replacement, taken the field with few if any Pro Bowl-caliber weapons. He’s shrugged off controversies involving race that were none of his doing. Yet, McNabb has always been able to speak his mind, keep his dignity and keep his team in Super Bowl contention.

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Click on link to read Michael Wilbon’s article in its entirety.
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Baylor's   Brittney  Griner  and   U Conn's  Maya  Moore  are  seen  here   during  the  women's   Final  Four   game   between the two  teams.  Geno  Auriemma's   Huskies  would   go  on  to  defeat  the  Baylor Lady  Bears    <u> 70-50</u>  in  the   game  played  at the  Alamodome in   San  Antonio  ,  Texas , Sunday  April 4th  2010.   photo appears  courtesy  of  Getty  Images/   Alicia  Mack  ...........
Baylor's Brittney Griner and U Conn's Maya Moore are seen here during the women's Final Four game between the two teams. Geno Auriemma's Huskies would go on to defeat the Baylor Lady Bears 70-50 in the game played at the Alamodome in San Antonio , Texas , Sunday April 4th 2010. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Alicia Mack ...........

I’m not really hyped about women’s sports but I’ve caught a glimpse of one or two of the games in the women’s NCAA basketball tournament. And it’s now becoming clear that it’ll take a cataclysmic event to derail the U Conn Huskies as they “seek perfection” to end their season. All that now stands in the way of Geno Auriemma’s team are the women of Stanford . And as good as the Lady Cardinals appear to be , I do believe that they face an uphill task in trying to derail this Huskies’ team. Head coach Tara VanDerveer must either pray for divine intervention or that her team can catch lightning in a bottle and pull off the biggest upset ever to have taken place in women’s collegiate athletics. That’s the size of the task now facing the overwhelming underdogs in this contest , as they battle for the national championship.

Cleveland Browns nose tackle Shaun Rogers and his lawyer Patrick D'Angelo, center, talk to reporters after leaving Cleveland Police Headquarters where Rogers was charged with one felony count of carrying a concealed weapon on Friday, April 2, 2010, in Cleveland, Ohio. Rogers was arrested at Cleveland Hopkins International airport on Thursday after he tried to take a loaded handgun through airport security. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Jason Miller .....
Cleveland Browns nose tackle Shaun Rogers and his lawyer Patrick D'Angelo, center, talk to reporters after leaving Cleveland Police Headquarters where Rogers was charged with one felony count of carrying a concealed weapon on Friday, April 2, 2010, in Cleveland, Ohio. Rogers was arrested at Cleveland Hopkins International airport on Thursday after he tried to take a loaded handgun through airport security. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Jason Miller .....

Another week and “another dumb ass move” by an athlete ! It must be me but NFL players either believe that they’re impervious , invincible and above the law. Let me pose this question to you ? Knowing what you know, concerning the security measures carried out by the TSA (Transport & Security Administration) at all domestic airports , why in hell’s name would you want to carry a concealed weapon in your carry on luggage and then to board a domestic flight ? Cleveland Browns’ nose tackle Shaun Rogers pled not guilty to such a charge when he attempted to board a flight at Cleveland’s Hopkins International Airport , Cleveland ,Ohio. Rogers through his attorney Patrick D’Angelo pleaded not guilty to the charge but has already offered an apology to the fans and to the Browns’ organization . If found guilty he faces up to eighteen months in prison and a fine . The case should it go to trial would take place within the Cleveland Municipal Court and it is bound to not only to just add one more “black eye” to the image of the NFL but also to the entire Browns’ organization.

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

Browns tackle pleads not guilty to gun charge

Cleveland (AP)—Cleveland Browns nose tackle Shaun Rogers(notes) has pleaded not guilty to a concealed weapons charge after authorities say he tried to carry a loaded handgun through airport security in a carry-on bag.

Rogers’ attorney Patrick D’Angelo says his client entered the plea Saturday in Cleveland Municipal Court. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison.

The 31-year-old apologized to his fans and his team Friday after spending a night in jail, saying he didn’t mean to take the gun into Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Rogers told police he forgot the gun was in his bag when he attempted to fly to Texas on Thursday.

D’Angelo says Rogers planned to fly to Houston later Saturday to spend Easter with family and will make sure “to check everything.”

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One clearly now must wonder what President & Head of Football Operations Mike Holmgren must be thinking about the mess that he finds himself in , as to the ongoing problems of this team both on and off the field of play ? Never mind the fact that he also has to deal with an under achieving coach in Eric Mangini and his coaching staff . The task now facing Holmgren in turning this organization around is a daunting one . But when he has players who use poor judgment not only on the field but also off it. It kinds make you feel that they’re completely deserving of anything that’s thrown their way , and that it is of their own making. Rogers may well try and deny his culpability , in his poor lack of judgment in traveling with a concealed weapon. But given the fact he was about to board a domestic flight and whereby passengers are routinely checked. You have to simply wonder what mindset he had at the time ? It is bad enough that he plays on a woefully inept team but his decision making off the field, in some ways indicates many of the woes that the Browns now faces as an organization in terms of its on field personnel. Common sense doesn’t appear to be part of the equation there at all ! Well at least when it comes to the Cleveland Browns . Their fans might as well accept the fate that is now within their midst. Because in reality over the last decade , what we’ve seen from the Browns is a lesson in abject futility both on and off the field ! Shaun Rogers’ actions only further endorse and enhance the fact as to how bad things are there with the NFL franchise .

And it has been suggested that the addition of Jake Delhomme to the team will add some much needed resolve for the organization and make them a legitimate contender within the NFC North ? I’d somehow like to think so but being on the outside looking and seeing how the Browns fared last year. Any advances made to my mind will only be incremental . After-all we are talking about a team that could only muster 5 wins all of last season in going 5-11 within its ‘own division. A far cry from the expectations of the Browns’ fans and ownership .

Butler head coach Brad Stevens, left to right, Gordon Hayward and Ronald Nored smile during an interview session for the men's NCAA Final Four college basketball championship Sunday, April 4, 2010, in Indianapolis. The Butler Bulldogs will face Mike Krzyzewski's Duke Blue Devils in the championship game Monday night to be played at Lucas Oil Stadium , Indianapolis, Indiana. This in many ways will be very much a "home game" for the small and in-obtrusive college team from Indiana. The furor over over their improbable journey has resonated within the state and across the nation. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Mark J Terrill ...............

Butler head coach Brad Stevens , left to right, Gordon Hayward and Ronald Nored smile during an interview session for the men’s NCAA Final Four college basketball championship Sunday, April 4, 2010, in Indianapolis. The Butler Bulldogs will “face” Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke Blue Devils in the championship game Monday night to be played at Lucas Oil Stadium , Indianapolis, Indiana. This in many ways will be very much a “home game” for the small and in-obtrusive college team from Indiana. The furor over over their improbable journey has resonated within the state and across the nation. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Mark J Terrill ……………

Now as we all know the Butler Bulldogs have made it to the men’s national championship game in the NCAA Basketball Tournament . In tonight’s final, they’ll be taking on the ‘prohibitive favorites and three time national champions in the Duke Blue Devils . The thing I’d like to know is the fresh faced looking Brad Stevens , coach of this Butler team . Is he actually old enough to drink or vote ? He’s the only guy that I’ve seen during this tournament who actually looks younger than several of the players he’s coaching and many of the other collegiate players that have participated in the tournament for their respective teams. All kidding asides , even the team’s best player Gordon Hayward actually looks older than his coach . But that simply won’t mean anything once the two teams set foot on the court for the tip-off at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The “storied Duke program” will be taking on the unexpected finalists in a game of contrasting styles but nonetheless a game that will invoke and elicit a great deal thought and fan support across the country. No doubt a great many fans will be looking to cheer on the “hometown heroes” of Butler. While opposing fans will be looking to see if Duke’s coach, Mike Krzyzewski can add to “his already illustrious” career by winning his “fourth national title” as coach of the Blue Devils. This will be the main plot-line of what will be an epic match-up of “David versus Goliath” on what is college basketball’s grandest stage. Tonight we shall see if Butler in its role as David can take down the mighty Goliath , in form of Duke, in front of a national tv audience of millions , as well as the thousands who’ll be in attendance to cheer on the “local hometown heroes” . And hopefully this will be a game that lives up to all of the perceived hype and expectations.

Los Angeles, April 4th 2010. <strong> Manu Ginobil </strong> (20) of the San Antonio Spurs goes to the basket against Luke Walton (4) of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on   Sunday.    The   San  Antonio   Spurs  would   go  on  to  defeat  the  Los  Angeles Lakers  <u> 100-81 </u>  in a  game   played  at  the Staples  Center  in  Los  Angeles, California. photo  appears  courtesy  of  NBAE/ Getty  Images/  Noah Grahame  ................
Los Angeles, April 4th 2010. Manu Ginobil (20) of the San Antonio Spurs goes to the basket against Luke Walton (4) of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on Sunday. The San Antonio Spurs would go on to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 100-81 in a game played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/ Getty Images/ Noah Grahame ................

Well those have been my takes on this sporting weekend. I’m still on “cloud nine” having seen my beloved San Antonio Spurs lay the ‘wood’ to the Los Angeles Lakers in their lopsided victory 100-81 . And with Manu Ginobli essentially, outplaying even Kobe Byrant on the day, with a thoroughly engaging display of offensive prowess in scoring 32 points ,in leading the team to victory at the Staples Center , in Los Angeles, California. Needless to say, there’ll be those who will say that one shouldn’t put much store in “the result”. But I look at this way, a team wants consistency and rhythm as the NBA postseason beckons. ‘No teams’ wants to go limping in the opening rounds of the playoffs where the ‘slightest mistake’ can put ‘an end to your season’ before it’s even started . Hopefully , this will be a sign of things to come from the Spurs after this rather engaging display. It should serve as a warning that they’re not dead and buried as of yet ? Writing them off as of now and you’ll be doing so at your peril !

What sporting events that took place this weekend have you thinking “hits and misses” ? By all means chime on in with a comment. And I’ll look to responding to them each ,in the usual manner. As always thanks for the continued support , it is definitely appreciated !


Alan Parkins

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Mystikal …. “Boucin’ Back Bumpin’ Me Against The Wall ”

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Babes of The Day . In order to view each picture up close and personal just click an individual feature . Have fun while perusing these “pics”.
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Let’s Dance …….

Let’s Dance ………………..

Well now that we know the ‘Final Four’ to perhaps one of the most exciting Men’s NCAA basketball tournament in recent years. It’s time to survey the devastation that took place. We’re now left with the four best teams in the tournament and no it’s not aberration that the lightly regarded Butler is one of the quartet of teams remaining.

St. Louis , Bobby Maze (3) of the Tennessee Volunteers looks to shoot the ball against Mike Kebler (20) and Draymond Green (23) both of the Michigan State Spartans during the midwest regional final of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Edward Jones Dome on March 28, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri. Michigan State beat Tennessee 70-69. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Dilip Vishwanat ...
St. Louis , Bobby Maze (3) of the Tennessee Volunteers looks to shoot the ball against Mike Kebler (20) and Draymond Green (23) both of the Michigan State Spartans during the midwest regional final of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Edward Jones Dome on March 28, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri. Michigan State beat Tennessee 70-69. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Dilip Vishwanat ...

Butler along with Duke (Blue Devils) , Michigan State (Spartans) and West Virginia (Mountaineers) round out the Final Four . And is there a clear cut favorite amongst the four ? Who can say but there’s no denying that a number of people if not a large part of the nation are perhaps rooting for the underdogs , in Butler. And the fact that the Final Four and championship game will be played in their home state of Indiana at the Lucas Oil Stadium , makes this even more of a fairy tale for the team and their coach Brad Stevens . This will Stevens’ first appearance in the Final Four as a coach. He joins Mike Krzyzewski , Bob Huggins and Tom Izzo as the coaches of the respective teams remaining in the tournament. And of those four, Huggins and Stevens are the only coaches not to have cut down the nets as a winning coach of the national championship in men’s basketball.

Now don’t get me wrong I’ve been avowed Blue Devils’ fan for eons and I do believe that Mike Krzyzewski one of the all-time great coaches in collegiate athletics. Love him or hate him , you’ve got the admire what he’s done in building this program into a perennial powerhouse within college basketball. His record as a coach speaks for itself and the respect that he has amongst his peers throughout collegiate athletics let’s you know how much he’s revered. That asides , were the Blue Devils not to end up as champions , I wouldn’t at all be overly disappointed. For me, the NCAA tournament has always been about seeing the minnows in the game take on the might within college basketball. There’s nothing like seeing a ‘David slay Goliath’ and turn the whole men’s college basketball world upside down. And that’s been what we’ve seen throughout this year’s tournament right from the very start. Needless to say , many of the prognosticators’ brackets have been shot to hell. Hey, President Obama , how’s that pick of Kansas of yours now looking ? If it’s anything like the passage of the healthcare reform bill , that thing also will soon be in tatters. Do you honestly believe that the Republicans will let it remain in its present format whatever it now allegedly is purported to be ? Even your most ardent supporters are unsure as to what form it will take . In many it ways it’s the same way , that this tournament itself has unfurled. Surprise after surprise, with a great deal of animosity up and down the country.

The Duke Blue Devils hold up the trophy after a 78-71 win over the Baylor Bears in the south regional final of the NCAA men's basketball tournament at Reliant Stadium in Houston on Sunday. photo appears  courtesy of  Getty  Images/  Ronald  Martinez  ...
The Duke Blue Devils hold up the trophy after a 78-71 win over the Baylor Bears in the south regional final of the NCAA men's basketball tournament at Reliant Stadium in Houston on Sunday. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Ronald Martinez ...

Sunday’s games and the results that came about were as surprising as the games themselves were enthralling. And the same could be said of Saturday’s results also. Who could’ve foreseen Duke’s 78-71 defeat of Baylor ? Or even Michigan State eking out a one point, 70-69 of Bruce Pearl’s Tennessee Volunteers ?

Butler's Nick Rodgers hold up the West Regional trophy as the team returned home to Indianapolis amid a throng of fans after earning a spot in the Final Four with a victory over Kansas State Saturday.
Butler's Nick Rodgers hold up the West Regional trophy as the team returned home to Indianapolis amid a throng of fans after earning a spot in the Final Four with a victory over Kansas State Saturday. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ A J Mast ...........

Now with the Final Four match-ups all set , it will be very interesting to see how these games are approached by the respective coaches and their teams. For Butler and their inexperienced coach Brad Stevens , they’ve nothing to lose as they face off against Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans. While Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils will take on Bob Huggins’ West Virginia Mountaineers. And it’s take a serious gambler to against the rising wave of support of the Butler Bulldogs. I’m no longer a betting man and I’m not going to make a call on either match-ups at all. I’ve seen my brackets seemingly go up in smoke much the same way that Vanilla Ice’s and MC Hammer’s careers did. Where are they now ?

West Virginia's Da'Sean Butler and Joe Mazzulla hug after the game. Butler scored 18 points and Mazulla pitched in a career-high 17 to help West Virginia hold off the Wildcats.
West Virginia's Da'Sean Butler and Joe Mazzulla hug after the game. Butler scored 18 points and Mazulla pitched in a career-high 17 to help West Virginia hold off the Wildcats. The Mountaineers would defeat the Kentucky Wildcats 73-66 to make their way the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Jim McIsaac ..........

The Final Four and the championship game itself will be something special to watch and I for one can vouch that I find this tournament far more exciting and exhilarating that the BCS national title game in football. Here you actually have a champion of merit while with college football it’s the premise that we’re witnessing a champion. Yeah, big deal when the none BCS conferences barely get the chance to put on their dancing shoes and strut their stuff against the ‘big boys’ . At least in the NCAA basketball tournament you’re invited to the dance and everyone is on an even footing. So let’s dance ?

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………..

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David Bowie …………“Let’s Dance”

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Russian  actress  &  model   Anya Monzikova  .   Who   wouldn't   want  some  of Monzikova    alongside  some  fresh  Beluga   caviar  ?
Russian actress & model Anya Monzikova . Who wouldn't want some of Monzikova alongside some fresh Beluga caviar ?

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English glamor model Lucy Pinder . Do you like ? In order to enjoy the gallery up close and personal just click on the pictures individually.

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Not Quite The Silly Season In Sports But It’s Still Early Days As Of Yet ……………..

We all know how that at the end of the regular season on the PGA Tour , the sport has its anomaly of post-season events . Wherein, the players can supplement their on Tour earnings with even more astronomical sums in terms of unofficial prize money. Never mind the fact that Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem has extended the calendar on The Tour , whereby a number of events were move beyond the end of the official regular season but the winnings attained there wouldn’t count on a player’s official prize money earnings. This part of the season is known as the ‘silly season’ . The same is true of for all of the four major sports.

Not Quite The Silly Season In Sports But It’s Still Early Days As Of Yet ……………..

We all know how that at the end of the regular season on the PGA Tour , the sport has its anomaly of post-season events . Wherein, the players can supplement their on Tour earnings with even more astronomical sums in terms of unofficial prize money. Never mind the fact that Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem has extended the calendar on The Tour , whereby a number of events were move beyond the end of the official regular season but the winnings attained there wouldn’t count on a player’s official prize money earnings. This part of the season is known as the ‘silly season’ . The same is true of for all of the four major sports.

Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig’s steroids proposal, made to the union last month, calls for a 50-game ban for first offenders, a 100-game penalty for second offenders and a lifetime ban for a third positive test.
Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig’s steroids proposal, made to the union last month, calls for a 50-game ban for first offenders, a 100-game penalty for second offenders and a lifetime ban for a third positive test. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press / Adam Roundtree .......

Well low and behold , despite the pontificating by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig , his asinine and inane attempts to suggest that there were no tried , tested and reliable methods in testing for HGH (human growth hormone) . Somehow , it has come about whereby there is irrefutable evidence that there is a test that is 100 % full-proof. So much for the blithering idiot and the MLB hierarchy that had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the twenty first century when it came to adopting an internationally recognized drug testing policy. Is the hierarchy of major league baseball that archaic ? Or is it being ran by a bunch of simpletons ?

Courtesy of The New York Daily News

British professional rugby player Terry Newton tests positive for HGH as MLB on deck for testing

By Michael O’Keeffe and Christian Red , Daily News Sports Writers

The argument by Major League Baseball that no reliable test for human growth hormone exists took a major hit Monday.

Both the United Kingdom Anti-Doping agency (UKAD) and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) trumpeted the positive HGH test of British professional rugby player Terry Newton as “proof positive” that the drug can be detected in blood tests. Newton, who was tested in November, did not contest the result and yesterday was banned from the sport for two years by UKAD. Newton’s rugby club, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, also canceled his contract. Newton is believed to be the first case of a professional athlete testing positive for HGH using a blood sample.

Baseball has banned growth hormone since 2005, but there is still no HGH testing. Travis Tygart, USADA’s chief executive, Monday blasted baseball’s argument that an effective HGH test is unavailable.

“All of us who have helped develop a test wouldn’t put it in place if it wasn’t forensically sound and reliable.” Tygart told the Daily News. “Particularly in (Newton’s) case, it’s proof positive the test works.”

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With the ‘positive test’ of British rugby league player , Terry Newton , further proves how far and out of touch major league baseball really is with regard to the ongoing medical advances that there are in the meticulous testing of athletes for prohibitive substances. Not that it would really matter to baseball under Selig’s tenure as commissioner. He still believes to this day, that the sport has the most rigorous and meticulous testing policy in all of professional sports. As well as meting out the stiffest penalties available. If I hadn’t realize that he was being serious, I wouldn’t continue to ridicule this oaf ! His mendacity would suggest that he hasn’t the faintest idea as to what the hell he’s talking about. If anything , the ‘Mitchell Report’ and its finding further clarifies that ! God knows, the game itself , still has its problems but Selig’s handling of the issue and the undue intransigence of the MLBPA (union) has only further exacerbated and compounded an already grave situation.

Well what do you know ? A number of teams around the NFL have begun to either place the ‘franchise tag’ on their unrestricted free agents or in some cases, they’ve actually ‘cut’ players whom they feel are no longer of much use to their organizations. It’s business and the ‘nature of the beast’. Nothing in the game of football is guaranteed , other than a signing bonus and the ancillary incentives reached by a player once they attain those objectives. Could some please remind Jeff Garcia why it was that he and former Buccaneers’ coach Jon Gruden had a parting of the ways ? Honesty seems to be something that Gruden was short on , during his professional career as an NFL coach. But that asides , he got the job done.

Carolina Panthers' Julius Peppers saluting fans as he walks off the field after the Panthers' <strong> 23-10 </strong>win over the New Orleans Saints in an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C. The Panthers have decided the price is too steep to keep their all-time sacks leader. It means five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers is about to become one of the top prizes in free agency.  Agent Carl Carey says the Panthers have told him they won't place the restrictive franchise tag on Peppers for a second consecutive year at a cost of more than $20 million.  The move Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010,  comes two days before the tag deadline.  photo appears courtesy  of Associated  Press/ Rick Havner  ......
Carolina Panthers' Julius Peppers saluting fans as he walks off the field after the Panthers' 23-10 win over the New Orleans Saints in an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C. The Panthers have decided the price is too steep to keep their all-time sacks leader. It means five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers is about to become one of the top prizes in free agency. Agent Carl Carey says the Panthers have told him they won't place the restrictive franchise tag on Peppers for a second consecutive year at a cost of more than $20 million. The move Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010, comes two days before the tag deadline. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Rick Havner ......

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

Eagles release RB Westbrook after 8 seasons

By Dan Gelston , AP Sports Writer

Philadelphia (AP)—Brian Westbrook(notes) could break open a game from almost anywhere on the field.

Lined up in the slot, he could run a slant, beat a linebacker and take off with no one able to catch No. 36. His defining moment with the Philadelphia Eagles came on an 84-yard punt return that stunned the New York Giants in 2003.

Out of the backfield, he was a 1,000-yard rusher who always kept defenses guessing—and flailing.

But in his later years, it was injuries that defined Westbrook more than his dynamic offensive skills. His age, salary and lengthy list of beaten body parts led the Eagles to release him Tuesday and save the team $7.5 million due next year.

“I think we all know that Brian is one of the all-time great Philadelphia Eagles,” coach Andy Reid said. “For what we’ve done here over the years, Brian has been just a huge part of building this program to the level that we’re at now. My heart will always be a Brian Westbrook fan as we go forward here.”

A former All-Pro, the 5-foot-10 Westbrook led the league in yards from scrimmage in 2007 with 2,104. He rushed for 1,333 yards and accounted 12 touchdowns that season.

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Chargers’ GM A. J. Smith made the decision to cut their Pro Bowl running back, LaDainian Tomlinson . The same maneuver has since been followed with Philadelphia Eagles’ running back Brian Westbrook being cut by the team’s GM Joe Banner. Do you seen an emerging pattern here ? Once you’re deemed ‘over the hill’, then that’s it ……’you’re out’.

It’s been often said , that once the San Francisco 49ers saw fit to release their ‘storied quarterback’, Joe Montana , the ‘game’ had essentially ‘lost its soul’. Whether or not that it is indeed true, I’ll leave that up to you, to decide ! And though it’s no longer all that disturbing , there’s still something of a tinge of sadness when this all happens to a much beloved and well respected player.

The NFC South’s Carolina Panthers now face a daunting task , as to whether or not it is still prudent to re-sign Julius Peppers. The Pro Bowl defensive end , last season was a franchise tagged player, who was the league’s highest paid player with a salary of $16.9 million for 2009. Coach Jon Fox would no doubt like to retain the player but at what cost to their bottom line ? Never mind the fact that the needs on this Panthers’ roster goes way beyond trying to persuade Peppers to remain with the team but at a lower salary. Somehow , neither Peppers or his agent are liable to acquiesce and listen to such a request from the Panthers' front office and their general manager , Marty Hurney . There’ll no doubt be a number of teams that are liable to show an interest in the player and who will be quite prepared to meet or surpass his asking price.

Courtesy of NFL.com

Sweet home Chicago for Peppers, Kampman? DEs coveted by Bears

By Jason La Canafora of NFL.com

The Chicago Bears are gearing up for a major run at Julius Peppers, a league source said Tuesday, and Aaron Kampman also is an option for a team that’s intent on landing a pass-rushing defensive end this offseason.

Peppers, who will not receive the Carolina Panthers’ franchise tag, is the Bears’ prime target. However, Peppers will not come cheap — he was seeking around $40 million guaranteed from the Panthers. The Bears traditionally are a frugal team, but in this limited free-agent market, they are prepared to jump into the sweepstakes for Peppers, who had 81 sacks in eight seasons with the Panthers.

Kampman, who struggled to switch from end to linebacker in the Green Bay Packers’ new 3-4 defense, also is someone the Bears are high on, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. The Bears know Kampman well from their intense NFC North rivalry games against the Packers.

Chicago’s defense ranked 17th in the NFL last season, and coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jerry Angelo need improvement to ease questions about their job security. After mulling whether or not to part with higher-priced defensive veterans such as linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs and tackle Tommie Harris, Bears management has decided to keep that core together and try to add playmakers through free agency.

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Well a number of my blogging buddies , namely, chappy 81 and sportschump , have been telling me, ne’ persuading me , that the likes of the Dallas Mavericks and Orlando Magic are still legitimate contenders for the NBA title. The veracity of a case can still be made for the Magic , as they’re still the reigning Eastern Conference champions within the NBA. With regard to the Mavericks and their stellar play this season under the guidance of coach, Rick Carlisle . For chappy , I mention these words ‘…..does the meaning swoon in June resonate with you at all ? Because for all sense and purpose that is it what we’ve become use to seeing from the Mavericks over the past few seasons. This team led by Dirk Nowitzki is very, very good, during the regular season . But far too often , once the postseason season comes around they become something of a tease. They’ll lure you in with the belief that this is to be their year , whereby they will fully acquit themselves. But it as I’ve suggested all too often , comes that swoon. And then that obligatory tailspin comes into being. Being a passenger on the Titanic might prove to be much more fortuitous than being a fan of the Mavericks.

Mike Dunleavy (#17) of the Indiana Pacers goes up for the lay up against Brendan Haywood (#33) of the Dallas Mavericks during a game at the American Airlines Center on February 22, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. photo  appears  courtesy  of  NBAE/ Getty  Images/  Glenn  James  ...................
Mike Dunleavy (#17) of the Indiana Pacers goes up for the lay up against Brendan Haywood (#33) of the Dallas Mavericks during a game at the American Airlines Center on February 22, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/ Getty Images/ Glenn James ...................

And needless to say, the acquisitions of both Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood does make them better. But are they as good as their erstwhile rivals in the Western Conference in the guise of the Los Angeles Lakers or Denver Nuggets ? State the case , wherein the Mavericks are as good as either team ? Because nothing they’ve done thus far in the season that bears this out. One can surmise that Mavericks’ GM Donnie Walsh sought to bolster the roster in order to make it more resilient with the additions of both Butler and Haywood. But neither player can be considered clutch performers when it matters most and yet there those who trying to tell me that Haywood can be that and a great deal more ? If he wasn’t that much of presence with the Wizards to begin with . Then why all of a sudden will things suddenly take a turn for the better from his standpoint ? He’s a serviceable player , if that’s what the Mavericks are in fact looking for. And the case for Butler that can be made , is that on certain nights he’ll be able to make a contribution for the team. So lets not pretend that overnight , the Mavericks are about to set the NBA world alight and make Mark Cuban a very happy man. You’d better off making the case that Sarah Palin would be a wiser choice as the Republican nominee for President of the United States. And even though that scenario can’t be anymore less stupid than the one being placed that the Mavericks will be able to challenge usurp the supremacy of both the Lakers and Nuggets. But alas, this is now the world that we live in , where anything can be said without much logic being stated as the basis for an argument.

College Football is replete with good and bad coaches. As a matter of fact that broad based statement runs the gamut of collegiate athletics. The troubling fact now within the game is that there are a number of coaches who choose to eschew the rules, in order to seek an advantage for their program. And little do they care as to the consequences of their actions. That has to be the case for both programs of the USC Trojans and the University of Michigan (Wolverines). Both programs are under new head coaches but in the case of all three current and past coaches there’s a case to be made where each has violated the rules of the NCAA . Pete Carroll and now current coach Lane Kiffin has essentially carried on where his predecessor left off , with the Trojans’ program. The athletics’ program at USC has become so ‘tainted’ that it’s hard to make a case why it shouldn’t be suspended altogether, for a period of not less than year to act as a deterrent to others . Both the men’s football and basketball programs have been complicit in some serious transgressions violations of NCAA rules. And one wonders why it has taken so long even with the ongoing investigations that’ve been conducted by the NCAA. But here’s the kicker to it all, the football program is not only a ‘cash cow’ for the NCAA but also for the BCS system. And one wouldn’t want to be seen as biting the hand that feeds it now, would one ?

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman, left, and head football coach <strong>Rich Rodriguez</strong>, right, are shown at a news conference in Ann Arbor, Mich., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010. The NCAA has found that Michigan's storied football program was out of compliance with practice time rules under coach Rodriguez. Incoming athletic director David Brandon disclosed the finding Tuesday. He says there were no surprises in the NCAA findings. He also says Rodriguez remains the coach. Michigan has 90 days to respond and will appear at an NCAA hearing on infractions in August. photo appears courtesy of  Associated Press/ Paul Sancya  ......
University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman, left, and head football coach Rich Rodriguez, right, are shown at a news conference in Ann Arbor, Mich., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010. The NCAA has found that Michigan's storied football program was out of compliance with practice time rules under coach Rodriguez. Incoming athletic director David Brandon disclosed the finding Tuesday. He says there were no surprises in the NCAA findings. He also says Rodriguez remains the coach. Michigan has 90 days to respond and will appear at an NCAA hearing on infractions in August. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Paul Sancya ......

In the case of the Wolverines and their coach, Rich Rodriguez . He has knowingly flouted the rules concerning the amount of time allowable for his players in terms of their preparational training for a game, contravening the strict rules that all programs have to abide by. Rodriguez categorically denies any wrongdoing on his part , even with the statements from current and past players of the football program detailing otherwise. The situation has become so ridiculous, that both the AD David Brandon and University President Mary Sue Coleman have come out in full support of the beleaguered and embattled coach. And one would’ve thought that in both cases the AD’s of both establishments would be looking to enforce the rules and make a formal statement giving the NCAA assurances that they not condone such actions. But in the case of both Brandon and his counterpart Mike Garrett at USC , this most definitely has not been the case !

Los Angeles -January 13th 2010. New head coach of the USC Trojans Lane Kiffin shakes a hand as he makes his way to his press conference at Heritage Hall  in Los Angeles, California.  photo appears  courtesy of  Getty Images/  Harry How .................
Los Angeles -January 13th 2010. New head coach of the USC Trojans Lane Kiffin shakes a hand as he makes his way to his press conference at Heritage Hall in Los Angeles, California. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Harry How .................

Now there’s no chance of either program coming forward and admitting any impropriety on their part. But consider this , when it was first announced that an investigation was about to get underway into the USC athletics’ program. The school’s AD approached the NCAA about imposing their own sanctions on both the basketball and football programs. And we now wonder why Pete Carroll fled USC under the subterfuge that he sought a new challenge in the NFL ranks , to be a coach with the Seattle Seahawks ? For those in the know , wouldn’t that be considered a step down for Pete Carroll ? LOL,LOL, LOL !!! In large part most people view the Trojans’ program as LA’s only true professional football franchise ? And that’s with all due respect to California Redwoods of the UFL (United Football League). Who see themselves as the transitional answer to Los Angeles’ need for a professional football franchise. Redwoods’ owner Paul Pelosi , husband of House Majority Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca), has all but stated that as a fact. As he ultimately foresees the franchise as the ultimate answer for the city’s quest and yearning for a professional football franchise. Whether not that as well as the UFL comes to full fruition remains to be seen. Albeit, that the Redwoods are based in San Jose, some three hundred miles away from the city of Los Angeles. Nothing like ambition to spread bold , asinine statements and ideas to begin with ! Could it be, that both Pelosi’s are intent on ruling their domains, as they view it from the lofty perches of their ivory towers ? Needless to say there’s some love and hatred there for both.

Duke's Jon Scheyer collides with Virginia Tech's Malcolm Delaney, left, during the first half. Scheyer scored 25 points and collected 10 rebounds in the win.
Duke's Jon Scheyer collides with Virginia Tech's Malcolm Delaney, left, during the first half. Scheyer scored 25 points and collected 10 rebounds in the win. The Blue Devils defeated Virginia Tech (Hokies) 67-55 in the game . photo appears courtesy of Associated Press / Sara Davis .................

Would it be remiss for me to suggest that the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) of men’s basketball ‘stinks to high heaven’ ? Now don’t get me wrong there are still some marginal teams but what the hell has gone wrong there ? Other than Duke , there isn’t another team from the conference in the ‘top 25’ of the national rankings . And even with the Blue Devils ranked at number 5 in the rankings, Mike Krzyzewski’s team hasn’t been exactly setting the world on fire with their play. But one could surmise that they’re waiting to shine in the NCAA national championships ? Roll on ‘March Madness’ , as that’s when the ‘men will be separated from the boys’ .

This’ll be the one time of the year that I’d have to be dragged kicking and screaming away from in-front of the television set when the NCAA men’s national championships are on. To my mind it’s the best of the collegiate championships that takes place during the course of the sporting calendar. And in terms of sheer excitement , it ranks up there alongside the Superbowl , itself ! And the real thrilling part of it all , other than showing support for one’s team. It will be to see the future prospective stars of the NBA. And those may well be the names such of such current stars , as John Wall and his Wildcats’ teammate DeMarcus Cousins . Others who also come to mind are Sherron Collins of the Kansas Jayhawks, Ricky Jackson of the Syracuse Orangemen and a slew other players , far too numerous to mention. But over the course of the NCAA tournament , I guarantee that you’ll get to know who those players are. And you’ll definitely be showing your support for them , if not their teams.

Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts speaks to the media Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010 at the Chicago Cubs spring training facility in Mesa, Ariz. photo appears  Assoc. Press/ Matt  York  ....
Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts speaks to the media Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010 at the Chicago Cubs spring training facility in Mesa, Ariz. photo appears Assoc. Press/ Matt York ....

A century plus of continued futility and there’s now said to be a breath of fresh air in the environment, as the new Chicago Cubs’, owner, billionaire, Tom Ricketts , addresses the team as well as the rest of the organization . How much this will resonate with the Cubs’ long suffering fans and those devoted faithful who throng to Wrigley Field religiously to watch the team play, remains to be seen. But rest assured Ricketts’ anecdotes about his fond memories of the Cubs and some of their former halcyon days can only provide a respite for what we may well envisage once again this season.

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

New Cubs owner Ricketts addresses team

By Rick Gano , AP Sports Writer

Mesa, Ariz. (AP)—Tom Ricketts once sat in the bleachers at Wrigley Field, cheering for the Chicago Cubs. On Tuesday, with the players gathered around him in the spring training weight room, he addressed the team that his family now owns.

His message was simple: He and his family will be around and do everything possible to help the Cubs win.

“If there is anything we can do better, let us know,” Ricketts said he told the players.

For his part, Ricketts is already taking steps.

There are new upgrades at Wrigley Field, including an improved clubhouse and weight rooms, a new players’ lounge, a new club in the outfield and better restrooms for fans. The Ricketts also raised ticket prices on some seats at the storied stadium.

“Obviously Wrigley needs a lot of love and a lot of help over the next few years,” Ricketts said. “That will be very challenging. Other than that, we feel the pressure to produce on some winning teams and that will be something that is always with us.”

The Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908.

Ricketts said if the Cubs are in contention around the trade deadline, it’s possible they would spend the money to bring in a player needed to make a playoff push.

Manager Lou Piniella sounded confident that would happen.

“The fact they are going to involved and visible and the fact they want to win and are very competitive, and I’m sure if we get in position during the course of the summer and we need something, there’s a darn good chance they’ll step forward,” Piniella said.

“The Ricketts are going to be good for Chicago and for the Chicago Cubs,” added Piniella, who is in the last year of his contract. “This is not just a one-year or two-year thing. They want to keep this team in their family for a long, long time.”

The $845 million sale of the Cubs, Wrigley Field and other assets from the Tribune Co. to the family of billionaire Joe Ricketts was completed in October, more than 2 1/2 years after the baseball franchise went on the market.

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Click on link to read article in its entirety
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Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella, right, along with coaches Matt Sinatro, middle, and Lester Strode watch pitchers warm up during spring training baseball camp practice Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010, in Mesa, Ariz. photo appears courtesy  of  Assoc. Press/  Ross D. Franklin  ...........
Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella, right, along with coaches Matt Sinatro, middle, and Lester Strode watch pitchers warm up during spring training baseball camp practice Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010, in Mesa, Ariz. photo appears courtesy of Assoc. Press/ Ross D. Franklin ...........

If it wasn’t enough that the Lou Piniella coached Cubs has to contend with the St Louis Cardinals , Milwaukee Brewers , Houston Astros , Cincinnati Reds and less we forget the woefully inept Pittsburgh Pirates >. The NL Central alongside the NL East might just be the two most competitive divisions in the National League. But it’d be enough to suggest that Ricketts is now of the belief that the beleaguered organization is about to turn the corner as its impending fortunes are about to change. Haven’t we all seen this before ? A new owner rides in on his white steed in the hope of regaling the fans and the community at large with the view that they can contend and bring a championship to the city. If only that were the case with the Chicago Cubs . They’ve become more of a tease than a voluptuous scantly clad blond female at a party. She and you both are there but with one thing on both of your mind. But in the end, you’re the one who ends up being disappointed.
It just turns out the blond in question is literally that, nothing more than a damn tease . As are the Chicago Cubs, year in and year out ! Can someone now please slaughter that damn goat and put the Cubs and their long suffering fans out of their misery ? And while you’re at it , call Steve Bartman and tell him , he’s still ‘persona-non-grata’ in the city of Chicago ?

The now infamous ‘Bartman Incident ‘ that happened at Wrigley Field during the NLCS game between the Cubs and Marlins. And the rest say they say ‘……… is history’.

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Bartman had to be escorted out of Wrigley Field , as the Cubs’ hierarchy at the time feared for his safety. On the night was there a more despised person in the city of Chicago ? Or perhaps the state of Illinois ?

The ‘silly season’ in sports will soon be upon us and we’re liable to laugh as much as get upset for one reason or another, as to the stories start to unfold. Personally, I’d rather just laugh my way throughout the season , rather than letting my emotions get the better of me because of another stupid episode during the sporting calendar year. What are your thoughts on the whole thing ?


Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………..

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From the land of my parental birth, Jamaica. Here’s Buju Banton with ‘Champion’ .

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Canadian adult burlesque performer Bianca Beauchamp . Here she is in her wondrous form and self. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the subject and content matter ? To view each picture within the gallery in full, just click unto the individual picture in question.

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