Extreme Fans

The fans of the University of Kentucky Wildcats are the some of the worst attitude fans in basketball! There are many teams that are known for having a bad attitude and for being disorderly and disruptive in the sport of basketball, i.e. Philadelphia fans, but most fans leave this attitude at the arena and they are decent people out in public. This is not true of the majority of Kentucky Wildcats fans that I have had the displeasure of being around. I got to experience this  bad attitude was in extreme excess Friday night when I unfortunately, had to watch the IU vs. UK game in the state of Kentucky. As you probably already know IU lost to UK 102-90 in a close game until the end and, while I was disappointed the IU lost, I realize that UK has a good team and they are tough to beat. But what I was not expecting from my experience that other night was to be harassed endlessly because the team I was cheering for lost. It is one thing to celebrate, but when someone is so ignorant that they think the team that they are cheering for can never possibly lose no matter the circumstance then I think that they are carrying it too far. All I am saying is try to have a little dignity about you and treat other fans like human beings. There is a code of conduct that every sports fan should live by and UK fans do not seem to understand that. We all need to remember that it is just a game.

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Rick Pitino is an Elite Coach

On Saturday, the mentor took down the disciple, again.

Rick Pitino is now 7-0 in his career against the man who was known as “Billy the Kid” at Providence College where he led the Friars to the 1987 Final Four. It was that year when Coach Pitino earned his first final four appearance.

After beating Donovan and his Gators on Saturday, Coach Pitino earned his sixth final four appearance. He is also 10-0 in Sweet 1t games. Rick Pitino was the first coach in NCAA history to take three different schools to the final four (Providence, Kentucky, Lousiville). John Calipari has also taken three different teams to the final four (Umass, Memphis, Kentucky). Rick Pitino is also only the second coach ever to take a team to the final four in four different decades (1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s).

In NCAA basketball the head coaches are the faces of the programs, yet Rick Pitino never seemed to get the respected he deserves amongst the elite coaches in the country. I’m hoping Pitino will start getting the credit he deserves because this most recent run to the final four might be his most impressive showing yet.

Coach Pitino has always been known for having teams with a high octane offense, running a lot of fast breaks and shooting a lot of three pointers. This year, Coach Pitino just didnt have the personnel to run that offense successfully. The Cardinals ranked 155th in the country in ppg (68.8), 225th in FG% (.425), 93rd in assists/game (13.8) and 200th in 3pFG% (25.6). This was one of the worst offensive teams Coach Pitino has ever coached, yet they’re one of the final four teams standing.

There’s a reasons for that, Coach Pitino is one of the best there is at making in-game adjustments. For most of the year the Cardinals played a matchup zone defense but the Gators sharp three point shooting shredding the zone for most of the game. Coach Pitino switched to a high pressure man-to-man defense that was sparked the Cardinals 18-4 run to end the game, and lead Lousiville to the final four.

Next up for the Cardinals will probably be Kentucky. As i’m writing this Kentucky is leading Baylor 58-43 with 10:27 left. Kentucky is one of the most talented teams I’ve seen in years. But i know one thing, i wouldn’t bet against Coach Pitino. The man finds a way to win.

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Indiana vs. Kentucky Recap

The anticipation was more than palpable in the week leading up to this rematch between a powerhouse Kentucky Wildcats team and an Indiana team on the rise. Indiana, who took down three teams in the top five this year, shook the Earth with this Cinderella season giving them a tangible opportunity to take down the unanimous number one ranked team in the nation yet again.

There is much for a Hoosier native to dwell on from the first meeting on December 10th. Perhaps the most influential event on the outcome of the game was Kentucky’s star freshman Anthony Davis getting into early foul trouble sitting out much of the first half. This and the fact that the contest was held in one of the loudest environments and toughest places to play in the country this season. The Hoosiers rode the 3-ball hitting 9 in the game and outperformed Kentucky on the charity stripe to sneak by the No. 1 team. The difference in free throws was only 4, but considering the end result it is clear that IU needed each and every one of them.

The tables more than turned in Kentucky’s favor in Friday’s game. It was eerily similar to the teams’ first match-up, only in opposite fashion. For example, not only did Kentucky outperform IU at the line, they decimated it. Their 35 free points almost doubled Indiana’s 17 attempts. This factor along with IU’s struggle to get hot behind the arc drastically reduced the chances of the Hoosiers to emerge victorious. Coming into the game, IU was vastly undermanned in terms of depth especially after the tragic end to senior leader Verdell Jones III’s career at Indiana. Kentucky had no problems exploiting this fact and responded via senior 6th man’s 19 of UK’s 22 bench points in the game. Although Indiana relies heavily on the efforts of Matt Roth and his sharpshooting ability, Roth was unable to find quality looks and made no shots for Indiana. The energy was there for both teams and Indiana has nothing to be ashamed of putting up a hefty 90 points against Kentucky, certainly the most from any team this year. The Wildcats only supported everybody’s perception of them as the clear cut number one in the land in this electrically exciting game.

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This Years Madness….Not That Mad

In recent years past, the general public were tearing up their brackets, creating new ones and looking up to the heavens wondering how in the world George Mason beat UCONN. Yet, in 2012 things have changed. The man who picks too many upsets will find himself at the bottom of his pool this year. This years elite eight has had a borderline predictable group with most of the fans predicting at least 5 of the 8 teams correct this year.

Besides Michigan St. who was the weakest #1 seed, all the others managed to make the elite 8. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to automatically move the best 4 teams into the final 8. If you had Duke in your Elite 8 than you clearly didn’t watch any college basketball this year. The young squad limped into March Madness after a loss to Florida State and an athletic Baylor team would have mopped the floor with Duke.

The real surprise comes from Florida who made the elite 8. I thought Missouri was a strong and well coached team this year and would have been too much for Florida to handle. Yet, Florida lucked out with the early exit from Missouri which can easily be considered the biggest upset of the whole tournament. Yet, after the first round, things took shape as normal and many “busted brackets” were in fact in great shape. Georgetown went down as expected to North Carolina State. UNC and Kansas both the 1 and 2 seeds will square off later this afternoon at a shot at the final four.

Kentucky is currently slaughtering Baylor and appeared to have punched its obvious and predictable final four ticket. If this year you wanted to be that guy who picked all the upsets shame on you because this years madness truly wasn’t that mad. Most likely the two strongest 1 seeds, the strongest two seed and a hot four seed will be the last four teams this season.

Can Anyone Stop the Unibrow Monster


Although, I didn’t predict these four, It’s definitely a much safer final four then the likes of Butler, VCU and even the cinderella George Mason Squad.

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Potential Final Four Matchup

With Louisville beating Florida yesterday, the Cardinals are looking at the Kentucky and Baylor match up today to see who they will play in New Orleans.  A potential Louisville and Kentucky match up has excited me because rivalry games, in the NCAA Tournament, let alone the final four are great games to watch.

In four tournament match ups the teams are tied at two games a piece.  When the two last met on New Years Eve, the Wildcats won 69-62 in Lexington, KY.  With Louisville playing so well at the end of the season, it can make for a great final four game.  The rivalry, the passion, and will to win in these teams and their coaches is on another level compared to a number of other programs.  A Kentucky showdown for a spot in the Championship game could bring fireworks to New Orleans.

Kentucky leads the series 29-14 and many more impressive wins over Louisville during the years, but this year could be different.  Louisville has heard about the Wildcats all season and you can believe that if this game is actually played that the Cardinals will be ready.

College basketball can be very unpredictable.  As a matter of fact, I would to see a bracket that took Louiville alone to the final four, but that is what momentum is all about.  The Cardinals have not lost since early March and finding out how to win at the right time is very important in this sport.  Remember just last year, UCONN looked as if they were going no where, but never lost a game after the BIG East Tournament got started.  Pitino and the Cardinals could destroy the Wildcats season, who many believe that if they don’t win it all than this year was a disappointment.  Be on the lookout for mayhem in Kentucky!

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Has the NBA become a flop?

As I was watching the Celtics-Knicks game today I realized how prevalent one of my biggest pet peeves has become in the NBA lately. What I am talking about is a problem that I see is in almost every whiny NBA player out there and that is what is known as “playing the refs”. This is when a player deliberately tries to get calls from a referee by exaggerating a foul also known as “flopping”.

In case you don’t get what flopping is here is a good definition:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flop_(basketball)

I am a sports purist and as such I believe that the number one reason that anyone should play basketball is for the love of the game. The problem with sports in general, and more specifically basketball, is that it gotten away from its true form which is what you see in pick-up games all over the world. You will never see this kind of pathetic behavior on a pick-up ball court, because if it happens the perpetrator would be thrown off the court if not laughed off. This is because flopping is deplorable and unsportsmanlike conduct.

See for yourself:  

One reason I think this is such a big problem for televised professional basketball games is that it hurts entertainment value of the broadcast. Also this goes a long way to destroying the credibility of the players and the league, in other words it makes it all look staged or fake because everyone can see that it is overacting. It causes the audience to lose faith in the players, the referees, and the professional game in general, this is especially true if you have ever played the game for yourself. I have been playing basketball for many years, I have been hit so hard before that the skin under my eye splint and I had to have 13 stitches. Another time I was hit so hard that I tore the quad muscle in my right leg and have to have rehab and it was weeks before I could walk again. Through all of this I have NEVER acted the way that these over-paid Prima Donnas do when they get fouled.

One of the worst things about this problem is that the negative effect of this flopping has trickled down to high school level. The effect on entertainment value is small in the comparison to the influence that this has on kids. When kids watch these NBA players do this they think that flopping is the way to act, and there is going to be a whole generation that grows up to be a bunch of poor sports that overreact and flop for no good reason. I am not just ranting without proof, as you can see this kid pull a NBA style flop here:

Also I don’t think that anyone should rant and rave about a problem without offering a solution so this is what I think would fix the problem. Change the rules in the NBA to match that of International Basketball Federation (FIBA). The penalty for “flopping” under FIBA rules is a technical foul. (FIBA rules state that would count as one of a player’s five fouls (6 in a 48-minute game in some countries) towards being taken out of the game. In the NBA technical fouls for unsportsmanlike conduct count as one towards the two to ejection or seven to suspension. So the threat of this penalty would be enough to cure NBA players of their flopping.

Overall I think that basketball is an amazing sport and that the problems it has can be corrected with just a simple rule change. We as fans just have to focus on the positive and hope that the league takes the necessary steps to become what the sport was meant to be. The one quote that I think sums this up is by Dan Frisby and he said Basketball is like photography, if you don’t focus, all you have is the negative.”

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The 2012 New York Mets

This year the New York Mets will look a little bit different. After cutting a record 52 million dollars out of their payroll, the Metropolitans will be a totally different team on the field. With the loss of Reyes, David Wright’s contract in question, the Mets are going for a new approach to make the playoffs and the teams seems to be just fine with it.

After losing millions of dollars in Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme, Mets Owner Fred Wilpon is still extremely optimistic about the 2012 season. He still has full confidence in the lineup he’s putting on the field.

Mets Owner Fred Wilpon has no intentions of giving up this season

That lineup includes inexperienced Josh Thole, unproven Ruben Tejada, underperforming Jason Bay and even the unknown Lucas Duda. This Mets team will be full of unknowns and  the basement of the NL East looks to be the future for this squad. Who knows if Johan Santana will be able to bounce back from injury after injury and Mike Pelfrey isn’t turning into the pitcher that he was scouted to be.

Mets owner Fred Wilpon is officially “tired of throwing money at the problem”. This year they’ve look towards a brand new solution to solve their problems. They’ll play small ball and strengthen the bullpen to get wins. It isn’t about all-stars and long term contracts anymore. This will be a new look Mets, but will it work?

Mets fans are skeptical about the team they’re putting out on the field on opening day, but ownership has stated that there’s nothing to worry about it. With a record setting payroll reduction and a loss of their all-star Jose Reyes to the rival Marlins, the Mets good be walking in the wrong direction and headed to a long long season.

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