Archive for the ‘Basketball’ Category

O.J. Got Paid? Naw!

May 13, 2009

benbenChalk this up, alongside the Manny-busted-for-steroids debacle, for this week’s biggest surprise in sports.  Reports are out that a “confidant” of Mayo’s was given “a grand” by USC coach Tim Floyd to get Mayo to attend USC.  There’s already been a lot of talk about Mayo’s crew receiving large sums of cash from BDA sports firm during his pre-NBA years and now this?  Well color me surprised.

I have to take issue with a few things in this story up front.  First off, the payment was “a grand.”  Let’s look at this situation.  If USC wanted SmoothRon to come teach classes on how to Superman Ho’s an envelope with 10 Benjies wouldn’t do the trick.  And let’s be real honest, Smooth can Superman with the best of them.  He was actually a back up dancer in that video (2 years ago?).  All joking aside, if I’m getting paid to get my one-and-done buddy to come to your school we’re talking 5 figures friend.  I told Coach Cal it’d be at least that to get my boy Wall to UK but he’s playing things close to the vest right now.  Just waiting to hear back from Haith now…

Second on my list of red flags in this story is that Floyd himself made the payoff.  Now I’ve never met Tim Floyd.  His IQ may be on the level of Al Davis but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt here and say he’s a slightly intelligent man.  Given that, it’s hard to believe he would actually hand a man $1,000 in an envelope for “delivering Mayo” to him.  Unless USC runs a really weird system Floyd should have serveral assistant coaches and GA’s to handle shit like that.  I may be naive here but why would he take that chance?

Don’t get me wrong here.  There’s obviously been a lot of money thrown around in this whole business and there are a lot of questions about who got paid and where that dough came from.  But at this point are we to believe that a thousand bones really contributed to a kid of that talent level going to a sunny school in Southern California, where the ladies are reputed to be blonde and gorgeous, the weather is perfect, and you can hang with the stars every night?  I’m just not buying it, no matter how many scorned posse members want to come forward with their stories.

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Bruce Pearl engaged to Tennessee woman

May 4, 2009
Pearl and Miller (center) at the Knoxville Symphony league in June of last year. (knoxnews.com)

Pearl and Miller (center) at the Knoxville Symphony league in June of last year. (knoxnews.com)

The news today out of the Big Orange Caravan stop in Sevierville, TN is that UT’s BP is engaged to the local Brandy Miller.  Speaking on the news and last month’s speculation regarding the Memphis coaching vacancy, Pearl noted, “If you think I’m leaving that for Memphis, you’re crazy.” (emphasis assumed)

I found the photo above from June 2008 here.

You’ll all recall that after his 2007 divorce, his ex-wife Kim setup a beauty salon in Knoxville called Alimony’s (video here).  And business is good.

No word yet on whether Miss Miller will be opening a business called… yeah, I’m not gonna make that joke.  Best wishes to BP and Miller.  The sweetest setup in Knoxville just got a new resident and the quest for the Elite Eight can continue.

Photo knoxmag.com

Photo knoxmag.com

[Tennessean] [KnoxMag]

Thanks to Smooth for the heads up on the story.

FWP: I’ll Take A Crack At This

May 1, 2009

fwpFearless Weekend Predictions is a weekly column running on Friday afternoons where our resident soothsayer (or whoever we can get) locks down what will transpire in the coming 72 hours. It’s better to get these out before the 7-year is open.  The crystal ball gets cloudy.

Well it’s been about a month since the last FWP.  Keeneland has come and gone, baseball has started, and the Pudge Cup is off to a rousing start (unless you shot over 110 the first two weeks).  It’s about time we looked into the magic ball and gave you fine folks some visions.  Pudge will assist on this one.

hueThe Derby will come and go and no animals will be harmed during the filming. That’s right, no horses are going down this year.  With all the bad press following horse racing the last couple of years by the animal activist people expect trainers and event staff to play it safe this year.  No horses will be running with a bum leg and I don’t think the jockeys will push as hard.  Then again, who am I to predict that, it’s Derby time and all Hell is likely to break loose.  If you venture into that wretched mess this weekend enjoy the scenery and take your umbrella.

The A’s will be back near .500 at the end of the weekend. Hey, it’s just a hunch but I think they’ll take at least two from the Mariners on the road.  Dana Eveland will take his bearded self in tonight and throw a good game to start off the series.  After that, it’ll be a war but the division leading Mariners are due to flub one up.  Plus the A’s need some good news some time this week.

Ricky Hatton will own a small Phillipino in the ring. We don’t blog about boxing nearly as much as we wish we could on this site but this is the biggest fight of the year.  Pacquiao has been good in the past but he just doesn’t seem as hungry as he was in the past.  Hatton will throw with anyone and I’m predicting Hatton will lay the lumber on Mah-Mah-Manny on Saturday.

The Celtics will win game 7 in 4 overtimes at home. Are you serious with this series?  I stop by TGC’s last night after softball thinking I can watch 7 minutes of basketball and go home.  Wrong!  This series has seen about 93 overtimes in 6 games and game 7 shouldn’t disappoint.  Give me the Celtics in the Garden in a big game 7 any day.  That is unless Salmons goes off again.  In that case give me the Celts in 6 overtimes.

billyglastBilly Gillispie will hang around Lexington long after his time is over and still attempt to sleep with your girlfriend. Rumors of Billy sightings are almost more rampant than when he was initially hired around Lexington right now.  People see him at Two Keys for God’s sake!  Where next Billy?  Perhaps you’ll stop in at McArthy’s for a Guiness?  Maybe a little trip to the Tin Roof?  The man may be on stage at the Penguin this weekend, who knows?  All you do know is that Coach Cal better keep his daughter far away from this man.

That’s all this week folks.  SmoothRon is gearing up for Keeneland tomorrow for Derby, TGC is on the road to K-Town for a celebration, and 2SL is celebrating life as usual.  You should do the same and have a fantastic Derby weekend.

Afternoon Wake Up Call: Rain Out Edition

April 20, 2009

wakeupWhen you’re baseball team plays in a small market on the West Coast you get a little fired up to watch them in prime time, HD coverage on ESPN.  It was not to be tonight as the Yanks-A’s game was postponed.  Boo the rain people.  Boo it!  Okay, the sports world goes on so we’ll tone it down a bit.

The state of Kentucky continues to watch the basketball recruting process closer than people watched the birth of a baby panda on the interwebs.  John Wall is living it up.  One day he’s going to UK, now he’s talking to Billy D, and the NBA still beckons.  He might even end up in Europe.  All I know is that this guy knows how to market the John Wall brand.  I love it.  I’ve pretty much stopped keeping up with it from day-to-day because the information changes on a daily basis, but it will be fun to see where he ends up.  UK fans are also closely following the recruitment of the Henry brothers.  They’re almost as much as an enigma as everyone knows they’re down to KU and UK but that changes constantly.  Will they visit Lexington?  Who’s knows at this point, but they’ll eventually be somewhere and that will be another fun signing for one of those universities.

Baseball is being played in a few places and a few of the web site’s teams are still going strong.  The Tigers are still first in a close Central.  The Reds aren’t playing too bad.  The A’s are in a bit of a lull offensively but the bats will wake up.  Hopefully the pitching holds out.

Golf has slowed a bit after the Masters but the Pudge Cup kicks off this week.  We might drop an update for you from time to time and let you know who’s playing adequately.  Let’s be honest, none of the guys in this league are shooting 70’s, but it’ll be fun.

The NBA playoffs are in full swing.  The Mavs and Spurs are fighting it out again tonight and I expect TGC’s boys down in Dallas to get the better of their Texas breathren before it’s over.  Duncan is hobbling and Sir-Flops-A-Lot is out for the Spurs as well.  Not looking good to pick up #5 this year for my boys in Silver and Black.  I just hope Lebron gets it from Kobe in the Finals.  I haven’t liked that guy since he stole J.R. Rider’s dunk in the Slam Dunk Contest at All-Star weekend.  Yes, the alleged rape, his general attitude, and everything else that comes with disliking Kobe does not bother me as much as him stealing the East Bay Funk Dunk to win a dunk contest.  I’ve never pretended to be sane or fair folks.  It’s just the way I am.

Our favorite thing today will be Tiger Woods 2008 on the Playstation.  TGC is fervently trying to play his way up to face off against the virtual eDayStat.  Who needs to pay 60 bones for a new game when you can play last year’s golf game for next to nothing?  The only standing rule is no one plays with Vijay Singh.  It’s get ugly if I had to tackle someone in the middle of a round.  Have a few drinks, enjoy some playoff basketball, and if you can find some baseball on TV then bless you.  Enjoy the night folks.

Can This Actually Be Happening?

April 16, 2009
Brady...Harbaugh...Grbac...Henne...This Guy?

Brady...Harbaugh...Grbac...Henne...This Guy?

Irony hates me.  It absolutely wants to watch me squirm and burn in hell.  When all of you were ripping on Greg Paulus for the last four years while he flopped around Duke, I was trying to take the high road.  “He’s the type of guy you hate to watch play for someone else, but if he were on your team you would absolutely love him… He’s a coach’s dream.”  Yeah, whoops.  ESPN relays this quote,

“There has been an opportunity given there,” Paulus said Thursday morning on a conference call with reporters. “I thought it was a really good visit. It was really helpful to get to be on a campus and meet with coach [Rich] Rodriguez and see the system and understand what types of opportunities are out there.”

Now, as a Michigan Football fan, I am forced to come to grips with myself.  Can I actually root for this tiny bastard?  Hmm… do the numbers 3-9 mean anything to you?  Look, if the guy can win the Wolverines some more games, I could care less how many times he was getting dunked on in Cameron Indoor.  And as hard as it is to say, the guy is a hell of a leader.  He has played on some of the lesser Duke teams, but that’s still not an easy job to have.  Then, when forced into a backup role midway through this past season, he took his demotion gracefully.  So, I guess I’ll support the little guy.  What the hell else do Michigan fans have to lose?  10 games in a season?

[ESPN]

Afternoon Wake Up Call: Opening Day Edition

April 7, 2009

wakeupAll kinds of things are happening in the sports world friends.  Some good basketball was played last night, some basketball odds went up, and lots of baseball was played.  Let’s get with it.

The NCAA Men’s Championship Game last night was a joke.  I watched approximately 5 minutes of both the first and second half and neither small window of viewing could keep me from flipping the old LCD back over to Component 1 and getting my Tiger Woods 08 on.  There was only one exciting play in the entire duration of my viewing last night and that was when Raymar got smacked in his broken nose.  I literally cringed when that happened, watched the aftermath, and promptly flicked it back to the Playstation.

With the laugher of a title game a distant memory, everyone can now turn their attention to next year’s NCAA season.  I heard on the radio today that UNC and UK lead the early props betting lines in Vegas at 12:1 odss for making the Final Four.  No one else is even 20:1 right now.  That says a lot about Roy’s ability to keep UNC stocked (they could lose 5 guys to the NBA) and Coach Cal’s abilities to bring in talent and coach.  I doubt he can turn UK around that fast, but I do appreciate the thought.

Baseball started yesterday and APIAS went 2-2.  Our National League teams both won while the American League teams lost.  The Tigers fought off the Toronto crowd (damned near literally) en route to a loss.  Oakland’s new-look offense didn’t bother to leave Spring Training as the A’s were swept by the Angels.  The Mets won a close one and the Cubs started their march to the 2009 World Series Championship behind a 4-2 win over Houston.

The only game I caught much of was the A’s game.  It looked like the pitching emphasis from the spring as Dallas Braden hammered the strike zone early and often with a strike percentage around 70% and only one walk in Wuertz and Bailey both pitched perfect innings in relief but it wasn’t enough as the A’s were shut out.

That’ll wrap up Opening Day as frigid weather throughout the Midwest and East make talking about baseball almost strange.  It feels like NFL season in these parts.  Our favorite thing for today is pretty obvious: baseball Ray.  As TGC likes to say it is the perfect game.  You’re never out of the game until the final out is recorded and there’s nothing quite like a night or, even better, a day at the park.  We’ll definitely be covering a lot of bat and ball sports this summer so stick around for road trips, live blogs that spring from the nether regions of a back porch, and plenty of bitching and complaining depending on how long it takes the Tigs and A’s to win a game.  Until next time, stay warm and watch baseball.  It’ll only be here for another 7 months folks.

FWP: The enormously long trumpet thing edition

April 3, 2009

Fearless Weekend Predictions is a weekly column running on Friday afternoons where our resident soothsayer (or whoever we can get) locks down what will transpire in the coming 72 hours. It’s better to get these out before the 7-year is open.  The crystal ball gets cloudy.

That special time of the year is finally upon us.  It is opening day at Keeneland.  A week ago I promised you an in-depth preview from resident horse racing/tailgating guru Smoothron.  Of course, he’s already at the track this morning, and when I followed up via text message I received this in return: “It got deleted somehow.  I don’t have the heart/sobriety to start over.”

It was 10:32am.

Last call for bets!

Last call for bets!

For the rest of us trapped in offices and cubes today, we’ll be venturing out tomorrow, dressed to the nines, to experience the short dresses, magnificent beasts, overpriced Bud Light, warm cups of Burgoo, betting lines with TSH and Santa, and “Meet Me At The Clock.”

By the way, what is that really long trumpet thingy called anyway?

On to the predictions!

Keeneland will see its first TGC-Break-Even day since 2006.  For those of you unfamiliar, that means winning enough on the ponies to cover beer, burgoo, and lost wager costs.  It is a seldom accomplished feat, but not unprecedented.  I’m feeling good about it this year!

John Calipari will referee an intrasquad game. As many of you know, Kentucky hired Coach Cal away from Memphis this week, and as his first order of post-double-press conference action, he–of course–held practice.  According to sources inside my local thirst quenching establishment, he’s committed to having spots for any senior that wishes to return.  No, that does not include you Josh Harrellson.

Sorry Eday, Kotsay (s wife) is in Boston.

Sorry Eday, Kotsay ('s wife) is in Boston.

The Tigers, Mets, A’s, Cubs, and Reds will all win their Opening Day games.  Yes! You are God Damn Right.  Baseball season is here!  We made it!  The long boring month of February between Football and Baseball is over.  March Madness is wrapping up.  Clear out a spot for me on the patio!  It’s baseball time! 

Smooth will ask me if I put up a picture of a hot chick.  Yes.

Nate Robertson will run out of tissues.  The same Nate Robertson who tallied a 6.35 ERA (highest in the bigs for starters pitching over 162 innings) last year.  The same who gave up 5 runs in 3 innings last week.  The same who is making a guaranteed $17 million.  The same who lost his job as a starter (finally!) and is now crying that he needs to go somewhere else to be appreciated (I’m thinking Toledo).  Grow a sack Nate.  Or learn how to pitch.  Either way, STFU.

Well, it’s almost noon here on the East Coast.  The sun is starting to peek through the clouds.  The first post call (with the trumpet thing) is due in about an hour.  And I’m sure somewhere Smoothron is shuffling little squares of white paper in between brews and hourly shots of moonshine.

I’ll see you there tomorrow morning at 9am.

I can’t wait.

Think about it… it makes sense

April 2, 2009
Get used to this--and the gutter--vol fans

Get used to this--and the gutter--vol fans

Take a big step with me here.  Let’s make plenty of assumptions.  Let’s assume Bruce Pearl isn’t as loyal as he’d want the Big Orange to think and just evaluate the purported offer on the table.  Let’s assume he got his audience with Memphis higher-ups and the FedEx CEO.  Let’s assume somewhere in East Memphis is a nice country club.  You still with me?

WMC in Memphis is reporting U-Mem has offered BP a $21 Million dollar, 7-year deal. 

How could he not take it?

You get to take a step down in competition.  The SEC East sure as hell didn’t get any easier with the 2 highest-paid coaches in the game currently planning for the ’09-’10 tourney. 

Memphis just won about 145 straight conference games, en route to consecutive top 2 seeds (read, a much easier path to a Final Four).  And as my bud Smooth points out, Memphis is a basketball school.  While UT is toiling in the land of never-been-past-the-sweet-16, Memphis just played for a National Championship 2 seasons ago.

And that was far from their first taste of success.  The Tigers have banners for 3 Final Four appearances and 2 National Runners-up.

Hell, if not for having to live in or around Memphis, even I’d take that job, and I hate Tiger Blue.

So it’s settled then.  Pearl to Memphis.

Now who’s his replacement on Rocky Top?  Usually, I’d let 2SL take this one, but it’s my alma mater, and I want to take a first guess.  Follow me to freedom.

(more…)

UK Rolls Out Red Carpet, Welcomes Coach Cal

April 1, 2009
Wednesday Morning Press Conference (Lexington, KY)

Wednesday Morning Press Conference (Lexington, KY)

Afternoon Wake Up Call: It’s Almost Over

March 31, 2009

wakeupKentucky basketball has been everywhere recently.  From the WWL to UK message boards and fan sites, the Interwebs have been abuzz with UK’s men’s basketball coaching search.  It all kicked off Friday afternoon when Billy Gillispie was officially shown the door by UK.  Since then the server for about every UK blog, fan site, and even many actual news outlets have been shitting all over themselves.

The big question remains: who will replace Gillispie at the helm?  Most reports have John Calipari of New Jersey Nets fame.  In fact, the ever-reliable Wikipedia already has him as the head coach (as of the time of this post).  ESPN still has Coach Cal as undecided so we’ll go with that today.

One thing that is absolutely true is that Cats fans are salivating at the idea of having Calipari on the sidelines next year.  A potential first ten of Wall, Meeks, Miller, Orton, Patterson, Hood, Harris, Stevenson, Galloway, and Cousins would make any fan smile.  That appears to be a strong possibility if Lee Todd and Mitch Barnhardt do indeed tap Calipari for the head man job.

There’s not much to say about this that hasn’t been discussed but let’s think for a moment what would occur if Calipari does get the job.  First, the UK-UL rivalry would ratchet up another notch as the old Memphis-UL rivalry was pretty heated when they were CUSA opponents (they’re even in a commercial together).  A second rivalry is the UK-UT showdown.  Bruce and John had turned the Memphis and Tennessee face-offs into serious games.  Just two years ago the teams were ranked #1 and #2 in the nation and playing on ESPN.  There appears to be no love loss between these two men either.  So UK’s main rivalries could be getting another shot in the arm with the addition of Calipari.

In other news (yes, there is other sports news) baseball kicks off in less than a week.  This particular blogger could not be more excited.  In fact, the old MLB.tv account will be paid up tonight to avoid any last second rush on Monday.  Can’t miss the A’s (and Tigers) first games now can we?

On the A’s front, young pitching is the name of the game.  It appears that all 5 members of the opening day starting rotation will be 25-years-old or younger.  That sure as Hell makes a guy feel old when his entire starting staff is younger than he is!  The off season acquisitions of some big name position players should give the youngsters some time to settle in, and even if they don’t there is a stable full of arms down in Sacramento just waiting for their opportunity.

The Tigers want to show everyone that 2008 was an anomaly.  With one of the best lineups in baseball again this year, and a heatly Sheffield, the Tigers will look to score in bunches again.  Offseason acquisitions of Jackson and Lyon will help push the pitching over the hump as well.  Don’t sleep on the Tigs in the AL Central this year as that race will be hotly contested again in 2009.

The Final Four also kicks off this weekend.  Give me UNC to hold off Jay Wright and his band of midgets.  Then give me Roy Boy to take down the sleigh dogs.  Just a hunch.

Our favorite thing today is going to be Pizza Hut.  This is only because it is about to be my dinner and absolutely no other reason.

That’s all for today folks.  Go out and enjoy the weather before the rain gets here.

NOTE:  While typing this ESPN has reported Calipari will take the UK job and Sheffield was released by the Tigers.  The sports world has gone nuts in the last 15 minutes.