College Basketball, Kansas (Jayhawks), Shaka Smart, Sports Economics, Sports & Social commentary, Sports Commentary, VCU Rams

Ain’t No Turning Back ……………… Not Now !


Ain’t No Turning Back ……………… Not Now !

Oh what a tangled web we weave when one sets out to try and deceive . Well the berths are now set for the Final Four in the NCAA Men’s National Basketball Tournament and low and behold perhaps the biggest upset of the tournament took place when the lowly Virgina Commonwealth University (Rams ) took down the high and mighty Kansas Jayhawks . As of now about the only people smiling from all of this are those who had the Rams making the Final Four within their brackets and the odds-makers in Las Vegas.

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Slide show details for your perusal .

Now some might be asking how could this have all gone so wrong for the Jayhawks given their esteemed and well respected program ? But I look at it this way , when you play down or treat an opponent with a certain amount of contempt by not taking them seriously that’s when you tend to be at your most vulnerable and susceptible to a major upset. And most I do believe that was the case here on Sunday with this shocking turn of events and major upset. In all reality who would have viewed that an underdog such as Virginia Commonwealth would be even with a remote chance of taking down Bill Self’s team in what would appear to be with some relative ease. The Jayhawks simply struggled against a team that was stifling on defense and who pressured and harried this Kansas team in to several mistakes turning over the ball in the most inopportuned of moments. But if anything kudos has to be given to the Rams for their resolute defense and the stunning way with which they executed their offense throughout the game (71-61).

As it now stands we have no number one seeds left in the Final Four and with the teams getting ready to lay it all on the line I can’t think of a much better tournament that I’ve witnessed over the last decade as it relates to the NCAA Tournament ! An avid fan of the game at this juncture I for one would like to say that the teams now left vying for the national championship are most definitely deserving of their places amongst the quartet of teams . It has all come down to applying one’s self to the task rather than merely believing in the hype and print media and analysts’ statements being made as to who indeed was the best team in the country. We can all boast or lay claim as to whom we might believe that to be but at the end of the day if your team wasn’t even a part of the Final Four then you have absolutely nothing to be shouting about.

Now with the Final Four and championship title game to be played this upcoming weekend it has to be said that the fans of the game around the country will be riding high looking to see what unfolds next from collegiate basketball’s own answer to a suspenseful movie thriller . What we’ve evidenced since the tournament began couldn’t have been scripted better than any Hollywood script writer giving us a premise and I’d dare say so far as sequels go, one could say that what’s now on offer might just be the NCAA’s answer to that all. I for one certainly didn’t think that a mid major program such as VCU would even have a remote chance in the game but having seen the Butler Bulldogs pull of their own upset in knocking off the Florida Gators I shouldn’t have been at all surprised by this latest result. Major big power conference teams have simply fallen by the wayside in taking their opponents far too lightly , given the level of play in the earlier rounds by their opponents. And much like the idiocy we’ve all witnessed with regard to those teams’ demise , I can’t help but wonder what the NCAA’s Competition Committee might now be making of this all ?

For the broadcast outlets that brought us the game it’s now left to CBS Sports to take us down that final stretch run of college basketball’s biggest spectacle as we finally reach the culmination of the event by crowing a national champion. Sixty five teams originally set out on this noble quest and we’re now down to the Final Four and I can hope that the quartet of teams now left will be able to provide us with the type of suspense and drama that I think we have all witnessed in the earlier rounds of the competition. .

What might be even more surprising is how VCU’s young coach Shaka Smart has his team playing with so much confidence throughout much of this tournament . Kansas for their part just didn’t seem to be able to deal with the defensive resolve of the Spiders as they were harassed each time they were in possession of the ball. If anything you’d be hard pressed to consider which of the two teams in question was from a tier one conference and which was a from a mid level conference as we now seem intent describing many of the mid majors (conferences) nowadays. The divide between the two now seems to be more minute than it has ever been and most certainly the results witnessed in the tournament and over the last few years seems to validate that fact.

The hero for VCU in this game was Jamie Skeen leading all scorers with 26 points and in doing so he led with a great deal of authority with his teammates following en-suite . Eagerly supporting Skeen was Brandon Rozzell the team’s next highest scorer with 12 points but if anything this was more an all-round collective effort by the VCU Rams.

The Jayhawks for their part must be terribly disappointed with the outcome of the game but you can’t but feel how and why did it all go so badly wrong ? Clearly they misjudged the tenacity of VCU prior and during the game , so much so that when it came to the realization that they were in for the fight of their lives , it was all too little , too late as they were never seriously in with a chance of actually overcoming the deficit much less winning this game ! Not even with the contributions of the Morris brothers , Marcus and Markieff Morris did the Kansas Jayhawks seem to put up much of a threat as the duo combined for 33 of the Jayhawks ‘ 61 points’ total . The only other scorer on the team into double figures was Tyshawn Taylor with 14 points . Somewhat of a meager output all round considering the fact that this was team was built upon its offensive prowess , defensive capabilities and being able to switch gears as and when needed . But as I alluded to earlier, for much of the game the Jayhawks simply couldn’t find a consistent rhythm where they could actually get anything going with any semblance of regularity.

Now with the draw known as to who the final quartet of teams will be , it’ll be intriguing to see what awaits the fans of what I for one believe has been an exciting tournament in more ways than one. I certainly do believe that the NCAA Tournament is unlike any other as it provides suspense and thrills right throughout the longevity of the competition ! Not something that can actually be said of the somewhat idiotic BCS Bowl System that’s prescribed to the college football fans out there that this is the best way to decide on a national champion within the collegiate ranks of FBS (D1 Football). Anyone who’s of the belief that’s the best way of deciding on a national champion within the game of football obviously doesn’t see the overall big picture and that this is merely a facade and fraud that’s being perpetrated by the NCAA and BCS in conjunction with one another merely because of the billions of dolllars that comes their way by of a corporate sponsorships and the broadcast rights’ fees that are charged to the networks that cover the game.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As of now I for one am looking to see what unfolds over the final chapter of the tournament and to see after history being made with not one number ranked team being left within the Final Four . It’s going to be very interesting to see who will end up being crowned national champion this upcoming weekend between the quartet of U Conn , Kentucky , Butler and VCU . What thoughts if any do have you had on this year’s tournament and do you feel that the competitiveness of the games have been well worth watching ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on this any other topic you see fit as it relates to NCAA Tournament . Thanks always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ………………………………………………..

http://tophatal.wordpress.com/

😉

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) In this photo provided by Virginia Commonwealth, VCU head coach Shaka Smart celebrates with his team after winning the Southwest regional final game against Kansas in the NCAA college basketball tournament Sunday, March 27, 2011, in San Antonio. VCU won 71-61 . AP Photo/Virginia Commonwealth, Scott K. Brown …….

(2) Virginia Commonwealth’s Bradford Burgess , bottom, shoots as Brady Morningstar , left, and Markieff Morris , top, during the second half at the Southwest regional final game in the NCAA college basketball tournament on Sunday, March 27, 2011, in San Antonio. VCU won 71-61. AP Photo/Eric Gay ……….

(3) Kansas’ Mario Little reacts in the locker room after his team lost 71-61 to Virginia Commonwealth at the Southwest regional final game in the NCAA college basketball tournament on Sunday, March 27, 2011, in San Antonio. AP Photo/Eric Gay ……

(4) Kansas head coach Bill Self reacts during a news conference after his team lost 71-61 to Virginia Commonwealth at the Southwest regional final game in the NCAA college basketball tournament on Sunday, March 27, 2011, in San Antonio. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …………….

(5) Ed Nixon (50) of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams goes to the basket against the Kansas Jayhawks during the southwest regional final of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the Alamodome on March 27, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images ……….

(6) (L-R) Marcus Morris (22) and Markieff Morris (21) of the Kansas Jayhawks look on during the southwest regional final of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams at the Alamodome on March 27, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images ……..

(7) Virginia Commonwealth’s Jamie Skeen, left, drives the ball as Kansas’ Markieff Morris defends during the second half at the Southwest regional final game in the NCAA college basketball tournament on Sunday, March 27, 2011, in San Antonio. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …..

(8) Jamie Skeen (21) of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams goes to the basket against Marcus Morris (22) of the Kansas Jayhawks during the southwest regional final of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the Alamodome on March 27, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images …………

(9) Markieff Morris (21) of the Kansas Jayhawks talks to Jamie Skeen (21) of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams during the southwest regional final of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the Alamodome on March 27, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images ………

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NCAA Results from Sunday’s game .

Kentucky vs North Carolina —- 76-69

Kansas Jayhawks — vs — VCU (Rams) —– 71-61

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Kanye West …………. feat’g ……. Rihanna …. & ….. Kid Cudi

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Billy Donovan, Brad Stevens, Butler Bull Dogs, College Basketball, Duke (Blue Devils), Elite Eight (Elite 8), Final Four, NCAA Basketball Championships, NCAA Tournament, NCAA ............, Shelvin Mack, Sports

Mack The Knife …………………….


Mack The Knife …………………….

Well the Florida Gators when the chances were there to put the game ( 74-71 ) away the Butler Bull Dogs simply outplayed the Gators as Brad Stevens’ team make their second consecutive Final Four in the NCAA Tournament .

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Destiny was there for the Bull Dogs’ as Shelvin Mack literally stuck the dagger in the backs of the Gators and having impaled Billy Donovan’s team , Mack and his teammates turned and stuck that knife even deeper into the wound as the Gator’s hopes bled incessantly with no way of stopping the flow. Along with that win it now adds further legitimacy as to what Butler has done and in particular it makes the young Brad Stevens perhaps an even hotter prospect as a potential candidate for a NBA coaching position should one become vacant this offseason within the NBA .

This game was as exciting as one would expect and a thriller it turned out to be but at the same time would one say that Butler was a team of destiny ? Or did they simply to their strengths while the Florida Gators fall apart under the mountain of expectations albeit that may well have been the perception of their rabid and vociferous fans ? These are the questions that may well be asked and are still to be answered over the course of the next few days. And while I’ve no doubt that to their credit the Gators under Billy Donovan overachieved with this team . The players to their credit can certainly take something away from this defeat but at the same I don’t think that they can hide the disappointment of this loss and what it meant to them as player but also the Gators’ fans up and down the country.

From my own perspective this tournament has been one to be appreciated from all perspectives but this much I do know seeing the Duke Blue Devils fall (93-77) to the Arizona Wildcats was enough for me to know that this wasn’t to be Mike Krzyzewski’s year to win his fourth national title . So 2012 becomes a another year and another chance to aspire to add to his legacy and that of the Blue Devils’ program.

For Billy Donovan I can’t help but feel sorry for coach and his team as they were never really expected to get this far much less competing with this much competitiveness during the tournament . And for Donovan having won consecutive titles in 2006 and 2007 the coach was seeking to win his third title overall with the Florida Gators. This has been a spectacular run by the coach , this program and what it has done for the school in terms of the publicity gained .

As to the remainder of the tournament the berths have now been set with regard to the Final Four and the teams now chasing collegiate basketball immortality. It has to be said that each of the participants left are deserving of their fate and whatever they achieve from hereon in has to be seen as an added bonus for those teams and their respective fans across the country. Collegiate basketball at the D1 level offers a spectacle unlike any other collegiate tournament presided over by the NCAA or BCS in terms of the FBS and their national championship. The BCS for all of its merits to my mind pales into insignificance in comparison to the NCAA Tournament. And inasmuch as fans across the country have been in awe of the BCS National Championship as a thrilling spectacle is something to appreciate but I for one believe that it elicits nowhere near as enough excitement as that of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament . College football may well be the more popular of the two sports by far of which there’s no denial but there’s every reason to believe that while over the course of the season it has the fans showing their passion for the game . This much we do know is that come time for the NCAA Tournament it grabs even the uninitiated amongst us and has in awe and appreciation for the game the teams and all of the excitement it brings .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In terms of what you’ve witnessed during the tournament do you feel that it has lived up to your expectations and what if anything are you now expecting to see during the Final Fours and which teams do you expect to be playing for the national title ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the matter and thanks as always for the continued support !

Alan aka tophatal ………………………..

http://tophatal.wordpress.com/

😉

Picture and slide show details
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(1) Butler’s Alex Anglin holds up the Southeast Regional Trophy as the team is greeted by fans as they arrive at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 27, 2011. Butler defeated Florida, 74-71 , to advance to the Final Four. AP Photo/Darron Cummings ……..

(2) Butler head coach Brad Stevens talks to the fans that greeted the team at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 27, 2011. Butler defeated Florida, 74-71, to advance to the Final Four. AP Photo/Darron Cummings …..

(3) Erving Walker #11 of the Florida Gators fouls Matt Howard #54 as Chrishawn Hopkins #20 of the Butler Bulldogs tries to block his shot in the second half during the Southeast regional final of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images ………..

(4) Shelvin Mack #1 of the Butler Bulldogs reacts during their game against the Florida Gators in overtime of the Southeast regional final of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images ……..

(5) Shelvin Mack #1 of the Butler Bulldogs dunks against the Florida Gators during the Southeast regional final of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images ……

(6) Head coach Brad Stevens of the Butler Bulldogs celebrates defeating the Florida Gators 74 to 71 in overtime by cutting down part of the net during the Southeast regional final of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images ……

(7) Head coach Billy Donovan talks to Patric Young #4 of the Florida Gators during the second half of their game against the Butler Bulldogs in the Southeast regional final of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images ……

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NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

Elite 8 results

Final Four

Games scheduled for Sunday 27th March to decide the final two berths

Kentucky Wildcats vs North Carolina

Kansas vs VCU

Already through to the Final Four ……… U Conn and Butler

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Brooke  Burke

Eye candy ………… Brooke Burke

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Mase ……. feat’g Total …………………. “Tell Me What You Want From Me”

Fredro Starr ….. feat’g Jill Scott ………………. ” I See Your True Colors”
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Basketball, College Basketball, Duke (Blue Devils), Jalen Rose, Jamie Dixon, Michigan (Wolverines), NCAA Basketball Championships, NCAA Tournament, Sports, Sports & Social commentary, Sports Commentary

Brackets ? What Brackets ? Aren’t They Meant To Support Things ?


Brackets ? What Brackets ? Aren’t They Meant To Support Things ?

Well it’s Kaput , Auf Wiedershen , Dasvadiniya , Sayonara , Bonsoir as far as my brackets go in the men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament . My choices are as bad in the choice I made in having gotten married after living with the ex for over a decade. Not the wisest of decisions I’ve ever made in my life but I think that I can live with it ! Well she’s gone her way I’ve gone in mine after a somewhat lukewarm divorce and I can say is that I survived. Now on to the tournament itself where we’ve seen surprises and the teams we thought would excel have done so with legitimate ease. Perhaps the biggest surprise however may well have been the quick departure of Jamie Dixon’s Pitt Panthers’ team who many well have felt were a legitimate contender for this year’s title. The Panthers’ demise at the hands of the Butler Bull Dogs in the round of 32 shows us all why we can’t really take anything for granted . That apparent one point loss 71-70 essentially ended the Panthers’ season and that of their fans.

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Now while I’m under no illusion that there’s still a great deal to play for as far the tournament now goes I can’t help but wonder how many of the fans and their brackets now seem to be panning out ? I’ve heard it said that President Obama’s picks in part are still in tact and that if anything tells me that he’s more concerned with the tournament than the more pressing needs that he , his cabinet , the House and Senate face in dealing with many of the acute issues that the country presently faces. Hell there’s an unemployment rate of 9.5% , the economy a mess , and need we be reminded that the budget deficit is almost 10% of the nation’s $14 trillion ($14,000,000,000,000) economy (GDP) ? But I doubt that the President much less the Congress is that overly concerned with that issue much any of the others that the country now faces as they’re simply only paying it lip service . I’ve yet to see this or any other administration actually make a legitimate attempt in dealing with the fiscal woes of the country. Hell the vast majority of the idiots in Congress wouldn’t know the difference between balance sheet and baking sheet !

As I alluded to earlier there were surprises to be had once the tournament commenced on the 15th March 2011 with a litany of games that started the ball rolling . The tournament now kicks into high gear because from hereon in it’s all about the glory acclaim and fan worship for the teams now left to compete. And at this moment in time I for one don’t feel that there’s a clear cut favorite that stands out in spite of what many analysts are saying . If anything they’d rather make those comments solely for the sake of making them to elicit some commentary from the fans and beat writers alike covering the tournament nationwide. What might be more different in the coverage of this season’s tournament is the fact that it is being shared by broadcast and cable networks alike . You have the primary programmer in this case being CBS who in conjunction with TNT , Tru Tv and TBS are sharing the television. However, CBS will take over the scheduling once the tournament comes down to the Elite 8 , Final Four and the championship game itself. Though I’m not totally against this , it does as such throw my planning completely out of the window unless I’m fully aware as to the scheduling of the games to be televised and in particular the ones that are of interest to me .

As an avowed Duke Blue Devils’ fan I’m looking to see whether or not Mike Krzyzewski and this Duke team can become the first to successfully defend a national men’s title in two different decades since Krzyzewski , himself , accomplished the feat in 1991 and ’92 . Having won it all in 2010 defeating Brad Steven’s Butler team 61-59 , this would be Krzyzewski’s fifth title overall in his illustrious career and perhaps further cement his career as one of the best coaches ever in collegiate basketball . Perhaps someone ought to remind the outspoken and now somewhat ridiculous Jalen Rose the pride of playing for the institution doesn’t come down to color but character and integrity ? His denigrating of African American players past and present who’ve played for Duke speaks to his stupidity and lack of respect not only for some of his peers but also how little respect he has for his race and in particular the environment he’s eschewed as it relates to the background of the players he’d chosen to denigrate as well as the program. And less we forget his alma-mater Michigan is not without controversy as it relates to the basketball program and that a teammate of his at the time Chris Webber was embroiled in some NCAA violations while attending the school.

Now with many of the top seeds still remaining in the tournament and the thought being that it’s now about viewing who stands the best chance of making it through to the Elite Eight amongst those contenders left. Among those left as #1 seeds are Ohio State , Duke , #2 seeds —- North Carolina and San Diego State and Florida the two time national champions under coach Billy Donovan . The coach will be looking to add a third title to his resume’ in the last five years having won national titles in 2006 and then repeating 2007 . Adding a third title for the young coach and this team at this stage of his career would be a remarkable feat. But that’d be predicated upon the Gators being able to get by the BYU Cougars led by the nation’s leading scorer and one of the main candidates for Player of the Year Jimmer Ferdette .

These series of games will go a long way in telling who amongst the likes of Marquette , Florida State , Arizona , Wisconsin , Ohio St, Butler , Kansas and Kentucky are likely to proceed on to the Elite Eight . And at this juncture many a fool and his money have been easily parted but that’s certainly not the case for those who still have their brackets in tact. I’d dare say that this is the one time of the year with regard to a sporting event where the whole nation is engrossed such an event. Other than the Superbowl I for one can’t think of any other sports’ event that literally has the viewers and nation at large so engrossed. Most certainly it becomes the water cooler topic amongst employees at work who are either discussing the merits of their picks or where they went wrong in making those picks. I know that’s definitely the case for myself amongst my colleagues at work but also my own close personal friends outside of the work environment. Gladly, it hasn’t taken a toll on my personal relationship although the girlfriend whose interests in sports lay somewhere between the AVP Women’s Tour (Beach Volleyball) and perhaps once in a while the odd NFL game that might just have Tom Brady on view. For some reason she thinks he’s the closest thing to an “Adonis” there is in the world of sports ?

There have been some outstanding players on display during this tournament and I dare say that we’ll be hearing a lot more about the likes of Jared Sullinger , Jon Diebler , Nolan Smith , Kemba Walker , Kyle Singler , Kyrie Irving and a slew of other players who will be parading their skills for not only the fans but the NBA scouts , general managers and no doubt coaches who’ll be watching the latter stages of this tournament with a great deal of interest . It gives many of these players in question another chance to showcase their talent with a view to making and then taking that inevitable next step to the professional ranks. I know this for fact , the NBA and the NCAA wouldn’t want it any other way. Because it’s a mutually beneficial thing for all parties concerned from a competitive and financial standpoint !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As to the the tournament itself , how do you see the whole thing panning out how are your brackets now holding up ? For myself it simply imploded within the first two rounds of the tournament. Beyond that I can only redeem myself if Coach K and the boys pull through . So I’m now hoping that will definitely be the case , hoping for something good ! Chime in with your thoughts on the tournament and which teams or players have impressed you the most ?

Alan aka tophatal ………………..

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

NCAA Sweet 16 Draw games scheduled for 24th and 25th March , 2011 .

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Butler guard Shelvin Mack , right, fouls Pittsburgh forward Gilbert Brown (5) during the second half of the Southeast Regional third-round NCAA tournament college basketball game, Saturday, March 19, 2011, at the Verizon Center in Washington. Butler defeated Pittsburgh 71-70 . AP Photo/Alex Brandon …..

(2) Andrew Smith (44) of the Butler Bulldogs puts up a shot against Ashton Gibbs (12) of the Pittsburgh Panthers during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at Verizon Center on March 19, 2011 in Washington, DC. Butler won the game 71-70. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images …….

(3)Members of the Pittsburgh basketball team including Nasir Robinson (35), Ashton Gibbs (12), and Brad Wanamaker (22) walk off the court following their loss against Butler in the third round of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at Verizon Center on March 19, 2011 in Washington, DC. Butler won the game 71-70. Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images ……….

(4) Nolan Smith (2) of the Duke Blue Devils talks with his teammates in the second half while taking on the Michigan Wolverines during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 20, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images ………

(5) Darius Morris(4) of the Michigan Wolverines and Kyle Singler (12) of the Duke Blue Devils go up for a rebound alongisde Jordan Morgan (52) of the Michigan Wolverines during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 20, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images …….

(6) Billy White (32) of the San Diego State Aztecs and Juan Fernandez (4) of the Temple Owls look for a rebound during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at McKale Center on March 19, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images ………..

(7) Jared Sullinger (0) and Jon Diebler (33) of the Ohio State Buckeyes look on from the bench late in the second half against the George Mason Patriots during the third of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at Quicken Loans Arena on March 20, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images ………

(8) Scottie Wilbekin (5) of the Florida Gators drives for a shot attempt against the UCLA Bruins during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at St. Pete Times Forum on March 19, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Florida won 73-65 . Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……

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Eye candy ……….. Sybilla

—-

Temeca Freeman

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UB 40 ………….. “Higher Ground”

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UB 40 …. feat’g ……… Chrissie Hynde ……….”Breakfast In Bed”

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Bill Self, College Basketball, Ed O'Bannon, Kansas (Jayhawks), NCAA ............, NCAA President Mark Emmert, Oscar Robertson, Sports & Social commentary

Care To Tell Me What The NCAA Can Do Next To Make Themselves Look The Complete Ass ?


Care To Tell Me What The NCAA Can Do Next To Make Themselves Look The Complete Ass ?

Having lost both of his parents in the space of two years and now his maternal grandmother Kansas Jayhawks’ —– Thomas Robinson has been forced to take on the role of a parent in the care of his younger sibling , his nine year old sister. His grandmother was the child’s guardian and provided loving care and a home for the young girl .With no living immediate relative to take care of his younger sibling Robinson will now assume that control . Coach Bill Self , Robinson’s teammates and the University of Kansas will try to assist the player as best they can in making sure that this is a smooth transition for the Jayhawks’ player.

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One moment Robinson is riding on the crest of a wave on this Jayhawks’ basketball team the next moment he’s now taking the responsibilities of a young man who sought education and athletics as the next step in his career. Now he may well have to forgo that if he can’t find a means of looking after his sister’s well being. The NCAA rather idiotically has come out and made the statement that Robinson cannot accept any monetary gifts that would in any way assist him in his collegiate career even with his present predicament . Are those disingenuous and unemotional idiots really kidding ? How can they view the player’s situation as being one ordinary and one that’s not deserving of some latitude in this instance ? The college itself has set up an educational foundation that will indeed pay for the player’s sister future education and a trust fund has also been set up to take donations that will facilitate the care of the player’s sister.

The NCAA for its part has suggested they cannot change the rules even given this instance where Thomas Robinson finds himself in such an unenviable role being the guardian to his young sister. Personally while I understand the NCAA’s stance this is merely one more reason to my mind why it is that I find collegiate athletics’ highest governing body totally corrupt and completely lacking in common sense ! If ever there was a time to completely dismantle the organization now would be it and then replace with an institution that would be held more accountable and with even more transparency than it is said to show. We’re often told how concerned the institution is with the well being of the student athlete and how it governs collegiate athletics. But in reality the NCAA has simply become another multi billion dollar money making institution where in some cases its revenues derived is greater than that of some third world countries.

What might be even more unconscionable is the mere fact that while the NCAA has become the production line for the professional level of sports namely the NBA , NFL , NHL and MLB it goes without saying that riches that there are to be had is nothing compared to what those teams will continue to make in perpetuity off the names of the athletes associated with these sports. Even at the college level where now the NCAA is in the midst what is a civil suit of which Ed O’Bannon and recently NBA Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson has added his name to, in charging that the NCAA has used their likeness in marketing and promoting the sport without there being reward to the players . And though one might argue that there isn’t any veracity to this argument because as such the athletes are amateurs the NCAA still profits greatly in the use of an athletes’ likeness even after they’ve turned professional and long after their college and professional careers are over . Please tell me in what other endeavor such a thing is allowed to happen and at the same time where players themselves aren’t allowed to profit from that specific practice ?

And while both sides aren’t willing to address the issue in public it has to be said that the thought of the NCAA and the power it now wields over the collegiate sports’ landscape is staggering and without merit. It’s rare that the body is challenged in any form and even rarer for the institution to actually suffer a defeat . It hasn’t happened at the judicial level in years and even within its own realm rarely has the NCAA been challenged by an educational establishment to the fact they can actually say they’ve won an outright victory. The incoming NCAA President Mark Emmert having taken over from the late Dr Myles Brand has essentially not changed how they operate and it has to be said it’s not been actually for the better.

I’d like to think that the NCAA can show compassion when needed but it appears that the institution is merely driven by its pursuit of money and not much else beyond that . And when greed has solely been your whole mantra to exist rather than that of the well being of the athletes and institution you preside over then the whatever befalls that body tends not to be a good on appearance or image alone. Is anyone really of the opinion that the NCAA has served the college athlete with any real distinction much less with any integrity for that matter ? Merely look at the NCAA’s actions recently and the fact that they can’t seems to show any impartiality as to the way it conducts its business and how they go about dealing with many of the issues they face with ever increasing regularity ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the NCAA’s stance concerning Thomas Robinson and do you feel that they ought to make some sort of change to cover such an instance ? Merely offer up your own thoughts as how you best feel that this particular situation can be dealt with ?

Picture and slide show details.

LAWRENCE, KS – January 29th 2011. (1) Brady Morningstar (12)of the Kansas Jayhawks is fouled as he passes to Markieff Morris (21) during the game against the Kansas State Wildcats on January 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images …..

(2) Kansas forward Thomas Robinson (0) blows a kiss to the crowd after an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas State in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011. Kansas won the game 90-66 . AP Photo/Charlie Riedel ……..

(3) Marcus Morris (22) of the Kansas Jayhawks and teammates cheer from the bench during the game against the Kansas State Wildcats on January 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images ………..

(4) Kansas coach Bill Self questions a call during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas State in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel …….

(5) Ranked #9 on the NBA’s list of all-time scorers Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson recently added his name to an ever increasing list of former college athletes charging that the NCAA has continued to use their likeness in a civil suit that seeks unspecified and punitive damages. No trial date hast been set for the trial for the trial to take place in the Federal Court System . Picture appears courtesy of Getty Images North America Inc/ Robert Moore …….

Alan aka tophatal …………..

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Sade ……….. “No Ordinary Love ”

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Bob Arum, Boxing, College Basketball, Don King, FIFA World Cup (2010), Geno Auriemma, Golf, NASCAR, Oscar De La Hoya, PGA, PGA Tour, Sports

2010 Was A Great Year In Some Sports And In Some Ways It Was An Unmitigated Disaster ….. Part Two !


2010 Was A Great Year In Some Sports And In Some Ways It Was An Unmitigated Disaster ….. Part Two !

The alphabet brigade still remains and the sport of boxing now is no better of than it was four years ago ! The pre-eminent fighter in the world isn’t a heavyweight nor does he happen to be North American. It is in fact a Filipino, Manny Pacquiao (52-38 KO’s 3-2) who is now a multiple world champion in eight different weight categories and quite rightly considered to be the best pound for pound fighter on the planet . He hasn’t been challenged mentally or physically by an opponent in years and it’s safe to say that without Pacquiao, the sport of boxing would become an elephant’s graveyard. Having made tens of millions financially from an immensely successful boxing career Manny Pacquiao’s skills show no signs of diminishing as evidenced in his ferocious beating of his last opponent Antonio Margarito in a fight that the referee Laurence Cole should have stopped to save the Mexican American fighter from further punishment. Margarito had welts over both eyes and a broken right orbital bone that had swollen to the size of a golf ball in their title fight that ended in a unanimous decision loss to the famed fighter.

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Slide show for your perusal .

With Pacquiao now perhaps leaning closer towards retirement , that one last big pay day that he’d hoped for in a super fight against arch rival Floyd Mayweather isn’t about to take place anytime soon. Especially not with Mayweather now facing legal troubles and the possibility of serving up to 35 years on a litany of felony charges ____ in prison courtesy of the Federal Court system within the Bureau of Prisons . Through his promoter and matchmaker Bob Arum , Pacquiao is scheduled to fight Shane Mosley in mid 2011 in a bout that will no doubt garner Pacquiao another lucrative payday but in all honesty at the end of the day the padding his fight resume’ against an over the hill Mosley is absolutely meaningless and an insult to boxing fans out there. But that’s now the state of the sport where the fans rarely get the fights they really want to see , instead we’re given that constant drivel of hapless and less than capable fighters and then we’re asked to pay at times in excess of $45-00 for the privilege of seeing such a spectacle even with an undercard of up of these upcoming bouts. Is it any wonder that the sport is now considered to be on its last legs ? So much so, that now mixed martial arts events by promoters such as Bellator , Strikeforce and UFC are now all the rage and capturing a larger slice of that once desired male demographic from within the sport of boxing. The sport itself is now finding a captive and receptive audience amongst female fans as well .

The boxing heavyweight scene has become a de-facto who’s who of rather marginal East European boxers who’ve essentially carved out a niche market for themselves . Atop of the heap are the Klitschko brothers , Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko who between them share four of the five recognized belts ratified out there. The lone none European heavyweight title holder is the Englishman David Haye who’s not really known on the North American continent, albeit that he was at one time the cruiserweight champion of the world . Another weight category created by the international governing bodies of the sport not only to create money but in large part to counteract that great divide from light heavyweight to heavyweight division where the fighters are now extremely larger.

If the sport is to remain prominent with its fans then the various promoters out there who control the dominant North American market will essentially have to be proactive making the most lucrative fights possible , rather than rehashing old fighters and serving them up as one big spectacle with a rather mundane story line as a prelude to what more often than not turns out to be a complete embarrassment. Consider this, an aging Evander Holyfield is still of the belief that he can regain the heavyweight title while slowly approaching his fifth decade. Given that the fighter now is merely fighting to stave off bankruptcy, legal entanglements concerning alimony and child support payments it’s easy to understand the reason behind this charade. In the meantime promoters such as Bob Arum ( Top Rank Inc ) , Don King ( Don King Productions ) and Oscar De La Hoya ( Golden Boy Promotions Inc ) continue to foist upon us fights that in large part don’t really capture the public’s imagination. If this situation continues then the sport will most definitely meet a slow and painful demise.

College Basketball saw the re-ascent of Duke (Blue Devils) to the top of men’s game having won their fourth NCAA National title with coach Mike Krzyzewski at the helm for all four . The program is now the most preeminent there is within the game and that’s with all due respect to the legacy achieved under the late John Wooden with the UCLA Bruins . The Blue Devils’ 61-59 victory over the Butler Bulldogs had the nation perhaps wanting the underdogs to win but that wasn’t to be the case as the team led by Kyle Singler would go on to a heart warming victory in the tournament. For Butler , coached by Brad Stevens , this placed his program firmly on the map and one that’s now admired nationwide. It’s safe to say that Stevens now hope that his team can repeat that feat this upcoming season .

For Mike Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils’ program it’s pretty much safe to say that they’re now the pre-eminent college program in the country in terms Duke’s legacy under their esteemed coach. Krzyzewski to my mind would do the famed Wooden proud . Inasmuch as we can remember his feats over the years the lack of recent UCLA success would suggest that the Bruins while still remaining competitive still have something a mountain to climb to get back to the summit of the game they once ruled with such dominance. Duke now sits atop of the national rankings unbeaten at 11-0 while also leading the ACC .

In the women’s game the U Conn Huskies remain dominant under the tenure of their coach Geno Auriemma and having surpassed the astonishing feat of the UCLA Bruins’ 88 consecutive wins the Huskies are now sitting at 89 wins and counting . The unthinkable may well happen with this team reaching the century mark and perhaps along the way successfully defending their NCAA Women’s Basketball title this season . Stoutly led by standout players Maya Moore and Tiffany Hayes it has to be said that there’s the belief that this team may not be seriously challenged in their quest in attaining both feats. And inasmuch as Auriemma has bemoaned the fact that his team and in particular the women’s game gets very little respect in the eyes of the public and press apart from the loyal Huskies’ fans up and down the country. I do believe that the coach ought to be simply thankful that he and the team are getting some ink in the print media and from the ever watchful eye of cable networks such as ESPN . Womens’ basketball doesn’t really resonate amongst the mainstream in the way that it does with the men’s game either at the collegiate or professional level. The NBA reigns supreme and meanwhile the WNBA struggles to capture a meaningful audience via its programming on either ABC or ESPN. Suffice to say that the Nielsen’s ratings barely garner a blip on the scale when the women’s basketball games are being televised .

It’s safe to say that soccer’s 2010 FIFA World Cup staged in South Africa captured the world’s attention and in particular that of the USA , with the team having qualified for the event. FIFA Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatter and the Executive Committee having chosen the country to stage the world’s most popular sport and second most watched televised sporting event behind that of the Summer Olympics sought to broaden the appeal of the game globally and within the continent of Africa itself. For the country itself, it meant a sense of pride given its most recent history of apartheid under successive white Afrikaan’s regimes until the the successful election of Nelson Mandela as President and then his thoughtful process of peaceful reconciliation amongst the masses.

With the country now being led by incumbent President Jacob Zuma there was much indeed to feel proud about but given the fact that Blatter and a number of his hierarchy remained naive , somewhat intolerably silent concerning the sexual assaults , and murders of several female soccer players in the years leading up to the staging of the event , I found it somewhat insidious in the fact Blatter chose to remain silent on this very issue while speaking out about racial bigotry and violence being espoused by fans in the direction of the male players who happen to be of ethnic minority. How is that any different and less heinous than a female being raped, attacked or murdered by males within their country merely because of their alleged sexuality if they happen to be a lesbian ? As unthinkable as this might have appeared to be it was an occurrence that happened with increasing regularity in South Africa albeit that during the staging of the event nothing was reported to any such event having taken place.

Long admired as the masters of the glorious game Brazil was viewed as one of the prohibitive favorites for the tournament alongside Spain , France , Italy and Argentina . The United States coached by Bob Bradley were seen as one the outsiders that very well have been in a position to pull off a major upset. Though not endowed with a world class outfielder they did however possess one of the best goalkeepers in the world in Tim Howard . The player himself makes his home in the rough and tumble world of the ultra competitive English Premier League (EPL) in England. Other than Howard the face of US soccer over the last decade has been their multi faceted and well respected striker Landon Donovan who played alongside former English international David Beckham for the Los Angeles Galaxy of the MLS here in the United States.

Both England and the US were drawn in the grouping for the divisional round (Group C) of the tournament and I was of the opinion that while both countries qualified on merit I could see neither going beyond the quarter finals of the competition. Neither team was really endowed with a great deal of talent and that’s in spite of the jingoistic fervor being shown by the domiciled US fans whose broad base and knowledge of the game of soccer ranks up there alongside Sarah Palin’s geopolitical knowledge when it comes to world affairs. It’s safe to say that when a US fan is trying to tell you that the US’s offensive capabilities are vast based on the fact that other than Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan’s international experience , then I’ve truly got to ask the question why the interest ? It’s not as if the game itself has found a long term foothold amongst the masses. US Soccer President Sunil K Gulati and MLS Commissioner Don Garber are still struggling to get the game to resonate with the fans domestically. Broad based coverage of the MLS domestic league are as such scheduled around the wishes of ABC/ESPN to televise the games as and when they see fit and the appeal of the teams playing in the chosen fixtures. The talent is still developing and one would be naive to think that the US is now a major powerhouse on the international soccer stage. Gaining respect, albeit in small steps , nonetheless their showing in the tournament was filled with some success but it all ended too briefly merely from the fact that as a team they were lacking creativity on offense and in the midfield where much of the work needs to be done in order to be effective. they showed little signs of real creativity. Think of it as Brady marshaling his teammates as they seek a third or fourth down in the red zone .

The plight of the English team was certainly no better and the complacency showed in the true lack of effort by not only the players but also on the part team coach Fabio Capello and his coaching staff. To add insult to injury Capello left off his final squad the talented young striker and midfield player Theo Walcott who the coach described as ill equipped to deal with the rigors of international play. Bearing in mind that Walcott had been performing well for his club side (Arsenal) in the Premiership (EPL) I found the coach’s statement completely asinine and without merit ! But somehow he found time to include a veteran such as Peter Crouch whose best years were far behind him. It’s no wonder that once the wheels on the bus started to deflate no amount of excuse could be made for the poor showing of the team in the World Cup. Thankfully the woes of both England and the US team weren’t as embarrassing as that of the heavily favored French squad that argued vehemently with and against their coach leading to dissent after their lackluster effort in a game (2-1 loss) against South Africa . The internal turmoil would not end there with one player being sent home after his profanity laced attack against the coach. Overnight this became a PR disaster of seismic proportions for the French Soccer Federation as well as the French government whose Health and Sports Minister Roselyne Bachelot offered her sincere apologies to the South African government and to FIFA after the televised events that took placed involving coach Raymond Domeneche and several French players. The French squad would soon exit the tournament with their tails between their legs after their unmitigated disaster in failing to qualify for the latter rounds of the Word Cup.

Teams who were excelling as the tournament progressed , did so by sticking to a game plan and playing with a great deal of dexterity. The raucous crowds attending the games came from all corners of the globe and with many of them having found a new to toy for their accompaniment in creating a cacophony of noise …………..the vuvuzelas became the instrument that would create some uproar amongst the purists of the game. South African natives themselves are use to the noise created by the instrument and it has become a way of life with the regards to their use at sporting events be they small or large.

Holland , Germany , Spain and Brazil would excel over the course of the tournament but once it became clear that the Brazilian team wasn’t what many had come to expect, their fate was soon to be sealed. In large part that was due to complacency in taking lightly the challenge of opponents who they thought were beneath them. The World Cup Final itself pitted Spain , the number two ranked team in the world at the time against their European counterparts Holland . And after ninety excruciating painful minutes of regular play the game went into overtime. Rarely were there any really scintillating moments throughout the game and the thirty minutes of overtime proved to be fateful as Spain’s Andres Iniesta would prove to be his country’s hero in scoring the only goal ( 1-0 result) that would lead his side to winning their first World Cup title. A billion followers of the sport of soccer can’t be wrong but I do feel that this event while proving to be a success in terms of its staging on the African continent for the very first time , it somehow left little to suggest that the game itself can take a real foothold here in the United States. The final game itself while creating some suspense it was on the whole something of a boring event in of-itself. While no doubt Dutch and Spanish fans may well wholeheartedly disagree with my statement , I can’t help but wonder if they had it do all over again would they willingly sit and watch that events unfold in front of them given that they knew what the end result would be ?

It’d be safe to say that the events surrounding Tiger Woods’ fall from grace would play a significant part to his season on the PGA Tour in `2010. Woods for all of his sexual dalliances , inappropriate behavior and his then less than contrite apology simply dug himself a whole that not even Harry Houdini could’ve escaped from. Far be it for me to say but Tiger Woods’ performances on the PGA Tour circuit lacked all the drama we’d come to expect from the world’s top golfer. If anything there was more excitement to be had in listening to the ingenues who came forward to state that they had sex with the player. From escorts to , hostesses and porn stars , females came out of the woodwork like termites from a piece of rotting wood. And along the way many of them parlayed their notoriety to gain some financial well being . Rachel Uchitel and Jamie Jungers were but a few who made their stories public and if you just happen to curious enough and something of a voyeur then in due course there will be sexually explicit movie detailing Woods’ exploits that will be marketed by one of his paramours through the distributor and purveyor of adult entertainment _____ Vivid Entertainment . Curious to see whether not the actor portraying Woods will be using as much wood as he laid to those noted conquests ? ‘Four …….. nine iron being used ‘.

Fourteen Majors and some seventy plus wins worldwide and it’s easy to see why Woods has been the most dominant golfer over the last decade plus and of his generation. A career Grand Slam and all the acclaim in the world made him the marketer’s dream , and the titans of Madison Ave in conjunction with international sports management agency IMG made Woods the most marketable athlete on the planet , the first to earn $1 billion ($1,000,000,000) in endorsements and career earnings. And when you’ve made that sort of ‘bank’ you probably do feel impervious and would like to think that you can do anything possible. What Woods seemed to forget is that there’s a cause and effect , for every action there is a reaction. It was only a matter of time before the veil came down on the charade that has been Tiger Woods’ persona. And it’s asinine to think that Woods tried to apportion much of the blame on the media after the sordid allegations became public knowledge ! What the hell did he actually think was going to happen , he’d be given a free pass ? Nigga’ please ?

Winless on the Tour in 2010, Woods’ play veered from at times being brilliant to downright horrendous over the course of the year, in which we saw him withdraw from The Players’ Championship and could only garner two top ten finishes in any of the four Majors (The Masters , The PGA Championship , US Open and The British Open ), with that occurring in The Masters and U S Open where in both cases he finished joint tied four fourth place. Uncharacteristically also Woods would withdraw The Players Championship held at the TPC Sawgrass , Ponte Vedre Beach, Florida.

Tiger Woods would also lose his world number one ranking as he would be passed by Englishman , Lee Westwood atop of the World Rankings . Westwood has yet to win a Major but he’s been very consistent worldwide on the PGA and European Tour events.Woods’ goals no doubt for 2011 will be regain the form that saw him with regularity on the Tour and at the same time refocus his efforts on being a better human being and a parent. As to whether or not he can surpass his idol Jack Nicklaus , garner the four Majors needs to equal Jack’s feat and then add another to make it nineteen, remains to be seen. He’s still young enough to do it but it now all comes down to his will and composure as to whether or not he can achieve that feat.

The Ryder Cup notwithstanding Tiger Woods’ contributions on the PGA Tour in 2010 can be best described as being mediocre . But to others at the lower end of the totem pole on the Tour I bet at times they wouldn’t mind being in Woods’ position without the sexual pecadilos I might add and all of the intrusiveness of the paparazzi that comes along with it !

I’ve never been really much of NASCAR fan , way too many left turns ! And what the hell might I ask is boogity , boogity boogity ? Is that some sort of dumb ass ‘Redneck speak’ for I’ve got a hard on for Lil’ E ? Speaking of which can someone remember the last time that Dale Earnhardt Jr won a Sprint Cup Series race ? I guess not ! He’s way too overpaid for what modicum of talent he does have. For an unprecedented fifth consecutive year Jimmie Johnson has won the Sprint Cup Series Championship and along the way seemingly create an even greater divide between himself and his peers. The only drivers now ahead him with more titles on the sport’s pre-eminent circuit are Richard Petty and the late Dale Earnhardt Sr . Seven to be precise, is the total held by each of these all-time greats within the sport and it remains only a matter of time and the desire shown by Johnson if he chooses to emanate or even surpass those feats.

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The unfortunate thing here is that the sport has now reached its maturation point and whereas viewership and attendances are on the decline , the fan appreciation of Johnson’s feat isn’t being appreciated by all. Other than his own following I truly doubt that the vast majority of NASCAR fans like the guy to begin with ! It’s been suggested that Johnson has no character , he’s not really affable or he’s simply not rambunctious enough. Screw that ., the guy simply wins and he’s begun to make a habit with an ever increasing consistency ! As to NASCAR’s own hierarchy led by Brian France and Mike Helton , though they’ve now got a dominant face for their sport they’re still all too reliant Dale Earnhardt Jr to be the face that arguably reigns over their sport. Far be it for me to suggest but when you simply have a guy who of late has shown marginal talent at best in the practice of his craft, then why the hell is there a need to have him as the face of your sport ? You’ve got the most dominant driver of this era now within your midst and he’s garnering about as much respect as Rodney Dangerfield jokingly said he could attain being a comic. What’s up with that ?

This now ends part two of this two part series concerning my own sporting observations concerning some the events that took place across the landscape of sports during 2010 . What events if any caught your attention over this calendar year and what wishes if any would you like see take place in 2011 as an event ? Simply chime in with a comment and thanks as always for the continued support !

NB: Pacaquiao’s scheduled bout against Mosley is due to take place at the MGM Grand Casino & Resort in Las Vegas , Nevada on the 7th May 2011 .

Auriemma’s U Conn Huskies’ team had their winning streak snapped at 89 by the Stanford Cardinals team . The Lady Cardinals were in fact that the last team to beat U Conn in 2008.

NB: Click in the link provided to read Part 1 of this two part series . https://abritishman.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/2010-was-a-great-year-in-some-sports-and-in-some-ways-it-was-also-an-unmitigated-disaster/

Alan aka tophatal ………………………….


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Vida Guerra

Eye candy ………. Vida Guerra . Any takers ?

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Jesikah

More of the same ………………… or perhaps something more enticing ? Jesikah Maximus .

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Stephanie Kyoko

And still a little bit more just to simply entice you. Stephanie Kyoko courtesy of Smooth Magazine.

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Baseball, Basketball, College Basketball, Football, MLB, NBA, NFL, Sports

Things To Be Happy About After This Sporting Weekend ……….Or Is There Anything At All To Be Happy About ……?


Things To Be Happy About After This Sporting Weekend ……….Or Is There Anything At All To Be Happy About ……?

Thankfully the Winter Olympics’ coverage by NBC is over and Bob Costas can now do something more fruitful with his illustrious Emmy winning career. Don’t get me wrong , with the 800 hours of coverage that the network provided us with, there was a great deal to be had from watching the coverage in Vancouver, British Columbia. But at the end of the day , a great deal of it was all for nought. You had commentators and analysts at NBC who were either unprepared or simply nowhere as knowledgeable as the station would have us believe. Who was the idiot there, who stated that Lindsay Vonn ‘is the greatest female Alpine skier of all-time’ ? Hey moron, do some research and you’ll find that Vonn is nowhere near as great as Annemarie Moser-Proll . And the constant hyping up of several home grown athletes who at one time or another failed to deliver. Well , in the end it only goes to show how devoid the plot lines were to these games. Appolo Anton-Ohno is now the most decorated US winter Olympic athlete ever. Wow ! Well , that tells me a great deal but what does that say about the feats of Eric Heiden ‘who won five gold medals’ at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics in 1980 ?

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (2nd R) looks out into the stadium as Gordon Campbell (R), the Premier of British Columbia, waves a Canadian flag during the closing ceremony of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, February 28, 2010
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (2nd R) looks out into the stadium as Gordon Campbell (R), the Premier of British Columbia, waves a Canadian flag during the closing ceremony of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, February 28, 2010. photo appears courtesy of Reuters/ Jim Young ...........

It’s safe to say that with the Summer Olympics in London , in 2012, we ought to expect more of the same and once again that’s to be expected at the next Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. One wonders who NBC will look to build a storyline around then ? Michael Phelps , perhaps ? Well if that’s if the swimmer still has the inclination to compete ? Especially given the fact that at present in most people’s eyes he’s far more amenable , family friendly than golfer Tiger Woods. But that’s another story for another time and day.

Well the NFL Combine the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis came and went. To an extent we didn’t really learn anything that we didn’t already know. A few pleasantries were to be had, as a number of players who didn’t take part , still made themselves available to scouts , GM’s , managers and coaches for the interview process. Hopefully, a number of those players will prove themselves worthy and are able to communicate with a great deal of confidence. So much is placed on the athletic endeavors of the combine that people tend to forget the players also have to show their intellectual prowess as well. But that appears not to be of the greatest concern to the convened press or the tv pundits in attendance. I wonder what Mel Kiper and Todd McShay will have to say about the whole process ?

Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh prepares to run the 40-yard dash at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Monday, March 1, 2010.  photo appears  courtesy  of   Associated  Press/ Michael  Conroy  ....
Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh prepares to run the 40-yard dash at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Monday, March 1, 2010. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Michael Conroy ....

As former diet-fitness guru Susan Powter use to say …..’stop the insanity’. Whatever happened to her by the way ? I mean she was once over 425 lbs and slimmed down to under 130 lbs ?

Can someone explain to me how is it that the New Jersey Nets had their way and slapped the Boston Celtics around like a hooker who’d allowed one of her John’s a ‘freebie’ ? I’m not saying that the victory was bad but they got slapped with an almighty ‘pimp slap’ ! ” Yo’ bitch take that” ! No real explanation from Doc Rivers , as to why his team got their asses hung high like one of Michael Vick’s former pitbulls after they’d been tortured with an electronic cattle prod. Suffice to say that the Nets felt good after the victory , whereas the Celtics in their home venue were totally embarrassed. The result 104-96 was enough to suggest that the Celtics were simply unprepared. With their respective records it was hard to detect which team was actually the ‘5 win team’ and which team had amassed 36 victories . Subsequently, the Nets have fallen back to earth as they’ve once again fallen into their same old bad habits ,………. losing . The Nets lost were 4 point losers on their home-court in an 89-85 loss to the Washington Wizards.

<font face="andalus" size="3"> New Jersey Nets guard <strong>Devin Harris </strong>(34) drives to the basket past Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett during the fourth quarter of a NBA basketball game in Boston Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010. The Nets won  <strong>104-96 </strong>. photo appears  courtesy of  Assoc Press/Winslow Townson)
New Jersey Nets guard Devin Harris (34) drives to the basket past Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett during the fourth quarter of a NBA basketball game in Boston Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010. The Nets won 104-96 . photo appears courtesy of Assoc Press/Winslow Townson)

I’m not about to suggest that apart from the top five teams in the Eastern Conference of the NBA aren’t at all that bad. But is anyone really interested at all in watching those other ‘woefully inept teams’ within the conference ? Please, David Stern , stop trying to sell me on the NBA brand and product at present ! It’s about as desirable as wanting to own a Toyota Prius ! Like the vehicle, when it’s out of control , it just aimlessly heads nowhere while placing your life in danger. The same can be said of the play within the Eastern Conference amongst the lower rung teams, as they’re proving to be extremely harmful to one’s health.

It’s not often that you want to wish a former and much beloved athlete all the best in a new found endeavor. But in this case, it becomes an exception the rule . Michael Jordan , formerly a minority stake holder in the Charlotte Bobcats , over the weekend bought the controlling interest in the team from billionaire entrepreneur , Robert L. Johnson . The billionaire owner was keen to sell the franchise to stave off the continual financial losses that he’d assumed since his first purchasing the team, then known as the Charlotte Hornets. Now mounting something of a presence within the Southeast Division and chasing a playoff berth. The Bobcats with the eighth best record in the Eastern Conference , are looking to garner their first playoff berth in their guise as the Bobcats. And for coach Larry Brown having the former Tar Heel alumni , as his new boss is a welcoming and sobering thought. The fans no doubt will now rally around to show their support for Jordan and the team , as they seek success.

Charlotte Bobcats coach Larry Brown, right, talks with managing partner Michael Jordan before an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks in Charlotte, N.C.  Jordan struck a deal late Friday, Feb. 26, 2010, to buy a controlling interest in the Bobcats, making the NBA's greatest player the owner of the money-losing team in his home state.  photo  appears  courtesy of  Associated   Press/ Chuck  Barton .....
Charlotte Bobcats coach Larry Brown, right, talks with managing partner Michael Jordan before an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks in Charlotte, N.C. Jordan struck a deal late Friday, Feb. 26, 2010, to buy a controlling interest in the Bobcats, making the NBA's greatest player the owner of the money-losing team in his home state. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Chuck Barton .....

When they say ‘….one and done’ . What literally are the implications behind that statement ? Because at this juncture that’s the situation now facing Buffalo Bills’ wide receiver Terrell Owens . After a less than productive year with the AFC East team . The front office led by General Manager Buddy Nix has informed the player that a new contract won’t be tendered to him and that he’s now free to seek ‘free agency’ on the open market. So once again, the traveling sideshow embarks upon another journey as across the languid NFL terrain.

LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 28:  NFL player Terrell Owens attends a game between the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on February 28, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The  Bills'  wide receiver  hasn't  been  tendered  a  new  contract  by  the  team for  the  upcoming  season  and  will  now  become a  free  agent.  photo appears courtesy of NBAE/ Getty Images/  Andrew D  Bernstein  ....
LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 28: NFL player Terrell Owens attends a game between the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on February 28, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Bills' wide receiver hasn't been tendered a new contract by the team for the upcoming season and will now become a free agent. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/ Getty Images/ Andrew D Bernstein ....

Owens and his agent Drew Rosenhaus , will do his level best to ‘sell him’ as a ‘still productive player’ who can contribute to a team seeking postseason experience and a wealth of maturity. Scratch that last statement, as ‘maturity’ and Owens don’t belong in the same sentence much less , the same time zone. LOL,LOL,LOL !!! But rest assured that no stone will be left unturned by Rosenhaus , even if it means him having to cajole and coerce teams and GM’s around the league to give his client a chance. And it’s not as if Owens hasn’t been given enough chances down the years to begin with. But much like cancer tends to spread through a body when it’s malignant. The same can be said of Owens and any NFL franchise where he’s said to have been over the course of his professional career. As to which might teams might be prepared to show some interest in the player , that remains to be seen. But you can be sure that there are bound to be one or two teams that will show some interest in the player. As to what demands specifically , will be made by way of a salary from the player. Let’s just say that Owens can’t expect to be paid ‘top dollar’ at this stage of his career.

I read with a great deal of interest how Curtis Granderson , the New York Yankees’ latest acquisition is looking to fit in with the team. Isn’t that like being told you’ll no longer be seated in the outhouse because you’re now welcomed in the big-house where all the guys bask in luxury ? Now we all know that for the Yankees and the organization it’s all about winning and everything else is secondary. General Manager Brian Cashman has set about retooling the roster in order to be more athletic , diverse in terms of the talent and less dependent upon an aging roster.

New York Yankees' Curtis Granderson sets up in the batting cage to take live batting practice for the first time during baseball spring training at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., Friday, Feb. 26, 2010.  photo  appears  courtesy  of  Assoc Press/  Kathy Willens  ......
New York Yankees' Curtis Granderson sets up in the batting cage to take live batting practice for the first time during baseball spring training at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., Friday, Feb. 26, 2010. photo appears courtesy of Assoc Press/ Kathy Willens ......

The AL East and its plethora of teams will be taking aim at the bulls-eye that immediately now becomes a target on the Yankees’ back. And for the likes of the Boston Red Sox , Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles . Each of the teams in question will be looking to take down the reigning World Series champions. But I’d remiss in suggesting that the Orioles are going to be competitive within the AL East. Their front office , there, have essentially obfuscated their responsibility in making that a priority and their main prerogative over the years. The long suffering fans have had to come to Camden Yards and witness a team that is about as competitive as a ham sandwich. And in team owner Peter Angelos , you may well have someone who’s said to be completely oblivious as the club’s inherent needs. Is it any wonder that they continue to languish within the bottom rungs now of fan support and have little by way of any tangible success over the last decade.

The Yankees will be the presumptive favorites to win it all again this year. And in the National League (NL) will also be looking to take their shot at the Yankees also during inter-league play. But to my mind the only way that the Yankees can lose this year is through their own complacency. And I don’t see that either team captain Derek Jeter or the team’s manager Joe Girardi are quite prepared to let that happen. And for Granderson having been acquired by the Yankees from the Detroit Tigers . He’ll now get to see how an organization of the of Yankees’ stature goes about replicating and maintaining that success. For the Tigers, this season they will be hard pressed to make their presence felt within the AL Central .

Syracuse's Kris Joseph (32) celebrates near the end of the game against Villanova in an NCAA college basketball game in Syracuse, N.Y., Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010. Syracuse won 95-77. photo  appears  courtesy of   Associated Press/ Kevin Rivoli....
Syracuse's Kris Joseph (32) celebrates near the end of the game against Villanova in an NCAA college basketball game in Syracuse, N.Y., Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010. Syracuse won 95-77. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Kevin Rivoli....

OK , so who amongst you are so sure as to who the favorite will be this year , to win the men’s NCAA basketball tournament ? To see the so called presumptive favorites drop like flies as of late in terms of results. Well it’s like seeing an insecticide or repellent be placed amongst the men’s rankings. Sitting atop of the heap at present are Jim Boeheim’s Syracuse Orangemen . Two weeks from today , is anyone of the belief that they’ll still be there ? In all likelihood given the inconsistency and the frequency with which the teams have been falling. The answer has to be an emphatic …..no !

Manny   Pacquiao  and  Floyd  Mayweather Jr.  The   two  fighters  have seen  their  proposed   title   fight   fall  through  they  are   now  still   chiding  each  other   on  with   some   rather  unsavory   taunts .     photo  appears  courtesy  of   Associated  Press /  Kevin  Thorne  ........................
Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. The two fighters have seen their proposed title fight fall through they are now still chiding each other on with some rather unsavory taunts . photo appears courtesy of Associated Press / Kevin Thorne ........................

On one last note, can the sniping stop between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr ? These two buffoons and their representatives have cheated the fans out of a boxing match-up that the whole world has been waiting for and eagerly wanted to see. So please stop it with the cheap ass snide remarks just shut the f_ck up once and for all ! The both of you have become tiresome and a complete waste of the print media space that’s still being bestowed upon you both !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………..

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Frankie Goes To Hollywood ………’Relax’

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Victoria’s Secret lingerie model Selita Ebanks .

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Baseball, Basketball, College Football ........, College Basketball, Football, MLB, NBA, NFL, Sports

In The News Today …. Sports That Is …………..


In The News Today …. Sports That Is …………..

Well , I’ve been running through the back pages of the newspapers just trying to catch up on the latest as the sport’s world is concerned . And what with an emphatic triumph for the NFL as whole with the success of Superbowl (SBXLIV) being the most watched television event in the nation’s history. There’s a great deal for the NFL to feel proud about at present. Though I’m not so sure , that’ll be the case if the March 5th, deadline comes and passes and an agreement is not reached concerning the renegotiation of the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the NFLPA .

The ramifications for both sides could be dire, if an accord cannot be reached before the deadline. But considering the antics being shown by both sides , I’m of the opinion that somehow at the last prevailing minute calmer heads should prevail. But then again I may well prove to be wrong. We’re dealing with a bunch of spoiled owners and an even crazier bunch of highly overpaid players. And in both cases, the parties concerned are more interested in what’s best for themselves and most definitely not what’s in best interests or the league or the fans !

In college basketball Kansas routs the Texas ‘Longhorns’ 80-68 . And for Rick Barnes as coach of Texas , this can’t be all that pleasing a time. The former #1 ranked Longhorns have been losing games with almost the same frequency that the Kansas City Royals , Pittsburgh Pirates and New Jersey Nets have become accustomed to be doing, with almost as much relative ease. Now I’m not one to suggest that the Longhorns are about to be mired in mediocrity along the lines of the Nets, Pirates and Royals. But much more of this and the Longhorns’ faithful, as well as their boosters could well be calling for Barnes’ head on a silver platter.

The Carolina Panthers’ Julius Peppers feels that he’s no longer appreciated , loved or wanted by the organization . And granted, John Fox’s team severely underperformed throughout much of this past season. So much so, that one had the distinct feeling that had not the Tampa Bay Buccaneers performed so abysmally in the NFC South . Then in all probability , it could well have been the Panthers seated at the foot of the division, with one the NFL’s worst records. And it certainly didn’t help that Jake Delhomme the team’s quarterback was about as reliable as a flat tire would be a welcoming sight to a stranded motorist.

Having been franchised tag in each of the last two seasons , Peppers now feels that it’s time for the Panthers to up the ante and pay him what he no doubt believe that he’s worth. For Panthers’ GM Marty Hurney , this has more to do with looking at the entire scenario that the team now faces and whether or not it’s best to revamp the roster and start afresh. Or retain players such as Delhomme and Peppers. In the case of Peppers, Hurney knows only too well that he’ll be asked to ‘break the bank’ in order to retain one of the league’s best defensive players and ‘run stoppers.’ What appears to be imminent is that there will be a parting of the ways , between Peppers and the club. It may not yet be fact but it appears to the direction that the organization is heading in.

Now unless I’m mistaken , I was under the impression that Red Sox GM Theo Epstein was as astute a baseball mind as their is around MLB ? After-all , he has been the primary architect behind much of team’s success, more than anyone else within the organization . And that includes team manager Terry Francona . But the worrying thing here is that the organization has gone out and acquired Adrian Beltre’ from the Seattle Mariners. Beltre’s production over the past two seasons has been about as inspired,, as the lack of ingenuity and productivity being shown by the members of Congress and the Senate combined. But somehow Epstein is of the belief that the player will be a ‘good fit’ for the team . At a price tag approaching $14 million , one would certainly hope so for the Red Sox’s sake !

The Red Sox having lost Jason Bay to free agency , they were in need of some offensive fire power but one would have hardly thought that Beltre’ fitted the bill in that respect. There’s no doubt that Adrian Beltre, when he’s on form ,he is a very good player. But far too often , he has been known to go into prolonged slumps with his bat and his defense has been about as helpful as a hole in a bucket. This may or may not prove to be a costly gamble by the Red Sox. Given the fact that they now have to contend with a rejuvenated and much more confident New York Yankees’ team , within an already highly contentious and competitive AL East division. If the Red Sox aren’t able to get something out of Beltre this season, then it may well prove to be nothing more than afterthought on their part. Especially when one considers the vast financial resources at the organization’s disposal.

Coming off a 48 point night for the Orlando Magic in their 123-117 victory over the New Orleans Hornets, who were playing without their point guard and best player , Chris Paul . Magic’s guard and swingman, Vince Carter had one of his better games , if not his best game , since he was acquired by the team . Now that’s all well and good but there has to be more of this from Carter , on a night in and night basis – if the Magic are to viewed as a legitimate threat within the Eastern Conference as well as the rest of the NBA. But were it not for the offensive output by Carter , then the end result would’ve been entirely different as to the outcome.


Albeit, that Carter was ably assisted by Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis , the Magics’ bench offered very little by way of assistance, combining for a total of 23 points during the game. If this is what Stan Van Gundy believes to be , is ‘his best’ and ‘most balanced team’ since he assumed the role as coach. Then someone, had better check out the ‘sugar level’ of his Kool-Aid. Because there’s definitely something awry with that, as well as Van Gundy’s thinking on the matter.
And before the Magic can even think about contending for an NBA championship once again this season they’ll have to contend with the Boston Celtics , Cleveland Cavaliers , Atlanta Hawks and a sometimes quite dangerous Miami Heat team led by the universally admired skills of Dywane Wade . Is that enough of an answer for you Stan ?

So Florida State has to vacate 12 wins from its football program , in light of the cheating scandal that took place. Rather than standing up and being held accountable for their actions or lack of it thereof. Former University President T.K Wetherell and Athletics Director Randy Spetman had threatened a lawsuit against the NCAA . All of this took place under the less than caring eye. Yes, I said it ! It all took place under the less than caring eye of their now former coach, Bobby Bowden . Though that’s not to say that his his successor , Jimbo Fisher is as equally to blame. If you’re known to be turning a blind eye to the malfeasance of your student athletes, then you’re in effect no better than they are, in terms of the actions that they’re being accused of !

Now the program starts afresh as it looks to make its presence felt within the ACC . As to how this will all play out over the upcoming season remains to be seen . For the ‘noles’ faithful not seeing Bowden walking up and down the sidelines up there in Tallahassee will no doubt seem very strange . But had the faculty not given Bowden free reign as to the program began to spin out of control and almost allowing him to dictate the terms under which he originally wanted to retire . Then perhaps none of this all might’ve happened. But then again who knows ?

Now the one thing that has become abundantly clear in the midst of this all. Well, it has been the way in which the NCAA has dragged its feet concerning USC (Trojans) and that of the egregious transgressions within both their basketball and football programs. And the fans and public alike, are to believe that the NCAA has the student athletes’ best interests at heart ? That’s at least three loads of horse shit to begin with ! The NCAA cares about as much of the college student athlete as a member of Hezbollah cares about an Israeli or a Jew !

Well guys, those are but a few of the stories that I touched on and have read diligently. What pieces have you come across that peeked your interests ? And what views if any, were you left with after having read those pieces ?

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………….

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<strong> Alan De La  Garza  </strong>  who's  more  widely known   for her  portrayal  <strong>District Attorney   <em>  Connie  Rubirosa </em>  </strong>  on  the  long  running   NBC  hit  series   <strong> "Law  &  Oder " </strong>   starring  Sam Wateron,   Linus  Roache,  S.  Epatha  Merkerson,  Anthony  Anderson   and  rounding out the  ensemble  is   Jeremy  Sisto.

Alan de La Garza , actress, who’s more widely known for her role as Asst DA ‘Connie Rubirosa’ on the long running NBC hit drama “Law & Order” . The show stars de La Garza , alongside Sam Waterson , Linus Roache, S. Epatha Merkerson , Anthony Anderson and rounding out the ensemble is Jeremy Sisto. de La Garza to my mind can skip down to her skivvies and anything less as and when she pleases. You won’t hear any complaints from me at all !