Sunday, May 16, 2010


Orlando Magic vs. Boston Celtics
ANALYSIS: The Orlando Magic are in a rematch in the Eastern Conference Finals against a team they played against in the 2009 playoffs. However, some people did not expect this to be the Boston Celtics that would be squaring off for the conference crown. The Magic have coasted through the first two rounds unscathed while Boston has made two potential free agents thinking about their futures weeks prematurely than they would have liked to. Last year's series went the full seven games, but Kevin Garnett, Vince Carter, and Jameer Nelson were not part of that series, but they all will love to make an impact in this one.
PREDICTION: Magic in 7
MATCH-UP: Paul Pierce vs. Vince Carter (whoever is more of a factor will help their team out more)
PIVOTAL GAME: Game 7 (this series is evenly matched)

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns
ANALYSIS: The Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns took similar paths to get to this year's Western Conference Finals. Both went to six games in the first round, and both swept their second round opponent to get to this showdown, but that is where the similarities end. The Lakers appear to be hitting on all cylinders along with creating a vast size difference against any opponent. Some fans figured the Suns had a chance to beat the Spurs, but no one expected that a sweep would be the outcome. The Lakers will be playing against their best big man opposition in Amare Stoudemire, but can the Suns finally make it to the Finals with Steve Nash, Grant Hill, Amare, and a new commitment to defense?
SEASON SERIES: Lakers, 3-1
PREDICTION: Lakers in 6
MATCH-UP: Kobe Bryant vs. Grant Hill (Hill will play the role of "Kobe Stopper" as he tries to get his 1st ring)
PIVOTAL GAME: Game 5 (The winner of this game will have great chance to win Game 6, too)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Here we go again...the NCAA is screwing things up again!

Now for those who read my earlier note about fixing the NCAA Tournament in basketball, thank you very much. Initially, I wanted to talk about how to fix college football, but that will be saved for another day.

The fact that the automatic qualifying conferences want to expand to 16 teams is crazy, maniacal, preposterous, bananas, and just plain ridiculous. I can understand 12 teams and two divisions of six much like the ACC, Big 12, SEC, Conference USA, and the MAC (they have 13) is great, but 16 is a bit much don't you think?

There are many reasons why it won't work and it should not happen.

First, historically, it did not work before. The WAC tried this from 1996-1998, and half of those 16 left to form the Mountain West Conference. Academics and travel costs were concerns then and the economy was better then than it is now. So what makes many long trips within the conference such a great idea, especially if the ACC adds more Northeast and New England teams along with the ones in
the Southeast?

Secondly, most of the nastiest rivalries would cool off or cease to exist. For example, the LSU/Florida rivalry? GONE! Why? Because, what's the point of having a conference if you do not play every team on a regular basis? Think about it...the normal conference slate is eight games right now. Moving it to 16 teams and two divisions of eight, means only one game will be against a team from the other division. By the time every team would play a home-and-home against each, it would be 16 years removed (8 if you're talking about a single match-up), and you have to have to give every player and your fan base to cheer and brag more often, like say in a presidential term?

Next, it becomes too widespread from a geographical standpoint. Picture the ACC, which operates in the southern colonial states, spreading further into New England or the Mid-Atlantic with Connecticut? How about the west-coast oriented Pac-10 extending to Kansas and Texas with Kansas, Kansas State, or TCU? Or even the Big Ten going to Rutgers and Syracuse which clearly are not in the Midwest? As stated earlier, travel will be much more.

Reason four is that no matter what, Boise State may continue to be the red-headed stepchild in all of this. None of the projections have them going to the Pac-10 due to their academic history, which is a shame. One of the more dominant programs since 1999 with two BCS wins and two perfect seasons, is having trouble finding an opponent in 2011, and now they cannot further legitimize themselves in a major conference? Come to think of it, this is even more of a monopolistic way to shun smaller squads at an opportunity.

Fifth, last, and not least, for the smaller conferences that means having to bring in watered down competition to compensate for the teams lost. Teams from the other mid-majors will get to 12, but it might be a stretch. However the Sun Belt could be worse off than the "training" conference it already is. Unless they can get a slew of FCS (Division I-AA) teams to get to 12 teams to split into two divisions, the Sun Belt will be stuck with fewer than 12, further hurting its chances to do better. Also, Notre Dame will stay as an Independent, not jeopardizing its flexibility to create its OWN schedule, not sharing money with anyone else, and having their own television contract with NBC. Therefore, this makes this notion and idea irrelevant.

Now, I am sure that there are more reasons, but this is the top five. Trust me, I have the hammer and the nail ready, and like I said, the NCAA Football postseason note is coming soon!

Saturday, May 1, 2010


1. Cleveland Cavaliers
2. Orlando Magic
3. Los Angeles Lakers
4. San Antonio Spurs
5. Boston Celtics
6. Phoenix Suns
7. Utah Jazz
8. Atlanta Hawks/Milwaukee Bucks

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics
ANALYSIS: These two teams know each other all too well. The last time the LeBrons faced the Boston Three Party in the playoff was in a thrilling seven-game series in the 2008 Eastern Conference Semifinals, with an even exciting Game 7. LeBron James and Paul Pierce matched 40-point performances, but it was the Celtics prevailing en route to their 17th NBA championship. Now, the Cavaliers have Shaquille O'Neal and Antwan Jamison to help out LeBron as he looks for that elusive title. Both teams dispatched their opponents in five games to get here, so expect another knockdown, drag-out fight that will go seven.
SEASON SERIES: tied, 2-2
PREDICTION: Cavaliers in 7
MATCH-UP: LeBron, Shaq, & Jamison vs. Pierce, Garnett, and Allen (The big three players)
PIVOTAL GAME: Game 7 (like in 2008, the home team could win every game in this series)

Orlando Magic vs. Atlanta Hawks/Milwaukee Bucks
ANALYSIS: The Orlando Magic are looking dominant this postseason after a sweep of the Charlotte Bobcats in the first round. The amazing thing is that they were able to do this with Dwight Howard being limited to foul trouble. Expect him to play a bigger role in this series, against either one of these two teams, especially against the Bucks without Andrew Bogut. The Hawks' immaturity and lack of winning on the road against a quality opponent could doom them in the end, and the Bucks' inexperience could do the same thing.
SEASON SERIES: (ORL/ATL) Magic, 3-1; (ORL/MIL) Magic, 3-0
PREDICTION: (ORL/ATL) Magic in 4, (ORL/MIL) Magic in 4
MATCH-UP: the point guards (Nelson vs. Bibby/Jennings)
PIVOTAL GAME: Game 1 (Will the Magic be rusty? Will Atlanta or Milwaukee be tired?)

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Utah Jazz
ANALYSIS: The undermanned Utah Jazz shocked the Denver Nuggets in six games, while the Los Angeles Lakers were nearly shocked by the Oklahoma City Thunder, needing a crucial putback shot by Pau Gasol to not force a seventh game. This will be the third straight year that these teams will do battle in the playoffs, and the Lakers won on their road to the NBA Finals the previous two years. It will be difficult for the Jazz to try to reverse that trend this year, with them severely lacking size with no lengthy option to counteract Gasol, Bynum, and Odom...but as always true with a Jerry Sloan team, the team never gives up and plays hard.
SEASON SERIES: Lakers, 3-1
PREDICTION: Lakers in 5
MATCH-UP: Boozer and Millsap vs. Gasol, Bynum, and Odom (the battle of the bigs)
PIVOTAL GAME: Game 3 (Kirilenko wants to come back then)

Phoenix Suns vs. San Antonio Spurs
ANALYSIS: The rivalry continues! Two anomalies stand out here: 1) a No.7 seed is actually a dangerous team in the playoffs. 2) The Suns actually won a game without scoring 100 points! (They won 99-90 in Game 6 against Portland.) As always though in this series, it's all about the pace of the game. A fast pace favors the Suns, and a slow pace favors the Spurs. Whoever can control the pace of the game, wins this series.
SEASON SERIES: Suns, 2-1 (home team won every game)
PREDICTION: Spurs in 6
MATCH-UP: Parker vs. Nash (they will determine the pace of this series)
PIVOTAL GAME: Game 1 (What style and pace this series will have will be dictated here)