Thursday, February 7, 2013

2/7: Signing Day, etc.

Greetings! Lots to get to...
  • College football's National Signing Day has come and gone! As always, there were some surprises, with the biggest one being the late surge from Ole Miss (not a misprint) to grab the nation's #1 player (DE Robert Nkemdiche), #1 O-Lineman Laremy Tunsil, and #1 Wide Receiver Laquon Treadwell. This propelled the Rebels to a top-5 recruiting class nationally and, of course, brought widespread rumors of paying players. Of course it did! Anyway, Alabama and Florida went 1-2 in most rankings, and both of those programs are utter gauntlets. They were flanked by Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan, and LSU. It was a sweat-free day for Michigan fans, as all 27 signees were accounted for before the madness began. It's better that way.
  • LA Lakers PF/C Pau Gasol is reportedly going to miss 4-6 weeks with a tear in his Plantar Fascia. This a big blow because a) they are playing much better, and b) Dwight Howard is banged up. Trouble in Laker land...
  • Staying in the Association, The Hawks got a nice win over Memphis last night by the score of 103-92. Jeff Teague paced things for Atlanta all night, finishing with 22 points and 13 assists, while Josh Smith (19/11) and Al Horford (17/11) put up double-doubles. We just won't talk about the decision to start Anthony Tolliver. Let's move on. Washington snapped the Knicks' 5-game win streak with a 106-96 win. The Wiz were led by 21 points and 9 assists from John Wall, and they're really playing pretty well since he's returned. Eric Bledsoe scored 27 points and led the Clippers to a road win in Orlando. It's starting to get scary when Chris Paul is still out, but they got right against a dreadful Orlando team. Miami got 30+ points from both Lebron and Wade to hold off the surging Rockets 114-108 in Miami. James Harden put up 36 points and 12 rebounds for Houston, but they fell short thanks to some blistering shooting from the Heat. OKC beat up on Golden State 119-98 as the Warriors ran out of gas down the stretch. Durant, Westbrook, and Kevin Martin each had 20+ points for the Thunder. And finally, the Spurs won their 11th straight game, and while 104-94 wins over Minnesota (even on the road) aren't always impressive, they won this one without Duncan and Ginobili. Tony Parker (31 points, 8 assists) and Danny Green (28 points, 8-12 from three) set the pace for San Antonio, and they held Minny to just 40% shooting. Impressive.
  • Even on a busy night in college hoops, there's only one score that stood out. TCU 62, Kansas 55. I'll just list some facts for you. TCU was 0-8 in the Big 12 prior to this game. Kansas scored 13 points in the 1st half. I didn't even mention the game in my "what to watch for" yesterday... because it seemed unwatchable. And finally, TCU was a 17-point home underdog in this game. It was the second loss in a row for Kansas, and Bill Self described it as "the worst Kansas team ever". Yikes. 
  • The New Orleans Saints have reportedly hired Rob Ryan as their defensive coordinator. There's a ton of fuss about Ryan, probably a combination of Rex Ryan's brother and his ridiculous hair/antics, but he's never done a ton as a DC. I'm happy (as a Falcons fan) with this move. 
What to watch for on Thursday...
  • 7:00 - NCAAB - #1 Indiana @ Illinois (ESPN) - Remember when Illinois was a tourney lock after beating Gonzaga in non-conference? Well, they could be playing for their lives at home here, as the Illini are now 2-7 in the Big 10. Eesh.
  • 8:00 - NBA - Lakers @ Celtics (TNT) - Do you think TNT envisioned a combined record of 47-49 from these two teams? LA is playing better, however, and it's always fun when these two hit the court.
  • 9:00 - NCAAB - Washington @ UCLA (ESPN) - Neither team is ranked, but UCLA is wildly interesting and Shabazz Muhammed is worth the watch.
  • 9:00 - NCAAB - #21 Missouri @ Texas A&M (ESPN2) - If you get sick of Lakers/Celtics...
  • 10:00 - NCAAB - Colorado @ #19 Oregon (ESPNU) - West Coast hoops!
  • 10:30 - NBA - Bulls @ Nuggets (TNT) - Chicago is certainly not the most entertaining team in the league for the casual fan, but they defend like crazy, and this is a really intriguing style match-up.

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