Friday, March 15, 2013

3/15: Steven Jackson, Conf. Tourneys, etc.

Greetings! Get ready for some of the longest "what to watch for" segments imaginable this weekend...

  • Steven Jackson is an Atlanta Falcon. The former St. Louis Rams RB inked a 3-year, $12 million deal with $4 mill guaranteed to replace Michael Turner in the Falcons backfield. I've been in the tank for Jackson for years, and while his age is a concern (30 by the start of the season), he's still been highly effective in a bad offense. It's not a huge investment, and in my mind, it's a clear upgrade for 2013. As far as the cap situation, I think the best plan of action is to ink a cornerback (Grimes?) and then focus on the Front 7 almost exclusively in the draft. Let's go!
  • I've purposely stayed away from the WBC in this space because a) I don't particularly care what happens, and b) I'm not informed on the format/rosters/etc. That said, I have to mention this morning (with Braves fan readers) that Craig Kimbrel allowed 2 runs in the 9th to let the Dominican Republic squad beat the US. Please don't panic, as Kimbrel is just ramping up. That is all. 
  • Conference Tourneys! All of the top teams advanced on Thursday, as Louisville and Georgetown cruised to the Semis in the Big East, Michigan avenged their Penn State loss, and Kansas blew past Texas Tech into the Big 12 semis. In the closely contested games, Notre Dame knocked off Marquette 73-65 thanks to an offense that only committed 7 turnovers in the game. They're also joined in the Big East Semis by Syracuse, who outlasted Pitt by a 62-59 score. 
  • NBA Roundup - San Antonio got their 50th win of the season with a 92-91 win over Dallas. Tim Duncan led the way with 28 points and 19 rebounds, but the headline of the day is that this is the 14th consecutive season with 50 wins for the Spurs. That is obviously impressive, but it's also the NBA record, and that is frankly absurd. All hail Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich. In the late game, Portland blew past a badly-struggling Knicks team 105-90. NY was without Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler, so their effort was valiant, but even on a night where JR Smith went crazy (33 points), it wasn't enough. Portland got 26 points and 10 assists from Damian Lillard and a 22/10 double-double from LaMarcus Aldridge. Ho-hum. 
What to watch for on Friday (in chronological order)...
  • Noon - Big Ten Quarterfinals - Illinois vs. #3 Indiana (ESPN) - Because it's in Chicago, that probably gives Illinois a fighting chance, but Indiana is a much better team and they aren't coming off of a rugged back-to-back like the Illini are. 
  • Noon - ACC Quarterfinals - Boston College vs. #9 Miami (ESPN2) - BC is a pretty bad basketball team. Pure tune-up game for Miami. 
  • 1:00 - SEC Quarterfinal - LSU vs. #13 Florida (ESPNU) - I'm still all-in on Florida, and they'll show the reason why in the SEC tournament. 
  • 2:00 - Big Ten Quarterfinals - #6 Michigan vs. #22 Wisconsin (ESPN) - Only in the Big 10 could this be a quarterfinal match-up. No one ever wants to play Wisconsin, and the Michigan offense has struggled a bit, but they're still the favorite. 
  • 2:00 - ACC Quarterfinal - NC State vs. Virginia (ESPN2) - Really, really crucial game for the tourney bubble. If Virginia loses, they are dead and buried. 
  • 7:00 - Big East Semifinals - #19 Syracuse vs. #5 Georgetown (ESPN) - Syracuse is more talented despite being ranked significantly lower. Georgetown has the best player on the floor in Otto Porter, though, and they were playing better entering the tourney. 
  • 7:00 - ACC Quarterfinals - Maryland vs. #2 Duke (ESPN2) - Maryland hates Duke, but they don't have the talent to beat them with Ryan Kelly on the court. 
  • 7:30 - NBA - Suns @ Hawks (SportSouth) - Phoenix is wretched, but I'm excited about a Hawks game that doesn't feature an "Ankle-gate" storyline. 
  • 7:30 - Big 12 Semifinals - Iowa State vs. #7 Kansas (ESPNU) - Iowa State is probably in the tournament now after their quarterfinal win, but an upset here would do wonders. Kansas never seems to lose in this tournament though. 
  • 8:00 - NBA - T-Wolves @ Rockets (NBATV) - Houston is always fun to watch, and Ricky Rubio has it going right now. 
  • 9:00 - Big East Semifinals - #24 Notre Dame vs. #4 Louisville (ESPN) - The last time these two teams played, the result was a 5-OT classic. Louisville is the better team, but ND's offense matches up well, and this will be a good one. 
  • 9:00 - Pac 12 Semifinals - #18 Arizona vs. #21 UCLA (Pac 12 Network) - Somehow, this game isn't really on TV, but I had to mention it. Apparently, ESPN needs another channel. 
  • 10:00 - Big 12 Semifinals - #14 Oklahoma State vs. #11 Kansas State (ESPNU) - Absolutely no one is talking about the Big 12 this year, but both of these teams are quality. 
  • 11:30 - Pac 12 Semifinals - Utah vs. Oregon (ESPN) - 11:30 tip-offs are just too awesome, so it doesn't matter that neither team is ranked. Oregon is good, though. 

1 comment:

JDH said...

SJax coming to ATL!!! Couldn't be more happy with this move. Also agree with your assessment; if we can solidify our front 7 and secure ryan in the pocket we will have good receiving and rushing options for next years offense. I'm excited for the prospects of next season...With that said what is Atlanta's first draft pick and who would you suggest they take?