Monday, April 29, 2013

4/29: Sweeps, Steph Curry, etc.

Greetings! It's been a while since I've checked in so let's go...
  • The NBA Playoffs had one of those rare (and spectacular) quadruple-headers yesterday. In the early game, the Celtics staved off elimination with a 97-90 overtime victory. Carmelo Anthony "won" the game for Boston by being insanely inefficient, shooting 10 for 35 from the field and committing 7 turnovers (versus 2 assists). Boston was led by 29 points from Paul Pierce (in 50 minutes!) and 26 from Jeff Green. This series is still over, but it was good to see Boston battle, even after blowing a massive lead in the 2nd half. 
  • The middle games of the day were both series-ending, sweep-causing blowouts. Miami got a 30/8/7 from Lebron and knocked off Milwaukee 88-77. Dwyane Wade sat out the game as an injury precaution, but it didn't matter, and Milwaukee (once again) had no answer for the Heat. Ho-hum. Next, the Spurs blitzed the Lakers 103-82 in a game headlined by Dwight Howard's ejection and San Antonio's dominance. You can read my full thoughts here (as I covered the game for, but it was an epic beatdown against the short-handed Lakers.
  • In the late game, Steph Curry stole the stage. The young Warriors point guard shot 10-for-16 from the field, 6-for-11 from three-point distance (including some insane shots), and scored 31 points to lead Golden State to a 115-101 win. Curry was absolutely masterful, but he did have some help, as Jarrett Jack shot 8-for-9 and scored 21 points to go along with 9 assists as he let Curry play off the ball. With GSW up 3-1 in the series, it isn't "over", but they'll have a home close-out game in Game 6 and they are now a big favorite. 
  • The Braves were swept by the Tigers after a brutal, 8-3 loss in the rain last night. Austin Jackson and Miggy Cabrera each bashed 3-run bombs in the game, and the bats couldn't fully solve Doug Fister. No time to panic as the Braves come home for 4 with Washington, but it certainly wasn't a fun series.
  • Tim Tebow was released this morning by the New York Jets. Are we supposed to be surprised by this? As soon as they drafted Geno Smith, the writing was on the wall, but I personally hope Tebow lands somewhere where he can serve a purpose. I believe he's an NFL player. 
What to watch for on Monday...
  • 7:00 - NBA - Bulls @ Nets (Game 5, TNT) - Chicago looks to close out Brooklyn on the road, but I think the Nets will rise up here and hold serve. 
  • 7:00 - MLB - Nationals @ Braves (ESPN) - Strasburg vs. Teheran - It's a wild sports night in Atlanta, as the Nationals come to town and Strasburg is on the hill. National TV, also. 
  • 7:30 - NBA - Pacers @ Hawks (Game 4, NBATV) - Atlanta looks to stay in the series here. It'll be very interesting to see if they can defend at the same level as they did in Game 3. 
  • 9:30 - NBA - Thunder @ Rockets (Game 4, TNT) - Game 2 of the Russell Westbrook-less era for Oklahoma City. Houston will compete in a big way here and it wouldn't be surprising at all for the series to head back to OKC. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

4/25: Draft and More...

Greetings! Let's go...
  • The 2013 NFL Draft kicks off tonight with round one on tap. With no clear #1 pick this year and a huge absence of skill players in the top early half of the first round, it's going to be a very interesting one. In addition, the Falcons have a long, long wait until pick #30, and I'd certainly go with a defensive end or cornerback if I was them. At any rate, should be fun. For my full Falcons thoughts (here) and coverage of the local talent (here), check out
  • NBA Check! The Hawks got their doors blown off for the second consecutive game... I'm not sure I even want to get deeper into that one, but the Pacers are simply much, much better. Oklahoma City got 29 points a piece from Russ Westbrook and Kevin Durant in holding on for a 105-102 win over Houston to take a 2-0 lead. James Harden was also impressive (36 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 17-20 FT), but with his outside shot not falling, it wasn't enough. Finally, the Spurs looked fantastic in dispatching of the Lakers 102-91. Tony Parker (28 points, 7 assists) was the best player on the court, and Manu Ginobili looks to be primed for a big role coming up. 
  • Marc Gasol was named the NBA's defensive player of the year yesterday. That was my pick as well, so I appreciated the choice, but it was also nice to see Lebron (who came in 2nd) get recognized on that end. 
What to watch for on Thursday...
  • 7:00 - NBA - Heat @ Bucks (TNT) - The death march for Milwaukee continues.
  • 8:00 - 2013 NFL Draft (ESPN and NFL Network) - Full Round one coverage on either network. It will take forever, but it's always entertaining and you can watch Mel Kiper's hair for hours. 
  • 8:30 - NBA - Nets @ Bulls (NBATV) - Is it just me, or would you rather watch Bulls/Nets than Heat/Bucks? Anyway, this is a huge game for Brooklyn, who can't afford to fall behind 2-1. 
  • 9:30 - NBA - Clippers @ Grizzlies (TNT) - I think this is the best of all the first-round series, but that talk ends quickly if Memphis goes down 3-0. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Posts everywhere!

In lieu of a full post today (sorry), I'm going to link to my productivity from the last few days... take a look!

  • My glance at the Hawks Game One loss to Indiana, examining the absence of Al Horford, the foul disparity, and the rebounding advantage. (This one should be up this more at Soaring Down South)
  • An official NBA awards ballot (click here) and a quick breakdown of the Atlanta Falcons schedule release (here) over at
  • And finally, a bunch of content from the front page including an Al Michaels DUI (here), a walk-off home run from Mark Trumbo (here), and a full-length breakdown of the Rockets/Thunder Game 1 (here).
There you have it! Take a look and help me out!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Weekend Viewing Guide (4/20 - 4/21)

Greetings! In the absence of regular blog work this weekend (due to travel), here's an extended look at "what to watch for" for Saturday/Sunday. Enjoy!


  • 3:00 - NBA - Celtics @ Knicks (ABC) - The playoffs begin! It would be huge for Boston to grab control with a Game One upset here, and the eyes of the league will be on this one. 
  • 3:00 - MLB - Nationals @ Mets (FOX) - Gonzalez vs. Hefner - The last time out for Gio Gonzalez involved him getting beaten and battered by the Braves, but this Mets lineup isn't exactly comparable. 
  • 5:30 - NBA - Warriors @ Nuggets (ESPN) - Combined points... Over/under 240? I might take the over. 
  • 7:05 - MLB - Braves @ Pirates (SportSouth) - Maholm vs. McDonald - Paul Maholm has a 0.00 ERA entering this game and that's reason enough to tune in. 
  • 8:00 - NBA - Bulls @ Nets (ESPN) - Not exactly the most riveting series, but at least they'll avoid NBA-TV anytime the Hawks and Pacers are on. 
  • 10:30 - NBA - Grizzlies @ Clippers (ESPN) - I couldn't be more excited for this one. A diehard NBA fan's dream because these teams are going to full-on battle each other. 
  • 1:00 - NBA - Hawks @ Pacers (TNT) - This series has to win the award for "least appealing nationally", but I'm all-in (obviously) and the Hawks really need to steal game one to have a chance in the series. 
  • 1:35 - MLB - Braves @ Pirates (FSS) - Medlen vs. Sanchez - Jonathan Sanchez is a punching bag. It's pretty simple. With that said, he does have elite strikeout stuff when he's on, so that's a bit of a threat. Medlen should have no issue mowing down the Pirates lineup, however. 
  • 1:35 - MLB - Dodgers @ Orioles (TBS) - Billingsley vs. Arrieta - National TV baseball on a Sunday afternoon!
  • 3:30 - NBA - Lakers @ Spurs (ABC) - A lot of people are picking the Lakers. Those people are insane. Spurs in 5. 
  • 7:00 - NBA - Bucks @ Heat (TNT) - No one is picking the Bucks. Everyone is right. 
  • 8:00 - MLB - Cardinals @ Phillies (ESPN) - Westbrook vs. Kendrick - Not the best pitching match-up, but this is an entertaining battle usually.
  • 9:30 - NBA - Rockets @ Thunder (TNT) - It's the James Harden Bowl! OKC is better just about everywhere, so it'll fall on Harden to explode (i.e. averaging 35-40 a night) for Houston to have a chance. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

4/17: Summerall, Smart, etc.

  • RIP Pat Summeral. The long-time NFL broadcaster and former NFL player passed away yesterday at age 82. Anyone from my generation remembers him exclusively for his work with John Madden, both on TV and for the Madden video game franchise, but Summerall's unique disposition is legendary, and you can always pick out his voice. RIP. 
  • The Braves have won 10 straight games after a 5-homer explosion last night against the Royals in a 6-3 victory. Juan Francisco hit two home runs in the early innings to keep the game tied at 2-2, and then the bats exploded in the bottom of the 8th, as Atlanta tallied four runs including three solo shots from Heyward, Justin Upton, and Uggla. Kris Medlen was solid again (7 IP, 2 runs, 1 ER, 5 Ks) and the bullpen slammed the door. This team is rolling. 
  • Multiple sources are reporting that Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart will return for his sophomore season in college. This is pretty shocking, honestly, because Smart is a consensus top-5 pick with nothing to really gain as far as draft stock by returning. I'm seeing a lot of references to guys like Jared Sullinger and Cody Zeller, but the difference here is that Smart is already a no-brainer top-5 guy and those guys weren't. Anyway, it's good for college hoops to have upper-echelon talent, and Smart certainly does. 
  • Tracy McGrady is... a Spur!? In a very interesting move, San Antonio signed McGrady yesterday out of China to take the roster spot previously occupied by Stephen Jackson. I don't know what T-Mac has left, but he looked good in spurts for Atlanta last year, and he can still pass and score.
  • The Hawks completely no-showed against Toronto last night (losing 113-96) and that opens the door wide open for Chicago to take the #5 seed and force Atlanta to play Indiana in the first round. Eesh. I'll have more detail on this as we go, but I'm not pleased.
What to watch for on Wednesday...
  • 12:10 - MLB - Royals @ Braves (FSS) - W. Davis vs. M. Minor - Mike Minor takes to the hill to try to extend this insane, 10-game winning streak. This is another game where ATL has the pitching edge, but weird things tend to happen in 12:10 first pitches. 
  • 7:00 - MLB - Phillies @ Reds (ESPN2) - J. Lannan vs. M. Leake - You think ESPN is thrilled about this pitching match-up? (lol) At any rate, both teams are 6-7 and could use a win. 
  • 8:00 - NBA - Jazz @ Grizzlies (ESPN) - It's the final night of the NBA regular season and all 30 teams are in action. Utah needs to win here and get a Lakers loss to Houston, so they are behind the 8-ball, but anything is possible. 
  • 8:00 - NBA - Hawks @ Knicks (SportSouth) - Atlanta needs to win here and get a Chicago home loss to Washington to get the 5th seed. Translation? Say hello to the #6 seed and Indiana. 
  • 10:30 - NBA - Rockets @ Lakers (ESPN) - The aforementioned Lakers simply need to win and they're in. Without Kobe, it won't be easy, but the Howard/Gasol duo has looked better in recent days, and they'll need to lean on it. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

4/16: Boston, etc.

  • On a somber day in the United States, it's tough to talk about sports, but because that's what we do here, that's what I'm going to do. Prayers for everyone in the Boston area after a big-time tragedy, and I hope more details come to light in what was a senseless act. I'm 100% on board with them cancelling games, including the Boston/Indiana game scheduled for tonight, and that's a great move. 
  • To sports... Nerlens Noel has declared for the NBA Draft. The craziest part about this is that Noel tore his ACL midway through the season and yet no one thought he was coming back to school. He could be the #1 overall pick (still) and if he came back, looked slowed by the knee, and struggled, he would've fallen. If I was Charlotte or Sacramento and had nothing to play for next year, I'd take Noel, stash him, and bottom out again. 
  • NBA Round-up - Chicago got a huge win in the standings with a 102-84 decision over Orlando. They were led by 22 points from Carlos Boozer, but the big story is that the win takes them to 44-37, just a half-game behind Atlanta, and with Chicago owning the tiebreaker, all they need is one Hawks loss in the final two games. Oklahoma City clinched the #1 seed in the West after a 104-95 win over Sacramento. With the way that the Spurs have struggled, it was pretty likely that OKC would put it away, but it's official. And finally, Utah went on the road and kept their playoff hopes alive with a 96-80 win in Minnesota. Al Jefferson continued to play out of his mind in this one, and all eyes move to LA, where Utah needs the Lakers to drop their final game. 
  • MLB Round-up - Boston got a 3-2 win to complete a 3-game sweep over the Rays on Patriots Day. Without commenting on everything else in Boston, it was a big win for the Sox and they got 7 quality innings (2 hits, 1 ER, 10 K) from Ryan Dempster. Cincinnati snapped a 5-game losing streak with a 4-2 win over the Phillies. Brandon Phillips had the clinching 2-run single in the bottom of the 8th and Aroldis slammed the door (hard) in the 9th. Finally, Oakland got a 11-2 victory over the hapless Astros to extend their AL-best record to 10-4. Tommy Milone is devastatingly good at home. 
What to watch for on Tuesday...
  • 7:10 - MLB - Royals @ Braves (FSS) - Guthrie vs. Medlen - Inter-league! Of course, there is Inter-League every day this season (lol), but this is the first look for Atlanta in a short, 2-game series with KC. 
  • 8:00 - NBA - Raptors @ Hawks (TNT) - This was originally going to be Boston/Indiana, and I'm sure TNT is thrilled to see Toronto on their slate. At any rate, the game does mean something, as the Hawks need a win to try to hold on to the #5 seed in the East. 
  • 10:30 - NBA - Blazers @ Clippers (TNT) - The Clips have to win out to guarantee home-court advantage, and I doubt Portland will stand in the way. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

4/15: Masters/Braves

  • What a week at The Masters. The climactic finish between Adam Scott (who drained the putt of his life on the 72nd hole) and Angel Cabrera (who stuck one of the best iron shots of the week on the 72nd hole) was awesome. Each guy had similar length putts on the 2nd playoff hole, and while Cabrera lipped out, Scott's effort was true, and the young Aussie snuck away with the win. It was high drama, and an example of why people (myself included) love the action at Augusta. 
  • The Braves swept the Nationals. Yes, the Braves swept the Nationals. Three straight sweeps. 11-1 record. And they've done it without much help from Heyward (who actually had a big 2B yesterday, but is still hitting .103), Freeman (injury), or Uggla (.317 slugging). The pitching has been incredible, led by Paul Maholm, who threw 7.2 shutout innings yesterday, keeping his ERA at 0.00 through 20.1 innings this season. Staggering. 
Back in full-length tomorrow... 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Masters Sunday.

Please forgive my lack of content. It's been a whirlwind!

First, the Braves are SCORCHING hot right now, and with an opportunity to sweep Washington (on the road, no less) this afternoon, things are looking good.

Aside from that, however, the focus of the country is on Augusta, Georgia and the final round of The Masters. Tiger is in the hunt despite the "controversial" 2-shit penalty (that shouldn't have been controversial at all because the penalty was assessed correctly and he took it) and there is a logjam close behind the leaders, Angel Cabrera and Brandt Snedeker. There aren't many things better than Sunday in Augusta, so enjoy.

Back in full tomorrow!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Cue Up the Piano

Every year on a Thursday in April, the piano begins in earnest. Not familiar with the reference? Well, it's simply speaking to the unmistakable piano background that accompanies coverage of The Masters on CBS. As a music nerd, maybe I'm out of touch and take this into higher esteem than most, but the combination of the visually stunning scenes of Augusta National Golf Club and the sweet sounds of that piano get me ready for the biggest golf tournament in the world. Let's get it going!
  • First things first, let me recommend downloading The Masters App, and making full use of Both are powered by the same system, and they stream live video of a "featured group", live video of the famous Amen Corner, and the most up-to-date leaderboard out there. A must-use.
  • If you can get to an HD television, do it. In my opinion, there is nothing better to watch in HD than The Masters. I repeat. Nothing. Golf is a great HD sport anyway, but when you throw in the perfection of Augusta, it's out of this world. 
  • Jim Nantz is great. Nobody seems to understand how flawless Nantz is, and because he's not a raucous personality, I feel like he slips through the cracks. For the media nerds (aka me), it's always an exhibition on how to do your job, and I enjoy it.
  • Tianlang Guan. You probably have no idea who that is, but he is a 14-year-old 8th grader from China who is playing in the tournament this week. 14! What a story that is, and he's teeing it up with Ben Crenshaw in his 40th Masters appearance. Awesome stuff.
  • The pick? I'm taking Tiger. For all of the nonsense, he's back to being the best golfer in the world, and if you are really asked to give a 1-man prediction, there's not a better answer than Woods. We are long past the day where Tiger vs. The Field was a discussion, but with a gun to your head, don't you want Tiger over any other individual player?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Not Ready.

I'd be lying if I said I was ready to talk about it. 

Congratulations to the 2013 National Champion Louisville Cardinals. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

4/8: Title Game Preview, etc.

Greetings! Let's get to it...

  • The LA Clippers have won their first Pacific Division championship... in history. In fitting fashion, the Clips knocked off the Lakers 109-95 yesterday to grab the division title, and they were led by 24/12's from Chris Paul (assists) and Blake Griffin (boards). Obviously, division titles don't mean a whole lot in the NBA, but when you haven't won a single one in decades? It's a story. 
  • Elsewhere in the Association, the Knicks won their 12th consecutive game with a 125-120 road win over Oklahoma City. New York is unconscious at the moment, and they are led by Carmelo Anthony who went for 36 more points (on 29 shots lol) yesterday, to bring his 4-game total to 167 points (41.8 per game). Insanity. I still don't believe in the Knicks as a legit threat to Miami, but if they shoot/score at this rate, they are scary. 
  • The Atlanta Braves hit a snag on Sunday, as starting 1B Freddie Freeman was tabbed to the DL with a strained oblique. This seems pretty standard on paper, but the amount of coverage to Freeman's reaction is pretty startling. Apparently (as reported by Mark Bowman), Freeman was extremely unhappy to be placed on the DL and voiced his displeasure. I'm personally okay with this because it shows the kind of fight he's got, and I don't think he'd cross a line of defiance with it either. Nonetheless, Atlanta will be without one of their premium left-handed bats, and we'll see a lot of Chris Johnson and Juan Francisco at the corners over the next two weeks. 
  • MLB Round-up! The Braves got 5-1 victory over Chicago on Sunday afternoon to move to an NL-best 5-1 on the season. Tim Hudson threw 6.2 innings of 1-run ball, and Ramiro Pena had a huge, bases-loaded double in the 6th inning to blow things open. Will Middlebrooks launched 3 home runs in Boston's 13-0 drubbing of Toronto yesterday, and hit a 4th ball to the warning track in the process. 3-HR games are pretty rare, especially these days, so big-ups to him. Yu Darvish and Jered Weaver each departed early from their face-off last night with small injuries. Darvish left after 5 innings with a blister, and Weaver strained his left (non-pitching elbow) in the 6th. Neither guy was particularly good in the Rangers' 7-3 win, but it's important that both guys are on the mound going forward for their respective AL contenders. 
What to watch for on Monday...
  • 7:00 - MLB - Braves @ Marlins (SportSouth) - Paul Maholm vs. Kevin Slowey - I'm all-in on Maholm this year, and I think he lights up that weak Miami lineup here. 
  • 7:00 - MLB - Mets @ Phillies (ESPN) - Matt Harvey vs. Roy Halladay - Harvey is electric, but the story will be how Halladay throws. He was awful all Spring and in his first start, and the clock is ticking. 
And a special section for this... 
  • National Championship Game - Louisville vs. Michigan (CBS, 9:23 PM) - My Michigan Wolverines are playing for the National Title, and they're doing so in the city that I call home. On paper, Louisville looks like a juggernaut, but the Wolverines actually match-up remarkably well with the #1-seed Cardinals. Remember the vaunted VCU press that Michigan destroyed? I wouldn't say that it is the same system/personnel, but Michigan is equipped with multiple quality ball-handlers to avoid pressure, and shooters to make Louisville pay for over-pressing. On the interior, Mitch McGary is playing out of his mind, and he'll face off with Gorgui Dieng in a must-see spot. I think the key for Michigan is keeping Siva and Smith out of the paint, as well as getting a net-positive from guys like Robinson III and Stauskas. Trey Burke will certainly need to be better than he's been for the entirety of the tournament (sans the 2nd-half against Kansas, where he was outrageous), and it's going to be a fun one. One final note? Jalen Rose has taken to the air in begging Chris Webber to make an appearance with the Fab Five, and I'd pay money to see it. Come on, Chris.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Final Four!

In the absence of a full-on blog post (I'm traveling for the weekend), I will say a few words in reference to tonight's Final Four double-header.

  • Louisville vs. Wichita State (6:09, CBS) - Louisville is a big-time favorite here, and for good reason. They are ultra-talented, play at a break-neck pace, and generally wear the opponent out. Throw in the fact that they have the extra "push" behind Kevin Ware and the injury circus, and you have a mini-juggernaut. With that said, Wichita State is uber-disciplined, play a style that can neutralize Louisville's tempo (potentially), and they're going to rebound here. I think they hang around for 30-35 minutes, and go down by a single-digit margin.
  • Michigan vs. Syracuse (8:49, CBS) - This is not a good match-up for Beilin, Burke, McGary and the Wolverines. Syracuse's zone is incredibly long, and the style of offense that Michigan has been deploying won't work without some serious tweaks. It's important for UM to make threes, and I think it'd be wise to stick Glenn Robinson III and/or Mitch McGary in the high post to get into the teeth of the zone, but we'll see how Beilein uses that. On the other end, Syracuse is a hit-or-miss offensive team, but if they have it going behind Triche and Michael Carter-Williams, look out. My brain tells my Syracuse, my heart tells me Michigan. We'll see.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

4/3: Yu!, etc.

Greetings! My apologies for the absence on Tuesday morning as it's been a crazy few days. The Braves are 1-0 and everything is lovely. Let's get to it.
  • Our first MLB Round-up of the season (!) leads with Yu Darvish. The Texas fire-baller went 8 and 2/3 innings with a perfect game before surrendering a ground-ball hit through the middle (by Marwin Gonzalez) that broke things up. Darvish was insanely good throughout, getting 27 swing-and-misses and striking out 14 Astros, but he was one pitch away. At any rate, he was tremendous. Elsewhere, the Blue Jays got off to a slow start behind RA Dickey as they lost 4-1 to the Indians. Dickey pitched well for the most part, but a 2-run homer by Asdrubal Cabrera proved to be huge. Baltimore used a 5-run explosion against Tampa Bay reliever Jake McGee to grab a 7-4 win. David Price was on the hill for Tampa and he allowed only 2 runs, but McGee's blow-up cost Tampa the win as Baltimore got a 3-run homer from Chris Davis to blow things open. Finally, Madison Bumgarner tossed 8 shutout innings of 2-hit ball in route to a 3-0 win over the Dodgers. He's a stud. 
  • Two crazy NCAA hoops stories. First, Rutgers head coach Mike Rice was shown on video throwing balls at players and yelling slurs in a wild display. Nothing ever "shocks" me as far as outrageous behavior, but this is certainly across the line, and they'll be some action forthcoming. Then, Ed Rush, a former NBA official and current Pac-12 referee chief, has been accused of offering $5,000 or a trip to Cancun to the referee who gave a technical to Arizona's Sean Miller during the conference tournament. This is a "he said, she said", but if it's true, he should be immediately be fired, whether he was kidding or not. Insane. 
  • In the NBA, Carmelo Anthony dropped 50 points on the Wade-less/Lebron-Less Heat in a 102-90 win for New York. Melo scored the 50 on just 26 field goal attempts, as he managed to knock down 7 of 10 triples, as well as 7-8 from the line on the night. Really impressive display by him even without the opposition of LBJ, as he drew an assignment from Shane Battier for much of the night, and it didn't phase him. John Wall led the Wizards to a 90-86 win over Chicago, as Wall went for 27 points, 8 boards, and 9 assists. Wall has been ridiculous for much of the 2nd half, as it looks like may be making the leap to elite status. Finally, the Lakers got a crucial, 20-point victory over Dallas, 101-81. Kobe Bryant went for a 23/11/11 triple-double in the win and Dwight Howard had 24 points and 11 rebounds. s
  • Carson Palmer is an Arizona Cardinal. The Cards snatched him up for the price of a 7th-rounder, and despite his decline, that's a coup for Arizona as he's a certain upgrade from the Skelton/Kolb/Lindley mess last year. As for Oakland, I've given up trying to figure that out, but they may be going with Terrelle Pryor. Yep, you read that right. 
  • The NFC Champions got even scarier, as the Niners signed Nnamdi Asomugha to a 1-year deal. Just a couple of years ago, he was considered a "1-A" to Darrelle Revis for the best corner in the league, and they got him for nothing. Steal. 
What to watch for on Wednesday...
  • 2:00 - MLB - Kansas City @ Chicago White Sox (WGN) - Ervin Santana vs. Jake Peavy - Nothing quite like some WGN baseball at 2:00 on a Wednesday. Peavy was tremendous last year, and we'll see whether he can replicate that in 2013. 
  • 7:00 - MLB - Philadelphia @ Atlanta (FSS) - Roy Halladay vs. Paul Maholm - I am all-in on Maholm this year, and Halladay was an absolute mess in Spring Training. 
  • 7:00 - NBA - New York @ Atlanta (ESPN) - It's an All-Atlanta 7 o'clock window! National TV for the Hawks is a rarity, and at least they get NYK coming off the back-to-back. 
  • 10:00 - NBA - Memphis @ Portland (NBATV) - Tough spot for Memphis, as no one likes to play in the Rose Garden, but the highlight is return of John Hollinger. Bike lanes!
  • 10:00 - MLB - San Francisco vs. LA Dodgers (ESPN2) - Tim Lincecum vs. Josh Beckett - Speaking of absolute messes, Tim Lincecum was an abject disaster last year, and they need him to bounce back in a big way, while Josh Beckett was better after a change of scenery last season and looks to keep it going. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

4/1: Opening Day! etc.

Greetings! As the MLB journey begins for 28 of the 30 teams, it's time to remind everyone that "Hope Springs Eternal" in baseball, and that's why it's fantastic. At any rate, let's take a look at what happened on Sunday before we get into Monday's preview.
  • The Final Four is Set! Michigan dominated Florida from the opening bell and cruised to a 73-53 win to earn a trip to Atlanta. With my bias aside (and for the record, I'm writing this while jumping up and down), it was a wildly impressive performance by the Wolverines, as they shut down a quality Florida offense (41% FG, 20% 3's) while getting big-time outputs from Nik Stauskas (22 points, 6-6 3-PT) and Mitch McGary (11 points, 9 board, 5 steals in 25 minutes). It was another example of what this team looks like when they are "on", and they're a real threat to the actual "favorite". Speaking of favorites, #1 overall seed Louisville pulled away from Duke late and cruised to a 22-point victory. Though the day was "highlighted" by a gruesome injury to Louisville's Kevin Ware (which I won't link to, but will instead pray for), the Cardinals played big-time basketball in the second half. Louisville shot a blistering 53% from the field, won the rebounding battle 35-26, and generated 10 live-ball turnovers to pulse their fast break. What a performance. 
  • There was live baseball last night! The Houston Astros "shocked" Texas with an 8-2 victory in the season opener. Matt Harrison allowed 6 runs (5 earned) over 5.2 innings for the Rangers, and Derek Lowe surrendered a 3-run homer to former teammate Rick Ankiel in the 6th inning to bust it open. Erik Bedard snatched the rare 10-out save for Houston, as he finished what Bud Norris started with 3.1 innings of 1-hit ball for the win. It's always great when baseball gets it going, and I can't wait for Monday's slate. 
  • Speaking of baseball, there is another contract to discuss. Elvis Andrus and the Texas Rangers are reportedly close to an 8-year, $120 million contract. I honestly don't understand this one at all (if it's true) as the Rangers have the #1 prospect in baseball in Jurickson Profar... and he's a shortstop. Even if we set that aside, Andrus' production (esp. with the bat) doesn't match a contract this size in my opinion, but there is an argument for him, as he's #3 in baseball among shortstops in WAR for the past two seasons and there's value there at a premium position. 
What to watch for on Monday...
  • 1:00 - MLB - Red Sox @ Yankees (ESPN) - Jon Lester vs. CC Sabathia - The battle for 3rd place in the AL East!!! (lol) The most talked-about rivalry in baseball starts the season just as it should. 
  • 4:00 - MLB - Giants @ Dodgers (ESPN) - Matt Cain vs. Clayton Kershaw - Another big-time rivalry, and this one features one of the best 5 pitchers in baseball in Kershaw against another elite guy in Cain. Awesome. 
  • 7:00 - MLB - Philles @ Braves (ESPN) - Cole Hamels vs. Tim Hudson - I can't explain how excited I am for Braves baseball, and it's fitting that Huddy is taking the hill. He's been overlooked through the entire off-season, but he's still uber-solid and I love him. 
  • 7:30 - NBA - Cavs @ Hawks (SportSouth) - Traffic will be immense in downtown Atlanta, as the Hawks tip off 30 minutes after the Braves sell-out. Enjoy. 
  • 8:00 - NBA - Spurs @ Grizzlies (NBATV) - San Antonio comes off of that inexplicable loss to Miami, and they get the joy of facing Memphis on the road. 
  • 10:00 - MLB - Cardinals @ D-Backs (ESPN2) - Adam Wainwright vs. Ian Kennedy - Looking forward to seeing how Wainwright looks, and the new, grinding D-Backs line-up will be a test.