In case you were busy spending your day off either volunteering with a local charity or watching Magnum, P.I. on Netflix, here's what you missed in sports on Monday.
The Chicago Bulls heaped more misery on the struggling Los Angeles Lakers, beating them at the United Center, 95-83. "The in-fighting and name-calling has got to stop," Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said after the game, "because no one is going to top Dwight Coward, which I just came up with."
The Indiana Pacers earned a hard-fought 82-81 win at Memphis after George Hill knocked down the game-winning free throw following a questionable foul call. "There were bad calls all night long. All night, all night. All night long. All night. All night long, all night. All night long, oh yeah," said R&B legend Lionel Richie. "But why are you at my house asking me about basketball?" Meanwhile, Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins, left alone at his postgame conference, asked, "Hello? Is it me you're looking for?" to an unmanned television camera and a security guard named Clint.
I'm one of those people who adhere to a strict famine-and-feast diet on Thanksgiving Day. I'll starve myself throughout the day, trying to not let the aromas floating in from the kitchen drive me insane, just so I can gorge myself like a crazed animal when 4 p.m. rolls around. From an informal poll of friends and family, it seems like this is a pretty common tactic. I'm ashamed to admit that I had to eat an apple to hold myself over at noon, but otherwise I held firm. And the feast was glorious. I didn't stop eating until midnight, when my wife hit me with a pan and knocked me into a deep, 18-hour slumber.
The whole Thanksgiving situation is a lot like the first two weeks of college basketball. The morning starvation is the offseason, when you want to avoid lesser temptations like recruiting updates or NCAA investigations or Tony Parker's eight-month press conference. Sometimes you need to check in on those things just to hold off the hunger, like with my apple. And then, when the season finally arrives, it's a delicious cornucopia of tournaments, amazing matchups, surprising players, and crazy upsets. I can't stop watching. I can't, and I won't! I've now binged on college basketball for two straight weeks, and from the depraved den of hoops gluttony, I bring you my 25 November epiphanies.
A quick one this week, amigos, with a rundown of the top 10 games and Your Perfect Saturday:
10. Kent State at no. 15 Rutgers
Big Ten fans will be unhappy to see that I chose this one over Michigan-Nebraska, if only because the Big East is starting to look like a pretty interesting race, and Kent State, at 6-1, is on a crash course with Ohio for a MAC East championship game on November 23. It feels like there might be upset potential here, but Kent State's blowout loss to Kentucky earlier in the season should give you pause.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday.
The Baltimore Orioles used three home runs in the eighth inning to break open a tie ball game and surge to a 10-6 win over the Yankees. With 25 games left in the season, the teams are now tied atop the AL East. "It's getting really tense," A-Rod admitted after the game, shaking his head. "It's a puzzle I just can't solve the orange, it really it really baffles me. I mean, sometimes I wake up, know it's going to be a bad day without any progress, and I can't help but hate the game. Maybe I'll never solve this one. It's been almost two decades for me, and I can't believe I'm saying this, but yeah I think the love is gone. And what does that leave for me, A-Rod? What else can someone like me ever do? Nothing. I'm boxed in. What black-hearted bastard invented you, Rubik's Cube?"
You know it’s the day before the basketball starts because the banality hits high tide just after noon and doesn’t recede until they throw the ball up Thursday night. It so happens that Cincinnati and Ohio State have managed to play their way into the East Regional semifinal here in Boston. This is rather a big deal because: (a) the two teams played each other in consecutive national championship games in 1961 and ‘62, and (b) the two teams have played each other exactly once since those matchups 50 years ago — largely because the Bearcats got really good and therefore were disqualified from ever being scheduled by the Buckeyes again.
It's hard to really call Cincinnati a "college town," in the same way that you wouldn't think of schools like NYU or the University of Chicago having college vibes. Nevertheless, it is a city, and while it might not be the brightest star on the American urban landscape, I think we can all agree, without delving into insult or conjecture, that it beats out Columbus, Ohio.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Wednesday.
Tiger Woods grew testy when questioned about former swing coach Hank Haney's new book, refusing to answer questions but ending one interview by saying, "you're a beauty" and "have a good day." Which is not markedly different from a lot of his prior interactions, but in the past there used to be like six sweaty minutes between the two phrases.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Monday
The dream semifinal is set in Australia, as both Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal won their quarterfinal matches. Nadal holds a 7-2 lead in Grand Slam matches, but Federer has promised that he's going to break out his sickest cream-colored outfit yet to just priss the hell out of Nadal. "I'm gonna priss him 'til he blushes," Federer vowed. "Just delicately flip my hair, prance around like a schoolboy, and get my priss on something severe. Ya heard?"
A source indicated that the Big East will add Navy to the football lineup in 2015. The move was reportedly made to give the conference the option to be buried at sea when it dies from sucking.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Wednesday.
The Los Angeles Clippers acquired Chris Paul for three players, Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, and Al-Farouq Aminu, and a first-round draft pick. To be fair, McCoy spent his formative years Texas, so he pretty much always sounds like he's concussed.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports over the weekend.
Tim Tebow is now 7-1 as a starter, as the Broncos defeated the Bears 13-10 in overtime. Matt Prater hit two field goals of over 50 yards to clinch the game, but experts suspect that Tebow was just being modest by changing jerseys before he nailed the kicks. I mean, have you ever heard of Matt Prater before?
1. It's tough to be a kicker. 2. The 2-point conversion is a cruel mistress. 3. The marquee games disappointed, but everything else delivered.
I feel bad giving the Oregon-Stanford blowout short shrift, but the result can really be summed up in two words: speed kills. The Stanford run defense, which had been one of the nation's best prior to facing Oregon, gave up 232 yards. From the size of the holes LaMichael James was exploiting, it felt like Stanford was playing a prevent defense all game. In fact, if you'll let me brag for a moment (and I hope you will, because I'm so often wrong), everything I predicted in the preview essentially came true. The words of the prophet:
By my count, there are 2.5 HUGE games left on the college football schedule between now and bowl season. The .5 is LSU-Arkansas on Nov. 25. It falls short of a full point only because I don't believe Arkansas has a legitimate chance to win. We've been over this before — the Razorbacks have one loss, but it was an unvarnished throttling against Alabama, and a handful of their eight wins (Ole Miss and Vanderbilt especially) have not been impressive. Nevertheless, LSU is number one, and Arkansas could be as high as fifth by then. It's worth a mention.
The second HUGE game is Oklahoma-Oklahoma State on Dec. 3. If I had to pick right now, I would guess that the winner (Oklahoma, I suspect) will play in the BCS national title game against LSU. For the Cowboys, it's a no-brainer; they're already ranked second, and they control their own destiny. For Oklahoma, ranked sixth, help is needed. As of now, there are four teams for the Sooners to leapfrog if they want to land in the coveted second position. The first is Oklahoma State, who they'd pass with a win. The second is Alabama, and I believe the nation's desire to avoid a rematch national championship would take care of that. Then there's Boise State, who will almost certainly end the year undefeated if they beat TCU this weekend. Still, we know how that story goes. The BCS never smiles on the Broncos, and I can't imagine this year will be any different, even if they're one of just two undefeated teams in the country.
That leaves Stanford, and brings us to the present for
College basketball season finally gets under way soon and I, for one, couldn’t be more excited. Chances are, you aren’t quite as excited as me, and haven’t given college basketball much thought since you’ve had football and the start of the NBA season to keep you occupied, but luckily for you, I’m here to get you up to speed. And by that, I mean that I’m here to give you previews of each of the major college conferences (and one collective mid-major preview), and then spend the next five months of my life reading tweets and e-mails from those of you who feel the need to point out how terrible the predictions in these previews are and how you could’ve done so much better. This will be fun.
We have very few rules for the BS Report, but this is one of them: Any time an NFL team does something completely and utterly insane, we send out a bat/pod signal for the NFL Network's Mike Lombardi. When news broke today that the Raiders were trading one (and possibly two) first-round picks to Cincinnati for the Artist Formerly Known As Carson Palmer, we took this up a notch by sending bat signals, flares and even fireworks before Lombardi finally noticed, then emerged from a tape room in the NFL Films studio to talk football with us. We ended up dissecting the Palmer trade, the 2011 season, the playoff picture, what Lombardi would have done differently had he gotten the Niners job, whether the Niners are for real, and even Al Davis' legacy, before deciding that the NFL Network should spin Lombardi off into his own channel.