Coach Karl Ousted

The NBA’s Coach of the Year, George Karl, of the Denver Nuggets has been fired, according to a source with ESPN. Karl had one more year on his contract and wanted to come back to the team, but after their GM left for Toronto, the team decided that they downloadwanted to go in another direction. Karl led a team with absolutely no All-Stars to a 57 win season and a 3rd seed in the playoffs. Yes, they lost early again. Karl has only made it out of the first round once out of nine times. I get that part. But he hasn’t always had the best players. He had a young, more immature than now Carmelo (hard to believe after this, I know), and a bunch of below average players. Even this season, their leading scorer was Ty Lawson with 16.7 PPG (31st in the league).

The Nugs were 38-3 at home this season which was best in the league. They were also 24-4 after the all-star break. Karl has coached 25 seasons and has a 1131-756 record but can’t seem to get it done in the playoffs. You can bet that a team is going to pick him up for next season. He has already talked to the Clippers.

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March Madness 2013

It’s that time of year once again college hoops fans. That’s right get ready to breakout the pens, print off brackets, start up office tournaments/pools and be prepared to go absolutely mad!!!

March Madness is upon us with Selection Sunday (this Sunday March 17th) only a few days away. So, without further adieu here’s a rundown of teams you CAN and CAN’T trust and some Sleepers/Cinderella’s to watch in this year’s NCAA Men’s Division One College Basketball Tournament:

You Can Trust:

Duke– Likely number one seed, went 14-4 in the ACC and 27-4 overall. Has one of the richest tournament histories and recently got back playmaker Ryan Kelly. Kelly dropped 34 points in Dukes revenge win over this year’s ACC Champion Miami Hurricanes. All reasons to trust the Blue Devils.

Key Wins: Nov.24th vs. then second ranked Louisville 76-71, Nov. 28th vs. then fourth ranked Ohio State 73-68, Mar. 5th vs. then fifth ranked Miami 79-76. Key Losses: Jan.12th vs. North Carolina State 84-76, Feb. 16th vs. Maryland 83-81, Feb.28th vs. Virginia 73-68.

Indiana– Likely number one seed, went 14-4 in the Big Ten and 26-5 overall. Spent time this season as the number one ranked team in the nation and have a sensational offensive/defensive combo in playmakers Cody Zeller and potential POY Victor Oladipo. Led by coach Tom Crean the Hoosiers are as reliable as they come this year.

Key Wins: Nov. 20th vs. Georgetown in OT 82-72, Feb.2 vs. then first ranked Michigan 81-73, Feb.19 vs. then fourth ranked Michigan State 72-68. Key Losses: Dec. 15 vs. Butler in OT 88-86, Feb.7th vs. Illinois 74-72, March 5th vs. Ohio State 67-58.

Miami– Likely a second seed team, won the ACC championship outright. Started the season unranked and have been ranked as high as second in the nation. Led by seniors Kenny Kadji and Reggie Johnson along with coach Jim Larranaga (coached the 2006 George Mason Patriots to an improbable final four appearance) the Canes can be trusted.

Key Wins: Nov.28th vs. then thirteenth ranked  Michigan State 67-59, Jan.23rd vs. then first ranked Duke 90-63, Feb.2nd vs. then nineteenth ranked North Carolina State 79-78. Key Losses: Nov.13th vs. Florida Gulf Coast University 63-51, Dec.25th vs. Indiana State in OT 57-55, Feb.23rd vs. Wake Forest 80-65.

Gonzaga– Likely a number one seed, went undefeated at 16-0 in the West Coast Conference and 31-2. Gonzaga is the number one ranked team in the nation and have been led by the likes of Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris, don’t let the WCC schedule fool you, the Zags are trustworthy this year.

Key Wins: Nov.23rd vs. Oklahoma 72-47, Dec.31st vs. then twenty second ranked Oklahoma State 69-68, Mar.11th vs. Saint Mary’s 65-61. Key Losses: Dec.8th vs. then thirteenth ranked Illinois, and Jan.19th vs. then thirteenth ranked Butler 64-63.

Louisville– Likely a number one or two seed (depending on whether or not they win the Big East Conference Tournament), went 14-4 in the Big East and 26-5 overall. The Cardinals have a good chance of winning the Big East tournament and securing a number one seed because of the dynamic play of Russ Smith, Chane Behanan, and Peyton Siva. Coached by tournament hardened veteran Rick Pitino, the Cards offer a solid sense of security this year.

You Can’t Trust:

Kansas– Yes the Jayhawks went 14-4 in the Big 12 and have a 26-5 record, and yes they will likely earn a second seed in the big dance, however, given Kansas’ tournament resume’, they don’t have a leg to stand on this year. Since 2005 Kansas has been upset a total of four times, two of which came in the tournaments first round. To their credit the Jayhawks were in last year’s National Championship Game and won it all in 2008, but given their topsy-turvy tournament track record don’t be shocked to see them going home early…

UNC– The Tar Heels went 12-6 in the ACC with a 22-9 overall record and suffered some struggles this season. While UNC has one a pair of National Championships since 2005 (05′ and 2009) the Heels have fallen short of the Final Four a total of four times, with a Final Four loss to Kansas in 2008. With their up-and-down style of play UNC is far from a safe bet in this year’s tourney.

UCLA– The Bruins were once a household name when it came to the Big Dance, but the glory days of the 60’s and 70’s have long been over. UCLA had a stretch of tournament success from 2006-2008 with three Final Four appearances and a National Championship appearance, however they have also been upset three times as well (2005 1st round, 2009, 2011 2nd round)and didn’t even make it to the dance in 2010 and 2012. Given UCLA’s inconsistency, they simply can’t be trusted.

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Syracuse– The Orange Men have been feeling a bit blue lately going 2-4 in their last six games losing recently to Georgetown 61-39. Cuse did manage to go 11-7 in the Big East and 23-8 overall but have struggled thus far in the Big East Tournament. Since their one and only National Championship in 2003 Syracuse has failed to advance beyond the Sweet 16 in six of the previous seven tournament appearances, the most recent was an Elite 8 loss last year to Ohio State. With the Orange Men having the longest case of an Upset Stomach I’ve seen in a while, they have yet to earn any amount of trust.

Notre Dame– Aside from a 5 OT thriller victory over Louisville this season the Fighting Irish have had a lack luster season posting identical numbers to Syracuse (see Cuse’ numbers above). Notre Dame’s tournament history is riddled with first and second round upsets over the decades that have past since the schools one and only final four appearance way back in 1978. The last time the Irish broke into the Sweet 16…2003. Needless to say, the Luck of the Irish has been absent for Notre Dame year-in-and-year-out. Moreover, the Irish are a historical lock to be upset.

Sleepers That Could Open Your Peepers:

Michigan State– The Spartans finished second in the Big Ten standings going 13-5 with a 24-7 overall record. Coached by tournament veteran bench boss Tom Izzo and led by the likes of Keith Appling and Gary Harris the Spartans are ranked eight in the AP Poll and will likely garner a number three seed. Michigan State has made five Final Four appearances with two National Championship appearances (won it all in 2000, lost to UNC in 2009) in the last 12 years. The Spartans have made runs before and could be poised for another deep run this year.

Saint LouisThe Billikens have only made two tournament appearances in the last 12 years (2000,2012) but they managed to make it to the second round last year and only missed making the Sweet 16 by four points losing to the aforementioned Spartans 65-61. Led by playmakers Dwayne Evans and Kwamain Mitchell Saint Louis finished in 1st place of the Atlantic-10 Conference going 13-3 and 24-6 overall. The Billikens are ranked sixteenth in the AP poll and could surprise a few teams this year.

ButlerDespite some early exits pre-2010 and missing last year’s tourney, the Bulldogs have managed to play in two of the last three National Championships and finished 3rd in the Atlantic-10 with an 11-5 record going 24-7 overall. Given the Bulldogs recent success in the big dance, Butler should not be counted out of this year’s potential sleeper group as they can surprise teams the same way they did in 2010 and 2011 this year.

Marquette– The Golden Eagles ended the regular season with a four game win streak that included W’s against Cuse and ND and have stayed hot in the Big East tournament. Marquette is ranked fifteenth in the AP poll going 14-4 in the Big East and 23-7 overall. The Golden Eagles last Final Four was in 2003, however, they have posted back-to-back Sweet 16 finishes recently. Marquette may be able to pull off a similar run like the UCONN Huskies did in 2011.

Oklahoma State– Despite recent tourney woes the Cowboys were on fire in the second half of season going 11-3 in their last 14 games with wins over higher ranked Big 12 foes Kansas and Kansas State. Led by Marcus Smart and Markel Brown (both averaging 15PPG) Oklahoma State may have the offensive scoring ability to trip a few teams up in the tournament.

Cinderella Stories:

Iona– The surprise MAAC Conference Champions finished the regular season with a overall record of 20-13 going 11-7 in MAAC play. The Gael’s will likely be a sixteenth seed in the tournament and as we all are aware no sixteen seed has EVER upset a number one seed in the history of the tournament. Nevertheless, this year’s crop of sixteen seeds will be some of the strongest yet and could give those trustworthy teams I mentioned early a scare…at least in the first half anyway.

South Dakota State– The Summit League Champions went 25-9 overall with a 13-3 conference record and will likely be a fifteenth seed, which gives the Jackrabbits a slight chance at an upset. Only six teams all-time have ever been a fifteen seed and upset a two seed. However, two of those upsets happened in last year’s tourney with Lehigh knocking off Duke, and Norfolk State defeating Missouri. So there’s hope for the Jackrabbits still.

Florida Gulf Coast University– This would certainly be a textbook Cinderella story as the Eagles are making their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance!!! FGCU won the Atlantic Sun Conference title and will likely be dancing as a fifteen seed. The Eagles went 24-10 overall with a 13-5 conference mark. Their a feel-good-story team that could win the hearts of millions while busting millions of brackets at the same time.

Belmont– The Bruins won the Ohio Valley Conference tournament in their first year as a member going 14-2 with an overall record of 26-6. Belmont has been a rising mid-major program and will likely earn an eleventh seed, meaning they could legitimately make some noise if they catch fire this year.

James Madison– Won the CAA Conference Championship to punch their ticket to the tourney going 11-7 in CAA play with a 20-14 overall record. The Dukes will likely be a sixteenth seed, but just like Iona, this team could play a number one seed tougher than we’ve ever seen.

Side Note: The odds are stacked against these Cinderella teams yes, but in March…ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN!!!

Final Thoughts: Granted there were plenty of teams I left out in what will be an eventual field of 68 teams, however I personally felt as though these teams stood out amongst the rest of the field. Who do you have going all the way? Who is most likely to get upset? Leave a comment below.

Kettl For Shooting Touch

shooting_touch_logoAttention readers! My buddy Kevin Kettl is one of five finalists (out of 70 applicants) for an amazing opportunity to go to Rwanda for 10 months in October through an awesome nonprofit called Shooting Touch. I’d probably butcher it trying to go into detail so check out their website, http://www.shootingtouch.com/, to learn more about the organization. Anyways, long story short, Kevin would use the game of basketball to create a positive social change in this country. To help him out, take a few minutes to watch this awesome video he put together. Enoy!

Garnett Going Away?

There is a rumor going around that the Los Angeles Clippers are very interested in obtaining Kevin Garnett to help them in a playoff run. With KG’s experience, tenacity, and outside jumpers, who wouldn’t want him on their team? He is still a solid player, even if he is just a fraction of his former self. It is great that Garnett always says he wants to retire aindex Celtic, and I think he should too, but if it is between trading him or Pierce, I’m letting go of Garnett. Pierce got stabbed a bunch of times, had to play alongside some of the worst Celtics ever (i.e. Antoine Walker after his “prime”), and stuck with the team throughout their down years. He holds many records in this storied franchise and I think he deserves to stay. But I digress..

It’s hard to keep Garnett with the season we are having. Yes, we have been playing a lot better since Rondo went down, but before that, it hardly seemed worth the two year, $23.5 million deal that he still has after this season. However, for what they are offering, at least what is rumored, is to trade him for Caron Butler (10 year veteran with 15.7 PPG in his career, most of which occurred a few years back), and 2nd year point guard Eric Bledsoe, who the Clippers are very high on, it is not worth it. Bledsoe is averaging just over 9 points a game this season, playing behind Chris Paul when he was healthy.

Danny Ainge went on the record saying that he really hasn’t talked about moves, but will take a wait-and-see mentality before the trade deadline on February 21. Anyways, KG has a no-trade clause in his new contract, and can veto any trade that we try to do. That being said, do you think he would go? In my mind, the Clippers have a lot better of a chance of winning than we do. However, he has been the harshest since the Ray Allen-to-Miami signing. Would it make him a hypocrite? What do you think?

C’s Top Heat

The Celtics were able to outlast the Miami Heat on Sunday in a double-overtime victory. Boston escaped with a 100-98 victory that few have thought much about. The reason is simple—Rajon Rondo is out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL. The starting NBA: Miami Heat at Boston CelticsAll-Star Point Guard was averaging a league leading 11.1 Assists Per Game and recorded back to back Triple-Doubles before hyper-extending his knee on Friday against the Hawks.

The good news is, we beat the 1st place Heat behind KG’s 24 points and 11 rebounds and a Triple-Double by Paul Pierce.  Even the struggling Jason Terry contributed with 13 points while Jeff Green added 11 of his own. Other than that it was a defensive matchup for the most part, until the two overtimes allowed the teams some more time to raise their scoring averages. LeBron James had 34 points and 16 rebounds for the visiting Heat. With this win, the Celtics break a 6 game skid and will host the 16-29 Kings on Wednesday.

C’s Pick It Up

The Celtics won both games that they played this weekend, topping the Pacers 94-75 and the Hawks 89-81. The C’s are currently sitting at one game below .500 (16-17) and take on the Knicks, who are second place in the East.

On Friday, against the 19-14 Pacers, Kevin Garnett scored 18 points and grabbed 7 boards before being ejected for scuffling with Tyler Hansbrough. Rondo added 18 while dm_130104_nba_celtics_pacers_highlightPierce and Courtney Lee both scored 13. Jared Sullinger had 10 rebounds (4 offensive).

On Saturday, against the 20-12 Hawks, the C’s had a tougher task. After being down most of the game, they came back on Rondo’s back. Rajon had a triple-double with 14 Points, 10 Assists, and 11 Rebounds. Paul Pierce scored 26 points while grabbing 9 boards and Sullinger added 8 Points, 9 Rebounds.

C’s vs. Mav’s Preview

The C’s take on the Mavericks tonight and it should be quite a game. Not for the normal reasons though. Usually, both teams are on top of their divisions, or close to it, but not this time. So far the Mavs are 11-10 while the Celtics are 11-9. However, they have an excuse, with Dirk Nowitzki being out all season. We have had the luxury of having most guys healthy (except Rondo missing 2 and a half games), but still can’t seem to click.

gty-154249437-3_4_r560This marks the first time that Jason Terry will play against his former team where he won a championship and a sixth-man of the year award. Meanwhile, newcomer O.J. Mayo has taken over the scoring lead in Dallas, averaging 20.8 PPG. Dallas is currently riding a 3 game winning streak, where Mayo dropped 40 points against the Rockets and 23 against the Suns.

For the C’s, Pierce leads the way with 19.2 PPG while Garnett is averaging 16.0 and Rondo puts in 13.0 of his own to go along with 12.8 assists. The game is at the Garden tonight at 8:00 PM. Go Celts

D-Will Hires Own Reporters

Do you hate the Brooklyn Nets? Maybe it’s because they still smell like the Dirty Jersey, or even that they have Kris Humphries, or maybe it’s some other reason. But if you like them, you may have to re-evaluate things after this. Deron Williams has hired his own beat reporter to cover him, and only him. Yes, that’s right. Williams thinks that he does not get enough recognition or highlights. The site will be revolved all around him. He says it is only going to be 90% about him, but still, that’s crazy. Kobe tried this before but to a lesser extent.elite-daily-deron-williams-brooklyn

Do you think it is ridiculous that a player would do this? Do you think it shows how self-centered and conceited he is? I think it proves that he cares more about himself than he does his team. He doesn’t care about winning a championship, he wants money and fame. Do you agree?

Changing Names

Reports say that the New Orleans Hornets will soon be known as the Pelicans. Yeah, you heard it right, they are going from a semi-intimidating name, to the least intimidating name in all of sports. No one is going to want to play here, and no one will want to buy their gear. They are also looking into changing colors to red, gold, and navy blue.

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On a related note, Michael Jordan said he would entertain the idea of returning the Hornets name to Charlotte, since it was very popular back in the day. Many people today still wear the old teal and purple Hornets gear. This could be a big brand change for the Bobcats in a big way.

Darko Leaving?

Not much going on today, except for the fact that Darko Milicic may be leaving the Celtics. He has played in only 1 game out of the Celtic’s 11, and is not happy with his bench role. Did he expect anything more?

He says he wants to go back because of his ill mother, but even Doc Rivers said that it also has to do with his undefined role on the team. Does anyone actually care?