Monday Dreg

On this day…

March 2nd, 1962

Today 53 years ago, Philadelphia Warriors center Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points against the Knicks. It was the first time that a professional basketball player had scored 100 points in a single contest; the previous record, 78, had been set by Chamberlain earlier in the season. During the game, Chamberlain sank 36 field goals and 28 foul shots, both league records. — courtesy of the History Channel

NBA DiRTy Plays 3-2-15

maninironmask


 

Today is Franchise Tag day and already we have learned that the Lions will not use the franchise tag on DT Ndamukong Suh, making him an unrestricted free agent.  That the Chiefs placed the franchise tag on OLB Justin Houston (league-leading 22 sacks) and the Broncos are expecting to tag Demaryius Thomas before the deadline expires at 4pm EST.  There are rumors that Lesean McCoy will be used as a bargaining chip to move up the draft to take Mariota and that Dallas is going to let Demarco Murray test free-agency, after using the franchise tag on Dez Bryant.

Both DeMarco(392) and LeSean(312) led the league in rushing attempts.  The danger for DeMarco and your fantasy team is the curse of 370.  The curse inflicts itself on RB’s who carry the ball 370+ times, and limiting their numbers from the previous year, due to injury or freak-o-nomics.  Considering the history DeMarco has staying healthy – you’d be wise to avoid him in 2015 regardless of where he goes.  I know of only 3 players in NFL history that equaled or outperformed their previous years stats and DeMarco is not LaDanian Tomlinson, Earl Campbell or WALTER PAYTON!.  As for the Eagles willing to part ways with LeSean, it signals louder that the position of running back is less relevant than it used to be.  More and more teams believe in divas like Dez, than guys who earn their yardage running the ball.

For those like Ndamukong Suh who are not tagged, the Lions (teams) have 7days to negotiate a contract or let them go via free agency.  There are several places that will bid heavy for a force like Suh.


 

Ty Lawson.  The only reason to watch the Nuggets.  Word is that now when breaking the huddle the Nuggets are counting down the end of the season – “1-2-3…6weeks!”  Good for them! When you look at what the front-office has done in just two short years – how do you blame the players for wanting this long-drawn-out-fiasco to last?  On Friday night, the Nuggets got blown-out by the Jazz 104-82.  The No-guts have not had a winning month since October when they were 1-0.

They sent Affalo to 1st place (in the division) Portland and Faried has done nothing offensively to earn his new contract.  So what’s the plan?  The No-guts have no off-the dribble threats nor do they have any reliable perimeter scorers.  So all that is left is Ty Lawson, the Todd Helton of the Nuggets during an extensive rebuilding project.  Do not expect him to be on the team next year, as Sacramento will do what they can to trade for him after the end of the season.

So with a top 10 pick looming in the June draft and cap space, do we really have faith in a front-office that blew up a team that won 57 games and was a number 3 seed two years ago?  As long as kroenke the younger continues to insert himself into the day to day, this franchise will never be good.  We’ve had past-glimpses, only to have us slapped awake by the reality of what it takes for championship basketball in Colorado.  First things first, maybe we get rid of the name Nuggets and go from there…


 

Considering the calendar has turned and conference tournaments are gearing up for their entrance to the Madness – we bring a few thoughts on recent games and what they might mean for our brackets – courtesy of Ryan Fagan

Resume potential

BYU 73, Gonzaga 70. This says more to me about Gonzaga than BYU but...the Cougars (23-8) knock off a potential No. 1 seed, and they did it on the road on Gonzaga’s senior night. BYU does have a couple of ugly losses on the season — swept by Pepperdine — and nothing is guaranteed, but an elite win like this one will go a long way with the selection committee.

St. John’s 81, Georgetown 70. This was a good win for the Red Storm, who lost to Georgetown by 22 the first time they met. Add to this a pair of season sweeps of Providence and Xavier — two at-large quality teams — and St. John’s should be OK when Selection Sunday rolls around.

Boise State 56, San Diego State 46. The Broncos already owned a record of 22-7 and had won 11 of their past 12 games. On Saturday, Boise State finished its sweep of the Aztecs and picked up what is easily its best win away from home. With other bubble teams struggling down the stretch, the red-hot Broncos offer the committee an alternate look.

Dayton 59, VCU 55. The Flyers (22-6) might have been OK, but beating a quality team like VCU on the road moves them toward the much more secure part of the bubble. At least, it helps make up for the loss at Duquesne last Saturday.

LSU 73, Ole Miss 63. Really, this one could go in the “Blowing Bubbles” category, too. It was a nice win for LSU (21-8), but it’s the second consecutive loss for Ole Miss (19-10). The Rebels can’t afford for this streak to get any longer.

Davidson 77, George Washington 66. Once upon a time, George Washington was in line to get an at-large bid. That’s no longer the case, but this is still a win that boost Davidson’s thin resume. And, it keeps the Wildcats (21-6) in a first-place tie atop the Atlantic 10 heading into Thursday’s game at home against VCU.

Blowing bubbles

Boston College 79, N.C. State 63. This was maybe the most confounding result of the day. Boston College was 1-14 in the ACC heading into this one, and the Eagles held at least a 20-point lead for much of the contest. The loss dropped N.C. State to 17-12. It doesn’t knock them out of contention — the committee will still love the Wolfpack’s wins at Louisville and at North Carolina — but it’s not a good look.

Villanova 78, Xavier 66. This isn’t a bad loss for Xavier (18-12) — Villanova is a potential No. 1 seed — but it was a missed opportunity for the Musketeers, who led by seven at halftime and could have used the boost that comes with beating an elite team.

Kansas 69, Texas 64. As with Xavier, this wasn’t a “bad loss” for Texas. But, unlike Xavier, the Longhorns really needed this victory to counteract a growing list of losses to solid teams. At some point, the resume needs a big win or two, and this is one that got away.

North Carolina 73, Miami 64. The Hurricanes really, really needed another win against an at-large caliber foe, and they let this one slip away. Now, they’re 18-11 and probably on the wrong side of the bubble, though they’ll have ACC Tournament opportunities.

Texas Tech 63, Oklahoma State 62. Oklahoma State, at this point, is in a bit of a free-fall. The Cowboys (17-11) have lost four in a row, and two of those losses (this one and at TCU) were to teams that aren’t making the NCAA Tournament. Travis Ford’s team is in big trouble right about now.

Taking care of business

Georgia 68, Missouri 44. The epitome of a don’t-screw-around game, and the Bulldogs (19-9) didn’t screw around with this one.

Rhode Island 59, La Salle 56. The Rams (20-7) led the host Explorers come back a bit but wound up holding on to keep hold of their share of first place in the Atlantic 10 at 12-4.

Cincinnati 63, Tulane 47. The Bearcats (20-9) lost their home game to Tulane, so there was zero chance they were taking this one for granted. They didn’t.

Iowa 81, Penn State 77 OT. The Hawkeyes have had an up-and-down season, and this was nearly one of those ugly downs. But Iowa (19-10) survived in overtime, which is what matters.

Illinois 86, Northwestern 60. The Illini (18-11) had lost three in a row, so this was key.


 

Rousey v Zingano Whole Fight GIF

This is Ronda Rousey and the fight took 14 seconds.  Here are a few things that take longer:

  1. NFL decision on Ray Rice
  2. Bathroom break
  3. Josh Hamilton relapse
  4. Derrick Rose comeback
  5. Nomar Garciaparra at bat
  6. Prius merging onto highway

 

It’s Spring Training and we already have freakish injuries and embarrassment.  The Phillies opened up Spring Training by losing to the number one team in Division II – the University of Tampa, 6-2!  It’s meaningless baseball but it sure doesn’t read well to begin this way if you’re a Phillies fan.  The Rockies play the University of Phoenix on Tuesday, so….lord help us all.

As for your typical ‘only in baseball‘ injuries we have a torn meniscus from stepping on a sprinkler head – Michael Saunders; a fractured shoulder from getting out of a swimming pool – Ronald Belisario; to Chris Sale fracturing his foot steeping off the back of his truck.  There needs to be a Federal inquiry into why baseball players seem to suffer, by order of magnitude, more freak injuries than other sports’ athletes.

Here are some ‘might take the next step’ guys: — Courtesy of Dave Tobener

Brandon Belt, Giants: His breakout likely would’ve happened last year if not for a broken hand followed by a concussion. Belt had 9 home runs in early May and looked like he could easily reach 30 at the rate he was going. An on base machine, Belt has the potential to hit for both power and average and is also a sneaky stolen base threat. He’ll likely bat third for the Giants and could be due for that monster season everyone has been expecting ever since he tore through the minor leagues in 2010.

Zack Wheeler, Mets: Wheeler showed signs of being an ace last year and is poised to take a big leap in 2015. If he can cut down on his walks, he has the potential to be special. He averaged more than a strikeout per inning last year and had games where he looked absolutely unhittable. It’s a shame he won’t get much support from his offense, but he should still post good numbers.

Joc Pederson, Dodgers: Pederson’s path to playing time was cleared when the Dodgers unloaded Matt Kemp, and the rookie will get his chance to make people believe the hype. There’s nothing left for him to prove in the minors, and Pederson presents real 20-20 (maybe even 30-30) potential with regular at bats. He’s the most exciting outfield prospect to come around in a while and it’d be no surprise to see him make an impact early.

SEATTLE, WA - MAY 25:  George Springer #4 of the Houston Astros hits a two-run home run in the sixth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on May 25, 2014 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

George Springer, Astros: If he ever finds plate discipline, watch out. He may have struck out a ton, but Springer was still very impressive last year and could make a huge leap in 2015 if he can figure out the strike zone. He’s a big, strong guy with 30-plus home run potential who also possesses uncanny athleticism. He could easily lead the league in homers if he figures things out; on the flip side, he might strike out 220 times, too. But a big year awaits.

Oswaldo Arcia, Twins: He’s hit 34 home runs in parts of two big league seasons but doesn’t get a lot of press (or any press) for a variety of reasons. The Twins may have bigger prospects in the pipeline, but Arcia has shown he’s ready for an every day role and should finally get the chance in 2015. He has definite 30 homer potential and his minor league numbers suggest his OPS should rise, too. Arcia is the definition of a sleeper.

Marcell Ozuna, Marlins: He had an excellent 2014 and should be ready to take a huge leap forward this season. Ozuna basically skipped two levels of minor league ball and went straight to the majors, yet he’s performed so well it’s clear he wasn’t rushed prematurely. With a better lineup around him in Miami, the time seems right for Ozuna to reach the next level.

Aaron Sanchez, Blue Jays: Will he start? Will he close? No matter, since Sanchez has the pure stuff to succeed in either role. He was virtually untouchable in 33 innings last year, and if the Blue Jays don’t trade for a proven closer it’s easy to picture Sanchez putting up huge numbers there for an improved Jays team. He should have the same kind of success as a starter, but his innings will likely be limited if he’s in the rotation. Either way, he’s poised to make a lot of noise this season.

Gerrit Cole, Pirates: You can argue that he’s already broken out, but the potential is there for Cole to be a perennial Cy Young candidate. His third year should be the year he finally puts it all together and dominates for a Pirates team that expects to be in contention. He should get closer to 200 IP this year if he can stay healthy and it’ll be interesting to see how his numbers react. With as much talent as he has, those numbers should be big. This should be the year Cole proves everyone who named him one of the best pitching prospects in baseball right.

Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox: He didn’t live up to the hype in his rookie year, but asking any young guy to play shortstop in Boston and put up big numbers is a tall task. Now, removed from the hype and surrounded by a much better lineup, Bogaerts should be able to relax and let his natural ability shine through this year. He’s a shortstop with 20-plus home run potential, something that doesn’t come along every day. While the fans and media focus on all of Boston’s new acquisitions, Bogaerts can go about his business and show that everyone was right about his potential…just a year late.

Eric Hosmer, Royals: You’re forgiven if you feel like Hosmer has been around for 10 or so years, considering the immense hype and expectations that were pinned to him before he even debuted. But Hosmer is only 25, coming off a huge second half and postseason and poised to build on that success in 2015. He’s had a nice career up to this point, but nowhere near what many thought he was capable of when he debuted in Kansas City. This should finally be the year that Hosmer establishes himself as the dangerous middle-of-the-order hitter Royals fans have wanted him to be for years. A 25 home run season isn’t out of the question.