Friday, March 30, 2012

My All-American Teams & Player of the Year

It is that time, The 1st Annual Prestigious The Truth Boston Blog’s All American and Player of the Year (I guess we can think of a better name at some point).  I had done a midseason All-American team earlier and I think it’s a good time for the end of the year awards.

The Player of the Year Award was the most difficult for me, as I think Thomas Robinson and Anthony Davis both are very deserving for this.  However, I look at overall team success this year and Kentucky was better during the regular season.  In fact, both Kentucky and Kansas played earlier in the season and Kentucky won.  I’ve done a lot of blogging lately, so I am going to be lazy here and just posts stats next to their names.  Feel free to debate in the c-section.

POY – Anthony Davis

1st Team:
G: Kendall Marshall                8.2 pts, 9.8 asts, 2.6 rbs
G: Damian Lillard                   24.5 pts, 4 asts, 5 rbs, 1.5 stls
F: Draymond Green                16.2 pts, 10.2 rbs, 1.5 stls
F: Thomas Robinson               17.9 pts, 11.8 rbs, 1 blk
F: Anthony Davis                   14.3 pts, 10.1 rbs, 4.6 blks, 1.3 stls

2nd Team:
G: Isaiah Canaan                     19.2 pts, 3.3 rbs, 3.7 asts. 1.4 stls
F: Doug McDermott               23.2 pts, 8.2 rbs, 49% 3pt                  
F: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist       12.0 pts, 7.6 rbs, 2 asts
F: Jared Sullinger                    17.6 pts, 9.3 rbs
C: Tyler Zeller                         16.5 pts, 9.3 rbs, 1.3 blks

My Take on Harrison Barnes

It is the Final Four, but with Harrison Barnes, John Henson, and Kendall Marshall all declaring for the draft I thought I would give my opinion on Barnes.  First let me say as an anti-UNC fan I love that he is going pro, but as a college basketball and NBA fan, I am disappointed.  Barnes is one of the most talented guys in college basketball, hence why Chad Ford of has him going in the top 10 of every mock draft he does.  But to me there is so much more than that.

Harrison Barnes is a guy who to me suffers from the same thing LeBron James does, except for that whole destroying a city on national TV thing.  As a fan, we see these guys and all their talent and think, man I wish they played with more passion and desire.  You then look at someone like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and can’t help but imagine Barnes playing like him, with the passion, desire to win, and just to play the game with a reckless abandon.  But some guys aren’t wired like that; it’s just unfortunate they aren’t.

Part of me wonders whether the hype of him coming into college had something to do with it.  If college basketball writers didn’t name him a preseason First Team All-American as a freshman, would he be in a better position than he is now?  Who knows, really?  I remember when he was in high school and he had a typical signing day for an elite athlete (that is if you consider a typical signing day to include being on national TV), but then he wanted to be a little different, a little unique, so he Skyped in Coach Roy Williams to declare he would play for UNC.  As I would later learn, this was probably based on bad advice, because watching Barnes in college I realized he’s just a guy who seems like he just wants to fit in, rather than stand out.

You look at Barnes’ numbers this year and you see 17.1 points a game, 5.2 rebounds a game on a team that went 32-6.  You see that and you think wow, this kid is special.  Which is true, he is special, which is why I demand even more out of him.  In the game against Kansas in the Elite 8, the Tar Heels' offense went cold against the zone in the final 5 minutes, making two of their final 13 shots, including eight straight misses to end the game.  If you are truly that special, you take over the game and you don’t allow that kind of thing  to happen, Barnes went 0-3 from the floor in those final minutes and scored 1 point.  That is what kills me, because he has the ability to demand the ball, get to the rim, get fouled and take control of the game, but he just doesn’t. 

By all accounts, he is a great kid that works really hard, but maybe that is also his downfall, he’s too nice.  Maybe he will figure this out in the NBA.  But a lasting image of LeBron passing out of late game shots always comes back to me as a comparison for Barnes.  I hope I’m wrong.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The State of Your Boston Bruins

Hello, Hello, Hello. Been awhile, I know. I could blame it on a few things but let's just go with I was in an end of the winter slumber just like our Boston Bruins, as my excuse.

As we speak the B's are doing just fine, they have picked themselves up, dusted themselves off and are holding strong as the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference with the playoffs a week and a half away. But let's be honest it hasn't been an easy road..

From February 1st thru March 15th the Bruins went a pathetic 8-14, along the way they lost Rich Peverly to a knee injury (just returned 2 games ago), they lost Tuukka to a groin/abdominal pull (50-50 shot he returns for playoffs), Bergeron was banged up, Thornton had the flu for what seemed to be 2 weeks and Joe Corvo played like he was hurt but unfortunately he just sucks. Injuries are not to blame though, the Bruin's lost their focus, the only way this team can be successful is if they stick to coach Claude Julien's style, it's how they are built, they cannot rely on skill alone because they simply don't have enough. They are built to be a TEAM and if they don't play like a TEAM they will fall faster than an Iona 25 point lead in the NCAA tournament (sorry V, I had to). Now that we are on the topic of team I would like to quickly point out I still believe the Bruins lost their way when Tim Thomas went on his political campaign but for the sake of not repeating myself I will not go on another rant about it.

So what's to come..

Well the Bruins should wrap up the 2 seed shorty and if the season ended today they would be facing the Ottawa Senators in the first round. This is a great match up for our Bruins. Thomas has played in 16 of the last 17 games, so look for him to get a breather over the next couple weeks (assuming they don't start another losing streak), you may see Marty Turco get a few games or Khudobin from Providence and maybe even Tuukka before the season is out. Depending on how quickly the B's can wrap up the 2 seed I wouldn't be surprised to see Bergeron, Chara, Seidenberg, Ference etc. get a "maintenance" day or two.. Other than that we just wait, so until then.. strap on your seat belt, pull on your helmets, put on your foil, ready the troops, dust off your bear claws, if you are a bandwagon fan (Lane-o) hop on the bandwagon, hold onto your _____, and get ready to have your world rocked because it's almost NHL PLAYOFF TIME!!

The Best Final Four Ever?

Could we have a better Final Four than the one we have this weekend?  This is going to be awesome!  Not only is my favorite team (Kansas) in it, but we have 4 of the top ten programs of all time in it.  There is no mid major this year, which is fitting because New Orleans does everything big.  Big rivalries, big men, big games, everything is big.

Most everyone is talking about the Kentucky-Louisville game, and rightfully so.  You don’t get bigger rivalries than those two.  There have already been fights among the fans and I would expect a lot more.  These guys literally hate each other.  You also have two of the biggest coaching personalities out there with Rick Pitino and John Calipari.  Both coaches have have strong connections at UMass, both have tried (and failed) at the NBA, and both have coached at Kentucky

So getting into the game itself, Kentucky should win handily based on talent alone, with Unibrow (Anthony Davis), MKG, Terrance Jones, and 3-4 other NBA players they can role out there.  However, this is a rivalry game and Louisville is as hot as any team in the country (see UConn last year).  Their matchup 2-3 zone (a Ralph Willard – Holy Cross staple) has given teams fits this year.  They are finally healthy and Peyton Siva is making a ton of plays.  But when it
comes down to it, I can’t pick against Kentucky (mostly because of the Unibrow) in this game.  My pick: Kentucky 78-65.

  Now let’s get to the game that I am really more concerned about, Kansas and Ohio State.  These teams played back in December with Kansas taking it 78-67, but all you will hear about that game is that Jared Sullinger did not suit up for it (was he ducking it to avoid Thomas Robinson?)  But people forget that Tyshawn Taylor has surgery the next day for a torn MCL and meniscus, and he still had 13 assists in that game.  Jeff Withey wasn’t nearly the player he is now and don’t even get me started on Elijah Johnson.  EJ is currently playing the best basketball for the Jayhawks, who is going to defend him?  William No-Show Buford?  The funny thing about this game is that both teams were actually better last year and didn’t make it this far, its weird sometimes how March works.  The key to this matchup will be foul trouble and who matches up on who.  Both teams have zero depth, especially for the bigs.  If Withey is matched up against Sullinger and Deshawn Thomas is matched up with Robinson, I will take Kansas every single time.  If T-Rob and Sullinger are matched up against each other down low, it could be a toss up because both guys could get in foul trouble.  This will be a tight one, but I will go with Kansas 72-63.

Now if you have been reading this blog for a while now, you will remember I predicted this back on February 13.  I think a Kansas-Kentucky final would be everything a college basketball fan could want.  Two of the biggest fan bases, storied histories, elite coaches, and exceptional talent.  This is going to be a fun ride in New Orleans and it begins Saturday night.  The best playoff could possibly have the best ending ever, let’s just hope the Superdome is ready.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Jayhawks Prevail Over Former Coach (Again)

Anyone who knows me knows this weekend was about as good as it gets from a basketball perspective for me.  The other two bloggers on this site happen to be UNC fans, yeah I know – I am not sure why or how, but I happen to be a big Kansas fan and yesterday my Jayhawks whooped the Tarheels.  To give you a little background, in case you don’t know, Roy Williams was the coach of Kansas until 2003 where he left to go coach UNC.  Well to say us Jayhawk fans were upset would be an understatement, we are in the top 3 winningest program in the country, so we don’t consider our program to be a stepping stone for anyone.  But then maybe the best thing could have happened; Kansas hired an up and coming star in Coach Bill Self.  In their very first matchup against each other, Coach Self and Former Coach Roy Williams matched up in the Final Four in 2008, Kansas ended up winning that (this will become a pattern) en route to a Championship that year.

This brings us to this past weekend where those same two coaches matched up again, only one player remains from that original match up, former walk-on redshirt senior Connor Teahan.  The first half was like a great boxing match, Kansas would go on a quick strike for 6 unanswered points, then UNC would answer back with a 8-0 run of their own.  The first half was played at such a high level, it was no wonder there were so many NBA scouts in attendance.  After 20 minutes, they were knotted up at 47 all.

Surprisingly I was confident going into the half tied up, because I was extremely happy with the offense I saw the Jayhawks display and I knew Kansas would start to clamp down on defense (something I felt UNC couldn’t do).  Well, this didn’t happen soon enough for me as both teams continued to exchange little 4 or 6 point runs and the score stayed even for much of the second half.  But then, Coach Self went back to their rarely used Triangle and Two defense, the same one that eventually slowed down Robbie Hummel and Purdue in the round of 32.

Once this defense was installed, UNC had no answer.  Kansas collapsed into to the paint, allowing no penetration or scoring by the Tar Heel big men.  UNC then settled for 3 pointers (11% for the game) and mid range jump shots (22% in 2nd half) and Kansas finished the game on a 13-0 run.  Even though I almost had a heart attack, that Kansas defense finally showed up.

This Kansas team is led by All American Thomas Robinson and streaky point guard Tyshawn Taylor and those two were the reasons that Kansas is moving on to the Big Easy for a chance to cut down the nets once again.  Robinson had a typical T-Rob day, with 18 points and 9 rebounds, while TT had 22 points.  No one would have expected this at the beginning of the season when the Jayhawks only returned one starter and depended heavily on a guy who only played 14 minutes a game last year.  Everyone else barely even cracked the rotation last year.  Bill Self probably said it best after the game, “This would have been a year, if we got to the second weekend (of the tournament), most Kansas fans would be happy. But that's not how those guys think.  They think this is their year, and I'm certainly not going to tell them anything different.” 

Now my Jayhawks are only 2 wins away from doing the improbable.  It will be a very tough road as they have to go through Ohio State, who just dismantled a very good Syracuse squad and likely a Kentucky team that may have 7 pros on its team.  But, this is March so anything could happen, who would have expected them to get this far.  Why not us?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Family Over Everything


Kansas-UNC: The Battle of Two Unique Styles

So I know it has been a while since I last blogged, and I know you missed it.  Well I am back by popular demand.  So I am going to preview one of the best days that a college basketball fan can have.  As you may or may not know, I am a huge Kansas fan and today my Jayhawks go up against some team that a few of my friends support, North Carolina.  Now not only is this is a big day for me, because I just despise the Tar Heels, but it is a big day for all Jayhawk fans because Roy Williams is going up against his old team.

In 2008, Kansas went through UNC and Roy in the final 4, this year they are playing for a trip to the final 4.  2008 was also the year Kansas brought the title back to Lawrence, maybe it is only fitting that they have to go through UNC again this year?  Does that mean another title in my future?  I sure hope so.

The only negative thing about this game is that All-American point guard Kendall Marshall has a fractured wrist for the Tar Heels; I can already hear the excuses coming from their fans.  Who is to say Kansas wouldn’t win even with Kendall?  Yes, I get that Kendall is important to the Heels, is that because he is that good, or just because they didn’t recruit another point guard?  If Tyshawn Taylor went down for Kansas, EJ would just slide over to the point guard spot and Connor Teahan would move into the starting lineup.  That would be ok with me.  If Thomas Robinson went down (arguably the most important player in college bball) then the Jayhawks would just slide in Kevin Young.  I wouldn’t make the excuse, I would just tip my cap.  The Heels have plenty of talent with Barnes, Henson, Zeller, Bullock and McAdoo, if they really are the better team we will find out today.

This matchup will be one of my all-time favorites because it displays two very unique styles, the Jayhawks play very physical defense, while the Tar Heels are all offense (and Henson).  We have already seen in last night’s games, physical defenses (see – Louisville & Ohio St) have advanced to the Final Four.  Today, Kansas and Kentucky play very physical defense, while Baylor and UNC don’t and rely more on their athleticism, which is why I am picking the two K schools to advance.  I can’t wait for today and I hope you are excited too.

I will leave you with this video to get you excited for today:

Sunday, March 11, 2012



The committee answered my prayers this evening. Iona is in the tourney. First up is BYU in a play-in game in Dayton, OH. Winner plays Marquette.

I love all the analysts hating on Iona for getting in, saying Drexel should have been in blah blah blah. If Iona scheduled all their games against middle school basketball teams they could have had the 25 game win streak or whatever it was, also. Iona is the first MAAC team to get an at-large bid in 17 years.

I'm so jacked up right now. Only 48 more hours. Tuesday night cant come soon enough.

Now, I gotta go check and see if I get truTV...


Well, today is the day I have been waiting for since last sunday when Iona suffered a terrible loss to Fairfield in the MAAC tourney. Currently, Joe Lunardi has them in the first four out. Earlier this week they were in the next four out, so we have made some progress up the board. Xavier needs to get a win today to prevent St. Bonaventure from potentially bursting Iona's bubble.

We will find out on the NCAA Selection Show tonight at 6pm. I hope the committee gives them a chance, but they also didnt take care of business when it mattered most - so I can see them as a top seed in the NIT as well.

Come on NCAA committee, give me a chance. They havent been in the tourney since 2006, got shutout each year I was in school. Please.


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