Monthly Archives: June 2011

The United States Needs to Get to Work

As I mentioned in my last post, the 24-hour rule — although not always available due to time restrictions — is a great way to evaluate things with a clear head.

For example, after the United States lost to Mexico 4-2 in the Gold Cup Final I most likely would have wrote about how pathetic Jonathon Bornstein is. I probably would’ve mentioned that I would have preferred to have scarecrow at left back or that Bornstein is so bad that a baby elephant could dribble past him. Seriously, the man was trending on twitter and you would’ve been hard pressed to find anything positive said about him.

Mexico celebrates a 4-2 rout of the United States in the 2011 Gold Cup Final. After falling behind 2-0, Mexico rallied to score four unanswered goals to dispose of the Americans. (Image via Mike Nelson/EPA)

Now that the 24-hour period has elapsed, I’m still disgusted with Bornstein’s play and I can only wonder what would’ve happened had Steve Cherundolo not gone out with an injury. During those 24 hours I also realized the game wasn’t Bornstein’s fault. Granted, Bornstein played awful, but he was just the scapegoat.

The United States’ problems are much greater than anyone would like to admit.

The Defense:

Against Spain, and at the start of the Gold Cup, the United States’ defense was shaky at best. Giving up four goals to the defending World Cup Champions is understandable, but the performances throughout the Gold Cup were not.

The U.S. beat Canada 2-0, but  Tim Howard made a few huge saves that kept the clean sheet. Then, the U.S. gave up two goals to Panama and fell 2-1 in their first ever Gold Cup group stage defeat.

Many people may point to the 300+ minutes of shutout soccer but that is what we should expect when you play Guadeloupe, Jamaica and then Panama. Everyone expected the potent Mexican offense to test the U.S. back four, but a four-goal outburst was surprising.

There is no doubt that subbing Bornstein for Cherundolo did not help the American defense but it also exposed the fact that the U.S. has no depth. Once Cherundolo went out with an injury, there was no clear replacement to shore up the defense, which is bothersome because injuries and depth are a large part of sports.

I understand the 2014 World Cup is not for a few years, but it’s never too early to plug different pieces into different positions to find a group that plays well — especially when you have a defensive group as bad as the Americans.

The Coaching Staff:

Once the game had ended some people were calling for Bob Bradely to be relieved of his duties. I won’t go as far as that but I do believe that if the coaching staff had acted differently, the game could have ended in the United States’ favor.

As I just stated, I don’t fault the coaching staff for putting Bornstein in for Cherundolo. It was what happened after the substitution that bugged me.

Once it was obvious — which didn’t take very long — that Mexico was attacking Bornstein like a bunch of hungry sharks that could smell blood, another substitution needed to be made. Bob Bradley should have taken off an attacker and added another defender to try and slow down the Mexican attack.

Even if you don’t insert the extra defender until after Mexico made it a one-goal game, the United States was still leading. Adding an extra defender would have taken away the needed space for the Mexican attackers. Also, the U.S. has high-quality attackers that may have been able to put another goal away on a counter attack.

I understand that it is very difficult to defend for the majority of the game, but defending and trying to capitalize on counter attacks would have given the U.S. a better chance to win.

The Positives:

Believe it or not, there were some positives from the Gold Cup Tournament.

For one, the offense scored in every single match, and at times, looked deadly. When the ball was moved with pace, it spread apart the opposing defense and gave the U.S. gaps to play through balls in. Clint Dempsey had a very strong tournament and Juan Agudelo gained some much-needed experience.

Before Jozy Altidore was injured, he looked to be the Altidore we have all been expecting. He played physical and attacked the opposing defense while playing simple when he needed to. It may have taken longer than expected, but Altidore may have finally matured.

Although it was in a small sample size, Freddy Adu was very impressive. He made an immediate impact in the Panama semi final match-up with a perfect ball down the line for Landon Donovan who played a ball back post to Clint Dempsey for they only goal of the game.  Adu was excellent in taking opposing defenders one-on-one and recognizing when to play his support players. In the Gold Cup final, Adu demonstrated his maturity when he held off the defense and then laid the ball off to Cherundolo who was able to win a corner for the U.S.

It is quite possible that some of the issues on display in the Gold Cup could be fixed with the return of Oguchi Onyewu and Stuart Holden. Onyewu could allow Bocanegra to slide outside and give the United States a legitimate back up with Eric Lichaj coming off the bench. Holden is a solid midfielder who could only help bolster the U.S. attack.

It’s only 2011 so pressing the panic button right now might be a little bit premature but if things don’t improve, the 2014 World Cup could be a very short trip.

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NBA Draft Reflection

 

It has been said, and I believe, that every person you interact with throughout your life has an impact on you one way or another. Some will impact you and who you become in multiple ways and others may only impact you in the slightest of ways that you don’t even realize it.

One of the things I’ve learned through my multiple coaches growing up was to not make knee-jerk reactions or statements. After a heart-breaking loss or a nail-biting win, your emotions run high and you may not look at things through a non-biased perspective.

Generally, the 24-hour rule is a good way to take a step back and analyze everything clearly. Obviously, some events — like the Red Wings climbing back from a 3-0 hole only to lose to the San Jose Sharks in Game 7 — may take more than 24 hours for you to recover from.

For draft night, a couple friends and I went to Buffalo Wild Wings to experience to draft in an exciting atmosphere – not to mention I wanted some boneless wings. Four hours, 60 picks and one swollen tongue later, the 24-hour rule was in full affect.

Now, approximately 37 hours later, here are my 2011 NBA Draft thoughts:

Kyrie Irving holds up his Cavaliers jersey after being introduced on Friday. Irving was selected first overall by the Cavaliers. in the NBA Draft.(Image via espn.com/ Tony Dejak/ AP Photo

  1. The Cavaliers played it safe with the selection of Kyrie Irving first overall, but then rolled the dice with the fourth pick by selecting Tristan Thompson. Thompson has a ton of upside — just as most of the lottery picks do — but many people. including myself think the Cavs reach for Thompson.
  2. ESPN absolutely blew it at staying current with draft trades. I understand that there were numerous trades happening but the fact that I had to stalk twitter to find out who was going where was a bit frustrating.
  3. The Utah Jazz made the right move in trading Deron Williams. The Jazz selected Enes Kanter third overall and then selected Alec Burks 12th overall. They also received Derrick Favors from New Jersey and seem to have built a nice young core for the future. With Sloan, Williams and Boozer all gone, the Jazz seem to have started their new era off with a bang.
  4. The Detroit Pistons draft left me with mixed emotions as I exited Buffalo Wild Wings. Thirty-seven hours later, I’m still not sure what to think. I love the fact that Joe Dumars didn’t get cute and instead drafted the best player available. Nobody expected Knight to be there and he has the skills and work ethic to be great if he figures it out. I love that he comes from a Jon Calipari program which has a history of producing excellent point guards. I hate that he is another combo guard in an already crowded Pistons’ backcourt.

    On the other hand, I like the Singler pick more than most. First off, he played, won, and then won some more at Duke under Coach K. Also, the kid is long, lanky and tough — something that can’t be taught. In a hard-working city like Detroit, Singler should fit right in.

  5. The Pistons now have players with the last name of Knight and Daye. I wonder how many times that will be mentioned in broadcasts. Lets set the over/under at 5 million.
  6. I don’t understand what the Sacramento Kings were thinking during this draft and I’m not quite sure they knew what they were doing either. Forget the fact that I like the Tyler Honeycutt pick at 35 and the Isaiah Thomas pick at 60, the trade they made was bizarre. Jimmer was a special talent to watch in college but I’m not so sure he will translate to the NBA. I hope he proves me wrong because everyone loves some JIMMER!
  7. The amount of players taken from outside the United States seemed to be much more than in years’ past. After 37 hours, I’m fairly confident I couldn’t pronounce 5 of their names correctly.
  8. The fact that Ron Artest now wants to change his name to Metta World Peace is beyond puzzling to me. Someone who was known for the brawl at the Palace and his physical, tough, shutdown defense is now putting World Peace in his name. Can anyone explain this to me?
  9. Things for Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Bobcats may be turning around. The Bobcats were able to steal Kemba Walker at 9 after getting Bismack Biyombo at 7 via Sacramento. Biyombo could be one of the best interior defenders next year. Walker is a winner and is a tough as nails, something the Bobcats lacked.
  10. I feel bad for Darius Morris. Morris left the University of Michigan early and most mock drafts had him as a middle-to-late first round draft pick. Instead, Morris fell all the way to the Los Angeles Lakers at 41 in the middle of the second round. Morris left a chance to play on a very good Michigan team and possibly improve his draft stock to a lottery pick if he performed well. Even as a Spartan, I hope things work out for Morris and that he becomes on of the steals of the draft.

Whether your favorite team had a good draft, bad draft, or was in the middle of the road it will all become second fiddle in a few days. The NBA is inevitably set to go into a lockout in the middle of next week. Instead of hoping that your young prospect takes the next step, let’s all just hope there is basketball for the 2011-12 season.

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There’s No Need to Fear…

Back when I was little, I absolutely loved swinging on a swing. Whether it was at a park or in my backyard, there was nothing quite like it.

Maybe I’m over-exaggerating a wee bit but I loved the feeling of it. I would pump my legs back and forth desperately trying to be able to see over my house — which I found out is impossible, go figure. Sometimes, I would get going as fast as I could and jump off on the upswing and see how far away I could land, which didn’t always end too well.

My favorite thing to do on the swing was to do “underdog.” Underdog was when my mom would push me and once I got going fast enough she would run underneath the swing on my way up.

"There's no need to fear! Underdog is here" (Image via CinemaBlend.com)

Right before my mom would run under the swing, she would yell “There’s no need to fear! Underdog is here!” At the time, I had no idea that it was from a cartoon show that my mom grew up watching but it didn’t matter — I loved swinging on the swing. And I LOVED Underdog.

In the past few weeks, sport’s fans have watched their schedules go from jam-packed to  as vacant as a desert. With the NBA and NHL seasons wrapped up and the NFL still in a lockout, some sports fans may not know what to do.

Well, I’m here to say “There’s no need to fear! Justin is here!”

Here are 10 athletes, teams, events or story lines to keep up with:

  1. The NFL Lockout- It isn’t news that the NFL is in a lockout unless you have been living under a rock for the past few months but there have been talks that the lockout is close to being resolved. Call me a cynic, but I’ll believe it when I see it.
  2. The NBA Draft- In what many have called the weakest draft class of recent years, the NBA Draft is bound to get interesting. Reports indicate that the Cavs have decided to take Kyrie Irving with the first pick but they are still weighing their options. Multiple teams are willing to trade down out of the lottery picks so tonight could get a little hectic.
  3. The Boston Red Sox- After starting the season off 2-9, the Red Sox have gone a remarkable 42-21 to take the lead in the American League East. The Sox have the best record in the American League and are proving they are as good as advertised.
  4. Justin Verlander- In his past five starts, Verlander is 5-0 and has only allowed 4 runs in 41 and 2/3 innings. Verlander has the capability to throw a no-hitter every time he takes the mound which has made him must-see TV. If the Tigers are going to make any noise in the AL Central and in the playoffs, they will need Verlander to continue to perform to his full potential.
  5. Rory McIlroy/Tiger Woods- Rory McIlroy is the future of golf whether you like it or not. His performance this past weekend at the U.S. Open was one of the best performances in a major that we will ever see. Once Tiger fully recovers from his injuries, it should be beyond entertaining to watch these two battle it out.
  6. The Ohio State University/Terrelle Pryor- Just because there hasn’t been any more news forthcoming from the investigation doesn’t mean that this scandal is going away anytime soon. Depending on what the NCAA investigation finds, expect the penalties to be the same as what USC received. The whole landscape of college football could be changed and Michigan and Michigan State are in line to benefit the most.
  7. Wimbledon- Wimbledon has just begun but it marks the return of Venus and Serena WIlliams. Both have been suffering from injuries but they are expected to make long runs considering the women’s field is wide open. On the men’s side, Nadal, Federer, Murray and Djokovic are strong favorites to reach the semifinals.
  8. Gold Cup- The CONCACAF Gold Cup Final featuring the United States vs Mexico is Saturday night at 9 ET. This rivalry may not be as strong as the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry but it should be a very emotional match. Mexico has looked great throughout the tournament but the United States looks to have finally hit their stride.
  9. American League Central- At the start of the season, the Cleveland Indians surprised everyone when they jumped out into first place. The Twins on the other hand, plummeted to last place and left everyone scratching their heads. After a 15-4 start to the month of June, the Twins are only 7 1/2 games out of first place. The Tigers sit one game behind the Indians at 40-35. Like usual, this division looks as if it will come down to the wire.
  10. Baseball Realignment- There have been multiple reports indicating that baseball is considering moving one of the six teams in the NL Central to the AL West — which currently has four teams — to balance out the divisions. The Houston Astros are the most logical choice to move considering their rivalry with Texas. If the move does happen, don’t be surprised to see the inter-league and division schedules re-adjusted.

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Loyalty Pays Off for Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks

Chalk one up for the good guys.

It was a battle of good versus evil and loyalty versus betrayal, the final score reads 4-2 in the favor of the good and loyal.

The 2011 NBA Final ended just as you would expect every fairy tale or super hero movie to end — with the good guys on top.

Sunday night, with a 105-95 victory in Game 6, Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks finished off the Miami Heat and sent LeBron James back to South Beach to rediscover his talents.

Sweet, sweet victory! Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry celebrate beating the Miami Heat 105-95 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals and becoming the 2011 NBA Champions. (Image via nydailynews.com/ AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The journey traveled by these two teams is as different as day and night and winning and losing.

This past summer, while LeBron James was betraying the city of Cleveland and teaming up with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade to create the most hated team in the NBA, Dirk Nowitzki remained loyal and returned to Mark Cuban and the Mavericks.

LeBron James was possibly the most courted superstar free agent in NBA history. Dirk Nowitzki was possibly the least courted superstar in NBA history. According to Marc Stein of ESPN, the one and only team to reach out to Nowitzki was Dallas.

Heading into the season, everyone expected the Heat to contend and possibly win the NBA title, the Dallas Mavericks on the other hand, were an afterthought.

 

Heading into the 2011 NBA Finals, everyone expected the Heat to dominate the Mavericks and deprive Nowitzki of his one final goal: an NBA championship.

Heading into the offseason, everyone should be scratching their head and wondering what in the world just happened while the other 29 NBA teams ponder why they didn’t even put in a call to Nowitzki.

Was it his ‘soft’ reputation? Or maybe teams felt he was too old to build around? Could it have been his record of underachieving in the playoffs and his inability to win it all?

Whatever it was, Nowitzki proved everyone wrong, including me. I didn’t expect the Mavericks to make it out of the first round. When they did, I thought there was no way they were taking down the two-time defending NBA Champion Lakers. In the conference finals, I believed this was the Thunder’s year and Kevin Durant would shine.

My pick for the NBA Finals was the Heat in five. The Heat were playing too well. Wade, James and Bosh were on a mission and an old Jason Kidd, a soft Dirk Nowitzki and a streaky Jason Terry weren’t going to stand in their way.

Not only did they stand in their way, the Mavericks stopped the Heat dead in their tracks and then decided to trample over them as they raced ahead to hoist the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.

The Heat needed the arrogant and self-centered James that starred in “The Decision,” not the insecure and unconfident James that shows up on the big stage. Maybe the series would have ended differently had James performed the way we expected him to, but he didn’t.

Sunday night, Dirk Nowitzki finally won his first NBA championship and was awarded the Most Valuable Player award.

One day, LeBron James may achieve both of those feats, but Nowitzki also accomplished something LeBron James will never be able to do: Nowitzki promised the city of Dallas a championship, and he delivered; James promised the city of Cleveland a championship, but ended up ripping their hearts out on national television.

The summer of 2010 for LeBron James was definitely a rough one. After choking in the finals and acting ignorant, childish and senseless during the post-series press conferences, the summer of 2011 could be even worse. And, to top it all off, James gets to return to the broken-hearted state of Ohio for the offseason. Oh how sweet it is.

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Thank You Reggie

The Bowl Championship Series has been around since 1998 and June 6, 2011 is quite possibly the first time I have ever agreed with one of their decisions.

On Monday, the BCS stripped USC of its 2004 national title and decided the 2004 national champion would remain vacant.

USC celebrates a 55-19 victory over Oklahoma in the 2004 national championship game. Monday, the BCS stripped USC of their national championship and left the title vacant. (Image via Getty Images, Jamie Squire)

The BCS also removed the Trojans participation in the 2006 Rose Bowl — the 2005 national title game — in which Texas defeated USC 41-38.

The ruling from the BCS comes from the results of the NCAA investigation in which they declared Reggie Bush had received extra benefits during his time at USC therefore making him ineligible.

The Trojans 2004 national championship and their participation in the 2005 national championship game join the Trojans copy of the 2005 Heisman Trophy — won by Reggie Bush — on the list of things USC has had to forfeit.

Many believe stripping USC of their national championship is useless. Critics claim they were the best team that year, evident by their undefeated season and their spanking of Oklahoma 55-19 in the national championship game.

USC may have been head and shoulders above everyone else, but they “cheated”. As far as we know, it may have been only one player who was ruled ineligible but that shouldn’t matter.

Growing up, athletes are always taught that no matter what, you win as a team and lose as a team. It’s the teams and players that understand that concept that are the most successful. USC won a lot as team, but because of Reggie Bush, they will now lose as a team.

The vacancy of the 2004 national title won’t make us forget how dominant USC was. It won’t make us forget all the magical moments we experienced during their incredible run. Hopefully, it will do something much more than that.

Hopefully, the embarrassment and struggles USC has endured these past few years will serve as a warning to other schools.

Hopefully, this will discourage coaches like Jim Tressel from turning a blind eye and make players like Terrelle Pryor think twice before accepting improper benefits.

Hopefully, this will encourage coaches to be role models not only OFF the field, but ON the field as well. Hopefully. in the long run, this will benefit college football.

Up next to feel the wrath of the BCS is Ohio State. With each and every piece of damning information that comes forth, the BCS has to be licking their lips.

Hopefully, when Ohio State’s time comes, I will agree with two decisions made by the BCS.

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The Return Part 2

If you missed Part 1, click here to go back!

Here is the second half of my 30 thoughts:

  1. Maybe it’s time we start taking Jose Bautista seriously. The home run hitting sensation of last year is doing it again. With a MLB leading 20 home runs as well 38 RBI and a .363 batting average, it’s looking more and more like Bautista’s 2010 season wasn’t a fluke.
  2. After a slow start, Jay Bruce has been on fire of late. In Bruce’s last 13 games, he has 20 RBI and 8 HR. Bruce entered may with 4 HRs and 11 RBI but exits May with 16 HR and 44 RBI.
  3. Scoring runs has never been San Francisco’s strong suit, but the loss of Buster Posey means their pitching staff will have to take it to another level. The Giants are tied with San Diego and Minnesota for the least amount of runs scored yet sit a half game back of the Diamondbacks for the division lead.
  4. The most disappointing team this MLB season has to be the Minnesota Twins. The preseason favorite to win the AL Central currently has the worst record in the MLB. At 17-36 and 15.5 games behind the Indians, the Twins’ season looks over already.
  5. When the Red Sox started 2-9, many people starting hitting their panic buttons. Now, the Red Sox have climbed to 30-25 and sit one game behind the New York Yankees. The rest of the MLB has to be saying to themselves, “they are who we thought they were, and we let them off the hook!”

    Adrian Gonzalez has been a huge part of the Red Sox success as he leads the MLB in RBI. (Image via thebostonchannel.com)

  6. The days of Jon Kuester’s tenure as the Pistons head coach are quickly dwindling. With news that the NBA has approved the sale of the Pistons to Tom Gores, Kuester and the Pistons will most likely part ways.
  7. I realize that everyone feels bad for the Cleveland Cavaliers after the LeBron Decision, but that doesn’t mean everyone needs to help them. Maybe it’s just me, but giving the 8th pick in the draft and Richard Hamilton to the Cavs to clear cap space seems quite dumb.
  8. As more and more information comes out, its looks like Lance Armstrong wasn’t as clean as we thought he was. Honestly, who cares? What Armstrong did off the bike was ten times more important than what he did on it. Remember him for all the good he has done rather than a cheater.
  9. It truly is incredible how pathetic the NFL is. It’s June 1 and the upcoming NFL season is in jeopardy. I wish I could fight over 9 billions dollars. Grow up and get a deal done.
  10. It’s going to be a long summer if we are already talking about the NBA lockout. According to David Stern, a lockout will be hard to avoid. Perfect, now ESPN can fill two hours with complete nonsense talking about the NFL and NBA lockouts.
  11. I decided that Jim Tressel and Terrelle Pryor are so dumb that they deserved another number. Pryor is either completely ignorant or arrogant considering he showed up the players only meeting in a brand new car with temporary tags on it. Also, reports say Pryor was driving on a suspended license. Genius. All of this would’ve been avoided had Tressel not lied to the NCAA. Instead, Tressel is out of a job and Ohio State is under investigation. See boys and girls, always tell the truth.
  12. I saw Hangover 2 and must say, the first one was better. Maybe my expectations were too high but Hangover 2 wasn’t as funny as Hangover. Either way, it was still a good time and I suggest you go see it.
  13. Here are my Top 5 MLB Teams:
    1. Philadelphia Phillies
    2. Boston Red Sox
    3. St. Louis Cardinals
    4. Cleveland Indians
    5. Florida Marlins
  14. The NBA Finals started yesterday but I tweeted what my pick was because my procrastination methods got the best of me. I picked the Miami Heat in 5 and I would be shocked if the Mavericks win. LeBron, Wade and Bosh are on a mission, and I don’t see a way the Mavericks can stop them.
  15. Tonight marks the start of the Stanley Cup Final between the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins. I’m picking the Bruins in 7 because of Tim Thomas. The man has been incredible and his stick save against Tampa Bay was mind-boggling. If the Bruins can play smart and not take stupid penalties, the Bruins should be right there in the end.

Even if your favorite sports team was knocked out of the NBA or NHL playoffs, you should still watch and appreciate the effort, heart and determination on display as teams give everything they have for the ultimate prize.

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The Return Part 1

It has been just over two weeks since my last blog post but I am officially back.

I pulled a Brett Favre and decided to retire — obviously with less media coverage — only to un-retire right before the season. I took a trip to the 15-day disabled list with an undisclosed injury and have fully recovered. I took a temporary leave of absence to clear my head once the Red Wings were bounced from the playoffs in dramatic fashion.

Actually, I think most people would call what I took a vacation. Ill admit it, I took a little vacation that ended up being way too long. I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun.

Anyway, all that matters is that I am going to be getting back to posting more consistently.

Since my last blog post, a lot, and I mean A LOT, has happened in the world of sports. Instead of writing a 5,000+ word post that most of you would attempt to read and comprehend but eventually get sidetracked, I’m going to change it up.

Instead, I’m going to write 30 of my thoughts/opinions on everything that has happened including my NBA Finals pick, Stanley Cup Final pick and my top five MLB teams.

Here we go:

  1. I feel bad for them, I really do, but the choke jobs performed by J.R. Hildebrand and Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Sunday would’ve made the San Jose Sharks proud. Both of them have to be kicking themselves this morning, but speaking of the San Jose Sharks…
  2. They finally got what they deserved. After knocking my Red Wings out of the playoffs, it was sickening to watch them fight for an appearance in the Stanley Cup Final. I discovered the cure for my sickness was watching the Sharks lose in overtime in one of the most improbable finishes ever. Oh, laughing as they skated off the ice helped, too, in case you were looking for tips.

    After losing Game 5 in double overtime 3-2 to the Vancouver Canucks, the San Jose Sharks skate off the ice for the last time this season. (Image via mercurynews.com)

  3. The retirement of Red Wings’ defenseman Brian Rafalski has it’s pros as well as it’s cons. His retirement freed up some cap space for the Wings to play with heading into free agency but if Lidstrom decides to retire, the Wings’ defense will be very suspect.
  4. With the move of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg now official, it looks as if the Red Wings will be screwed over by the NHL once again. Early reports are that Nashville, instead of the Wings will be moved to the Eastern Conference when realignment occurs before the start of the 2012-13 season.
  5. It may have happened years later than everyone suspected, but Jim Tressel and the Ohio State Buckeyes have finally been caught. A program that everyone suspected of being dirty is actually a lot dirtier than anyone expected. Click here for SI’s article containing more details.
  6. With Jim Tressel gone, Ohio State under NCAA investigation, and Terrelle Pryor under his own investigation, Pryor is all but headed to the NFL. Experts expect NCAA penalties against OSU to be similar to those assessed to USC which could provide an opportunity to teams in the Big 10 to jump ahead of the Buckeyes.
  7. The three teams set to gain the most from the OSU investigation are:
    – Michigan Wolverines
    – Nebraska Cornhuskers
    – Michigan State Spartans
  8. From LeBron James to Kobe Bryant, Mike Brown is the new head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. A new head coach is a start, but there are a lot more problems concerning the Lakers.
  9. As much as I hate to admit it, the Heat are doing what they said they were going to do. They are living up to the hype and then some. I absolutely despise the way James left Cleveland but he has been nothing short of spectacular this postseason.
  10. The only player this season that has had a better postseason than LeBron James is Dirk Nowitzki. Dirk carried the Mavericks on his back over the Thunder to the NBA Finals. This may be Dirk’s last shot at the NBA title he has been chasing and he deserves one.
  11. The Oklahoma City Thunder’s future is bright, but this year’s playoffs were necessary for them to succeed going forward. They gained valuable experience and if they can find a consistent third scoring option, they should be back in the Western Conference Finals again next year.
  12. If there was any doubt of who the best club in the world was before Saturday, then Barcelona’s Champions League Final performance should end all doubt. They dominated Manchester United and it wasn’t even close.
  13. In the tennis world, Novak Djokovic has been absolutely incredible. Djokivic extended his unbeaten streak to 43-0 (41-0 in 2011) and advanced into the semi-finals where he will match up against Roger Federer.
  14. The two most surprising teams this MLB season have to be the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Cleveland Indians. Last season both teams were sitting at the bottom of their division without a glimmer of hope. This season, both teams lead their respective divisions about a third of the way through the season.
  15. Justin Verlander looks to be becoming the ace that the Tigers desperately needed. This season, Verlander threw his second no-hitter and has posted a 5-3 record with a 3.12 ERA. When the Tigers were in danger of being swept by the Red Sox this past series Verlander came up huge with 7 2/3 shutout innings. In his 132 and final pitch of the night, Verlander hit 100 mph on the radar gun.
Finished with Part 1? Click here to continue on to Part 2!

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