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Posts Tagged ‘Basketball’

NCAA Final Four: Kentucky, UConn, VCU, Butler

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For this sports fan, few events offer a prolonged and sustained period of sports enjoyment than the NCAA Men’s Championship Basketball Tournament, affectionately referred to as “March Madness.”  As exciting as this annual pilgrimage through the brackets is, we usually find ourselves starting at fearsome foursome of at or near top seeds during the Final Four weekend.  Not so in 2011.  Salute the infiltration of the Mid-Majors to the Final Four.

This weekend’s games are comprised of the #4 seed Kentucky Wildcats playing the #3 seed Connecticut Huskies (Saturday, 6:09PM EST) and the #11 Virginia Commonwealth Rams playing the #8 Butler Bulldogs.  When I watch the tournament every year, after rooting for my local interests, I secondarily have a secret crush on the underdogs.  Yeah, I’m telling you that my ultimate wish would be to see four #16 seeds make it to the Final Four and set the bracket right on its ear.

Why VCU is taking the cake after the jump >>

Michael Jordan to Make Another Come Back?

Michael Jordon is truly the Brett Favre of basketball… at least for the retiring and un-retiring part of things. He’s retired and returned twice, but unlike Favre he took a couple years off before coming back. Now the rumors are spreading that he might come back again.

The gossip all started because Jordan, who owns the Charlotte Bobcats, practiced with the team a few times last week. At first people were saying it was just his way of making the guys more accountable during practice. But then the rumors started flying because Jordan didn’t suck out on the court. Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace said Jordan “doesn’t have this quickness, but he can score, he’s a shooter. The last thing to ever go is your jump shot and he has that.”

Of course Jordan is Wallace’s boss so what is he supposed to say? If he did come back, Jordan would be the oldest guy to do it. Besides the obvious problem to a comeback (his age) there are plenty of other reasons why it’s a bad idea. He’d probably have to sell his interest in the team for one. And start taking a few more vitamins, for another.

While I loved Jordan when he played (and defended him when he came back) I cannot imagine him running around with the guys currently on the court today. The average age is just over 26 years. Most players’ fathers are probably Jordan’s age.

Jordan is 48 and last played in league in 2003. He gave that wonky Hall of Fame speech in December 2009 where he said “One day you may look up and see me playing a game at 50. Don’t laugh. Never say never.”
Oh, we’d never laugh at that. We know it’s not nice to laugh at senior citizens.

Team USA Men’s Basketball Roster Set

USA Basketball

As expected, Chris Paul — or Tayshaun Prince, depending on who you ask — was awarded the final spot on the Men’s Team USA Basketball squad which will be trying to win the gold medal at the Olympics in about a month or so. The roster, which was finalized and officially released today, doesn’t really have any surprises, unless you count the fact they only have two big men in Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh.

First here’s are the players for Team USA, followed by a little critique:

1. Kobe Bryant
2. LeBron James
3. Dwyane Wade
4. Carmelo Anthony
5. Dwight Howard
6. Jason Kidd
7. Chris Bosh
8. Michael Redd
9. Carlos Boozer
10. Deron Williams
11. Tayshaun Prince
12. Chris Paul

During one of his reports. ESPN scribe Chris Sheridan indicates he’d prefer Tyson Chandler over Tayshaun Prince, saying the addition of Boozer and lack of Chandler only gives Team USA three big men. I’m sorry, unlike Chris Sheridan, I don’t consider Carlos Boozer to be a “big man.” Yes, he’s 6-9 and a post player, but I’m not sure I’d include him as one of the “bigs.”

Boozer will not be guarding any centers while he’s on the floor, unless Howard and Bosh are in foul trouble. Also, I don’t recall hearing Boozer’s name come up when people are talking about defensive presences, especially in the paint. If Sheridan is worried about offense, these five forwards — Carmelo Anthony, Tayshaun Prince, Carlos Boozer, Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh — should be able to put plenty of points on the board.

If their opponents decide to zone Team USA BECAUSE of their offensive advantage down low, look for Chris Paul, Michael Redd, Kobe and Deron Williams to make their opponents pay. Conversely, if Sheridan is worried about defense, just ask Kobe Bryant how good of a defender Tayshaun is.

I bet he’d get higher marks than Boozer would. Because of that, Sheridan’s argument is wrong — or at least misguided. If he said he’d prefer Chandler over Boozer, that would be understandable. Chandler is rebounder, a shot-blocker and can run the floor like a gazelle. Carlos Boozer does only one of those things well.

Team USA opens up their Olympic play against host team China on August 10. Because of Yao Ming, this game should test Sheridan’s theory right from the start.