Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Tuesday 02/06 A.M. Quickie:
HFA, XLI, Leinart-Milano, Durant, Dunks, More!

Note: What did I say yesterday? That after the Super Bowl, the entire sports world simply flips to an entirely new season. How do I know this? Because today's morning post starts with soccer (just as a jump-off, I promise!), continues with college hockey (WTF?!) and finishes with the Pro Bowl (No! Anything but that!) Some of you might not have been paying much attention to the NBA or college hoops or college football recruiting until this moment now that the NFL playing season is over. Welcome! Now, on with the morning...

What if your team played a home game but no one was there to root them on?

Will Italy ban fans from its top-level soccer matches? It's a pretty fascinating story, even if it is (a) about soccer and (b) about Europe. (Neither of which I know any of you care about.)

But it raises an interesting hypothetical: What would happen if, say, an NFL game or a college football game or an NBA or college hoops game was played in front of NO ONE.

What if Duke hoops played "at home" in an empty stadium? Or LSU football? Or the Seahawks? Or the Mavs? What exactly is the impact of the energy of the crowd? And what would an absence of that energy do to a team? (Hell, either team?)

I'm just curious what you think the effect would be in one of those sports if a top-tier team with an avid home fan-base (and presumably a great home-court advantage) if the team played in front of totally empty seats?

Super Bowl XLI Hangover: It was the second-most-watched Super Bowl in history, along with the third-most-watched TV show ever.

It continues to be astounding when sports events can defy the current overall TV ratings slide from fragmentation of audience attention span.

Matt Leinart and... Alyssa Milano? You know what: They deserve each other. Hope Alyssa likes kids.

College Hoops: What a best-of-both-worlds game last night on ESPN between Texas A&M and Texas:

Fans got to see THE break-out team of the year (Aggies) and THE most talented player in the game (Durant).

The Aggies won the game, yet another quality win that helps confirm that they are no mere fluke, come March.

(Or are they? Are the Aggies simply setting everyone up to be "that team" that has the amazing regular season, draws a No. 2 seed, then falls short of the Final Four? Marco at Just Call Me Juice has the analysis of why the Aggies are legit... like I said before: If you pick them to fold early, they'll go to the Final Four; if you pick them to the Final Four, they'll fold early. It's inevitable. They will absolutely be this year's Bracket Buster team.)

And Kevin Durant got his (28 points, 15 rebounds -- his 14th double-double of the season.)

More on this later today.

NFL Coaching Search: So do the Cowboys want Ron Rivera or what? Or are they simply going to hire Norv Turner? And will they convince Rivera (pay him enough) to take a defensive coordinator role under Turner with the promise of full control and a promotion in a season or two? Rivera can afford to wait a season and be the top candidate for any job a year from now.

NBA Last Night:
Homecoming: Stephen Jackson racks up 36 on the Pacers in his return to Indianapolis as a member of the game-winning Warriors.

Confirmation: Caron Butler scored a career-high 38 (as Gil was cold and Jamison was DNP) and the Wiz beat the Sonics.

Question: How "valuable" could Steve Nash be if the Suns didn't need him to rally for a win over Denver? (Tracking: Nash's hurt shoulder).

NBA All-Star Game: Your dunk contestants: Nate Robinson, Gerald Green, Tyrus Thomas and Dwight Howard. A few comments: (1) Nate-Rob better not get 100 attempts to complete a dunk. (2) Big men (Thomas, Howard) will have a hard time winning. (3) Where is James "Flight" White? (thanks to TrueHoop for the tip-off).

Oh, reader Jerry Sloan sent me a link to a great post from his blog, comparing NBA names to the characters on "The Wire" that they represent. I'm a "Wire" fanatic, so this was of obvious interest. (Jerry, you copped out on McNulty. I'm going with Gil Arenas: Anti-authority high-performer.)

Mario Danelo's autopsy showed he was drunk when he plunged off the cliff to his death. A sad story gets worse.

College Hockey: (Yeah, you read that right.) I (barely) follow two college hockey events all year – the Frozen Four and the Beanpot, which held its semis last night, producing BU and BC for the title-game.

(I think my Beanpot interest came from going to school in Boston for two years, enjoying the college hockey scene... and from my wife dating a Beanpot star in college. As well-documented in the old Quickie chats, he was a future NHL player. Not that I have an inferiority complex about that or anything.)

NFL Pro Bowl: As usual, there is ZERO buzz... Worst all-star game in sports. Which is amazing, given that it is the most popular sport.

-- D.S.


Patriots64 said...

Nash still valuable as a pseudo coach:
"Victoria's Steve Nash was too hurt to go back out and too embarrassed to stand for the beating the Denver Nuggets were putting on his Phoenix Suns.

Nash's red-faced halftime pep talk inspired the Suns, who overcame a nine-point halftime deficit to beat the depleted Nuggets 113-108 Monday night, despite the league's MVP sitting out the second half.

"During the first half they roughed us up, knocked us around and we didn't stand up to them. Steve had a talk at halftime and we played with a little bit more oomph in the second half," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "They've got some tough guys and we had to stand up to it. We want to play pretty, but pretty wasn't getting it done tonight."

Mikepcfl said...

Screw the home fans, I would just love to see Duke play without home refs someday!

Justin Kadis said...

Go Terriers!

The Beanpot was the only thing us BU fans had to root for each year...other than Marathon Monday (aka the best day of the year in Boston).

Without a football team and a somewhat lousy basketball team I became a hockey fan over my four years at BU.

Let's hope the Terriers can win their 28th Beanpot, which would give us more Beanpot wins than the other three teams combined. (Currently we have 27 wins and the other three have 27 wins).

Unknown said...

Drunk puts Danelo's behavior mildly...he was almost 3x the legal limit.

Also, college hockey?!? soccer?!? What's gotten into you Shanoff?

Unknown said...

SOCCER?!? COLLEGE HOCKEY?!? Is this bizarro shanoff?

amr said...

Living in MN, I don't really follow college hockey with much zeal, but I end up watching a lot of games intermittently on the weekends. Fun games, fun sport, great uniforms (except Minnesota State,Mankato). Up there with college baseball and softball. (Which isn't a dig.)

solomonrex said...

Nice, mikepcfl, I'd pay to see that, too.

I think the last big Super Bowl topic is whether the Bears will be one and done after their loss. I say yes.

You missed all the excitement of what happened in Italy: there was a huge clash with fans outside the stadium. A policeman died from a grenade to the face. The game got interrupted when TEAR GAS started blowing onto the field. Then the authorities suspend league play after the death.

Here's why they don't just cancel the rest of the season: the Italian gov't gets a cut of all the soccer gambling. So, even with the rioting (this is just the most recent episode) and police lives in danger, they don't want to call off the games.

Matt T said...

I am actually looking forward to seeing Tyus Thomas in the dunk contest. That dude can jump out of the gym.

Maybe this will be the year that one of the big men can win.

jhawkjjm said...

Someone explain to me how Vince Young makes the Pro Bowl (replacing Philip Rivers) over Tom Brady? (unless Brady said no)

Should be interesting though, Vince could run for like 300 yards in that game because noone hits and tackles. I might have to watch just to see that.

mattie said...

justin, I'm a BU alum too and agree with everything you say. My freshman year was the football team's last year, I watched people go nuts tearing up the field from my neighbor's room in West Campus. Go Terriers! ;)

Games with no one in the stands = freaky. Even when you're in kindegarten there's a full contingent of parents and siblings and such around, making noise. I think all the players will be completely spooked. I'd watch it on TV!

I'm not surprised by the Superbowl ratings, at least around me people generally seemed more interested this year than in year's past. The promise of a decent halftime couldn't have hurt either.

Didn't the Dunk Contest have a two-try limit once, or am I making that up? Or maybe 5? There should ALWAYS be a limit.

Brian in Oxford said...

On the subject of games without fans, about 15 years ago there was, I believe, a mono outbreak in the conference that now is the America East.

Anyways, they were holding their conference tournament at the Hartford Civic Center (15,000 seats), hosted by the U. of Hartford, and sure enough, the tournament was quarantined, so they had cardboard cutouts of fans and just about nobody allowed in the arena.

(Insert "looked like a Whalers game" cracks here....)

The Pro Bowl sucks because it's the only game where you can't go half-ass and have it still look real.....now if they wanted to make it flag football for the pro bowl....I wonder if that would work.

If someone gives Nate a 3.0 on a lame "ooh, I'm 5'7", any dunk's a good dunk" attempt, will he go after the judge and cuff him?

CMFost said...

I missed you guys yesterday. Out town all weekend with no internet access. What I miss? Not much. Just quickly slipping back to the Super Bowl who else here thinks the MVP voters had no choice but to vote for Manning for MVP even though CO-MVP's of Addai and Rhodes would of been the right choice.

J Fitty said...

What if your team played a home game but no one was there to root them on?

This will pretty much happen tomorrow night when the US soccer teams "hosts" Mexico in Arizona. At least 75% of the 50K+ fans in attendance will be rooting for Mexico.

Great that this game falls in "Rivalry Week," as Mexico-US has turned into a heated and hated rivalry. Not great that the game is at 9PM, opposite UNC-Duke.

marcomarco said...

Wake me up on MLB opening day. I hate this part of the year.

Nick Lee said...

College hockey is a legitimate sport in Minnesota and New England. You want to talk about rabid fan bases. The whole scene is largely untouched by the shadier aspects of other major intercollegiate sports, and there's the whole "mid-major" effect where smaller schools (such as St. Cloud State) can still make a splash. Go Huskies!

Pete said...

Its nice to get some college hockey love (or hockey love period) here on th eblog- please keep it up!

Natsfan74 said...

Interesting comment about home fans. In 2001, right after 9-11, Army played Air Force with no fans in the stadium. The Government was concerned about a congregation of 8,000 future military leaders, along with 45,000 fans as a potential lucrative target. Also, the 1944 Army Navy game (I know, a long time ago for 2 teams no one watches), only the Army team got to travel for the game. So, what the schools agreed to do is divide the Army Corps of Cadets in half, with half of the Corps learning Navy cheers and serving as a surrogate Navy Fan Base. Could you imagine a Florida fan ever doing a Georgia cheer at the event formerly known as a cocktail party?

ToddTheJackass said...

You rock Dan, going with College Hockey!

Should be a great matchup on Monday when my BC Eagles face off (again) against the evil forces of BU (led by Dick Cheney aka Jack Parker). Sadly, BU always wins these things, but the way the regular season matchups have gone this year between BC and BU, it could go any which way.

Sucks to BU Justin! Go Eagles!

Benji said...

All you have to do is watch a Colorado Buffalo home basketball game to see what college hoops would be like in front of no one.

Unnervingly quiet and you can easily pick out the individual fans cheering (all 5 of them) but it must serve as some bizzarro home court advantage because they beat an OSU team that they had no business staying with and an Iowa State team that, while not that good, is still much better than the Buffs.

Patriots64 said...

Unless 1 RB ran for 200 yds and 3 TD's Manning was going to win MVP.
It was pre-ordained!!

Brian in Oxford said...

Well, Manning certainly had better numbers than Brady did the first time the Pats won. And heck, Brady wasn't even a media darling at that point....

BLUE said...

The 24 Blog is up for discussion this week.

24 Blog.

BLUE said...

No mention of the fact that the nuggets played without Camby, AI and Evans? That's why the suns were able to come back without Nash, because the nugs ran out of Gas. If Carmelo has a triple double, you know they were short handed.

J Fitty said...

USA-Mexico - 9PM EST tomorrow night - ESPN2.

Flip over during Duke-UNC commercials.

solomonrex said...

daddee, that's right, he called the plays, so it's not like he did nothing for the MVP. It was his bad play-calling that lost games in the past. So if you mocked him before, it's time to give him props now.

I wonder why more teams don't let QBs do their own playcalling. Sure, Manning isn't your average QB, but they've been so good for so long. I'm sure guys like McNabb, Brady, etc. study hard enough to be their own coordinators.

BLUE said...

No mention of Bode Miller or Lindsay Kildow? You talk about college hockey and soccer, you may as well make the leap to world cup skiing too.

Unknown said...

i love College Hockey..even though my Redhawks are performing their annual second half swoon. Ugh.

Yet another example of why Durant = KG. Good stats and a loss. Awesome. If Durant is drafted #1, its to be the leader of his team. He can't do it in college so far.

And Dan, you know there are soccer fans among your readers. Tsk. I think crowd does have a huge impact in certain games. It depends on the crowd. Certainly, teams like UNC, Duke or Oregon in Autzen, would be easier to beat without a crowd around.

And..Alyssa Milano? She's hot. That's really all that matters.

MP said...

Move the Pro Bowl to mid-season to make it matter more to fans. End of season makes it always anti-climactic.

And don't even both thinking about the "playing in front of an empty stadium" question. In soccer-obsessed Europe, if people try this, someone is going to die in a trampling. Count on it. THAT is the worst aspect of it.

Would that happen in America? Maybe, maybe not, but do you really want to find out?

WuzUpG said...

Ask the Devil Rays how it affects them in an empty stadium.

Patriots64 said...

Too much chance for serious injury for a mid-season Pro-Bowl, won't happen.

verbal97 said...

Mark, Italian teams have played in empty stadiums the last few years as punishment for fans' actions during various games...there hasn't been any stampedes to try to break in...yet, anyway. It seems to me that the punishment is going to be too light.

And temwr...get a life! You can make fun of Dan or anybody else. But, if you come on here, read his blog and leave a comment, what does that say about you?!

BLUE said...

As far as the probowl goes, when did they move it to a saturday? I guess it's been so long since anybody has watched it that they thought nobody would notice.

Durant can fill up a boxscore but can't win games, reminds me a little of a few guys in the NBA right now. (Cough) Lebron (Cough).

Mikepcfl said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mikepcfl said...

Usually it's best to ignore some things, but temwr seems like an STD that burns so much that you cant just ignore it.

I know it gets lonely in your mom's basement all day while she's turning tricks to pay for your cable porn, but there are plenty of other blog sites to go to. I hear Mark Foley has one that you may be interested in.

While not everyone contributes to the site, at least most posts are readable and not just full of the bile of a small (and yes I mean your penis size) man who just wants to sound tough for once in his life. So go back to your lotion and playboys and leave us.

jhawkjjm said...

I read this somewhere and thought it was rather funny. Manning had his defining playoff run and during that run he had 3 TDs and 7 Ints.

Manning I think won the MVP because there was a lack of a defining moment and big play in the game. He managed the game well. The QB will always be favored to win the MVP unless there are some big plays made by others.

When did we switch to comment moderation?

Mega said...

I apologize if this was already posted- did anyone see the dunk contest judge's panel this year?

Dr. J
Vince Carter

I might have forgotten someone off the panel. However, its in Vegas this year. Coincidence that Jordan agreed to do it =).

Am I also the only one who thinks the media portrays Peyton Manning as the second coming? They say all this about him being a "nice guy"...I remember when he whined and tossed his teammates under the bus.

He is a great QB, he wants to win, but I'm doubting how much his teammates really love him. I could be wrong. The sun doesn't shine out of his ass.

Shanoff- pitchers and catchers report in what, 9 days or something? That means in 10 days, someone on the Cubs will tear a rotator cuff.

MJL said...

I care about soccer and Europe, actually. Does that make me less of a person?

Brian in Oxford said...

If that's the panel for the dunk contest, then does the winner get upstaged by the judges after the contest?

Maybe Larry Bird and Craig Hodges can keep score during the 3-point contest. Hey wait, that has an actual score....it counts more as a SPORT than the dunk contest :)

solomonrex said...

Yes, Daddee, that Rangers game was killing me. I looved the first period, then, crap.

I live so close to Buffalo, though, I think I'm breaking up with the Rangers. The BuffaSlugs are the new ice-nessss.

Not that anyone case, here's a cheat sheet for the ice-challenged(I'm no expert, though):
Sabres=90s Bills (guh.)
Toronto Maple Leafs=Chicago Cubs
Edmonton Oilers=SF 49ers
Red Wings=Yankees
Dallas Stars=Ravens
Minnesota=Cleveland Browns

BLUE said...

When was the last time you heard the Peyton Manning was invited to a party? That's why everyone thinks that he's not liked. I mean besides the incessant whining over a dropped pass or a route ran wrong, i guess he might be a great guy. But if you tried to have a conversation with him, he'd probably audible and wave his arms around.

ToddTheJackass said...

I think Gretzky is closer to Jordan than Lemieux. Past that, it is an awesome list.

I'd do one for college hockey, but I wouldn't be able to keep writing without discussing how BU coach Jack Parker is a Dick Cheney ringer. Though the BC/BU rivalry could probably be compared to Red Sox/Yankees, in that they're always two of the best teams, and everyone outside of their fan bases probably hates them.

See what you started Dan?

Patriots64 said...

Lemieux = Jordan
Gretzky = No NBA player has ever been that good!!

Unknown said...

agreed pats.
Gretzky is on a level unsurpassed for a team sport. (I add the team sport thing because you can't compare Federer or Tiger to a Gretzky, Jordan, etc.)

ToddTheJackass said...

I dunno, Jordan won more championships than Gretzky. Both guys completely transcended their sports with their individual dominance, more than I think Lemieux did. Really Jordan, Gretzky, and Ruth sit in their own sports pantheon, looking down at everyone else. To me, Lemieux is closer to a Shaq or a Hakeem, where they had a few years where they might've been the best, but will never be considered better than Gretzky/Jordan.

Erg, should have known there might be a Notre Dame fan lurking somewhere. At least BC owns you guys in football (4-0) the last 4 times they've played.

marcomarco said...

@ generik

Can you vouch for the reported in attendance?


That's a pathetic showing, I don't care how cold it is.

verbal97 said...

I don't agree with the Gretzky comments. He was a player that needed others around him. Remember, he amassed most of his stats when other hall of famers and all-stars were playing with him (Messier, Kurri, Coffey, MacTavish, etc.). Whereas, Lemieux made all-stars and 40 goal, 100 point players out of Rob Brown and Dan Quinn.

Also, Gretzky always needed an enforcer on his line to make sure he wasn't harrassed (McSorley). One of my favorite hockey moments was when Lemieux instigated a fight and was thrown out of a playoff game against the Caps. The Penguins won in 4OT on a Petr Nedved goal.

I think Lemieux was hampered by poor health. Without which he would have broke most of Gretzky's record. If you look at his cancer season, had he played the whole season he would have obliterated Gretzky's goals and points/season records. I do think however, that Gretzky's 163 assists will never be beaten, but then again, that says a lot about him.

I would equate Gretzky as an even better version of Steve Nash.

Go BC!

Patriots64 said...

And we haven't even got to Bobby Orr yet who was the best 2 way player of all time plus could beat the crap out of anyone who challenged him.

Patriots64 said...

Wrong, Gretzky made those players better especially Kurri and Coffey.
In his first year he scored 137 points playing with Brett Callighen and B. J. MacDonald, household names those are. MacDonald scored 46 goals.

Second year up to 164 points playing with Callighen and rookie Kurri, sure he was going to become a good player but not then.

Third year 212 points, playing mostly with Kurri (32 whopping goals) and Dave Lumley or Callighen. Messier and Anderson had good seasons but mostly played on the second line.

etc etc etc

Gretzky baseball and football type equivalents:

100 Hr's and 250 rbi's a
60 TD passes
40 points/game in BBall

Those type of #'s and you have Gretz.
Slightly better than Steve Nash who I like but no comparison!!!

solomonrex said...

Well, that's a good point.

Gretzky is closer to Jordan in the way he transcended the game, what he means to Canada, etc.

But I think the better comparison is probably Gretzky=Montana. Montana never won without Jerry Rice, Gretzky without Messier.
Lemiuex is probably closer to Namath or Bo Jackson.

Jordan has one of those dominant careers that are unique to basketball, like Shaq, Bill Russell and Jordan. Hockey doesn't have that, unless we look at the goalies, who just aren't that famous outside the game. Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur dominated eras, but just aren't that popular to outsiders. Which is too bad, really.

ToddTheJackass said...

Lemieux did have Jagr when they won the championships, right?

Also I think the Penguins brought in Ron Francis among others when they won in the '90/'91 season. And they had Paul Coffey until midway through the '91/'92 championship season as well.

So I wouldn't exactly say Lemieux didn't have any help either. No doubt Lemieux was hampered by poor health though. My only comment is that he never acheived the greatest among them all status that Gretzky and Jordan hold. That's all.

Damn, now I really want to go back and play the old NHL hockey games on genesis.

mark said...

In other soccer news . . .

Tom Hicks (Texas Rangers owner) is expected to purchase Liverpool. Liverpool are like the Red Sox to Man. Utd's Yankees (although Liverpool has championships by the fistful, so maybe more like the Dodgers?) Anyway, now both are owned by Americans.

Also, is Italy the new England?

Jen said...

marcomarco~ I'm with you...I said the same thing to my husband as the Super Bowl was being played.

dan mega~ usually that stuff happens to Cleveland teams too (see LeCharles Bentley, Browns) haha

Unknown said...

Are our comments going to get deleted if we keep talking about hockey?

WuzUpG said...

Hockey BABY!

Today and tomorrow are two games of the most important home-and-home series between two teams that are favored to win the Stanley Cup, the Sharks and the Ducks.

The Ducks supposedly will have their whole team healthy again with Niedermeier scheduled to play.

The Sharks have had a sketchy period with losing two consecutive games on home ice to the Stars!

C'mon Sharkies!

J Fitty said...