Saturday, March 31, 2012

03/31 (Final Four, For Real) Quickie

If there's a team that won't have any fear of Kentucky, it's Louisville. Sometimes, fearlessness just ain't enough -- especially when Anthony Davis is anchoring the back line, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is out in transition, and those two and the rest of UK is focused entirely on winning. (Ohio State-Kansas should be less dramatic, but also more of a toss-up.)

Meanwhile, 49-year-old Jamie Moyer made the Colorado Rockies' starting rotation and will step on the mound next week with the chance to become the oldest player ever to win an MLB game. There isn't a more fascinating story in baseball this season, and if the Rockies are coming to your town and Moyer is scheduled to pitch, I highly recommend you go -- it's possible seeing a 49-year-old pitch (let alone start) will be a once-in-a-lifetime sight.

Some fun stuff on Quickish between this morning and yesterday a.m., so give it a look.

-- D.S.

Friday, March 30, 2012

03/30 (Final Four) Quickie

For all the enthusiasm around the Final Four, this year's version feels like a coronation -- Kentucky claiming its spot as one of the great teams of the post-KG era in college basketball and John Calipari finally getting that first championship.

Klosterman made a good point on Grantland yesterday: It would be an affirmation of Cal's singular "pre-NBA" recruiting approach, although it's not to be discounted that this particular group at Kentucky is unique:

Anthony Davis is the best college interior defensive player since Patrick Ewing. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is not only talented enough to be the No. 2 NBA prospect in the country, but he is a phenomenal teammate. The two of them -- despite being the team's top NBA prospects -- are 4th and 5th on the team in shots taken.

The reality is that it has taken Cal a few years to refine his system to the point where his insanely talented NBA-ready players subordinate themselves to the ideal of spending a few months focused entirely on winning six straight games in late March.

It is unclear whether next year's one-and-done crop will take the same attitude (and they certainly won't be as talented as Davis and MKG) -- all the more reason to appreciate this team and its potential dominance.

As for game picks:

I have really appreciated the crazy rivalry between Kentucky and Louisville (sorry, Cards fans: between Louisville and Kentucky), but UK is going to win by double-digits.

Meanwhile, I'll take Ohio State over Kansas, if only because my 5-year-old picked Ohio State to the title game and if that happens, he'll finish in the 98th percentile nationally on a bracket he picked entirely himself.


*MLB preview and picks -- absurdly shallow, as always -- coming Monday.

*Stanford wins NIT: Uh...woo?

*Thunder win over Lakers: Just another indicator it's OKC's world now in the West.

*And the Heat over the Mavs is just another indicator the teams are going in opposite directions this year (although "rings bling forever," and that's where the Mavs have it over the Heat forever.)

*Steve Nash to the Heat this summer? That would just be unfair.

*NFL Draft: Trent Richardson is going to be the best pro RB since Peterson.

*NBA Draft: Barnes/Henson/Marshall all going pro early. Barnes is basically Calbert Cheaney. Henson is too skinny (remember Brandon Wright?) Marshall made UNC go, but is not quick enough to play defense in the NBA. McAdoo a better prospect than all of them.

A few notes coming this weekend. But definitely pop by Quickish today (there's been some great Final Four tips to recommend) and all weekend.

-- D.S.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

03/29 (Early Baseball) Quickie

*My one-month-old daughter wouldn't sleep at 5 a.m., so thank you, MLB, for having the Mariners and A's on live from Japan. Opening Day-ish-ish! (Cespedes!)

*Apparently, I missed my window to buy Reebok Tebow Jets gear. Well played, Nike.

*I am absolutely loving all this coverage of the Kentucky-Louisville rivalry, which I knew existed but didn't nearly appreciate enough.

*Mike Brown has pulled off the trick of alienating both Kobe and Bynum in the same week.

*The Knicks are apparently just fine without Jeremy Lin. This is going to be a fun nothing-to-lose team to watch in the playoffs.

*OK, so he's not Shaka Smart, but Ohio's John Groce is a great hire for Illinois. He is high-energy, he recruits like a maniac and his system wins tournament games in March.

*If I was Bill Parcells, I would totally step in and coach the Saints next year. Why not?

*Have you seen Ray Lewis' locker room speech to Stanford men's hoops?

-- D.S.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

03/27 (Tebow vs. NYC) Quickie

*Let's be clear: Tim Tebow's Jets press conference yesterday was entirely unremarkable -- which apparently is remarkable to New York media. Had they never seen him do interviews before? He is more expert at it than any athlete in sports. The vaunted NYC media was overmatched.

*Baylor superstar Brittney Griner simply can't jump off the bench and onto the court to get involved in a teammate's on-court yapping match, even to support the team.

*Thoughts are with Pat Summitt as she moves on to the next stage of her life -- hopefully, the memories she gave to the rest of us serve as a sort of distributed storage network of her "best of all time" career.

*The Parcells-to-Saints rumor is fun, but absurd. (But wow would that be fun. And even though Parcells won't do it, you have to imagine that he at least considered it.)

*US Soccer: You can argue that the Olympics are fairly low on the list of great world soccer events, but this team needs all the seasoning it can get -- missing the Olympics (and on a dumb stoppage-time goal, no less) is a problem for this program.

*College football/BCS: It seems pretty clear we are in "when" not "if" for a season-ending college football playoff. I'm guessing that we end up with the top 4 teams playing it out, with the semifinals held on college campuses (although the smarter play would be to put the games up for bid from any city willing to pay for it).

I like a college football playoff, but the unintended consequence is the inevitable dispute over inclusion -- most years, it's fairly easy to pick two teams to play for the title, with perhaps a single third team having a gripe. There will be a half-dozen teams (if not more) that will have a legitimate claim to the 3rd and 4th playoff spots. If you don't think this will be just as much of an issue as excluding teams from the 1-2 match-up, you're kidding yourself.

Pop by Quickish today to catch up on all the best takes on the biggest storylines.

-- D.S.

Monday, March 26, 2012

03/26 (Big Monday) Quickie

*If you weren't around this weekend, don't miss my piece in yesterday's New York Times about Tebow fandom and Jets fandom (and rooting for the name on the back of the jersey, not the front).

*How's your bracket? Anyone have Kentucky-Louisville-Ohio State-Kansas as their Final Four? A few thoughts:

- Wow, is Kentucky a buzzsaw. Haven't seen "Win or Fail" expectations like this since 2007 Florida. And they justify it.

- Louisville will have no fear of Kentucky, and that is probably the No. 1 factor in any chance the Cards have to pull a monumental upset.

- Kansas made everyone forget about their lackluster tournament through the Elite Eight by pulling off the best win of the tournament so far. Triangle and two? Love it.

- Ohio State feels very overlooked -- I actually like them to upend KU in the Final Four.

*Tiger wins (finally): It's been a long, long time, and suddenly the Masters is a lot more than "Will Tiger finally win one?" It's "Wow, can Tiger win the Masters again?" which would be one of the great comeback stories in sports of the past generation.

*If it's Heat-Thunder in the NBA Finals, I think everyone could get behind that. I still think the Bulls can/will beat the Heat in the East Finals.

*Tim Tebow introductory NY Jets press conference at noon. That won't be a big deal or anything.

*The sports world has been so insane the past week, it's crazy to think that the baseball season starts this week.

-- D.S.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

03/25 (Tebow In New York) Quickie

Hell of a rally by Louisville. Gritty win by Ohio State. Worth Final Four teams, both.

Meanwhile, I have an essay in today's New York Times about Tebow fans who suddenly find themselves Jets fans -- but it's about a lot more than that. Give it a read here (and feel free to share it with your friends via Facebook, Twitter, email, whatever -- the more the better.)

-- D.S.