Saturday, February 23, 2013

2/23 (Weekend) Quickie

Ahh, there's nothing like a Friday night spent watching the Wizards. (Wait, yes there is... but good times in our house!)

Speaking of "there's nothing like...," just in time for the 1st-grade basketball league season finale today, things could be a lot worse than Gabe wanting to model his game off Russell Westbrook.

Great day of college hoops: It'll be Syracuse-Georgetown on in our house at 4 -- it's among the most nostalgic match-ups in college hoops.

But I'll be flipping back and forth with Colorado State-New Mexico at the same time. I'm intrigued by Colorado State and its emphasis on offensive rebounding. That team is going to vex me when the bracket comes out. FWIW, at No. 15, CSU is KenPom's highest-ranked mid-major besides Gonzaga. New Mexico is a solid No. 34, but ranked No. 7 in adjusted defensive efficiency, a fascinating match-up with CSU's Top 10 offense.

(Meanwhile, a couple of great "Bracketbuster" match-ups today, led by Detroit-Wichita State, another good one at 4 pm, and Creighton-St. Mary's at 6.)

My evening is set: Florida hosting Arkansas at 7, ready to get a little payback for the ass-kicking the Gators took in Fayetteville a couple weeks ago.)

Hilarious -- and typical -- that the Lakers would get huffy about Mark Cuban's suggestion that the Lakers should amnesty Kobe during the offseason. (Typical Cuban: It's a savvy idea.)

So the Blackhawks have sort of blown out expectations-setting for the season, haven't they? It's already Stanley Cup title or bust.

Was there ever any doubt that RGIII would be back on schedule?

Enjoy your weekend. Great day of hoops ahead.

-- D.S.

Friday, February 22, 2013

2/22 (Danica) Quickie

It is hard to write about gender in sports without being patronizing. The story of the weekend is Danica starting in pole position at the Daytona 500, with as good of a chance of winning as anyone -- it is hard to overstate that it would be one of the most exciting results in sports history.

As nothing more than a casual NASCAR observer -- I usually catch one race a year, and it's Daytona (there is something about a sport starting its season with its biggest event that I like) -- I am absolutely rooting for Danica to win... rooting for history. I'd like to think that's not patronizing, but it's hard to say.

Meanwhile, the second biggest sports story of the weekend is Ronda Rousey breaking the gender barrier in UFC -- this is a long time coming, and a huge potential market for the sport and for women athletes. She has the charisma to carry this side of the sport -- Dana White's backing doesn't hurt -- and I hope that her debut on Saturday night is a smashing success.

In the end, Danica and Ronda draw attention as something between a novelty in sports dominated by men (for better or worse, that is where UFC is right now) and very real pivot points in sports history -- for Danica, especially.

Patrick established her bonafides years ago -- this weekend represents her best shot at winning on something close to the most level playing field out there.

You don't have to be committed to gender equality in society or the parent of a daughter or anything else to appreciate the history we have the chance to watch this weekend.


*NBA Trade Deadline: I have spent enough of this past season griping about Jordan Crawford that I was happy to see him shipped off to Boston, even if the Wizards gave him away -- that's how much I didn't like his game and his fit within the team. In fact, my griping about Crawford was something I came to resent even more because I would be openly disdainful of his play in front of my kids, who would ask why I was so annoyed -- it was a teaching lesson for them about not being a no-defense shot-jacker, but I didn't enjoy expressing that kind of frustration about a player in a way my kids might notice. So good riddance, Steez.

*Hawks don't trade Josh Smith: So he leaves this summer for nothing, although then the Hawks will have more than enough cap space to make a run at Dwight Howard or CP3.

*Kobe guarantees playoffs: What else did you expect him to say? Of course he guarantees playoffs.

*Spurs rout Clippers: Wasn't it cute the way everyone thought LA was an actual contender? There are two in the West: OKC and San Antonio. Everyone else is playing to make things interesting.

*Heat win 9th straight: The East is even more of a snoozer. Can we just fast-forward to June?

*NFL Combine: It has gotten bigger, yet seemingly even more antiseptic. We are reduced to reading coded messages from coaches who pop by for impromptu press conferences. The only thing that happened yesterday that I found intriguing was that I remain obsessed with Chip Kelly as an NFL coach, even if I couldn't care less about the Eagles.

-- D.S.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

2/21 (NBA Trade Dudline?) Quickie

I used to love the NBA Trade Deadline, but then it fizzled and became a shell of its former self.

I just can't get worked up over where Josh Smith ends up, although more power to Houston if it can go from bupkis a year ago to Harden-Lin-Asik-Smith -- I am in the tank for Daryl Morey and support him 100% however he wants to go. (Was last night's Rockets win over the Thunder as good as it gets for Houston fans? Possibly/probably.)


*It was nice to be on the front end of the Victor Oladipo bandwagon yesterday.

*NFL Combine: It's basically Manti Te'o and then everything else, right?

*Lakers-Celtics last night felt sad -- maybe the franchises make themselves championship relevant again soon (I'd never put it past the Lakers), but it sure seems like puttering to the end.

*I'm not going to have a problem not picking Kansas to the Final Four.

*Revis vs. Sherman on Twitter is like the February sports swoon at its least interesting.

*Tebow Watch: Cancels speech at the controversial Dallas church -- could have told you this was coming.

*Last night's best thing in sports: Penguins-Flyers. All I caught were the highlights and it was still more thrilling than everything else wrapped together.

- D.S.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

2/20 (Is It March Yet?) Quickie

I'm a college basketball realist -- games in mid-February, even seemingly huge ones like last night's Indiana win at Michigan State, are ultimately inconsequential in the larger scheme of the sport's ultimate playoff in late March.

But that's not to say that there aren't thrilling moments worth savoring -- exactly like last night, when a Hoosiers team I had been thinking is slightly on the wrong side of title-ready put on display the make-up of the kind of team that wins six straight in late March.

Mostly, that was a function of IU's marvelous junior guard, Victor Oladipo, all angles -- and all-American-ness -- showcasing the most fascinating skill set I have seen in a college hoops player since... well, I'm having trouble finding a comp.

A few weeks ago, I said that there were probably a half-dozen teams with a legit shot at winning six straight in late March -- Indiana is on the short list.


*Florida is on the short list, too, even though the Gators lost at Mizzou last night. There's no shame in losing at Columbia -- Mizzou hasn't lost there this season, and Florida still held the high-flying Tigers to 63 points. In late March, when you suddenly lose the ability to make shots, you have got to be able to get stops, and no team has proven better at that through this entire season than Florida.

*So, about that VCU bandwagon...

*Miami being charged with a lack of institutional control - accurate or not -- seems absurd coming from the NCAA right now...

*Gio Gonzalez not tied to PEDs: Unfortunately for him, there is still a taint, but it's rare to get the "No, no, really: He's been cleared" message. As a Nats fan, I was already Team Gio anyway.

*A day late, but RIP to Lakers owner Jerry Buss. Was he the best owner in sports? I'm inclined to agree with that argument. Hard to argue with the combination of sizzle and steak.

Been under the weather for a little while, but hoping to get back into the routine here...

-- D.S.