Tuesday, May 22, 2007

NBA Finals: It's Over

I've been pleasantly surprised by how tough Deron Williams has made the Jazz (well, that & a good dose of a healthy AK-47) but I think the Spurs are a lock now. The Spurs always seem to get at least one game on the road, so they never seem to mind dropping one at home. I don't even think that they will drop one at home to Utah, who think they've discovered a weakness in the SA defense, but it's my read that the fourth-quarter let-down in game 1 had more to do with Utah finally putting an end to the Spurs lay-up drill and taking it hard to the hoop on the offense. San Antonio has had time to rest and adjust, and will make rotational shifts to draw more charges in game 2. I wouldn't be shocked to see Deron Williams in foul trouble throughout game 2. Spurs in 5.

Bron-Bron fell in a tough game 1 to the Pistons, but the Pistons are still sleepwalking through the East. King James is rapidly approaching Kobe for my least favorite superstar in terms of being a guy that creates all the contact and still always gets the whistle blown on the defender. With the Pistons having homecourt and likely to win at least one in Cleveland, this looks like a 5-game series to me, too. Frankly, this series is a lot less interesting to me than the Spurs-Jazz series.

Both the Bulls and Pacers have quite a bit that could go wrong or right for them in the Lottery tonight. Here's finger-crossing in hopes that it falls well for both of them.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Shaw transfers, way-too-early NIT list

Joey Shaw is evidently transferring after all. Too bad. He had all the marks of an explosive scorer with ability to do everything in a game. I don't blame Sampson for not liking his ball-handling or passing against pressure, but I feel it was the first time he had really come up against it. Give him a year to watch the game, and in 2008-2009 he could've been a starter for the Hoosiers. I don't Shaw for transferring, he was looking at no PT next year, especially if Stemler gets shifted to the 3-spot (as I expect), but it's a shame. He'll go to Juco for a year and be a nice pick-up for someone in a season, a la Earl Calloway.

Here's my way-too-early call on Men's 2008 NIT teams:

Boston College
Brigham Young
Central Florida
East Tennessee State
Eastern Kentucky
Florida State
Manhattan (w/ Shagari Alleyne)
Miami (OH)
Missouri State
Penn State
Saint Mary's
Southern Mississippi
Texas Tech
Utah State
Weber State
West Virginia
Wichita State

Monday, May 07, 2007

NBA Playoffs

Four NBA playoff Series underway:

Suns-Spurs (Spurs 1-0)
This is the new "who'll go on to win it all" series. And the Suns are in trouble after dropping the homecourt advantage to the Spurs. If the Spurs take Game 2, it's over (they won't). The Suns have to win both Game 2 and steal one in San Antonio to win, and I've a real hard time seeing that happening.

Jazz-Warriors (0-0)
Anybody who put money on these two teams facing each other is probably both insane and now rich. So I've got no idea who might come out the winner here, but I'm pretty sure whoever does falls to the Suns or Spurs in the conference Championship.

Cavs-Nets (Cavs 1-0)
The Cavs have homecourt advantage, but I am just not a believer in King James as a MVP yet. He's a great player, but he needs to get more consistent with his outside jumper and learn how to take over on the road. I think if the Cavs lose Game 2, they'll be in real trouble, but otherwise they're probably fine as Jason Kidd's aging and Vince Carter's just not a winner.

Bulls-Pistons (Pistons 1-0)
The Bulls demolished the Heat with sudden ease, but the Pistons are made them look bad in Game 1. The Pistons have purpose and too many mismatches to take advantage of. Detroit's usual mismatch- Tayshaun Prince- will have his hands full with rising star Luol Deng, and Hinrich and Gordon should eventually rise to Hamilton and Billups' challenge, but unless Rasheed Wallace melts down at some point, this is a seven-game series that sees Detroit advancing into the conference finals (experience before beauty) and then to the NBA Championship.

That's how I see it.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Way-too-Early 2007-2008 NCAA Men's Top 50

1. UCLA [Pac 10 Champs]
2. North Carolina [ACC Champs]
3. Louisville [Big East Champs]
4. Memphis [CUSA Champs]
5. Kansas [Big 12 Champs] (w/Brandon Rush)
6. Tennessee [SEC Champs]
7. Indiana [Big 10 Champs]
8. Washington State [Pac 10]
9. Michigan State [Big 10]
10. Georgia Tech [ACC] (W/Thaddeus Young & Javaris Crittendon)
11. Oregon [Pac 10]
12. Marquette [Big East] (w/Dominic James)
13. Southern Illinois [MVC Champs]
14. Texas A&M [Big 12](w/Joseph Jones)
15. Clemson [ACC] (w/James Mays)
16. Arkansas [SEC]
17. Ohio State [Big 10] (w/Daequan Cook)
18. Virginia [ACC] (w/Sean Singletary)
19. New Mexico state [WAC Champs]
20. Stanford [Pac 10]
21. Butler [HOR Champs]
22. Mississippi State [SEC]
23. Davidson [Southern Champs]
24. Illinois [Big 10] (w/ Shaun Pruitt)
25. Gonzaga [WCC Champs]
26. Connecticut [Big East]
27. George Mason [CAA Champs]
28. Western Kentucky [Sun Belt Champs]
29. Western Michigan [MAC Champs]
30. San Diego State [MWC Champs]
31. Virginia Commonwealth [CAA]
32. Pittsburgh [Big East]
33. Florida [SEC]
34. Wisconsin [Big 10]
35. North Carolina State [ACC]
36. Auburn [SEC]
37. Kansas State [Big 12]
38. Fresno State [WAC] (w/Dominic McGuire)
39. Syracuse [Big East]
40. Wyoming [MWC]
41. Georgia [SEC]
42. Southern California [Pac 10] (w/Gabe Pruitt)
43. Minnesota [Big 10]
44. Northern Iowa [MVC]
45. Kent State [MAC]
46. Alabama [SEC]
47. Missouri [Big 12]
48. Duke [ACC]
49. UAB [CUSA]
50. Providence [Big East]

I've obviously made some assumptions here about who's back and who isn't. I've tried to note that when relevant. I don't believe these kids will return as their draft position is just too high right now: Mike Conley Jr. of Ohio State, Jeff Green & Roy Hibbert of Georgetown, Julian Wright of Kansas, Brandan Wright of UNC, Spencer Hawes of Washington, and Wilson Chandler of DePaul. A good list of who's signed an agent (& therefore not coming back) is here.
The only reason I think Brandon Rush may be coming back is that Corey Brewer, Aaron Afflalo, Marcus Williams, and Nick Young are all ahead of him, and seniors Morris Almond & Alando Tucker are at least even with him, as are foreigners Rudy Fernandez (Spain) and Marco Bellini (Italy). That makes him a late first-rounder or even a mid-second rounder, and he's got some family who should be whispering in his ear that a chance at a Final Four is much more fun than a year in the NBDL. Georgia Tech looks the most vulnerable of these 50 to the NBA Draft as both Crittendon and Young could be first-rounders. It really just depends on their workouts.