Monday, April 29, 2013

Let's Grade the Broncos' Draft

By most accounts, the Denver Broncos had a strong draft filling several needs on both sides of the ball.

Sly Williams dominating college foes
Love their first-round selection.

I'd give 'em a B+.

What do you think?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Can The Nuggets Win In The Playoffs?

The Nuggets are having great success in the regular season with a mix of balance, up-tempo play and no real star.

But, those are three areas that have never translated to NBA postseason success.

The team's most dynamic dunker 
Will this be the year?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Peyton's Glove

Peyton is already 2-0 with his Isotoners
It's the winter time, time to bundle up!

Even the Broncos' fearless quarterback has added a new accessory! Having gone 2-7 outdoors in January in the pas, Peyton Manning has gone Michael Jackson/Gary Payton and is donning The GLOVE!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Amendment 64 and the Denver "Nuggets"

JR and Melo "enjoying" Boulder
How do Nuggets' fan feel about all of the NBA free agents that will now want to come play in Denver?

Will the legalization attract NBA players?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Peyton's 15 Minutes of Hell

Stokely, "Damn, dude."
Three picks in one quarter?!?!

This is not a trend that I expect to see continue but those 15 minutes will now live in Bronco infamy.

WAIT! He just threw another!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Was O'Dowd Fired or Not?

  O'Dowd appears to be anti-Q-Tip
The much scrutinized/hated Rockies' General Manager Dan O'Dowd was "released" of his duties today by owners Dick and Charlie Monfort. But is he still employed by the team?  It appears that the gentleman that is largely to blame for the Rockies' poor seasons is still working for the team. 

What in the Sam Hell is going on down at 20th and Blake?

Remember the Good Old Days, Rockies fans?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Avs Rookie Takes Home Hardware

The rookie receiving his award in Las Vegas
Colorado Avalanche rookie, Gabriel Landeskog was awarded the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie.  The 19-year-old accepted the prize this week in Las Vegas.

Check the highlights from his first professional season!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Are The Rockies Williamsport Bound?

Howard Lamade Stadium in Williamsport, PA
With the Rockies moving to four-man rotation that includes a maximum pitch count of 75, I am starting to think this might be a Little League franchise. Throw in the below average hitting and the low-end pitching talent and I am not sure there is much difference between the gang at 20th & Blake and the teams we will see at the Little League World Series later this summer.

Maybe the Rockies can sign Chris Drury.....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Cuter-less High Five

My week got a little jumbled, so I was unable to post yesterday, but am back with some Non-Jay Cutler stuff to talk about today!

UP HIGH!!!!!

Is there more than one way to make Melo a Knick?
5. One month remains until the NBA’s trade deadline and to most surprise; Carmelo Anthony is still a Denver Nugget.  The rumor mill seems to have quieted down with the Nets apparently out of the game and the Knicks patiently waiting for free agency to begin.  With out the quantity or quality of pieces to make an attractive enough deal, New York must wait to spend their money this summer.  However, if a trade is not made before February 24th, it does not necessarily mean that the league can start printing #15 Knicks’ jerseys quite yet.  The trade deadline does not “kill” all possibility for the Nuggets to salvage some value for the 7-year vet.  For this to work, Melo would have to be a big part of “the decision” (pun intended) to pick up the existing option year (not the much debated extension on the table) on his contract and remain a Nugget commodity for another year.  Then Melo can be packaged as part of a summertime deal (ie on Draft Day).  It’s a long-shot, but still a possibility.  I have also heard recently that with the impending labor strife, passing up a long-term deal this spring could result in a net financial loss for Melo of up to $40 million.  (Yes, the opposition claims that he could make a large portion of that back up in New York City-area endorsements.) 

Call me crazy, but I am not giving up hope that Melo remains a Nugget for at least the remainder of the year.  A much-criticized season that finds the Nuggets not only competitive but at times dominate, such as in last night’s 120-109 win in DC over the Wizards.  The win was the starter of a five-game road stretch which may tell us a lot about this 26-18 team that is just two games out of first-place in the Northwest Division.  All of the five impending opponents fall into the “beatable” category and for a team that had won just five on the road coming into last night; a 4-1 trip might put this team close to the top of the league’s most competitive division.

As Melo’s coach, George Karl put it, “I’ve always believed there was a chance we’d have Melo for the whole year, and that was a bigger chance than most people were saying, and that’s what we’ve got to worth through.”

Cory Higgins battles KU guard Tyshawn Taylor last night in Boulder
4. A big game went down in Boulder, Colorado last night, as the CU Buffaloes suffered their third-straight conference loss at the hands of Big 12 top-dog, Kansas.  A quality loss if ever there was one, the Buffs played tough, fought back from several large deficits and had a chance to win in the game’s final minute, ultimately losing 82-78.  As usual, the Buffs’ guards were stellar (Alec Burks-25, Cory Higgins-19), but again the undersized home team was simply outmatched in the paint.  Guard play is supposed to dominate play in March, but on this night in late January, size and 2nd-chance points (largely attributed to KU’s Morris twins) were the difference.  I don’t expect to see Colorado lose at home again, all season.  Woody Paige has some extra thoughts on this team worth checking out.

3. For the first two months of the college basketball season, I was certain that the Duke Blue Devils were the top team in the nation.  No questions; no debates. They were deep, had experienced guard play, some new young blood and basically the entirety of its national championship team of a year ago. 

Now I am not so sure.

My doubts are not because Duke suffered a road loss in conference (@ Florida State), lost their young stud, Kyrie Irving for the season or their subsequent fall out of the (meaningless) top spot in both national polls.  No, the main reason I now question has more to do with the recent exploits of a possibly more superior team, the Ohio State Buckeyes.  Opposite of my views on Duke, I was not sold on the Evan-Turner-less Bucks until just this past week.  Wins at Illinois (one of the toughest places in the country to play) and an absolute boat-race at home last night over a strong Purdue team happened. 

I’m now buying. 

Throw in the far superior competition that OSU will face in the Big Ten (compared to the sudden mediocrity in the ACC) and I think that a healthy Ohio State squad should enter March Madness as the odds-on favorite.  However, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a Duke team waiting in Houston (site of Final Four) for them.

2. HUGE MOUNTAIN WEST GAME TONIGHT IN PROVO!  The undefeated San Diego State Aztecs travel to Utah to face Jimmer Fredette and the top-ten ranked BYU Cougars.  It’s an 8 pm (MST) start on CBS College Sports, so some of you may need to take a nap to stay up for this one that will be well worth the wait.  SDSU has an awesome three-headed monster frontline, but the point guard match-up between national player of the year candidate Fredette and SDSU’s DJ Gay might prove the difference.

1. Gotta get some football in this hoops-heavy High Five!  The Daily Broncos’ Looksie would like to introduce you to Iowa defensive end, Adrian Clayborn.  While not someone that most see going in the top five, a trade-down might result in the Broncos ending up in the 10-15 range; a prime spot to pick up this pass-rusher.  

(Personally, I want Auburn’s Nick Fairly or no one else.  The NFL’s leading sack-man in 2009, Elvis Dummervil is coming back and I have faith that Robert Ayers is developing, so give me some muscle, size, dirt and talent right up the gut!)


Monday, January 24, 2011


Wow.  Snow has been falling all morning up at the house which is different.  Also different is going to be my rotation today.  I want to talk about football.  The Avs goaltending has been brutal (Peter’s back?), the Nuggets are pretty dang good when they play together, Melo is still here, CU lost on the road again and Ohio State has proven to be for real by beating Illinois in Champaign.  There you go; I want to talk JAY CUTLER!


With so much already written and said about Cutler and his “performance” in the NFC Championship game yesterday, I will not speculate nor hate, rather extrapolate on the whole “Jay Cutler Phenomenon.”  I will claim my usual ignorance, as I did not watch a second of this game (choosing instead to go swimming with my family and to watch my 4-year daughter scamper up this climbing wall) but I will not speak about Cutler’s game, injury or the subsequent criticism that his 2nd-half absence has provoked.  I knew this would all “end badly” for the Bears and am therefore not surprised by the result, but what really interests me was how this all affects my Broncos?

To wit, last week, there was much debate and disgust surrounding where the Broncos “were” following Josh McD’s infamous trade with Chicago.  Again, with the Broncos owners of a disastrous 4-12 record, a bizarre future at quarterback and a down-right awful defensive unit, it was spoken about often and agreed upon that the trade of Cutler to Chicago had killed the franchise.  Heck, many of the parts that resulted from the trade had done little as Broncos; Orton had been replaced by the guy that traded for him in the first place and that precocious, young gun-slinger we gave up on had led his new team just one game from the Super Bowl.

We had gotten jobbed in that trade!  This is an outrage!   Not only in what we “gave up,” but also in the return pieces. 

Now what?  The local media in Chicago appears to be supportive of Cutler in regards to yesterday and the impending future.  Of course, that’s not all that surprising considering the nature of relationship that the beat writer/columnist has with the public figures of the respective organization that they cover.  They see each other every “work day,” they are on a first-named basis with each other and the writer relies on the team for the access (quotes) that make up the personality and life of his/her work.  What they produce at work on a day-in/day-out basis.  It’s important; so for the “company line” rhetoric to be present, again, no surprise. 

But one national writer in particular, had me chuckling and full of thought early this morning.  A guy with a three-decade run as a writer for the Washington Post (now with but who as an unapologetic Chicago-sports team-homer, has a different prospective, for sure.  Almost if this was to be written about Michael Wilbon’s historically forlorn, Cubbies, the Pardon the Interruption host was woeful, but accurate while lamenting the Bears’ history at the quarterback position.  But amongst all of his misery about the long-standing lack of any real offensive playmakers on his team and that all-time great running back Walter Payton is also the franchise’s leader receiver (and some harsh criticism for Cutler smattered within) was his thoughts on the trade that brought Cutler to the Windy City in the first place.  The transaction that gave what he (and millions of Chicago fans) had craved for so long, an honest, to goodness “franchise quarterback.”  The very trade that the city of Denver, as a whole, seemed to be in agreement had ruined their precious Broncos. 

“The Bears are never the ones to draft and develop an Aikman or Manning or Roethlisberger, or wisely trade for a Brees. Hell, the Bears can't even come up with a Matt Ryan or a Joe Flacco. They gave two first-round picks and two other picks and a player for Jay Cutler, who at his best constantly has the metropolis holding its breath, looking at games through spread fingers, praying to God he doesn't screw it up by throwing it to the other guys. And at his worst, he looks for the perfect pass instead of moving the chains and managing the game and thinks his arm is stronger than John Elway's, which is both stupid and immaterial.”

Keep in mind that any affront to Elway is like a personal attack on Wilbon, who is one of the country’s biggest fans of our #7.  However, even for a guy that has both a personal/professional interest in the NFL and the Chicago Bears, he seems to easily assert the opposite of what our fair city had recently determined to be truth and cause for the demise of our most important public entity.  (Don’t kid yourselves on that notion, either.  The Denver Broncos are the one common bond that unites the largest percentage of the city/region’s population.)

At his best, he has the fans summoning aid from their “preferred creator” in a desperate attempt to avoid interceptions?  Wilbon is one of my favorite members of the media because he doesn’t always “toe the company line,” as he has even made enemies in the game of basketball (which is, mind you, his prime sporting/reporting focus). 

I always thought the Cutler trade was good for the Broncos not because it was our chance to rid ourselves of some “problem-child” quarterback.  (Like I have often admitted, I was a fan of Cutler and even cloaked my then 2-year-olddaughter in a #6.) On the flip-side, I thought the potential to get four (I think Wilbon said we got five) potential starters for just one was the deal of the century.  With over two dozen specialized positions in the game of football (while basketball has one) finding quantity often trumps quality (or in this case, potential quality).  Getting a competent, experienced quarterback that had won games in the league (Orton) in addition to the three high picks seemed like a no-brainer. 

THE DEAL: Broncos traded Cutler, and a fifth-rounder they had acquired in an earlier trade with Seattle, to the Bears for Kyle Orton, the Bears first-round picks in 2009 and 2010, as well as their 3rd-rounder in 2009. 

THE AFTERMATH: We know how the Cutler/Orton exchange has transpired.  The Broncos turned the Bears’ 2009 first-rounder into DE/OLB Robert Ayers, who has showed flashes, but the jury is surely still out on his pro prospects.  Josh McD and the Broncos brass decided to move the 2010 pick during that 2009 draft (hasty, no?) for the rights to pick defensive back Alphonso Smith at the beginning of the second round.  Since then, the infamous Smith did little in his one year in Denver and was moved to Detroit for back-up tight end/special teams guy, Dan Gronkowski, who was a seventh-round pick a year before.  The third-round pick in 2009 was traded to the Steelers in an attempt to move back up into the bottom of the second round to draft tight end Richard Quinn from North Carolina.  The same Richard Quinn that caught 12 passes in his ENTIRE college career, but was known more as “another offensive tackle.”  Now known more as…. Well, most Bronco fans do NOT know Richard Quinn. 

So at its very core, the trade seems to be a positive personnel move by Josh McD, but could the drafting be considered borderline, moronic? 

They got Orton, two back-up special-teams tight ends and an underachieving young pass rusher for Jay Cutler.  That’s not as good as it was supposed to look when this trade was made two summers ago.

So, I ask you all.  What do you think about the trade?  Did this trade really ruin the Broncos? 

If anything, though, it appears that what was produced with those picks versus what was given up does not matter much to Bears fans today.

PS- I did actually watch most of the AFC Championship Game and was startled by this little first-quarter gem perpetrated by Jets' quarterback Mark Sanchez.  Hilarious.

Friday, January 21, 2011

All Quiet on the Western Front (Range)

FRIDAY!  FINALLY!  Let’s get it on!


5. So it is truly “mums the word” around the Pepsi Center.  Following Thursday’s practice for the Denver Nuggets, the object of months of trade speculation, Carmelo Anthony, had nothing to say to the legion of curious media members.  His teammates were forced to endure the brunt of the “what’s it like playing in this situation-”type questions that have become the focal point of impatient scribes praying for something concrete to report upon.  With the Nets “officially” out of the hunt now, the scope of the Nuggets’ search must (and certainly has) expanded to include teams that haven’t even been publicly considered yet.  I wouldn’t be surprised if teams like Dallas, that are looking for a possible rent-a-player might make the move on the terms that the trade involves only Melo and not the hoard of players that had been rumored for so long with New Jersey.  With all of the rumors swirling around, the two-time defending NBA champs, the Los Angeles Lakers, come to Denver this evening.  I foresee this going down in one of two fashions: I think a blow-out is inevitable. 

4. Although, not normally a big fan of All-Star games, I am always a sucker for a lengthy NBA-related story by ESPN’s Bill Simmons.  Again, I must encourage all to make sure you have a copy of the Sports Guy’s The Book of Basketball near you favorite homebound commode.  

3. Home teams in college hoops did their things last night (although Maryland didn’t get the memo) with a couple “U-Dubs,” Wisconsin and Washington procuring necessary conference home wins.  The Huskies of the northwest came up the night’s big winners as they did their damage against the stiffest league competition (Arizona) they will face all year.  Otherwise it was a pretty quiet night in the power-conferences, but the rest of the nation was abuzz with important January games. 

One of my big sleepers come March, Cleveland State, also held serve at home over Detroit.  The Vikings’ heart-and-soul, Norris Cole had an off-night shooting the ball, but still put in work to put up 18 points, 11 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 steals.  One of the nation’s few (if only) 20/5/5 guys, Cole is a volume shooter, but not overly 3-point happy and a name that will get much more national shine as we near the springtime. 

Around these parts, there has been a lot of talk this week around one of the local teams (Colorado) finally losing their first game in-conference.  In actuality, there is still a Centennial State team that has an undefeated league record, the Denver Pioneers.  Despite being brutalized by a pre-conference schedule that was….. brutal, the Pios of Joe Scott.  No, I mean the Bears of Northern Colorado. Wait.  In truth, both of the mid-major teams that have always been overshadowed by the state’s two flag-ship universities, are each off to 6-0 starts in their respective leagues. After rough Novembers/Decembers that had even the most attentive Colorado college basketball fans (ie. ME) turning away, both teams have spurted out to impressive league starts.  Northern Colorado (road win last night at Sac. St.) has a nice foothold on the Big Sky as they have already beaten both of the two closest standing teams in Montana and Montana St.  On the other hand, DU (home blow-out win last night over Arkansas St.) travels this weekend to the Volunteer state before hosting a big game next Saturday with the reigning Sun Belt champs, the Mean Green of North Texas.

2. A really tough day for the Colorado Avalanche.  First, word came down that young forward, Thomas “The Flash” Fleishman was going to be sidelined for the remainder of the season (but shouldn’t be career-threatening) due to blood clots in his lungs.  Then, the Avs were sideswiped by the visiting Nashville Predators to the tune of a 5-1 defeat.  Our boy, Matty Duchene was the only thing keeping this one from being a shut-out as he netted his 19th of the season in the game’s final minutes.

1. So, a big Sunday in the American sporting calendar, as both teams for the Super Bowl will be determined with the playing of the conference championship games.  Much has been made of each game and both are littered with intrigue, history and excitement.  The Bears/Packers match-up is obviously the one drenched in history, but it is also so strange that these two divisional rivals haven’t met in the playoffs since, like, the leather-helmet days.  Both teams had up-and-down seasons, but to me it breaks down to a simple question of trust. 

Who do you trust more, Aaron Rodgers or Jay Cutler?  Exactly.

On the AFC side of things, I have to think that Pittsburgh will hold serve and beat the outspoken Jets.  Ben Rothlisberger is just not to be trifled with in January.  For a guy that is just a few years into his professional career, Big Ben is already the owner of a 9-2 career postseason record.  On the other hand, a contemporary of his, Peyton Manning, has a mark of 9-10.  I’ll take the Steelers.  Have a great weekend!


Thursday, January 20, 2011


I apologize for being absent yesterday.  I had the entire Mile High Five written out the night before, but yesterday was one of those days where I just never had the time to put the words onto my computer and posted to this space.  Sorry, Charlie.


5. The national narrative continues to turn, twist and snake in the entire Carmelo Anthony “melo-drama.” (It was kind of funny that the guys on yesterday afternoon’s SportsCenter/this AM’s used that term and started feverishly gesticulating about the need to trademark the expression.)  Things have now evolved from the Nuggets being patient this off-season/start of the season, to Melo holding up potential deals due to his lack of desire to sign the contract extension, to Melo holding up deals because he wanted more talent to come with him, to the Nuggets being difficult because they “want too much,” to now the New Jersey Nets pulling out of his discussions, due to seeming frustration surrounding the Nuggets’ greed.  This time, the “sources” have established, Nets’ rookie forward Damion James (and a long-time favorite of mine) as the newest object of the Nugs’ desire and the final straw to break Nets’ owner, Mikhail Prokhorov’s camel-like back.  Nuggets’ Head Coach George Karl said his team (and his superstar) looked distracted at Tuesday’s practice and then yesterday, Prokhorov decided his team was through with the whole shenanigans.  Blaming the whole situation (and his team’s poor recent record) on the Nuggets/Carmelo’s lack of desire to get the deal done: too drawn out; too public (which oddly the Nuggets had previously blamed on New Jersey); and in the words of Prokhorov, “simply too expensive.” 

Like many things in life, though, the cautious mind would be wise to not bury this deal.  Sometimes, these are the exact types of posturing and public displays that foreshadow the capitulation of the very deal that was given no chance of occurring.

4. All trade distraction aside, the Nuggets had a pretty important game last night with divisional heavyweights, the Oklahoma City Thunder in town.  While Melo’s demeanor on the court (and in the post-game interview) wasn’t great and he looked detached from his teammates (and the fans that took their turns cheering/jeering) his on-court fire was amazing in the Nuggets, 112-107 win.  (In a bit of irony, a side thank you, must go out to Prokhorov and his Nets who did the Nuggets a big solid in taking down the divisional rival, Utah Jazz.)  In the individual match-up with Kevin Durant, Melo dominated the young forward, blowing by him with ease off the dribble when he wasn’t facing up and burying jumpers.  A big win to be sure, as the league nears the All-Star break and with the season at its midway point, the Nuggets are now winners of 4 of 5, sit at 24-17 and stand just 2.5 games behind both Utah/OKC, as they welcome Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in tomorrow night.

3. Speaking of basketball in LA, Blake Griffin and the Clippers hosted Kevin Love and the Timberwolves for a match-up of the league’s top young power forwards.  Oddly enough, Blake’s double-double streak was snapped at 27, but his night of 29 points/8 rebounds/6 assists was plenty to propel his team to a 126-111 win.  The Clippers are now 16-25, have won 3 in a row and 7 of their last 10 games.  I watched the entire first-half of this one was continually impressed with the non-flashy parts of Blake’s game.  Yes, the athletic dunks are fun/impressive/jaw-dropping (pick your adjective) but the little things like finding open guys, not giving up on offensive rebounds and getting his hands on loose balls cannot be ignored. 

I hope this doesn’t come out sounding loony, but if he is able to keep this kind of play up, is Blake (now 23p/13r/3.5a) going to garner some MVP consideration?  I bet Clipper fans think he’s pretty darn valuable.

2. One night after the Colorado Buffaloes dropped their first conference game in a rough-and-tumble encounter with the Nebraska Cornhuskers, the Buffs’ neighbor to the north was taking down a conference titan on the road.  The Colorado State Rams were surely not expected to make much noise when they ventured to Sin City, but last night’s road win over the UNLV Rebels will be a huge resume point as they continue to posture for a postseason invite.  The well-balanced Rams have somewhat flown under the radar, not only here in Colorado, but also in the highly-touted Mountain West Conference where they sit at 13-5 and 3-1 in conference.  The stakes get considerably amped up this weekend, as the big, bad BYU Cougars (and Jimmer Fredette) pay a visit to Fort Collins.

1. I guess we can discuss something non-basketball related (although I have little time for much other than “roundball” these days) and I must mention the Colorado Avalanche’s thrilling 4-3 win over the untouchable Vancouver Canucks from Tuesday night.  It was a great back-and-forth contest where the Canucks took the lead on three separate occasions only to see the Avs continually knot up the score. Eventually, things led to an overtime period and “The Locker” (David Jones) backed up his earlier goal with the game-winner.  A 12-point difference between the two teams coming into the game all but made this one a “must-win” and the young high-flying Avs came through!  Nashville comes a-callin’ tonight at the Pepsi Center.

PS-There is sure to be some NFL talk tomorrow!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

People Had to Work Yesterday?

Let’s get right to it!

5. Contrary to the popular belief that the reason there was no Monday Mile High Five was due to the fact that the two teams I’ve called “fakers” (CHI/NYJ) all year made the conference title game, yesterday’s lack of posting had much more to do with spending the MLK holiday with my family.  Also, keep in mind that I don’t really watch the NFL playoffs when the Denver Broncos are not involved; just have trouble watching these other “fakers” play meaningful football in January. 

Congratulations Jay!  You beat a sub-.500 team that even the “2nd worst team in the NFL" beat by 17!  The Jets win was, I guess, impressive considering their opponent, but I am certain that the season will end poorly for the Bears.  (ie. ONCE THEY PLAY A TEAM OF ANY QUALITY!)  Oddly enough, the one second of playoff football I watched (or happened to stumble upon) was a first half red-zone pass by our good friend, Jay that looked to be deliberately thrown directly at Seattle defensive back, Justin Babineau.  In true D-back fashion, however, the ball was dropped. 

“I don’t always throw interceptions, but when I do, I prefer the redzone.” 

4. Also somewhat contrary to the reported opinion, Carmelo Anthony is not only still a Denver Nugget, but he has also guaranteed being in a Nugget uniform all week!  In addition, the forward has denied reports that he has a meeting today with the New Jersey Nets.  While I don’t entirely trust him on those words, his “guarantee” has me wondering if there is truly something already in place with Jersey.  I assume there will be some more worthless “breaking news” coming out this week, but with still over a month left until the trade deadline, “we could be here a while.” 

As a team, the Nuggets finally came down to earth on Sunday.  Following three straight 30-point drubbings, the Nuggets were taken down by a superior Spurs team in San Antonio.  The team is still six games over .500 and is entrenched in the 7th spot in the Western Conference.  Where they will be come spring time, however, is still largely based on the geographical whereabouts of Carmelo.

3. 47!?!?  I mean, are you kidding me?!?!  The dunks have been legendary (and plentiful, as his 92 total lead the NBA) but the Clippers Blake Griffin even outdid himself in the Clippers’ win yesterday afternoon over Indiana.  An NBA-season high 47 (on just 24 shots) from a kid just 40 games into his professional career is the next astonishing thing on his resume.  Backing up wins against the league royalty (Lakers, Spurs, Heat) with one over the lowly Pacers is big for this up-and-coming young team, currently sitting at 15-25. 

Yesterday, though, Blake was attacking the rim, knocking down open jumpers and was hitting several 15-foot bank-shots from the wing that would have made even Tim Duncan blush.  With the Rookie of the Year already in the bag, the forward currently at 4th in Western Conference voting, realistically should be an All-Star in his 1st season.  Or maybe the league will force him into playing in the rookie/sophomore game.  I guess it goes without saying, but “Blake, I’d like to introduce you to your limit.  It’s that big blue thing up in the air.”

2. Big Monday is back!!!  Pittsburgh beats Syracuse and UConn takes down Villanova on a last-second Kemba Walker shot.  With seven ranked Big East teams, last night was the perfect way to kick-start the return of ESPN’s “best” Monday evening programming.  Elsewhere around the country, Ohio State moved into the #1 spot following Duke’s loss last week at Florida State, but don’t get too comfy, Buckeye fans.  With a crowded conference (filled with plenty of tough road games) and upcoming games at Illinois and versus Purdue, a loss is surely eminent, and fortunately, not season-ending. 

But, don’t fret though, rankings don’t matter!!!  You hear me, Colorado Buffalo fans, right?!?!  Get off that ledge!  Although, having a strong ranking does usually help on Selection Sunday, even then they can be largely ignored by the committee (ie. a couple years ago when Gonzaga finished the regular season in the 15-18 range, but still were given a 7/8-seed).  But seriously, a sold-out crowd in Boulder this past Saturday, saw a gutty come-from-behind victory over Okie State for the now 3-0 (in Big 12) Buffs.  Down 12 midway through the second half, the Buffs willed their way back into the game with a mix of defense and timely scoring.  They are back at it again, with two winnable road games this week, starting tonight when they travel to Lincoln to face Nebraska before heading to Oklahoma this weekend.

Just a quick note about the landscape of conferences in college basketball and which ones are truly, elite.  It’s a given that the Big East, Big Ten and Big 12 are easily the top three in the nation, but which is next?  All biases aside, I submit to you, the Mountain West.  From top-to-bottom and specifically at top-flight teams (BYU, SDSU, UNLV), I can’t say that the SEC, ACC or the Pac-10 can really stand up to the quality that is going on out here.  For the record, it’s a pretty quiet week in the MWC, but things get ratcheted up next week when San Diego State travels to Provo to meet the BYU Cougars. 

1. Seeing as how I have already spent some time on the NFL, I might as well mention myself getting a big victory in the 2nd week of this year’s Bushwood Country Club fantasy golf league.  That’s right fellas!  “What time you due back at Boys’ Town!?!?!”

PS- Welcome back Eric Studesville!  Yes, you weren’t hired as the next head coach, but at least you got your old job back, right?

PSS-Go get ‘em tonight, Avalanche!  Big one with the Vancouver Canucks at the Can!