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.
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!