It was a rare good day in Oxford, OH yesterday (first victory of the year thanks to Toledo) and an all too common bad day (losing at Auburn) for those fans back in Oxford, MS.
I keep rooting for Oregon because I want to see Boise St. in the national title game. I would love to see a Boise St. - Alabama national title game. I might even have to buy a Boise St. shirt to root against the Crimson Tide and specifically Nick Sab(t?)an. Overall it is looking like this year would be the perfect year for a playoff. Wouldn't it be great to see Florida, Alabama, TCU, Cincy, Boise St., Iowa, Oregon and Texas in an 8 team playoff? Doesn't that work out for everyone? Would there be any teams that felt like they deserved a shot over those teams? Instead we are left hoping that there are only 2 undefeated teams left to make a clear national championship game. My guess is that there is no chance that will happen and will have at least 3 undefeated teams at the end of the year.
I watched the entire 2nd half between Iowa and Indiana. I was rooting for Iowa since I want to see an undefeated Iowa come into the Horseshoe two weeks from now when I go to my first OSU football game. Indiana had started to get my sympathy when a few key questionable calls went against them in the 3rd quarter. Then IU's coach had to punt the ball on 4th and 6 down by 11 with only 5 minutes to go. All the sympathy I had for them vanished at that time because I couldn't believe that the coach was throwing in the towel so blatantly. Down 2 scores with 5 minutes to go is tough to overcome, but it is is possible....as long as you don't give the ball up to the opposing team. I wonder if the coach was trying to cover the 17.5 spread because karma paid him back as Iowa came down and scored a touchdown and secured a cover with an 18 point win.
There are 3 teams I care about this year; the Utah Jazz, Minnesota Timberwolves and New York Knicks. Why three? The Jazz are my favorite team and I like their chances with their young, but experienced team. I think that continuity in basketball is very important and one thing I like about their team is that the roster doesn't change too much. They will bring in one or two players to help the team out, but for the most part the lineup is set. Let's take a quick look at their lineup:
- Point guard- Deron Williams - drafted by the Jazz - 4 years with the team.
- Shooting guard - Ronnie Brewer - drafted by the Jazz - 3 years with the team.
- Small Forward - Andrei Kirilenko - drafted by the Jazz - 8 years with the team.
- Power Forward - Carlos Boozer - signed as a free agent - 5 years with the team.
- Center - Memhet Okur - signed as a free agent - 5 years with the team.
- Paul Millsap - drafted by the Jazz - 3 years with the team
- CJ Miles - drafted by the Jazz - 4 years with the team
- Kyle Korver - aquired in a trade - 2 years with the team.
- Eric Maynor - drafted by the Jazz - 1st year with the team.
The Timberwolves on the other hand lack any sort of continuity and seem more focused on managing their brand (young, exciting, and hardworking) than winning in the current season. That isn't to say I don't disagree with what they are doing since it was important for them to blow things up and start over. I like their financial flexibility and how they have some young, talented players at key positions. Kevin Love and Al Jefferson should handle the post responsibilities for a the next 10 years and between Jonny Flynn and Ramon Sessions the point guard spot should also be taken care of for awhile. Everybody else though are fillers who stand about a 50/50 shot of even being with the team next year. This team is in a state of change as evidenced by the fact that only 5 players came back from last year. There are a lot of college teams that don't see as much player turnover as the Twolves.
The good news about that above paragraph is that tickets should be cheap and plentiful. However, when I tried to go to the Cavs game on Friday there were only 3 scalpers and nobody had lower level tickets for less than $100. I know the Cavs are one of the few bigs games up here because of LeBron, but still that made me worry about the state of scalping for the Twolves. Maybe scalpers realize that they can't make much (any?) money on Twolves games and just decided to get out of the business? There will still be sites like stubhub, but for the best deals (without the fees) it is almost always better to talk to the street scalpers. I will continue to monitor the situation, but my first thought is that there won't be as many great deals as what I got last year. Let's hope I am wrong.
Finally, why do I care about the Knicks? It isn't because my brother-in-law has an affinity for the team. It is because the Jazz get the Knicks 2010 1st round pick. Thank you Isiah Thomas for letting go of that pick for Stephon Marbury. In what has to be one of the most lopsided trades in Nba history the Jazz got two conditional first round picks (one of them being the 2010 Knicks pick), Tom Gugiotta and cash for giving up Keon Clark and Ben Handlogten. Neither Clark or Handlogten ever scored a single point for another team besides the Jazz after the trade. In fact Clark never played again and Handlogten only played 297 minutes for the Jazz in the 04-05 season after the Jazz resigned him again. How do you get a player, cash, two first round picks for nothing? Only in the NBA with their strange salary cap rules with trades could the Jazz could pull that off.
Right now the Knicks are 0-3 and with every loss the Jazz get closer to a top lottery pick.
I'm about to go to a bar to watch the Dolphins take on the Jets. I would be feeling much better about this game if the Dolphins could have won against either the Colts or the Saints. I can't shake the feeling that last year's team was blessed and this year's team is cursed. Last year's team had the easy schedule and won almost every close game. This year's team has been on the losing end of games they should have won and it just feels like that is going to be the norm for the year. I predicted 6-10 before the season and that prediction might not be too off. Still this team is fun to watch and I think they are headed in the right direction.