Archives for November 2009

NFL Mock Draft 12-1

cleveland-browns-fan-crying

By Paul M. Banks and Peter Christian

In this season of giving thanks, I’d figure I would give gratitude to all the NFL Mock Draft databases that regularly include us in their listings. When you get to the bottom of this mock, you’ll see links to all the best mock databases on the web.

Team Player Position School

1. Cleveland Browns      Jake Locker     QB       Washington

Brady Quinn has looked better recently, but the chances of him becoming a NFL franchise quarterback are about as high as the recently fired Charlie Weis now finding work as a Chippendales dancer. With people questioning Clausen’s character, Bradford’s health, and Snead’s ability, Locker is now the pick.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ndamukong Suh DT Nebraska

With another game remaining against the Saints, the Bucs run defense (or should I say lack thereof) will become ever more apparent and they’ll go for a run-stopper. Suh is an every down defensive tackle due to his dual ability to stuff the run or crash the pocket. He’s an expert at winning his individual battles at the line of scrimmage and often causes disruption in the backfield constantly. He should be taken #1 overall, but unfortunately he’s not a QB.

For an interview/profile of Suh, click here

3. St. Louis Rams Eric Berry S Tennessee

If you don’t know who Eric Berry is, look him up. He could be the heir apparent to Ed Reed as the elite defensive play-maker in the NFL. And if there’s one thing St. Louis needs, it’s defensive plays. And offensive plays, and special teams plays and….

4. Kansas City Chiefs Russell Okung OT Oklahoma State

He’s a big reason why the Cowboys’ offense produces over 200 yards a game on the ground. Twice during his career he has not allowed a sack against the nation’s leader at the time – the latest was an effort against Texas A&M end Von Miller this season. Okung combines all his physical gifts with a high football IQ, making him a franchise OT.

loser_lions

5. Detroit Lions Trent Williams OT Oklahoma

The Lions need a lot, they can start on the O Line. The Okung or Williams debate over who is the better choice at offensive tackle is one where there really isn’t a loser. By the way, if you’re planning on seeing the new film about a Left Tackle “The Blind Side,” I’m warning you know it’s Jerry Maguire all over again- a thinly disguised chick flick mass-marketed as a football movie.

Trent Williams, like Okung, has good feet, strong hands and the talent to become elite in the NFL.

6. Washington Redskins Gerald McCoy DT Oklahoma

This would be a nice complement to Albert Haynesworth, and the Skins could use more talent on the defensive line because the last time they had an overwhelmingly dominant d lineman was something like 40 years ago. McCoy is a pillar of strength that can dominate from the center of the field. He is very agile for a guy just shy of 300 pounds and will be a combine favorite.

7. Oakland Raiders Jimmy Clausen QB Notre Dame

Since Bruce Gradkowski is not a long term solution, and since JaMarcus Russell is a big bust like Jennifer Connelly. (well, not present day Jennifer Connelly, more like an early ’90s vintage) Oakland needs a quarterback. Clausen’s involvement in a bar fight the weekend before Thanksgiving is just the latest in a series of incidents proving that he is certainly no boy scout. And where in the NFL do you go when you’re a malcontent and/or trouble-maker? Oakland of course. If Al Davis gave Jeff George a shot, than Clausen’s personality will be right in his wheelhouse.

For more on Clausen click here, For more on Russell, go here.

jennifer_connelly_008

8. Buffalo Bills Sam Bradford QB Oklahoma

Trent Edwards is obviously not the answer, not with that 30th ranked passing attack. After season ending surgery, Bradford’s draft stock was, to paraphrase Snoop Dogg “dropping it like its hot,” but it hasn’t fallen as fast as you might think. His body of work still speaks volumes about what he could do on the next level.

9. Tennessee Titans Greg Hardy DE Ole Miss

Greg Hardy may be the purest sack artist in the draft. He has a lethal combination of speed and power that he mixes up to get to the quarterback. Hardy also has a sort of “Overdrive” that he shifts into once he smells a possible sack. For this franchise it could Jevon “the freak” Kearse all over again.

10. Denver Broncos (From the Chicago Bears, a horribly mismanaged organization that treats both the media and their fans like subhuman garbage)

Brandon LaFell WR LSU

LaFell is a rubber band man when it comes to contorting his body in the air to make the catch. His hands are his biggest asset as he catches the ball softly and away from his body. He needs to improve his route running as he isn’t a super fast runner but as long as he makes catches to bail out his quarterback he’ll be a good NFL player. And don’t let his record as a starter fool you, Kyle Orton is a guy who makes throws that need to be bailed out sometimes.

11. Seattle Seahawks Carlos Dunlap DE Florida

Dunlap is one of the biggest reasons Gator opponents have backfield mishaps. He is fast AND strong which will allow him to cause nightmares for opposing tackles for years to come. But because the press is busy kissing Tebow’s a$$ every time the Gators play, he’s a well kept secret.


12. Green Bay Packers Bryan Bulaga OT Iowa

As you might have heard, the Pack’s OL is terrible. GB will get a huge boost in their ability to run and pass protect on the left side when they take Bulaga, one of the best OL in college football.

Now for a little fun, the YouTube video below is the best (read: only that I’m aware of) music video about the NFL Draft, BradyFan83’s “Mr Upside” a parody of the Killers’ “Mr. Brightside.”

13. San Francisco 49ers Bruce Campbell OT Maryland

Campbell could go higher, because he easily has as much talent and ability as Okung and Williams, but he doesn’t have their track record of durability. Therefore, he slips down the board a little. Still this is essentially shaping up to be “the offensive tackle draft” (yeah, so sexy I know) like 1983 was “the quarterback draft”.

14. San Francisco 49ers (From Carolina) Sergio Kindle OLB Texas

Kindle is a versatile linebacker that is an excellent attacker. He takes very good angles to the ball and makes tackles all over the field. Sergio’s mix of energy and instincts allows him to overcome the fact that he is a little slower than coaches would want.

15. Houston Texans Jahvid Best RB Cal

Best is exactly what is name proclaims at his position. He has very good vision and an even better instinct on when to turn on the jets. He is very good at making defenders miss at every level. He isn’t a bruiser back but if coupled with a versatile offense he has the makings of the next young play-making running back.

16. Miami Dolphins Terence Cody DT Alabama

Cody is a big time anchor guy who could go higher if he stays in good shape throughout the combine and workout process. He is a perfect 3-4 true nose tackle and can really control the flow and direction of a play.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars Jonathan Dwyer RB Georgia Tech

The Jags offense works much better when they have two main backs in their stable. And Dwyer, an old school workhorse running back, would be an upgrade over MoJo’s current backups. He can run inside and outside and can handle as many carries as the coach gives him. Dwyer’s a big back, but he has good speed as well and can be the muscle of a two back system or handle the bulk of the carries as well.

18. New York Jets Arrelious Benn WR Illinois

In any other year, Rejus Benn fells out of the first round due to his disappointing 2009 season. But this year’s receiving class is weak and it’s not his fault the quarterbacking in Champaign this fall was a hot mess. Of course, you could probably say the same for the Jets Mark Sanchez. Maybe he’ll look better next year with some complements to Jericho Cotchery. And did you see Benn’s coming-back-to-the-ball catch against Cincinnati? It was a thing of beauty; like actress Amanda Seyfried.

For a preseason interview/profile of Benn click here

amanda-seyfried

19. Atlanta Falcons Rolando McClain LB Alabama

McClain is an amazing tackler in space and can cover a lot of ground from the middle linebacker spot. He’s got great fundamentals and has a knack of shedding blockers to make big tackles. As the picture below will attest.

For an interview profile of McClain, click here

rolandomcclain

20. Seattle Seahawks (From Denver) CJ Spiller RB Clemson

Spiller’s a fast runner built on a solid frame. His outside running game and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield is where he’ll make his mark, but he’s not afraid to go right at a defender. A little extra muscle and being able to show his durability will help Spiller’s stock go up.

21. Dallas Cowboys Arthur Jones DT Syracuse

Jones’ is a gap filler and is stronger than Atlas. He is in a Pat Williams type run stopper that will be look like a man amongst boys at times. He plays hard on every play and is of the rare breed of football players that will never quit on any play.


22. San Diego Chargers Brandon Spikes LB Florida

They’ll be questions a plenty about Spikes’ character, but no one doubts his ability. And he’ll probably end up wowing scouts at the combine with his measurables too. Spikes is also a bit more versatile than you might imagine.

23. Arizona Cardinals Taylor Mays S USC

The Arizona Cardinals badly need to upgrade their 29th ranked pass defense. And if you asked a scout to write down their ideal size and speed numbers for an NFL free safety they’d list: 6-3, 235, 4.4. Oddly enough that is Taylor’s height, weight and 40 time on record. Enough said.

taylormays

24. Baltimore Ravens Brandon Graham DE Michigan

Graham is a big body that plays very well upfield. Scouts will love that he is versatile enough to play the end position in either scheme. Graham himself will love the opportunity to play in a place where defense traditionally comes first and athletes with skill sets usually thrive. Plus, it will be nice to get out of Ann Arbor before all the investigations begin, and players begin to find themselves in sticky situations.

25. New York Giants Jermaine Gresham TE Oklahoma

Gresham is an elite pass catching tight end. He can run a perfect seam route or he can cover a lot of space over the middle. He needs to work on his blocking but he should be a touchdown machine with his hands, size and route running skills.

26. Philadelphia Eagles Golden Tate WR Notre Dame

Eagles could still use some depth at the receiver position. And they had excellent luck in drafting an undersized wide-out 2 years ago (DeSean Jackson leads the team in TD receptions and gives the offense a new spark it lacked in ’08) so why not take another one? If the Eagles don’t go for a tight end to augment their passing game expect another receiver.  And Tate (5′ 11″ 195 lbs), is bigger than Jackson, but also very fast and extremely productive.

27. Pittsburgh Steelers Jermaine Cunningham DE Florida

Cunningham isn’t as explosive as his teammate Carlos Dunlap but he is more reliable on a play by play basis. He gets to the quarterback with regularity and makes a lot of tackles in the run game as well.

28. Cincinnati Bengals Colt McCoy QB Texas

Believe it or not, it will be time start grooming Carson Palmer’s successor soon. Time flies doesn’t it? Best to do it now while you have the luxury of not being too desperate.

For an interview/profile of McCoy click here

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29. New England Patriots Navorro Bowman LB Penn State

Watching the Saints scoring at will tonight reminded us all that they need depth at LB. Bowman has spent much of the year ranked the #1 OLB prospect from ESPN.com He’s was an absolute force down the stretch for PSU, (earning a few Big Ten defensive player of the week awards) and it’s becoming impossible not to compare him to Lavar Arrington- same school, position, and jersey number. Arrington went on to six Pro Bowls, so that’s quite a complement

For an interview/profile of Bowman, click here

13 PSU 0327 JRH

30. Minnesota Vikings Patrick Robinson CB Florida State

Robinson is a super fast coverage man that is above average in nearly every aspect of the game. He anticipates routes but isn’t a huge risk taker and tackles well in the open field. He is also a very good return man.

31. New Orleans Saints Sean Weatherspoon LB Missouri

Give how potent their O is, NOLA will obviously draft for D this spring. And Witherspoon would be a great chance for them to give their LB corps some depth.

32. Indianapolis Colts Joe Haden CB Florida

Haden is near the top of the board amongst other corners with solid coverage and ball skills. He makes good reads and adjusts well to the ball when its in the air. And if weren’t for all of the college football media devoting 90% of their coverage to telling us what a model American Tim Tebow is, we’d all be more well aware of these facts.

Our NFL Mock Draft is listed at: Walter Football, DC Pro Sports Report,  NLSFF, Fantasy Football Toolbox, and  NE Patriots Mock Draft Database. Please check out these websites, the best collections of mock drafts in the world wide web!

Five Reasons Gopher Basketball Will Be Alright

tubbysmith

By Mike Gallagher

In a weekend filled with excitement for University of Minnesota basketball, some came out of the third annual 76 Classic a little disappointed.   The Gophers haven’t played in a tournament this publicized and full of big name programs in recent memory, so just being in it at all was exciting.  Two losses, both to unranked teams, wasn’t exactly what Tubby Smith had in mind.

Having played three creampuff programs, there was really no measuring stick as to how good or bad the team can be.  This tournament was going to fuel a lot of speculation about the Gophers possibly being a top three Big Ten program.  While the two losses left a little something to be desired, there’s no need to fret Gopher fans, and here’s five reasons why.

1. The win over Butler. This was the game everyone pointed to in the non-conference season as the one to watch.  This is the only ranked team the Gophers have on the non-conference schedule, and they showed a lot of maturity and poise on their way to an 82-73 win.  The main thing that should be taken from this game is the depth they showed.  All ten guys came to play, and the difference was bench scoring, which the Gophers dominated 46-8.  This is the second year in a row the Gophers have beaten a top ten program in the non-conference season.  Before they beat Louisville last year, they hadn’t even scheduled a top 25 non-conference program since 2002-03.

2. The play of Colton Iverson. While being used off the bench in the first two games of the tournament, Iverson played well.  Specifically his 13 point, 11 rebound effort versus Butler was what earned him the start Saturday against Texas A&M.  He took advantage of the opportunity and looked very solid in the post on his way to a 14 point, 12 rebound effort.  This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as last year he showed offensive flashes on his way to shooting over 60% from the field.  If he can sustain these kind of performances along with Ralph Sampson III continuing to play consistently (seven points, seven boards per), it would add a very nice element inside for teams to think about on both ends of the floor.

coltoniverson

3. Rodney Williams Jr.’s disappearance. The man hyped to be the #3 pick in the 2011 NBA draft and the 18th best talent in the country according to nbadraft.net, took only three shots the whole tournament and was a non-factor.  So why exactly is this a good thing?  Because he produced absolutely nothing for the team and they still managed to beat a ranked team and play two other solid programs close.  Williams has proven to be an explosive scorer as well as a solid defender on the other end of the floor.  This is the first time he has faced legitimate competition, and now he has a feel for it.  He has plenty of time to adjust to the high level he faced against the three teams this weekend, and can hopefully get acclimated in time for the Big Ten season.  When he comes around, and he will come around, he’ll be yet another great weapon off the bench for Tubby’s squad.

4. The pending return of Trevor Mbakwe. That’s right, it looks like it’s right around the corner.  ESPN’s Andy Katz spoke with Tubby Smith before the start of the 76 classic, and Smith indicated that it looks as if the charges against Mbakwe are going to be dropped.  Some believe that when Mbakwe joins the team he should start right away, supplanting Williams/Paul Carter.  Of course it will take a little time to get him back in the flow of the game, so he’ll probably come off the bench at first.  However, if he is reinstated soon, don’t be surprised if he’s starting by the end of December.  Devron Bostick, who is also currently suspended, is supposedly going to be reinstated in time for the Miami game Wednesday, another tidbit Katz got out of Smith.  Bostick will bring another shooter to the team, and he’ll be able to stretch the floor so the lane will open up for Sampson and Iverson.  As for Royce White, his trial for the Macy’s theft is December 2nd and Smith indicated no timetable as to when his issues would be resolved.

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5. Defense. Holding three extremely competitive programs under 41% shooting from the floor is very impressive.  Making them turn the ball over a combined 54 times in three games isn’t too bad either.  Damian Johnson is the most complete player the Gophers have and that is especially evidenced on the defensive end.  He is averaging three steals and two blocks, both team highs. Paul Carter and Williams are very opportunistic, lanky, athletic defenders who have quick hands, so they can lock up the other teams best wing.  With Sampson and Iverson patrolling the paint and Nolan locking down the point with 2.5 steals/gm, opponents just don’t get anything easy.  At this point, the Gophers are allowing just 57 points/gm.

Even though the weekend could’ve been a little more lucrative in the wins department, don’t be discouraged Minnesota fans.  It’s still early, and if anything could be learned from this weekend, it’s that, for the first time in a while, the Gophers are a legitimate top 25 program.

For Tubby Smith and company, that’s something to be proud of.

The Field of 65 (TSB.net’s Bracketology)

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By: David Kay

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s weekly college basketball feature, “The Field of 65.”  Usually every Friday I will do my best Joe Lunardi impersonation and predict the NCAA Tournament field; but with the holiday weekend, me stuffing my face with turkey and dressing, and several tournaments taking place I decided to push this week’s edition back a few days.

These early season tournaments have given us a great gauge as to which teams are overrated (UCLA, Oklahoma), which are underrated (Cincinnati, Florida, and Marquette), and which mid-majors are to be taken seriously (Gonzaga, Portland).  They have also allowed me a better understanding of how to shape out the The Field of 65 which early in the season tends to be a difficult challenge since you are not able to get a great read of a team by them beating up on inferior competition.

The Selection Committee is always criticized when the brackets come out for leaving a team out, the seedings, or sending a program to play somewhere far away from home.  Until you actually sit down and try to figure this thing out, don’t knock the system because believe me, it’s a complex process.  Here’s me taking a shot at it.  Be sure to check back every Friday for my updated field.

MIDWEST REGIONAL- St. Louis

AT OKLAHOMA CITY
1. Kansas (B12)
16. Lehigh (Patriot)

8. Vanderbilt (SEC)
9. Michigan (B10)

AT SPOKANE
5. Florida State (ACC)
12. Portland (WCC)

4. Georgetown (BE)
13. Kent State (MAC)

AT MILWAUKEE
6. Clemson (ACC)
11. Dayton (A10)

3. Michigan State (B10)
14. Oakland (Summit)

AT BUFFALO
7. Kansas State (B12)
10. BYU (MWC)

2. West Virginia (BE)
15. Sam Houston State (Southland)

EAST REGIONAL-Syracuse

AT PROVIDENCE
1. Villanova (BE)
16. Mount St. Mary’s (NEC)

8. Minnesota (B10)
9. Wake Forest (ACC)

AT SAN JOSE
5. Oklahoma State (B12)
12. Marquette (BE)

4. Florida (SEC)
13. VCU (CAA)

AT BUFFALO
6. Cincinnati (BE)
11. Siena (MAAC)

3. Ohio State (B10)
14. Cornell (Ivy)

AT JACKSONVILLE
7. California (P10)
10. Mississippi State (SEC)

2. Duke (ACC)
15. Boston U. (AEC)

WEST REGIONAL- Salt Lake City

AT MILWAUKEE
1. Purdue (B10)
16. Northern Colorado (Big Sky)

8. Georgia Tech (ACC)
9. Butler (Hor)

AT SAN JOSE
5. UConn (BE)
12. Nevada (WAC)

4. Gonzaga (WCC)
13. Long Beach State (Big West)

AT SPOKANE
6. Texas A&M (B12)
11. Maryland (ACC)

3. Washington (P10)
14. Morehead State (OVC)

AT JACKSONVILLE
7. Memphis (CUSA)
10. Notre Dame (BE)

2. Kentucky (SEC)
15. Radford (Big South)

SOUTH REGIONAL- Houston

AT OKLAHOMA CITY
1. Texas (B12)
16. Morgan St. (MEAC)/Jackson St. (SWAC)

8. Miami, FL (ACC)
9. Illinois (B10)

AT NEW ORLEANS
5. Louisville (BE)
12. Northern Iowa (MVC)

4. Tennessee (SEC)
13. Western Kentucky (Sun Belt)

AT NEW ORLEANS
6. Mississippi (SEC)
11. UNLV (MWC)

3. North Carolina (ACC)
14. Charleston (Southern)

AT PROVIDENCE
7. Wisconsin (B10)
10. Tulsa (CUSA)

2. Syracuse (BE)
15. Jacksonville (Atl. Sun)

Wrong Side of the Bubble:
Missouri
St. John’s
Xavier
Seton Hall
Northwestern
South Carolina
Washington State
UTEP

Welcome to the Dance:
Mississippi State
UNLV
Portland
Marquette

Fell Out of the Tourney:
Oklahoma
Xavier
UCLA
Arizona

Multiple Bid Conferences:

Big East (9)
Big Ten (7)
ACC (7)
SEC (6)
Big 12 (5)
Pac 10 (2)
WCC (2)
Mountain West (2)
CUSA (2)

Milwaukee Bucks early 2000s dominate all-decade team

Bucks

By Jake McCormick

The last 10 years of Milwaukee Bucks basketball have followed a  success arc similar to former point guard Damon Stoudamire. When Stoudamire broke into the league as a Toronto Raptor, he won the Rookie of the Year award and averaged 20 points and nine assists in two and a half years in Canada. After a trade to Portland, Stoudamire’s role diminished and he never topped his career highs in assists, points, and rebounds again.

The 2000-01 Bucks won 52 games and came within one game of the NBA Finals, but the team has only managed one season above .500 (42-40, 2002-03) and two seasons at the Mason-Dixon line since then. Despite their best efforts, the Bucks made the playoffs in three years and fizzled out faster than a reality show contestant’s fame.

After two 50 loss seasons and a near miss with 48 last year, GM John Hammond and Scott Skiles have seemingly started to get back to the future of the decade’s early glory. But because of the Bucks’ recent 1-4 skid, bringing their current record to 8-7, I think it would be appropriate to relive the highs of the last 10 years through an honorary all-decade team. Hopefully, it helps Brandon Jennings and a close to fully healthy cast (Andrew Bogut comes back tonight, and Michael Redd and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute are just around the corner) take on three divisional opponents in the next four games.

Keep in mind, the 2000s have NOT been especially good to the Milwaukee Bucks. But if you’re reading this, you probably know that already.

Milwaukee Bucks All-Decade Team
Sam CassellSamCassell
It’s too early to put Brandon Jennings here, so the obvious choice is Cassell. He holds the fifth spot in total assists as a Buck and second in assists per game. I wonder if anyone still owns a Sam Cassell jersey?

Ray Allen
Allen was money for the Bucks in the early 2000s, plain and simple. He was the only reason (and a bit of K.G.) I was OK with watching the Boston Celtics buy a championship.

Glenn Robinson
One of the Big Three from 2000-01 and one of three easy choices to round out this list. Robinson is second in Bucks history in total points and first in defensive rebounds, although he surely wasn’t known for his defensive prowess.

Tim Thomas
Thomas was a budding player for his first two seasons in a Milwaukee uniform, and many players (Ray Allen, for one) have said that Thomas could’ve been the best player in the league if he applied himself. Milwaukee has relied more on guards than post players to carry the team, and Thomas is the closest thing to the four position that contributed for more than three years.

Andrew Bogut
Bogut has steadily increased his rebounding totals since his rookie year in 2005, and if healthy, can average close to 20 points and 10 rebounds every night. Bogut won’t be Dwight Howard anytime soon, but he has clearly been the best center in beer town over the past decade.

Bucks All-Decade Second Team
Mo Williams
Even though Williams’ time in Milwaukee was short lived, he spent two of his four years as a Buck averaging over 17 points and six assists per game. Williams’ is doing just fine as a Cleveland Cavalier and can attribute much of his development to Milwaukee.

BJBrandon Jennings
Jennings has only been around for a few games, but it’s clear he is taking the fast track to becoming a team leader and franchise cornerstone for many years. With Redd out, coach Scott Skiles has ran some double point guard rotations with Jennings and Luke Ridnour on the court together, so I figured this would be appropriate for the all-decade team.

Michael Redd
Redd was the only consistent scorer throughout the darkest days of the decade, and has averaged 20.4 ppg as a Buck. It has yet to be determined if Redd’s best days are behind him, but it’s hard to argue against a guy that dropped 57 points in a game to set a franchise single-game record.

Charlie Villanueva
I wish I didn’t pick a guy that played his best as a Buck in his contract year, but Villanueva is second in a very slim pool of choices. Averaging 16.2 points and 6.7 rebounds last year is definitely a respectable number for a role player.

Jamaal Magloire
If you can find a better argument for Dan Gadzuric, Joel Pryzbilla, or Scott Williams I would love to hear them. Magloire averaged a near double-double in 2005-06 and was a part of that below .500 playoff team. That’s all I got.

Charlie Weis out at ND, Clausen likely gone too

charlie-weis

By Paul M. Banks

Notre Dame has fired Head Coach Charlie Weis. The university is apparently deciding to eat his contract. Insert your own joke about Weis and eating here. At 5pm ND will hold a news conference making the firing “official”. During these last five years of Weiss coaching ND, hundreds of us sports bloggers made numerous funny, but also extremely juvenile, jokes about Weis’ weight. I am not apologizing, and I don’t think anyone else will either. Weis was so arrogant and unapologetic about his arrogance that he invited these fat-ass jokes upon himself. He was deluded into thinking he automatically had an inherent Xs and Os advantage over everyone. Ask Navy, Pitt, Connecticut and Stanford about that. Or better yet look at Weis’ 35-27 body of work. Let’s not look at his body please which is reminiscent of Grimace from McDonald’s land) Despite having (supposedly) some of the best recruiting classes in the nation, year in and year out.

Weis also made his program as inaccessible to the media as a college football team can be. He even refused to do a post game press conference after the loss to Stanford on Saturday and shut out the media following the Clausen incident from last weekend. You know that whole thing about Clausen getting drunk and getting beat up by a Notre Dame “fan” the weekend before Thanksgiving. So again, he made very few friends in the press and/or the blogosphere, and his standoffishness invited us all to point out how his body is shaped like a Christmas tree.

Junior QB Jimmy Clausen, another one of college football’s household names, is likely to leave Notre Dame as well. Except his departure be voluntary.  Clausen was seen giving his football helmet to his family following the 45-38 loss to Stanford, and is strongly expected to declare for the NFL draft.

For Weis, he supposedly has at least six offers from NFL teams to become their offensive coordinator. An assistant who none of us have ever heard of will step in for Weis for the time being. If they accept a bowl bid, sorry Charlie, but you won’t be on the sideline. The way things are going Clausen may not be there either!

weisathon

So who’s the next Coach at Notre Dame? I’m going to say Bob Stoops. WGN’s David Kaplan says he has sources that indicate ND could be moving in that direction, and I trust Kap and his group of insiders, because he was the first to break the story on Clausen getting into a fight at a local bar and getting too black eyes.

Your chance to let the BCS know WE NEED A PLAYOFF SYSTEM

boycottbowls2

When this college football season ends, we will have more undefeated teams than ever before. And since there is no playoff system in place, it means more teams will get screwed and denied a receive a deserved chance to play for the title than ever before. Yes, we all know that the middle letter in BCS is one letter too many, because BS is what it is all about. And yes bowl season and teams getting shafted for no reason at all go together liek Paul Rudd movies and music from lame, overrated 70s rock bands, but this year it’s different. Here’s your chance to let the BCS know how evil, corrupt and driven by greed it truly is.

Tweet at twitter.com/insidethebcs all your angst and complaints

Our friends at The Big Lead told the world about the new PR initiative being launched by the BCS in attempt to curb bad (and much deserved) publicity about their system. Learn more about the new websites they’ve launched and the flaks they have hired to combat the growing popular movement for a playoff system. Let them know how you feel, and maybe just maybe, a grassroots movement could grow strong enough to actually one day bring about change.

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Find your Christmas Gifts here at The Sports Bank

sports-fan-gift-basket

It’s “Cyber Monday,” the biggest online shopping day of the year! Need an exceptional and one-of-a-kind holiday gift for the sports fan in your life? What about something unique for your own collection.christmas-gifts

These are all items that have been auctioned on Ebay or will go up for auction soon. SO GRAB THEM WHILE YOU CAN!!!

Check out the inventory here.

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And remember to check back early and often because this inventory is always being updated.

Click here to see the list.

Bigger Bust: Jamarcus Russell vs. Brady Quinn

Raiders Russell Football

By Mike Gallagher

This bust matchup is much like the 2007 Sugar Bowl these two QBs met in: one sided.

Brady Quinn and Jamarcus Russell went into the game as the first and second rated quarterbacks in the nation, and Jamarcus Russell had a huge game on the way to LSU’s 41-14 demolition of Notre Dame.

Unfortunately for Russell, this time he comes out on the wrong end of the one-sided affair, as he is clearly the bigger bust of the two quarterbacks.

Some will make the argument that Jamarcus Russell was never that good in the first place and that his credibility is only based off that one BCS bowl game.  Don’t be fooled, that game had been in the works his entire college career.

Looking at his stats, his freshman year was very pedestrian, while his sophomore year showed signs of improvement, but his junior year was when he burst off the page.  He was learning and building on his experiences in college, and it all came together that junior year, ESPECIALLY in the bowl game.

Let’s be clear though, Brady Quinn was the better college quarterback.  Throwing for almost 10,000 yards and 86 touchdowns in only three years dwarfs the college numbers of Jamarcus Russell.

When Russell was taken first overall, it was a clear statement of the potential he had, rather than the body of work he had accrued at LSU.  Scouts saw the pro ready body, big arm, and clear growth in college as signs that he was the next great thing at the QB position.

The accolades of being the #1 pick also brings great responsibility and pressure, things Quinn didn’t have to face right away.

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When drafted 22nd overall by the Browns that same year, Quinn did have the same instant pressure and expectations.  Derek Anderson assumed the starter’s role ahead of Quinn in his rookie year.  Quinn only had to throw eight passes the whole year; against San Francisco in garbage time of the season’s last game.

Since then, Russell has been the starting QB in 25 games for the Oakland Raiders.  In those games, the Raiders are 7-18.  Some may say that the Oakland Raiders are not exactly exploding with talent around Russell.  This is true, but number one overall picks are cursed with having to turn around bad teams, whether it’s with help, or all on their own.

On top of that, Quinn’s supporting cast isn’t any better.  Josh Cribbs, Chansi Stuckey, and arguably the best of the group, Mohamed Massaquoi, leave much to be desired from the WR position.

Brady Quinn has started 8 games for the Cleveland Browns since he came to the league, and is 1-7.  Cleveland hasn’t been the same since 2007 when Derek Anderson led the Browns to a 10-6 record.  Injuries decimated them in 2008, leaving Bruce Gradkowski as their starting QB, and their defense hasn’t kept them in many games.

The plain and simple truth of it is that Jamarcus Russell was the number one overall pick.  He was taken based on all the potential he had to be a superstar.  Whether it’s the coaching staff or the player’s fault, that potential has never come close to  fruition.  He has now had a season and a half worth of starts under his belt and that should be plenty of time to get acclimated to the NFL.

Instead, Russell is having his worst season.  He is second to last among starting QB’s in touchdowns, passer rating, average per pass, and 29th in yards.  He has been benched for the aforementioned Bruce Gradkowski, who pulled an upset of the much feared Bengals last week.

That should show that a lot of the blame, contrary to Russell’s opinion, falls on him.  It won’t be long until he’s in the category of Ryan Leaf and Akili Smith as biggest QB busts of all time.

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Personally, I don’t think you can call Brady Quinn a bust yet.  Eight starts is not that many, and he has shown flashes of being able to captain a pro football team.  His performance last week, albeit against the Lions, was impressive, and something that he can possibly build off of.

The real giveaway that it’s not Quinn’s fault in Cleveland is Derek Anderson.  He’s been the only person worse than Russell in the categories I mentioned earlier.  This shows that Quinn is doing everything he can with the tools around him, and can’t be blamed for the poor performance of the team.

Brady Quinn still has time to prove himself in the pros.  Jamarcus Russell’s time is running out.

College Hoops 101

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By: David Kay

There is nothing quite like walking into a neighborhood watering hole located in a strip mall at 11:00 a.m. on the day after Thanksgiving to watch college basketball and down a couple Bloody Mary’s and Old Styles before it is even one o’clock.  That is the joy that Feast Week brought me.

Non-stop college hoops last week combined with a five-day vacation allowed me to spend a lot of quality time in front of the boob tube.  There were plenty of entertaining games, interesting storylines, and upsets galore.  It’s all here in College Hoops 101.

Rewind

-Since I am a glass half-full kind of guy, let me start by saying this; prior to the Old Spice Classic, if you would have told me that Marquette was going to finish 2-1 in the tournament, I would have taken it in a second.  With that said, it is still massively disappointing that after holding a 17-point second half lead, MU let is slip away in their Championship game loss to Florida State.  But we did learn a lot about this Marquette team.  They are gritty, play hard, get after it on the defensive end, and despite being grossly under-sized are going to scrap to stay in every game.  Translation: They have sucked me in and I am a believer that this team could be competitive in the Big East.  I also rescind my comment from a week ago that they will only win four games in conference play.

-Remember all that talk about the Big Ten being the toughest, deepest conference in college basketball this year?  Maybe not.  Friday was a rough one for the Big Ten as four ranked teams lost; Michigan State to Florida, Michigan to Marquette, Minnesota to Portland, and Illinois to Utah.  Follow that up with the Illini losing to Bradley on Saturday and the Gophers and Wolverines falling on Sunday, and the Big Ten took a big hit on the national scene.  Northwestern was a saving grace though as they upset Notre Dame and beat a talented Iowa State squad in the Chicago Invitational Challenge (check out Paul M. Banks coverage of Northwestern’s winning the challenge.)

-UCLA… OUCH!  Playing in Anaheim at the 76 Challenge, the Bruins finished in eighth place out of eight teams.  They were embarrassed in their first round game losing by 27 to Portland.  Then UCLA was edged by Butler in a consolation round game and then fell to Long Beach State by 11 in the 7th place game.  The Bruins are now 2-4 on the year and it doesn’t get any easier with top-ranked Kansas coming to town this weekend.

-The Pac-10 is not the best college basketball conference on the west coast this year.  The West Coast Conference is owning the Pac-10.  Loyola Marymount won at USC.  Portland beat Oregon and then smacked UCLA around like Ike slapped Tina.  San Diego beat Stanford earlier this year by 13 and of course there is Gonzaga who beat Wisconsin and Cincinnati to win the Maui Invite.  The Pac-10 might only get two teams in the tourney.

-Play of the week goes to Alabama’s JaMychal Green who secured his team’s victory against Michigan in the 3rd place game of the Old Spice Classic.  (Fast forward to the end of the game.  Sorry, it was the only clip I could find.)


Fast Forward

-This is supposed to be the year the Big Ten claims the Big Ten/ACC Challenge crown having lost all ten match-ups versus Dickie V’s favorite conference.  Two games to keep an eye on including the re-match of last year’s NCAA title game:
Michigan St. at North Carolina: Tuesday 8:00, ESPN
Duke at Wisconsin: Wednesday 8:15, ESPN

-North Carolina at Kentucky: Saturday 11:30, CBS
The Heels follow up their game with the Spartans by heading to Lexington.  Both teams are extremely talented but still young and trying to find a groove.  Expect a lot of offense in this one.

-Miami (FL) at Boston College, Sunday 2:00, FSN
Isn’t it way too early for the first conference game to be played?

The Drive
Games watched through 11/29: 53

Games watched this past week (home teams in CAPS): 20

#10 Tennessee 57, DePaul 53
A year ago, the Blue Demons went oh-for in Big East play.  This year, they hang with Tennessee and are 3-1 so far.  DePaul will be no pushover in conference play.

Cincinnati 67, Vanderbilt 58

Finally Jay Bilas is on color for a game I watch.  Cincy was very active on the defensive end but I was just happy to here Bilas’ sweet voice calling a game.  (Now is about the time Bilas files a restraining order against me.)

#6 Purdue 73, #9 Tennessee 72

Very entertaining game.  Both teams played really hard and got after it on both ends of the floor and should be major factors this season nationally.

Wisconsin 65, Arizona 61
Dear officials, way to ruin what should have been a very intriguing match-up by calling 54 fouls resulting in 66 free throw attempts.  The only thing we learned from this game is that ‘Zona freshman Derrick Williams has stud potential.

#3 Texas 85, Iowa 60
Tied at the break, the ‘Horns out-scored the Hawkeyes 47-22 in second half.  Remember the name Jordan Hamilton, a freshman swing player on Texas.  He could be special in a year or two.

Arizona 91, Colorado 87 OT
Very entertaining game to watch.  Nic Wise came up huge for ‘Zona down the stretch while the Buffs proved they are ready to make some noise in the Big 12.

MARQUETTE 93, South Dakota 68
I am really okay with teams wanting to zone MU this season.  They have shooters who can knock down three’s and Lazar Hayward can set up shot in the middle of the zone.

Gonzaga 74, Wisconsin 61
Despite welcoming ten new players, the Zags are still one of the top mid-majors in the country and can hang with any team from the power six conferences.  Of course it also helps that the Badgers were 5-26 from three in this game.

#3 Texas 78, Pitt 62
The ‘Horns are apparently a second half team.  They were tied with Iowa at the half and then trailed Pitt at the break before turning it on for the final twenty minutes.

Wisconsin 78, #21 Maryland 69

I kept getting interrupted and watched this game over three different sit-downs, so I didn’t get a feel for it at all.

Vanderbilt 84, Arizona 72
An off-night for Nic Wise = ‘Zona loss.

Gonzaga 61, Cincinnati 59 OT
Zags win the Maui Invite and show that despite being without four of their top players from a year ago, they are still one of the best mid-major programs in the country.

#15 Michigan 83, Creighton 76 OT

I am still trying to figure out if Michigan did not impress me or if Creighton really impressed me.  Manny Harris was one rebound shy of a triple-double.

Marquette 71, Xavier 61

Not gonna lie, I was already chalking this one up in the loss column for Marquette.  Thankfully, Xavier went on a late five-and-a-half minute dry spell without a field goal as MU went on a 16-2 run.  Big confidence building win.

#16 Minnesota 82, #10 Butler 73
There were 81 free throws attempted in this game.

Marquette 79, #15 Michigan 65
Nothing like going to the bar at 11:00 a.m. on the day after Thanksgiving, order a couple Bloody Mary’s and Old Styles, and watch your team knock off a ranked team.  That’s called a good start to the day.

Florida State 60, Alabama 51
With this win, FSU advances to meet Marquette in the Old Spice Classic Championship.  The ‘Noles are 7-1, 6-9, 6-8 in their frontcourt.  I have no idea how MU can guard them.

#7 Duke 68, #13 UConn 59

Neither team played very well in what was pretty much a letdown game to watch.

Florida State 58, Marquette 57

Read the Rewind section of this article for more on this game.

#8 West Virginia 84, Portland 66
Portland’s Cinderella-run in the 76 Classic comes to an end at the hands of a Mountaineer team that is as good as advertised.

Chicago Bulls All Decade Team

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By Paul M. Banks

The 1990s were a refreshing change for Chicago sports fans. For the better part of the decade, the city abandoned it’s dysfunctional obsession with its two lovable losers (Bears and Cubs) in order to fully embrace the only true consistent winner that the second city has ever known: Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls dynasty. As great as the 90s were, the 2000s were kind of lean. Especially in the beginning when they ended the ’99-’00 with 65 losses, followed that up with 67 losses the next year, and two more 50+ seasons after that.

However, they did make the playoffs four out of the last five years this decade, and they did it without a true franchise player or star. In fact the Bulls haven’t had an all-star since Michael Jordan retired in 1998 (I don’t acknowledge that whole Washington Wizards thing, and no true NBA fan really should-EVER). This reality makes picking the all-decade team all the more murky and debatable. Not to mention the arguments you could have about who belongs on the first team versus the second team. Here’s what I choose:

All-Decade First Team

Elton Brand

The 1999-00 NBA Rookie of the Year was also the last in team history to average over 20 points a game in consecutive seasons, and he averaged a double-double in those years as well.

Jalen Rose

On teams that struggled to score, he grabbed the Bulls by the horns and put up a 22.7 ppg average during his time in Chicago; second only to MJ.

Kirk Hinrich

Yes, his career essentially peaked in ’07, but the class and leadership he displayed in handling the shift in his role on the team is worth emulating and commending. Earlier this season, Hinrich spoke about what he’s trying to improve upon, “Trying to stay aggressive offensively, keep my defensive intensity and just trying to help the guys along, I realize I’m in a position to be somewhat of a leader, and try to do that.” And he’s arguably the franchise’s best defender this decade, and 4th in Bulls history in assists, 3rd in 3-pointers made and top ten in scoring.

Tyson Chandler

Maybe he never lived up to the hype, but he still finished his time here 5th in blocks, 9th in offensive rebounds and 8th in defensive boards.

Ben Gordon

Yes his defense is like a Fergie song with intelligent lyrics: non-existent. But he was the team’s most consistent scorer for the latter half of the decade, and he tied a NBA record for most 3-pointers made in a game without a miss, going 9-9 in April of ’06 versus Washington. I was there that night- it was electric.Fergie

A Category all his own

Ron Artest

Hard to decide what to do with Ron Artest when you make this list. Consider the achievements of his NBA career, consider how “colorful” he is both on and off the court, consider what a great soundbite he is, especially in a world of “we’re just taking it one game at a time” and “I’m working hard and I’m just happy to be here” and finally consider he wasn’t Bull very long at all.

For an exclusive interview with Ron Artest, where he discusses his pro Tiger Woods blog click here

All Decade Second Team

Jamal Crawford

What can I say? It was a slow decade for the Bulls. Even though they had a few winning seasons, they TRULY lacked legitimate stars.

Eddy Curry

Again, it was a REALLY slow decade for the Bulls.

Derrick Rose

Last season’s Rookie of the Year should become the franchise’s first All-Star since Michael Jordan. “It would mean a lot. It’s one of my goals, I’m going to fight for it,” Rose told me earlier this year at a practice. In ’09, Rose tied Lew Alcindor for most points scored by a rookie in his postseason debut.  And Chris Paul is the only other player ever to score 35+ points and 10+ assists while losing his playoff virginity.

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Luol Deng

Ok, so he’s come nowhere CLOSE to being worth the $71 million they shelled out to keep him here, but the team has only one playoff series win this decade, and he averaged 22.2 points and 8.7 rebounds during that postseason.

Scottie Pippen

Was technically a member of the team this decade, as Pip played sparingly on the ’03-‘04 team. But he’s obviously here for old-time’s sake. As the record book will tell you “Pippen Ain’t Easy,” as Scottie is second all-time in franchise history to Michael Jordan in pretty much every stat you could possibly care about.

Honorable Mention

Joakim Noah (Hey, he’s leading the NBA in rebounds right now- name the last Bull to do that), Ron Mercer

Juice (Thompson) is Loose as Northwestern takes Chicago Invitational Title

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By Paul M. Banks

NU beats Iowa State 67-65 to take Chicago Invitational Championship. Forward John Shurna named MVP, Guards Jeremy Nash and Michael “Juice” Thompson named to all-tournament team.

When Northwestern’s star forward Kevin Coble went down for the season with a foot injury, someone needed to step up. That someone is turning out to be two people: Juice Thompson and John Shurna. With Juice running the point, and Shurna scoring both inside and outside at will, this team certainly has “juice” (slang for power, respect, notoriety) now.

They’re 5-1 with some quality wins on their resume. Rick Majerus told me yesterday he thinks ISU could compete with Kansas for the Big 12 title. And Northwestern beat them. Iowa State’s Craig Brackins, a potential NBA lottery pick, played with Shurna for Team USA last summer. Yesterday Shurna was telling me how much he was impressed by Brackins, today Brackins returned the favor. “We scrimmaged the Under-19 team there, so I knew how good he was, and what a great a shooter he was,” Brackins said.

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NU Head Coach Bill Carmody extolled the virtues of Shurna’s development in the post-game presser. And when a reporter asked if Shurna might start to develop a big head after scoring 23 and 25 points on back-to-back nights against top notch competition, Coach had a candid and unique reply. “No, he’s such a humble kid. It’s hard to get that kid to be confident. You know that guy, he looks like he’s 14 years old. He’s a little goofy, God bless him.”

And while Shurna was the best player on the floor this Thanksgiving weekend. The most valuable player was probably Thompson. Some people call him Juice, some people call him Michael. The junior point guard entered this game as the Cats leading scorer and floor general.

“To my peers and my teammates, it’s Juice, but Coach Carmody doesn’t call me that unless I make a mistake, other than that he calls me Mike or Thompson.

Juice said he learned a lot from Craig Moore, last year’s starting two guard, who broke pretty much every school three point record imaginable, and was the the unquestioned leader of the team.

“Craig was a feisty guy, he was always on top of guys, and some guys you can get through to them that way. So being a leader I’m just trying to figure out who I can get through to in that way, and who I need to talk to in just a calm manner and try to get them to work harder,” Thompson replied. Thompson also told me about his “Juice” tattoo on his right shoulder. “This is my trademark there, I got to get that copyrighted.”

Northwestern Preview Basketball

Juice has evolved into this team’s floor general and I asked him what that term means to him “A coach on the court someone who knows the offense inside and out, and knows what everyone needs to do, and every thing that the coach wants him to do. I have a feel for what Coach Carmody wants me to run at certain times. He pretty much wants me to call plays on my own,” Juice replied.

Thompson sure sounded like a Coach when I asked him how they upset Notre Dame and stopped the most highly heralded player in the nation last night. “We watched a lot of film, we pretty much knew what we had to do, our coaches wanted us to focus on Harangody, and close out on the shooters with our 1-3-1. With Harangody we were trying to double him as much as we could. But with our 1-3-1 he wasn’t under the basket as much as he can be, and that’s where he’s most effective. With Hansbrough we tried to close out on him and be there right on the catch and I think we did a great job of that.”

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Chicago Invitational Blog Day 2

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By Paul M. Banks

Another day at the Chicago Invitational Challenge, and another day that St. Louis Head Coach Rick Majerus camps out along the baseline, and gives me and the other reporters next to me a front row view of his behind. But hey, he wears all black both days, and as we know black is slimming. It’s great to be back watching college basketball, and not out at the shopping malls. I would rather be ANYWHERE than at a shopping mall on these two days. I honestly judge be people’s intelligence and decision-making abilities on whether or not they fight the “door-buster” crowds on these days. brackins2

Worse are the crappy local tv news stations that videotape this and run THE EXACT SAME story EVERY year. I’d quit if they gave me that assignment. I bring this up because I think this may why College Basketball tournaments draw so poorly during this week. Pretty much every tourney you see on tv, the arenas are always 3/4 empty. The Las Vegas Invitational is even held in a high school gym usually.

The 8,000 seat UIC pavilion is no different, as only 3,000 people came to the game last night. I like this little venue a lot though. It’s right there accessible from the EL, and it’s actually in Chicago, unlike the venue that hosted the “CHICAGO INVITATIONAL” during the first three years of its existence. That would be the beautiful and state of the art Sears Centre (also seats about 8,000) located WAY OUT in Hoffman Estates; or pretty much the edge of the suburbs. What makes it seem even farther though is the highways leading too it are ALWAYS the most congested in all of Chicago. Given that it runs right past Woodfield Mall, I’m sure it’s even worse today. So why was this tournament moved from the Sears Centre to UIC Pavilion? Ticket sales? No, it was because when they made the decision, the authorities thought the Sears Centre would be out of money and closed by this time. They were pretty close to shutting down. Of course, what the Sears Centre needs to go is get some actual tenants that people might actually consider wanting to buy a ticket to see.

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Currently they have the Chicago Shamrox (indoor lacrosse), Chicago Storm (some sort of indoor soccer league) and the Chicago Hounds I think, which is roller derby or something maybe. Anybody ever heard of any one of these teams? The only reason I’ve ever heard of the Chicago (although when you play your games 1.5 hours outside Chicago, are you really allowed to use that name?) Shamrox, is because a girl from my high school graduating class is a dancer for them. Hence the obligatory dance team pics. The “Hot Rox” they’re called.

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Notre Dame is about to beat St. Louis in the Third place game right about now…..actually there’s 1:11 left. with the Golden Domers up on the Billikens 60-48. So I guess that means SLU finishes fourth. Also, there’s a few other mid-major teams in this tournament, Kennesaw  State beat Mississippi Valley St. in the fifth place game, and the battle to finish 7th took place between Liberty and Tennessee St. but I’ll have to go find out the result on that one. If you really want me to I will. I know you’re dying to find out.

ND wins 64-52. Harangody finishes with 18 points, 9 rebounds. He entered the tourney averaging 27.2 Ben Hansbrough had 14. Willie Reed of SLU finished with 20 pts

Highlights of postgame pressers:

SLU Head Coach Rick Majerus:

“We struggle to score, and part of it is unfamiliarity with each other, part of it is some of these teams are more veteran, more physical, part of it is we go backward on misses.” well, you get the point. They scored 52 points today, after just 54 yesterday.

I’ll be back with quotes from Luke Harangody and ND Head Coach Mike Brey. For right now, the title game is in progress.

NU trails Iowa St. 10-8, with their only points coming from John Shurna, two 3s and a “and 1”.

Luka Mirkovic scores inside and score is now Iowa St. 12, Northwestern 11 with 11:51 to go in the half. ISU has a starter named Lucca Staiger, who hails from Blaustein, Germany. This game will probably set the record for a basketball game featuring starters named Luka, or Lucca.

Iowa St. also has a guy named Jamie Vanderbeeken. Sounds alarmingly close to James Vanderbeek, the actor everyone knows as better as Dawson from “Dawson’s Creek” or Jon Moxon from “Varsity Blues”. Sorry for bringing up Dawson’s Creek, I know you’ll inevitably have that annoying theme song by Paula Cole in your head now. I know I do.

With 7:16 left in half NU leads 24-22. This tournament is an example of why a conference having it’s own network is so advantageous. The only games being broadcasted from this tourney are those involving Northwestern. Even though they’re not the best team here (probably Iowa St. but we’ll know for sure in about 1.5 hours) and not the highest profile program either (that would be Notre Dame), their games take precedence because the generous Lord bestowed upon us the gift of BTN.

ISU comes out of the gates firing on all cylinders and extends their lead 43-37 with 16 min to go. Craig Brackins has a NBA body no doubt. There were a few NBA scouts here yesterday, I saw dudes from the Miami Heat and Golden St. Warriors here, and Bulls GM Gar Forman was in attendance too. I could see both Brackins and Harangody being total “John Paxson” picks. Think about his history, then draw the paralells. Both fit in perfectly.

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very close game. ISU leads 51-48. Thats a good complement for NU as Majerus said he thinks Iowa St. has a chance to challenge Kansas for the conference title. ISU has a LOT of good athletes and they are a very underrated team. They also have Carlos Boozer’s brother Charles. But he hardly plays more than five minutes a game. And he’s a junior already, so don’t expect him to be in “the league” someday soon.

61-55 NU with 3:32 left. Can lightning strike twice? Is NU going to win the Chi Invitational, when no one gave them a chance in back-to-back games? Would this start up the tourney talk again?

63-61 Cats with 1:16 left. If Juice had knocked down that last shot following an offensive rebound, it might have clinched the game. Instead the crafty German Lucca Steiger went down and hit a big 3 to cut it to a basket.

65-62 NU leading with 8.2 left. Looks like they’re going to be sitting much prettier than Illinois after today. who would have thunk that? Illinois is down four to Bradley, freaking Bradley with 9 seconds left. WHAT? Oh, and after this weekend’s games, so much for the Big Ten being the best conference in AMerica.

My Illini lose…but here, NU is about to claim the invitational trophy and champsionship