Archives for January 2011

Massive Snow Storm Puts Penn State’s Visit to the Illini in Question

hoth

As you might have heard, the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois will be transformed into the Ice system of Hoth the next two days. And it’s throwing a massive crimp into the plans of the college basketball game between the Illini and Penn State. According to the PSU SID:

Due to a large winter storm that began hitting the Midwest on Monday, Penn State’s flight to Champaign was unable to land in Champaign or nearby Indianapolis and was diverted to Evansville, Ind. late Monday night. The Nittany Lions stayed the night there and will attempt to bus the three hours north to Champaign in the morning.

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Big Ten Basketball Power Rankings February 2011 Edition

hoosiers cheerleader

Lots of shakeup this week in my Big Ten Power Rankings. Let’s see where everyone shakes up. “CAN’T WAIT” as the New York Jets Bart Scott would say:

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NHL All Star Game Concept Succeeds; Leaves Room for Improvement

The NHL shook things up, stepped out on a limb and took a few risks. Not surprisingly, buzz was generated and people seemed to show genuine interest in the league’s All Star Game.

For years I’ve been suggesting ideas to spruce up each of the professional sports’ All Star showcases in an effort to make them more entertaining and watchable. For the most part, it seems the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL were oblivious to the fact that most people didn’t care about an event that featured each league’s biggest stars. Until the NHL decided that they were going to do away with the conference alignment in it’s All Star Game and used a Fantasy Draft to make up the two teams competing for the All Star Game win.

By Peter Christian and Bryan Vickroy

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Will Super Bowl Make Rashard Mendenhall Greatest Illini Rusher Ever?

mendenhall

For the second year in a row, the Super Bowl will have a feature back from the University of Illinois. This time, the Illini tailback is the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Rashard Mendenhall;  who in 2008 became the first University of Illinois player taken in the first round of the NFL Draft since 1996.

14 years ago, UI produced the #2 (Kevin Hardy taken by Jacksonville) and #3 overall (Simeon Rice drafted by Arizona) picks. Hard to believe that team went 5-5-1. Mendenhall’s 4.45 forty time, ideal size at 5’11”, 225, a 33½ inch vertical, Shard has developed into a star in the NFL. The native of Skokie will burn by you, run through you and impress you with a last name that sounds like it should belong to a British aristocrat. Or perhaps the name of the English countryside mansion where that nobleman lives.

Mikel Leshoure is drawing all sorts of Mendenhall comparisons right now, as his draft stock is gaining serious momentum. But who are the other Illini rushers who made their presence felt in the NFL?

By Paul M. Banks

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Indiana Pacers Fire Jim O’Brien; More Change on the Way?

The Indiana Pacers fired coach Jim O’Brien on Sunday midway through the fourth year of O’Brien’s contract and named assistant Frank Vogel interim coach for the rest of 2010-11.

O’Brien went 121-169 as Pacers coach and began this season 17-27 before being relieved of his duties.

The first thing to take away from Sunday’s news is that the Pacers are doing the right thing in parting ways with O’Brien. He wasn’t getting it done at a point in his contract when Indiana should be a solid playoff contender in a weak Eastern Conference. I’ll have more on that later, but O’Brien’s dismissal presents an opportunity for the Pacers to start fresh.

The question is, is it just the first one?

By Drew Allen

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Identifying Ohio State’s 1st Potential Loss

thad matta

Ohio State is still #1 and the last remaining unbeaten in college basketball. However, following their narrowest of escapes against a much less talented Northwestern team on Saturday night; it’s pretty obvious they’re not going to run the table this year. Last week we explored the chances of it actually happening; now we’ll look at where they might pick up that first L.

By Paul M. Banks

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College Hoops 101 (1/31/11)

byu basketball cheerleader

If you are unfamiliar with College Hoops 101, it is a weekly feature here at The Sports Bank that runs every Monday (a double edition this week as I had to skip last week’s) and breaks down everything you need to know going on in the world of college basketball.  I will look back at the previous week and peak ahead to some of the key match-ups in the next seven days. (Click here if you missed my most recent Bracketology.)

By: David Kay

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Drawing a Chicago Bears-Milwaukee Bucks comparison on beating inferior teams

Andrew Bogut

AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps

A team’s season-high winning streak says a lot about their taste for success, but the Milwaukee Bucks’ three straight victories, including Saturday’s 91-81 win over the New Jersey Nets, are showing they are closer to replicating last year’s second half run than they have been all season.

By Jake McCormick [Read more…]

Indiana Pacers Officially Name Frank Vogel Interim Coach


A few hours after the news broke about Head Coach Jim O’Brien’s firing, the Indiana Pacers organization called for a press conference with team president Larry Bird.

At this presser, the team announced that assistant coach Frank Vogel would be stepping in as the interim coach for the remainder of the 2010-11 season.

“I’m sure you’ve heard the news that we let Jimmy go today and we’re going to replace him with Frank Vogel. I want to thank Jimmy for his three-and-a-half years of service. He helped change the culture and he’s going to be missed. Hopefully we can move forward and win some ball games and get back in playoff contention,” said Bird.

By: Nick Grays

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Bill Maher on the NFL’s Superiority to MLB in Revenue Sharing, Economic Structure

money

Do you recall the old football vs. baseball bit by the legendary late comedian George Carlin? The bit juxtaposed the overwhelming war imagery and militaristic terminology found in the jargon of football basics against the pleasant, wholesome and pastoral emotions evoked from the basic terminology of baseball.

HBO “Real Time” host Bill Maher has done the same thing as it applies to basic economic structure and revenue sharing in the NFL vs. MLB. It’s something I’ve been saying for years, unfortunately I’ve never taken the time to write it down, and develop the idea further. But here’s the gist of it, the NFL is number one because of their socialist system that facilitates parity, while MLB’s unfettered, laissez-faire capitalism keeps the big boys up at the top and the little man down.

Green Bay vs. Pittsburgh in this year’s Super Bowl only reaffirms this.

Here’s an excerpt of Maher’s final “New Rule” from his latest show Friday night

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Milwaukee Bucks analysis: A pessimist, optimist, and realist walk into a bar…

Brandon Jennings, Aaron Rodgers

AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps

Here are the best and worst things to come out of the Milwaukee Bucks 91-81 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Saturday night: [Read more…]

Bulls Ronnie Brewer Posterizes Pacers Josh McRoberts (Video)

Who says Chicago Bulls two guard Ronnie Brewer is only a defensive specialist? He looked pretty offensive here, at least to the Indiana Pacers Josh McRoberts, who got dunked and owned. It was deemed Sportscenter’s #1 highlight of the night. And even more entertaining than the dunk was television announcer Stacy King’s exclamated gibberish.

His effervescent, nutbar ramblings make this clip all the more fun. Hat tip to Docksquad Sports for this video.

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