Archives for November 2011

Roy Williams Rips “Sell out” North Carolina Fans

So Where Does Ron Zook, a True Nice Guy, Go From Here?

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A funny thing happened on the way to Illinois cleansing and ridding itself of the Ron Zook era.

Honestly, as someone who has written numerous pieces for The Sports Bank about how much Zook needed to be fired over the years, I just didn’t see it coming.

I felt bad.

I really did.

(guest post from Paul Schmidt)

There’s a fundamental problem with dancing on the grave of any head coach, but in particular one like Zook, and it highlights the biggest problem with letting a coach like Zook go from a program like Illinois: I really liked him.

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Chicago Cubs Sign Former Royals, A’s OF David DeJesus

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Let the MLB Hot Stove season in Chicago commence! It begins with the Chicago Cubs landing outfielder David DeJesus. He signed a two-year deal with a club option for the 2014 campaign.

DeJesus joins the Cubs after nine seasons with Kansas City (2003-2010) and Oakland (2011), posting a career .284 batting average with 207 doubles, 50 triples, 71 home runs, 436 RBI and a .356 on-base percentage in 1,007 big league contests. He has averaged 33 doubles, eight triples, 11 home runs and 70 RBI per 162 games in his career.

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Illini Basketball MVP Thus Far: Sam Maniscalco

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Where would the Illlini be without Sam Maniscalco? What would become of their point guard situation if the three time team captain at Bradley, All-Missouri Valley second team pick wasn’t eligible after his transfer this season? Illinois didn’t play very well, but they did make it three straight wins in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, and snapped a three-game skid vs. Maryland in the event. It also makes it two in a row versus the Terrapins as Illinois beat them in Madison Square Garden in the Coaches vs. Cancer classic.

The illini won 71-62, largely because of Maniscalco who scored a game high 24 on 6-11 shooting, 5-8 from three. But what the stat book doesn’t show is how critical Sma’s buckets really were. One triple gave them their first lead since the opening minute 42-41 down the stretch. Another trey stretched the lead to 7 inside 8 minutes to go giving Illinois their first semblance of breathing room in the game. And when the Terps cut the lead to 5 with under a minute left, Maniscalco drove to the whole and got a huge bucket.

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Indianapolis Colts Make Changes Before Annual New England Game

After falling to 0-11 on the 2011 NFL season last Sunday in a 27-19 loss to the Carolina Panthers at Lucas Oil Stadium, the Indianapolis Colts’ brass on Wednesday resorted to what could be the first of many — MANY — changes for the free-falling franchise.

Flanked by front office leaders Bill and Chris Polian, Colts coach Jim Caldwell announced that defensive coordinator Larry Coyer, whom Caldwell replaced Ron Meeks with after being promoted to head coach in 2009, had been dismissed and that long-time linebackers coach Mike Murphy would assume defensive coordinator duties for the rest of the season.

Caldwell also announced a move that many thought might have come much sooner: Dan Orlovsky will replace Curtis Painter as Indy’s starting quarterback when it faces arch-rival New England (8-3) at 1 p.m. Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

Obviously, changes needed to be made within the Colts organization. And don’t think more aren’t on the way.

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Welcome Back, Indiana Pacers

Welcome back, NBA.

And welcome back, Indiana Pacers.

The early-morning agreement Nov. 26 between the league and the players’ union ensures the highest level of professional basketball will be played — albeit under a shortened schedule.

The great news for the Pacers — one of the NBA’s small-market franchises — is that this tentative collective bargaining agreement, which will give players roughly 51.2 percent of basketball-related revenue, will allow teams from any market to be competitive in free agency and, by extension, on the basketball court.

It’s been way too long, folks. Let’s get to examining what the Pacers can do before the condensed season commences and what kind of team they’ll be in 2011-12.

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#2 Ohio State (ment) Game: Buckeyes Crush #4 Duke 85-63

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In the transition from 2010 to 2011, the Ohio State Buckeyes lost Evan Turner, the man who swept all the national college basketball player of the year awards, but got better. Last year they were the tournament’s overall #1 seed, lost a couple key guys this offseason, but may be better this year than they were last year. They certainly looked the part Tuesday night.

This was supposed to be the Big Ten/ACC Challenge heavyweight title fight. Instead it was a laugher, as OSU scored the first 13, and ran away with it long before halftime. Duke never led, and instead suffered one of the worst November beatings in the history of the school. This was no doubt one of the worst losses of the Coach K. era.

Jared Sullinger had a game-high 21 points (and eight rebounds) for the Buckeyes. It is the 41st time he has scored in double figures in his career. Aaron Craft had 17 points and eight assists. But the name which started to become household in this one is Deshaun Thomas, who had 18 points. It is the 17th time in his young career and sixth consecutive that he has scored in double figures. A highly rated recruit who got lost in the shuffle last year, he’s playing a very prominent role for the Bucks this year.

“Everything kind of fell into place for him (Thomas). He had a couple of nice drives and open threes, which got him into a rhythm. The last play of the first half, the out of bounds play, was huge – we literally put that in at practice today and it gave us all the momentum going into the break. He just has a knack for finding shots,” OSU Coach Thad Matta said of Deshaun Thomas’ performance after game.

Ohio State has now defeated two AP Top 10 non-conference opponents at home this season for the first time in history. They are 3-3 all-time vs. Duke and 38-26 all-time vs. the ACC. Ohio St. moved to 5-5 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge with four-consecutive wins. As a ranked team, the Buckeyes are 402-108 overall and when ranked in the AP Top 10, the Buckeyes are 280-59.

NBA players Evan Turner, Mike Conley, Greg Oden, Lebron James and Dwyane Wade were all in attendance at this game.

“I thought Ohio State played a great game against us. They were a fresher team; I thought our team played tired. They are very athletic, together and they played with a great verve. Obviously they are deserving of the win, but they were a lot fresher than we were. We could never get into the ballgame,” Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

Top Immediate Priorities for New Illini Football Coach

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Ron Zook is gone. However, he was only one part of a larger college football problem in Champaign-Urbana. Zook “made history,” by becoming the first coach in FBS history to “accomplish” this feat- starting 6-0, finishing 6-6. But Zook wasn’t that much worse than Lou Tepper or Ron Zook, they all won only about a 1/3 of their Big Ten games.

So this needs to be a revolutionary hire for Illinois Athletic Director Mike Thomas. It needs to be a total sea change for Illini football; here’s a few hows and whys.

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What’s My Motivation: Cubs Interested in Fielder, Pujols?

 

pujolsJust when you thought the Cubs had already made some serious waves during this off-season, they could be preparing to make an even bigger splash. According to a report by FoxSports.com, the Cubs are pursuing free agent first basemen Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, who are the two crown jewels of this year’s free agent class. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com also weighed in this morning, reporting that the Cubs have reached out to Pujols’ agent Dan Lozano, and are apparently serious about joining in the race for the slugger’s services.

If the report is accurate, the Cubs would join the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins in the Pujols sweepstakes, and they could also be joining the Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners, and Washington Nationals in pursuit of Fielder. Both players are going to get large paydays, but the fact that the Cubs are in a rebuilding mode may not be deterring them from spending money.

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Jacksonville Jaguars Fire Coach Jack Del Rio

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Jack Del Rio may be one of the best dressed coaches in any sport. (Especially the leather coat in winter- that look rocks) However, it’s just not enough to save his job, as the Jacksonville Jaguars canned him like a tuna today. If June-September is “shirtless driving season” then this seems to be “coach firing season” in both the NFL and college football.

Jacksonville is a franchise in turmoil, as they’re struggling to draw fans and win games.

From the AP:

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Syracuse Chancellor Gives Jim Boeheim Vote of Confidence

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Syracuse Orange Coach Jim Boeheim has been pretty quiet on the child molestation charges against his now fired right man of multiple decades Bernie Fine. On Sunday he backed off a little from the acrimonious comments he initially made against Fine’s accusers. On Monday he said nothing at all, and probably realizes that in this case talking media equals “less is more.”

Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor answered the big question today surrounding the college basketball program.

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Camerawoman Faints at Urban Meyer Presser; Ohio St. Media Does Nothing (Video)

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There’s a new coach in Columbus. When the Ohio State Buckeyes introduced their new college football coach yesterday, One camera woman took a spill at the Urban Meyer introductory  press conference yesterday. She’s OK though so we can laugh at this. Watch video after the jump

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