Archive for the ‘Podcasts’ Category

New podcast for you guys.

First, Chris Ingram and I had Raphielle Johnson, blogger for NBCSports.com’s CollegeBasketballTalk on to discuss all things college hoops. The second part of the podcast is some raw audio of Oakland men’s basketball coach Greg Kampe from after last week’s Horizon League presser at the Detroit Athletic Club. Enjoy!

Advertisements

I’ve noticed a lot of Oakland fans still skeptical about the news that the Golden Grizzlies will be jumping to the Horizon League in the immediate future. PantherU.com’s Jimmy Lemke, who has confirmed the news again and also broke other re-alignment news regarding the conference, joined me for a podcast today to relieve fans of their curiosity.

We also discussed the strengths of some of the other Horizon League sports as it pertains to Oakland, whether the jump will happen for the 2013-2014 academic year or not, and what other schools might the league be looking to add (an addition of Oakland puts the league at nine).

More to follow as it’s announced.

Detroit Lions beat writer Dave Birkett from the Detroit Free Press called in from New York to discuss the NFL Draft, how covering it has changed, and off-season changes.

MLS Rivalry Week. Conference tourneys. A leading Fight of the Year candidate in boxing, and a dominate performance by one of the UFC’s pound-for-pound best fighters. Without even speaking of Selection Sunday, we all know this is simply just an appetizer to the main course of what’s to come, as the best time of the year in sports is upon us in the coming weeks. But the last bite this weekend is a delectable one, ESPN’s newest “30 for 30” film, “Survive and Advance.”

Director and producer Jonathan Hock called in to talk again about his latest project. We discuss the film, the college basketball landscape, and his last ESPN film “Unguarded” about Fall River legend and former Boston Celtic player Chris Herren. “Survive and Advance” premieres tonight at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Let’s just divide the camps right away.

Those who had a good weekend: Michigan, Gonzaga, Tottenham, Ryan Kelly, the undersized (Mark Hunt), the old guard (Wanderlei Silva), vikings, restless Walking Dead fans. And Joe Flacco’s agent. Especially him.

You might still have a hangover if you care for the following: Arizona, Arsenal, Michigan State, Conference USA (sorry) and I know I mentioned Sparty, but Keith Appling.

Are we going over the cliff here with Michigan State’s pseudo-point guard? The Pershing product was the catalyst for State’s victory over Kansas in the early season, and he surely wasn’t to blame for their close loss to then-unranked Miami. This reason stretch though, it’s fair to say that he’s been somewhat out of form.

Consider over the last five games his numbers: 12-for-48 FGs (25 percent), 2-for-22 3FGs (nine percent), 19-for-28 FTs (68 percent), 13 assists, 14 turnovers (0.9 A/T ratio).

Basically, Appling needs to find his feet. And this happens, doesn’t it? Just a month ago Kansas head coach Bill Self essentially threw guard Elijah Johnson under the bus while the Jayhawks’ collective fan base threw it in reverse. Since, Johnson has had a 2-to-1 A/T ratio in his last five and combined with officials to give KU a spectacular win over Iowa State. This is a season where bad stretches are forgotten like last week’s No. 1 team in the AP poll. Let’s not forget Appling’s basketball DNA, though. It’s no secret that he’s undersized to play the off-guard but is going to give you headaches if you have aspirations of him fitting into the mold of running an elite team at the point. Denzel Washington Valentine was muted on Sunday, but you may remember he was actually quite effective playing the point in stretches when State tamed the Wolverines in East Lansing. Appling and Travis Trice both return next year, but for a player with such great IQ on the floor, it’s worth wondering if Tom Izzo should give him some run at the point more in the future.

Other thoughts on the game? Not all blame should be placed on Appling, as Derrick Nix was less than spectacular. Penn State and late game-fadeaway 3s aside, Trey Burke seems under-appreciated at times. If I could promise Burke he’d go unscathed through his senior year, I’d absolutely advise him to return and coax back anyone else with aspirations of departing. Ingrain yourself into the history of the program. I know he’s going to make money with that rookie contract, I just wonder with his size how good Burke can be at the next level.

Along with Burke, incredible set of performances by some of the best in the sport this weekend: The MC2 (McDermott, McLemore), Welcome Back Kelly, and Otto Porter Jr. Attention, Joe Dumars: You’ve emptied out the small forward position at this team of any future starters. You need one. This guy would fit pretty darn good. If things went chalk today, Detroit would pick No. 9 in the NBA Draft. Unless Porter utterly falls off the wagon for the rest of March, I can’t imagine Porter will last until then. He’s not going to be a star but I think he’s a long-term starter in the league, and a perfect compliment to that team.

Lots of other quick hits:

  • Qatar, minority owner, United Arab Emirates, anyone: I’m all for FIFA’s Fair Play, but what a rough go it is being an Arsenal fan this year, and that’s not to speak of Sunday’s defeat in the North London Derby at WHL. This squad needs saving and an opening of the pocket book for some help this summer, as until the Manchester City-types decide to adopt to a more-reasonable spending model, the second-tier of great teams will even be left behind. Can Gareth Bale carry Tottenham to glory for another two months of Premier League action? Fair to wonder now if he’s been the best player of the season, let alone February. He’s becoming a “Price of Admission” athlete in the sport, much like Neymar and Ronaldo and such. 
  • More on Oakland at a later date, but a disappointing end to them for the regular season being swept by Fort Wayne. Not often will Travis Bader shoot so poorly from outside, but time to acknowledge the ‘Dons as a legit sleeper as Sioux Falls looms this weekend. Big ups to Western Illinois, also. I’ll probably have a Summit-only piece coming up in a few days.
  • Speaking of bad, a real mixed bag in the weekend of combat sports. Boxing? Flat-out thumbs down. Evgeny Gradovich upset IBF Featherweight champ Billy Dib, but not even 50 Cent could save it from being an atrocity. The scoring of a split decision would only be an ominous foreshadowing of scoring to come for Saturday’s UFC on Fuel set in Japan, where some cards from judges were unforgettable in the worst way, but none more mind-numbing than Diego Sanchez’s split-decision victory over Takanori Gomi. Oh, by the way, Sanchez missed weight for the fight as well, leading to it being fought at a catch of 158 lbs. Thankfully, those who stayed awake were rewarded by highlight finishes in the last two fights from Mark Hunt and the legend Wanderlei Silva. Where each of them goes next will be interesting in terms of matchmaking from the UFC brass.

    Many casual fans joked of the height discrepancy between Mark Hunt and Steven Struve prior to their bout Saturday in Japan, until Hunt proved to be a giant killer late in the fight.

  • No one’s made more NFL noise lately as of Monday afternoon than the Chiefs, who are retaining the services of WR Dwayne Bowe and P Dustin Colquitt, and at least in the short term T Brandon Albert, who was tagged in hopes of a longer deal being inked. It means that with the addition of QB Alex Smith, the team should again become, one would assume, one of the most-improved teams in the off-season. I expect in terms of wins and losses, they should join the Lions as two teams who you’d expect to make a push in the right direction again in 2013. How will re-signing Albert effect the two teams? Well, it could open the door for the Chiefs front office to consider Lions’ target CB Dee Milliner with the No. 1 pick instead of someone like LT Luke Joeckel, but I think trading down now becomes a very enticing option. I mentioned on Twitter that doing so and still weighing the prospect of drafting QB Geno Smith if the price is right has to still be in the cards.
  • Some non-sports banter: This week’s The Walking Dead episode was a real treat. The acting was spectacular, from Lennie James reprising his role as a broken man in Morgan, to the prolific on-screen chemistry between Carl and Michonne, who both figure to step forward in prominence with some emotional growth in “Clear.” Rick sorting out his own mental issues through Morgan played out well, and the melancholy and nostalgia both hearkened the episode back to the quality of the show’s first season. That Scott Gimple penned the epsiode, the series’ showrunner for the fourth season after the departure of Glenn Mazzara, seems a good of a sign as any considering the last couple episodes were lacking in sensibility and gusto.

 

As a quick plug, don’t forget to keep up with Punched Out Radio, 4 p.m. ET on WXOU. Co-host Chris Ingram and I had Oakland men’s basketball asst. coach Darren Sorenson on last week in what was some great banter. Look forward to some more great guests this week and every Friday.

Remember when your parents and teachers said not to stare into the sun when you’re a little kid? How it’ll damage your eyes? It begs the question: How many other senses are damaged, aside from your eyes, if you stare at ESPN’s “First Take” for too long?

I’m glad that Bun B likes Jemele Hill, and don’t get me wrong, Rob Parker getting the boot is one small step for sportskind. But what is this panel of wrong? Jemele, Suh over Barry? WRONG. Skip, you were a high school baller extraordinaire? WRONG. And what’s it say about Herm Edwards to be surrounded by…this?

Progress.

This is damaging to your six senses. Yes, common sense included. It’s so bad that sometimes Bayless looks right. Like when Herm and Hill Inc. talked Friday about how Tim Tebow needs to be a team player and adapt to the NFL YOU MUST BE THIS KIND OF QB TO RIDE philosophy. Were those two hiding in the Rob Parker Fallout Bunker© this whole season, not watching all these rookie quarterbacks have offenses completely tailored to them? Newsflash, Herm: Coaches want to keep coaching, and general managers want to stay in their jobs, too. NFL teams are adapting to the strengths of their quarterbacks right out the gate, and have stopped trying to put a square peg into a circle.

Parents, family, friends: Tell your friends to look away. This is just one shining example. Repeated viewing has long-lasting effects.

What a great week for college hoops. Wednesday night saw a handful of ranked teams trailing or struggling. We saw a majority of them bare the chinks in their armor (Note to Illinois: Still too many 3s), and the underdog teams showed why they’re underdogs (Seton Hall, too many TOs against a ball-hawking Louisville). I continue to be impressed with New Mexico,who’ve only lost to two high-caliber mid-major squads in South Dakota State and Saint Louis. The biggest takeaway, though?

Ben McLemore, Alpha Dog.

Maybe Gonzaga’s Kelly Olynyk is the Player of the Week, but McLemore owned the night, and the bank. Perfect from deep and the line, McL tore it up to the tune of 33 points, including the glass triple to tie the game with a second left against Iowa State, and the Jayhawks slammed the door shut in overtime. Only two of his points came in OT, so the stats weren’t heavily padded. He even added two blocks for good measure.

Call me a biased Kansas fan, but has anyone seen their stock rise more in the sport this season? Remember, the knock on McLemore after being redshirted due to high-school academic records was that he didn’t have the genes to carry a team in clutch time like his former AAU teammate Bradley Beal. Let’s all just collectively admit how wrong we were. Barring a monumental collapse, there’s little chance he slides out of the top five in next year’s NBA Draft, and could go as high as third. I’m willing to bet McLemore’s emergence as a void now fully filled for the Jayhawks and Arizona’s Thursday night loss to Oregon bumps Kansas to a No. 1 seed in the next edition of Bracketology.

Last week’s picks were good ones. All favorites, but went 3-0 regardless. Here’s a trio for this weekend:

Seattle 24, Atlanta 20 – The Seahawks have had a stingy defense all season, but this one will be a tough test. They’ll want to limit Tony Gonzalez and Jacquizz Rodgers when he’s in, keeping those two at a minimum in short-yardage situations. The larger task at hand for Seattle’s premium corners will be their matchups, and you have to think one big play at the least is possible in front of a roaring home crowd. Will losing kicker Steven Hauschka be an underrated factor for Seattle? He hasn’t missed one yet all season, so if a long opportunity arises, how much faith will Pete Carroll put in newly signed Ryan Longwell? Still, Lynch should gash Atlanta on the ground as teams have done before this. I think that’s the difference in what’s a much easier game to pick on the NFC side this week.

New England 34, Houston 17 – I said last week each team’s QB in the Cincy-Houston contest would make a complete head-shaking play. Heck, Andy Dalton would have had another costly one in the books if Kareem Jackson had held onto an INT. But if you think the Texans can survive mistakes like the one Matt Schaub gifted to Leon Hall early last week against the Patriots? In the playoffs? Notta. But I’m giving the Texans some props, right? The last meeting yielded a 28-point differential in favor of the Pats. But we know that Houston is a team that makes its living running the ball. They’ll fall behind and be forced to go for broke too early and too often in Foxboro.

Arsenal 1, Manchester City 1 – This is a bold prediction, seriously. These two squads have played with the  utmost aesthetic displeasure in the eyes of many fans as of late, with only five total goals scored between the teams in their last five games at Emirates. The visitors will be missing a number of their finest. The Toure Twins, Yaya and Kolo, are both gone to the Africa Cup of Nations. Sergio Aguero (hamstring) and Samir Nasri (suspension) are both missing. Following the misstep against Swansea (was it one, after disposing of Chelsea?), Arsenal would likely suffice for the sole point, but perhaps Arsene Wenger’s XI will push knowing that City is at its weakest. I’ll gander that an excellent long strike or free kick nets one for the Gunners, while Carlos Tevez or Edin Dzeko slip past Arsenal’s central defense for one in another deadlock.

Top picks for the DVR if you’re out on the town this weekend. We’re going five deep with playoff football:

1. NFL Playoffs – Baltimore @ Denver (Saturday, 4:30 ET, CBS)
2. NFL Playoffs – Green Bay @ San Fransisco (Saturday, 8 ET, FOX)
3. CBB – Minnesota @ Indiana (Saturday, Noon, Big Ten Network) – 
My top college hoops game of the weekend. More interesting than Duke (@ NC State) and Michigan (@ Ohio State), who I think both take care of business.