Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Replay Problem

Ok, I will admit to being biased about the end of the ISU-UNC game. But, I also agree with this take on it– the refs got the call right. The problem is they got it right in a vacuum and sports clearly doesn’t fit that criteria.

Yes, UNC should have only had 1.6 seconds to get their shot off or call time out. Yes, they didn’t do either in that time period. But, is that their fault?

Think about it, you are Kenny Britt, the UNC player with the ball. You are frantically trying to get up court and watching the clock. You see time running out. If you realize that it is almost up what are you going to do? You are going to chuck a desperation basket and hope it goes in. He didn’t do that because he thought he had enough time left to call a time out.

Ok, let’s think about it another way. UNC inbounds the ball and throws up that desperation shot. It goes in and they have won. Do the refs review the play and eliminate the basket? As long as UNC clearly got the shot off before the clock hit 0.1, I don’t think so. And then you have the wrong team advancing to the next round.

The breakdown happens when the ball goes through the hoop. The clock doesn’t start as soon as it should, but you can’t pretend that if it had things would have progressed as they did. By saying that they would have, the refs blew it.

To me the solution is to eliminate everything that happened after the ball went through the hoop. UNC gets the ball, under their basket, with 1.6 seconds left and the clocked stopped. See what happens from there, probably not a different result that the final one, but probably a fairer one.

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March Madness

Tomorrow and Friday are two of my absolute favorite sports days each year. They might be my two favorite. 16 games a day times two, compelling upsets, what could be better?

I’ve filled out my bracket. Let me walk you through it.

I am going with Florida to win it all. I was tempted to pick Michigan State and Arizona to win it, but I think Florida has the best chance. The one thing that scares me about my Florida pick is Andrew Wiggins. If you haven’t seen this kid play, you have missed something. He could pull a Carmelo in 2003 and lead Kansas to the title easily. A month ago I would have picked Syracuse, but they have fallen apart since that big win over Pitt and I can’t trust them.

In the East, I took UVA to make the Final Four. I think Michigan State is the best team in this bracket, but UVA has ben great the past two months. I think they have enough to carry them to the Final Four. Villanova hasn’t impressed me in the new Big East and I bet they fall somewhat early. Iowa State doesn’t do much for me either. I will let my heart override my head for a minute and say that UNC could beat anyone in this tourney- they are the only team to ever beat the preseason #1, #2, #3 and #4, but they have also lost to terrible schools. They could go to the Final Four, they could flame out in the first round. They are the riskiest pick in the field in my mind.

On the other side I love Arizona. Sure, there were some recent stumbles, but they are incredibly talented. And I think they caught a break with Wisconsin, Creighton and San Diego State rounding out the top seeds in their bracket. I just don’t see a serious challenger to them.

Finally, I go to the most intriguing bracket in my mind. I don’t think Wichita State is the real deal and I believe any of the next three seeds could easily get to Dallas. (As someone who lived in the Metroplex I refuse to call it Arlington) Michigan, Duke or Louisville are all better picks in my mind than Wichita State, but I think Louisville’s run last year will power them to another Final Four.

I expect Arizona to beat them in the semis and then lost to UF. I also expect at least one of my Final Four teams to be eliminated by Sunday night. That’s the beauty of March Madness and also the sadness. We have 48 games to gorge on over the next four days. After that, we are left with only 15.

 

He Will Do It*

If you want to hear why Phil Jackson won’t take a job in the Knicks’ front office, go look anywhere else on the internet. The arguments are sound, Jackson doesn’t need to add to his resume. But, they also ignore two huge facts. 1- Jackson LOVES attention. If you don’t believe that, you haven’t been paying attention. 2- Jackson understands what it would mean if the Knicks ever won a championship again.

People seem to forget that two of Jackson’s thirteen rings came from being a player with the Knicks. He was here when the Knicks won their only two titles. We are coming up on 41 years since that last title and whoever leads them to the next one will join the pantheon of New York’s greatest sports figures.

I am willing to bet Jackson bites at that chance. But, I do have one caveat (*). Jim Dolan is going to have to agree to disappear. Jackson is brilliant and he is not going to get caught up in the MSG drama. It’s going to either be him or the drama, but not both. Dolan’s not a smart guy, but he knows the value of good PR and Jackson will get him that so I expect he let’s Phil have free reign.

But here’s the $8-million question (my guess at Phil’s salary) will Jackson be any good at the job? I have no idea, but I also don’t think he can be worse than Steve Mills or any of the other clowns the Knicks could run out there. However, the sad reality is that the Knicks had a great guy running things, Donnie Walsh, and Dolan ran him out of town. When they ultimately hire Jackson, how long will he have before his clock runs out?

What’s The Price of “Soul”?

The Rangers have traded Ryan Callahan to Tampa Bay for Martin St. Louis. New York will also send a 1st and 2nd rounder to Tampa and there are some conditional picks mixed in both ways depending on future events.

On paper, the Rangers win this trade, but maybe not as much as you would think. St. Louis is the fifth-leading scorer in the league. For a team that has only scored 162 goals this year, that’s a big boost. But they will miss Callahan’s heart, his presence and especially ┬áhis motor.

I can’t fault the Rangers for going through with this deal. Callahan was a free agent and they didn’t want to lose him for nothing. They reportedly offered Callahan a six-year/$36-million deal, more than a fair payday for a player of Callahan’s skill set. Ryan reportedly wanted more than that, and while that is absolutely his right, he had to know this was probably the likely result of that demand.

On a personal level, this one hurts. Callahan was my guy and I will sorely miss watching #24 mix it up on a nightly basis. The Rangers need a new captain and I need a new favorite player.