Cleveland Cavaliers head coach, Tyronn Lue, is stepping down as Cavs head coach to take a leave of absence. The time table for his return is unknown. All we know is that he said he's stepping down for the time being to work on his health. Apparently he's been battling chest pains and sleepless nights and doctors can't seem to figure out exactly what is wrong with him. All Lebron ran another coach out of town jokes aside, I hope Ty Lue has a speedy recovery and is back on the Cavs sideline getting into barking matches with Lebron in no time.
To be completely honest, this has little to no impact on how the Cavs are going to play whatsoever. We all know Lebron is the actual coach he just needs a figure there to take the blame and pressure off him. The Cavaliers stink right now anyways, so it's not going to magically get better in Lue's absence. On the other end of the spectrum,it's not like the Spurs losing Popovich either, which would be detrimental to the Spurs. I'm sure it'll be business as usual in Cleveland and no one is really going to miss a beat in Lue's absence.
Man oh man what did we just witness! The Virginia Cavaliers lose to the UMBC puppy dogs in the first round of the NCAA tournament. I never thought this day would come, yet here we are. Every bracket in America is busted, hell has frozen over, and I'm not sure if this is even reality anymore. There's no more rules to society, it's pure anarchy in the sports world. The Eagles are Super Bowl champions, the Cubs won a World Series, and now a 16 seed beats a 1 seed. What is the world coming to.
The hero of the night was Jairus Lyles, senior point guard for UMBC. He dropped 28 points on 9/11 shooting. He did this against what is usually known as the best defense in the country. Virginia was without starting guard De'Andre Hunter, but that is no excuse to get 20 clipped by a 16 seed. Tony Bennett needs to be fired right now. I don't give a fuck if you think he's a good coach, he just committed a cardinal sin. He is now forever the guy that lost to a 16 seed. The Virginia men's basketball team will finally be remembered for something, of course it being the worst possible reason to be remembered. What a disgrace.
On the real though, congratulations to the kids on UMBC. This is going to be the greatest night of these kids lives. They're about to go buck wild all over Atlanta tonight. More importantly, they'll be remembered forever. These kids are going down in college basketball history and that's something really special. It doesn't matter what they do for the rest of the tournament because they've already won. Of course the team to pull off this miracle is literally call the retrievers. A team named after a cute puppy dog just pulled off one of the craziest moments in sports history. This is such a ludicrous achievement I continue to check if I'm dreaming. We are two days into March Madness and the world is officially upside down. I cannot wait to see what this weekend has in store.
The news broke today that Kevin Durant will miss the next two weeks with fractured ribs. It could actually be even longer, he'll be reevaluated in two weeks to see if he can play or needs more rest. The Warriors are now without Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Kevin Durant. They all got injured at the same time a month before the NBA postseason starts. What a coincidence, right? Or is it really a coincidence...
The Warriors have played more games than any other team over the past 4 seasons. Kevin Durant hasn't played as many, however his number is very very close. All these games can wear on guys after such a long stretch of playing all the way to June every season. Instead of letting the guys get some rest by taking a night off here and there, why not just let them two weeks off in March when the games are essentially meaningless at this point. The Warriors are going to finish as the two seed regardless, so why would they care if they lose a few extra games. Don't tell me they want the #1 seed that badly, even with everyone healthy they wouldn't get it because the Rockets just aren't going to lose to anyone besides the Warriors, meaning it really doesn't matter how much the Warriors win. They'd much rather have fresh legs for the playoffs this way they can perform at their highest level. It all just makes too much sense.
What are the odds that the four best players on your team all get hurt at the same exact time. Especially with the seeding essentially being worked out already and the perfect timing right before the playoffs. It's all just a little too obvious. They wouldn't want to do it right before the playoffs because they want their guys to have a nice rhythm going into the playoffs. Now they get a mini vacation to get their bodies right, they'll all come back with time to get themselves back in game mode, and then by the time the playoffs role around they'll be a well oiled machine. Steve Kerr literally said if this were the playoffs Steph Curry would be playing right now. He's literally telling us what he's doing and nobody notices. These fucks are cheating right in front of our eyes and absolutely no one gives a fuck.
The motive is there, the evidence is there, and now I'm looking to convict these low life cheaters for the sins they've committed. You can bet your ass I'll be calling the league office and writing letters, emails, tweets to them as well, whatever it takes to get them to investigate what's going on with the Warriors faking injuries to get extra rest. I won't let the integrity of the great game of basketball be jeopardized because Steph Curry's legs are tired. This is a travesty and something needs to be done. Make sure you do your part as well in trying to bring this issue to light. If you love the game of basketball like I do you will make it a priority to bring justice to the NBA by taking down those cheaters named the Golden State Warriors.
Issac Haas, star center for Purdue, will miss the rest of the NCAA tournament with a fractured elbow. Haas injured his elbow when he was going for a rebound, fell back, and his elbow smashed into the hardwood. As soon as you saw him fall you could just tell it was a bad spill, but once I saw him rolling on the floor in agonizing pain, I knew this wasn't going to be an injury he returned from. Now Purdue will be without arguably their most valuable player the rest of the tournament. This impacts their tournament chances greatly, what a tough way to end a great season.
I actually feel really bad for Haas. This is his senior season so this was his last shot to win something before his basketball career is over. To finish your college career with a gruesome injury is the worst possible way to go out. Purdue is going to say next man up and act like their chances are still just as good to win the tournament, but we all know that's a bunch of horse shit. This injury puts an end to Purdue's season. They'll most likely get bounced in their next game against Butler. If they somehow survive that I don't see them getting past the sweet 16 unless they go on some team of destiny type run. Who knows, sometimes an injury like this sparks a team to play better and win games for their fallen teammate. Realistically, this is just one less team to worry about if you're in the East region.
Ben Simmons recorded his 8th triple double of the season last night. That is now the second most triple doubles ever recorded by a player in his rookie season. He passed the great Magic Johnson on the list who had 7 triple doubles in his rookie season 30+ years ago. That shows just how hard this feat is to accomplish. How many rookies have come into the league since Magic Johnson, thousands, and none of them were able to do what Ben Simmons has done. Mind you, Simmons has done this with a month left to go in the season. This is truly a testament to how special a player Ben Simmons is in this league.
The only player to record more triple doubles in their rookie season was Oscar Robertson, who recorded something like 26 his rookie year. Now, Simmons won't pass that mark, however it's still something to be very proud of if you're Simmons. Anytime you're passing a Magic Johnson record you deserve to be proud of what you've accomplished. Simmons has done so much for the Sixers this year. Everyone wants to praise Joel Embiid, however Simmons is the one out their every night while Embiid has to rest. Also, Simmons is the one that put this team over the hump getting them into the playoffs for the first time since 2012.
That wasn't the only accomplishment Ben Simmons achieved. He's also the 3rd rookie ever to reach 1000 points, 500 rebounds, and 500 assists in a season. He joins Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson as the only players to ever do it. Safe to say with the way Ben Simmons has taken the league by storm this season that he has earned the rookie of the year award. Save your time trying to make a debate because there is none. Ben Simmons is one of the more impressive rookies we have ever seen in the NBA.
OU 78-URI 83: The tournament started with Trae Young taking on Rhode Island in what turned out to be a pretty electric game. Young started hot, faded away for awhile, and then began to do what Trae Young does best late in the game. Despite Young's best effort to win a tournament game by himself it just wasn't enough to steal the game in OT. That and his poor shot selection of shooting from the logo near half court up by 1 with a couple minutes to play. Young gave us great college memories, but now it's time for him to move on to the NBA while Rhode Island moves onto the next round.
Wright State 47- Tennessee 73: Tennessee handled business like a power 5 conference should against a mid major school. They dominated this one from start to finish never leaving any doubt that they were going to lose to a 14 seed. Tennessee moves on after a dominate first round performance.
UNCG 64-Gonzaga 68: The Zags were nearly the first upset of the day. This one was ugly, a lot of people were sweating bullets as they thought 3 games into the day their brackets were about to be busted. UNCG had late leads and even when the Zags came back and took a lead, UNCG kept on fighting to keep it close. This one came down to the wire, ultimately the Zags held on, and they live to fight another day.
Penn 60-Kansas 76: You can't tell by the score but the Kansas Jayhawks were in troubled waters for awhile in this game. Penn came out guns blazing and was taking it to the #1 seed Kansas Jayhawks. Every sports outlet was warning social media that a 16 seed was beating a 1 seed. In the second half Kansas finally woke and ran away with this game, proving why they were the 1 seed and Penn was the 16 seed. Not the prettiest of wins, however style points mean nothing in this tournament. Kansas avoids being the laughing stock of the nation.
Iona 67-Duke 89: Iona is another team that came out hot punched a top seed in the mouth and then proceeded to get blown the fuck out. Duke's size was too much for Iona inside. Once Iona stopped hitting every shot they were taking, Duke ran away with the game. Duke avoids the classic being upset by a 15 seed in the first round that we've come so accustomed to seeing with them.
Miami 62-Loyola Chicago 64: One of the more exhilarating games of the day. Loyola Chicago and Miami were battling it out for 40 straight minutes. Back and forth basketball for 40 straight minutes. Loyola jumped out to an early lead then Miami came roaring back to take a sizable lead, only for them to blow the lead, and then give up a 28 foot buzzer beater to Loyola Chicago. The first of what we hope is many buzzer beaters in this tournament and also the first upset of the day. Loyola Chicago is moving on as our first Cinderella team.
South Dakota St 73-OSU 81: This game was the battle of the 3 pointer with each team shooting more 3 pointers than shots inside the arc. It was neck and neck for awhile in this one, eventually Ohio State began to pull away, then SDSU brought it close, only to come up short. OSU's ridiculous 3 point shooting lead them to a victory over the feisty 12 seed. Setting up a date with the Zags in the next round.
NC State 83-Seton Hall 94: Seton Hall led this game from start to finish and it was never really close or in doubt. A pure showcase of domination by Seton Hall as they advance to the next round.
Radford 61-Villanova 87: Villanova showed what should happen when a 1 seed takes on a 16 seed. Nova slaughtered Radford and kept them at a distance of 30 points or more throughout most of the game. This was a nice scrimmage for them to get ready for the next round.
Davidson 73-Kentucky 78: The battle of the wildcats was a great game. I thought Davidson would just get blown out and the only reason they were given a chance was because Steph Curry used to play there, however that was not the case. Davidson gave Kentucky a run for their money and made John Calipari a little nervous. Ultimately, Kentucky was able to hold and Davidson could've used Steph Curry, but all in all it was a pretty exciting game.
SFA 60-Texas Tech 70: SF Austin was in the drivers seat late in this one. With only 10 minutes to play SFA had a 7 point lead over Texas Tech. Honestly, they were looking like the stronger team, and then everything changed very quickly. Texas Tech got hot, finally took the lead with about 4 minutes left, and never looked back. Texas Tech survives a first round scare.
SDSU 65-Houston 67: San Diego State put up a helluva a fight. The downfall for them in this game was that they couldn't stop the dude with the man bun, Rob Gray. San Diego State had tied the game up late after battling back, it looked as if they were headed to OT. Houston had the ball with the shot clock turned off, the ball in Gray's hands, and he took it to the rack somehow maneuvering his way through 3 defenders converting a filthy acrobatic layup. Houston lead by 2 with 1 second left. SDSU launched the ball down the court trying to convert a Christian Laetner type play, unfortunately Christian Laetner hasn't played college basketball in 30 years. Houston survives and advances thanks to Rob Gray and his career high 39 points.
VT 83-Alabama 86: Colin Sexton was nowhere to be found in the first half of this game. His team was able to keep Bama within striking distance, though. After halftime Colin Sexton woke up and began to do what he does best, take over games. Sexton would score 22 points in the second half to take down Virginia Tech. Bama moves on from the first round for the first time in over a decade.
Arizona 68-Buffalo 89: The game that busted everyone's bracket. Arizona didn't just get upset by Buffalo, they got absolutely manhandled. It was quite embarassing. Deandre Ayton was shut the fuck down, guess his payments didn't transfer over into the tournament, so he was mentally checked out. Not much to really say other than Buffalo was the better team. They 21 clipped Arizona, the only team to make it from the conference of champions got waxed in the first round by a 13 seed. Buffalo is our second Cinderella of the tournament and our first bracket buster.
St.Bonaventure 62- Florida 77: Despite Florida's best effort to let the Bonnies hang around they just couldn't. Bonnies didn't want to win this game at all. Florida played like crap and was still able to win by 15 because the Bonnies just didn't show up to play whatsoever. Disappointing showing from the Bonnies.
Montana 47-Michigan 61: This was my big upset pick heading into the tourney. It looked good 5 minutes into the game when Montana jumped out to a 10-0 lead. That didn't last very long as Michigan fought back and by the end of the first half it was 31-28 Michigan on top. The second half was all Michigan even though it was maybe the worst basketball game I ever watched. At one point Montana didn't have a field goal made for 10 straight minutes. It's a game I never want to remember so I'll leave it at that.
That wraps up day one of March Madness. The beauty of it all, we get to do it again today. Buckle up, grab some brews, call the boss and tell him your sick because we have another 12 hours of March Madness ahead of us.
Tom Crean hasn't been a head coach for the last 364 days, but that streak ends today. Tom Crean will be the next head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs. A school not really known for their basketball, will now be known for their basketball as Tom Crean turns that program around. The Bulldogs under Mark Fox made the tournament twice in 9 years. Both times they made the tournament they were bounced in the first round. After an embarrassing loss to Belmont in the first round of the NIT, Mark Fox was fired. To upgrade to Tom Crean is going to be a huge step forward for this program as they look to be a force to be reckon with in the SEC.
Tom Crean is the definition of a program builder. Say whatever you want about him choking with great teams in the NCAA tournament, but you can't deny he builds fantastic programs. When he took over the job as Marquette head coach in 1999 the program was in shambles. Then, Crean quickly put together a fantastic recruiting class, and began to build a winning program. Not even 5 years later he brought the program to a final four appearance. Mostly in part to Dwayne Wade being a stud, but who the hell do you think recruited Wade. He's also the reason Marquette was invited to the Big East, which is a pretty big deal. Taking a team from being a mid-major to a power 5 conference team is the dream for any athletic director when you hire a head coach.
Tom Crean then took over in Indiana as head coach after 9 seasons in Marquette. When he took over in Indiana the once storied program was in shambles following the Kelvin Sampson NCAA recruiting violation scandal. When he took over the only players on the team still were two walk on's. His first three years in Indiana they were absolutely atrocious, however given time to do what he does best Tom Crean began to build a great program in Hoosier town. They went to back to back sweet 16's after that. He also won the conference twice. Unfortunately, coming up short of NCAA titles with highly talented teams didn't sit well with the fans, and they ran him out of town without just cause. One down season after a lot of success and they fired Crean like they were some powerhouse that didn't accept missing the tournament. Yet, where are they right now? Oh yeah sitting at home
Tom Crean has his chance at redemption now. Georgia is going to take awhile to make a prestigious program or a competitive one at that. With time I have no doubt Tom Crean will have this team in the tournament almost every year. He'll also give Coach Cal plenty of bitch fits now that they'll be playing in the same conference. What a great signing by the Georgia Bulldogs. I just hope they treat Tom Crean better than the fans of Indiana did and maybe he'll get that NCAA championship in Georgia that he can throw back in the face of the Indiana fans. I'm mostly excited for the huge forehead shots of him on twitter. Welcome back to coaching Tom Crean.
I've waited years to write this blog, okay not really, but for a long time I've been saying Julius Randle has a higher ceiling than Draymond Green. When I'd say this amongst my friends years ago, I'd get laughed out of the room, probably still will, not for long however. Julius Randle is finally starting to garner attention around the league for being an absolute monster lately. Tonight is his time to shine of national TV against Draymond Green, so the world can see exactly what I mean.
Randle since February is averaging more than 20 points per game to go along with a shooting percentage that's right around 60%. He's also been doing work on the boards collecting over 9 rebounds per game in that span. Most importantly, Julius Randle has shown a new part of his game that is going to be the most valuable very soon, his defense. Randle is able to guard anyone on the floor at any location on the floor. If you're a big man you might have the height advantage, however Randle is stronger than most guys his size and won't be backed down easily. His perimeter defense is easily the most impressive part of his game. Whenever a guard tries to switch onto him with a pick&roll they soon learn what a mistake they made. Randle has quick feet and is able to stay in front of speedy guards and uses his height to make up for the distance he leaves between them to block shots. Let's not forget Randle also has sweet handles, giving him the ability to grab a rebound off the glass and take the ball coast to coast. Basically, Julius Randle is the Lakers Swiss army knife, and is slowly but surely proving himself to be indispensable to this team.
Now, it has just been a flash in the pan, but not really at the same time. It's not like Randle is 28 years old and has just got hot the past month. He's a young player that has slowly been developing his game over the years and is now finally getting the playing time to finally prove his worth. Randle was coming off the bench to start the year getting very limited minutes some nights. After all the trades before the deadline he was finally able to break into the starter role and play consistently in the rotation.
As for the Draymond Green comparison these guy's career paths and games couldn't be more similar. They're both undersized big's that can kind of shoot, they both play defense extremely well, rebound the basketball like dogs, and can be playmakers for their teammates. Just like Green, Randle didn't break onto the scene right away. Green took years in the NBA to finally pop for the Warriors. It took Draymond about 3 years into his NBA career to finally find out what kind of player he was and how he could be an effective player in the NBA. Now, Julius Randle is in his 3rd year doing the same thing.(I'm not counting Randle's rookie year since he missed the entire season) Let's not forget the fact that Randle entered the league at 19 while Draymond entered at 22, so Randle is also ahead of the curve in the age department.
Draymond Green is still clearly the better defender as of now, there's no denying that. Besides for Kawhi Leonard, Draymond Green is probably the best defender in the entire league and some might argue Draymond is the best because of his versatility. In terms of offensive game I think Randle is far and away a much better offensive weapon than Draymond Green. His ability inside to score points by either powering his way through defenders or finessing his way around them makes him more of an offensive threat. Draymond is a better 3 point shooter as of now, but that's only because Randle doesn't have enough confidence in his jumper at that range to shoot 3's more often. That'll come along, I can promise that. Randle has a smooth shooting stroke, looks much better than Draymond's, just got to get him to believe in it like Draymond believes in his. If Randle can do that while continuing to just develop his game, I believe he'll be a better player than Draymond Green in no time. Tell me I don't make a pretty convincing case. Please tell me I don't so I can throw it in your face in 3 years when it's not even a debate anymore. Watch for yourself tonight, you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Today it's been reported that Andrew Wiggins is "unhappy" being the third-option for the Timberwolves behind Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns.
Minnesota Timberwolves small forward Andrew Wiggins is reportedly unhappy with his role as the Wolves' third offensive option behind shooting guard Jimmy Butler and center Karl-Anthony Towns.
On Wednesday, Darren Wolfson of KSTP (via 1500 ESPN Twin Cities' Derek James) said Wiggins has "whispered to teammates" about being discontent with his place within the squad.
Let me start by saying that the T-Wolves are my #1 squad and have been since the moment A-Wiggins landed in Minnesota, so this news makes me uneasy.
Andrew Wiggins has been a good player through his first 3 seasons, and has seen a dip in his production this season due to the team acquiring Jimmy Butler this offseason. However, Wiggins has not still reached his full potential. He needs to pick up his defense, and he needs to work on distributing the ball and attacking the basket for rebounds, because when it comes down to it, Andrew Wiggins is one of the greatest athletes in the league, and he needs to start showing it.
Above all, Wiggins needs to realize that his team his winning BECAUSE of the fact that Jimmy Buckets and KAT are playing so well. Jimmy Butler had his name in the MVP conversation before his injury (and before it became basically a lock for Harden), and Towns is producing at a very high level.
Wiggins has struggled this season in part because of his refusal to abandon his ISO game, and work into the offense a little more. Although his ISO game is where he excels because he's simply too athletic to be guarded 1-on-1, but he needs to use that for his strengths, and not force shots.
I need A-Wig to get on board with the system, and buy-in full force. He could be an incredible third-option behind JimmyB and KAT, he just needs to attempt to adapt his game to the style of play that Minnesota has gone with, because the Timberwolves can become a serious juggernaut in the West for years to come if they grown into the talent they have.
One hundred career triple-doubles. Russell Westbrook, you are a bad bad man.
Last night, after posting a 32-point, 12-rebound and 12-assist night, on 60% shooting, Russell Westbrook recorded his 100th career triple-double, joining only Jason Kidd (107), Magic Johnson (138), and Oscar Robinson (181) as the only players in NBA history to reach that number.
With a win last night, the Thunder are now 82-18 in games where Brodie goes off for a triple-double. With Westbrook going out and giving 150% every single night, it's very difficult for teams to slow him down, let alone stop him.
The key for the Thunder in the playoffs will be if Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, along with the very low-key rising star in Steven Adams, can give the team 20+ on high % shooting while letting Westbrook take over games like he does.
When the 10+ assists a night that Russell Westbrook gets are coming from guys like Melo and PG13 hitting three's on the spot, the Thunder will be a very hard team to stop.
The Thunder will be an interesting team to watch in the playoffs, because they have the talent and personnel to put together a good series against any of the top teams, it'll just a matter of if they can.
But for now, let's respect the hustle and grind of my guy RussBrook, who plays harder than anyone I've seen since Kobe Bryant himself.