kurt's nightmare

Generally, I post once a week. Topics are randomly selected and depend mostly upon whether it's baseball season or not. Other topics will include sex, politics, old girlfriends, music, and whatever else pops into my little brain. If you'd like to read, or ignore, my blog about China: http://meidabizi.blogspot.com/

Location: Dayton, OH, Heard & McDonald Islands

I'm an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dayton. I represent no one but myself, and barely do that. I'm here mostly by accident.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Random Sports Nonsense

For sports fans, this is a good time of the year. Sadly, it is tempered by the death of Kirby Puckett, all-too-young, and (for music fans) the death of Ali Farka Toure. I won't add anything to the obituaries of either, except to say that both seemed to have found something they were good at and enjoyed--tremendously--doing. Always a good thing.

NCAA Men's Basketball

I hate Duke, and have for a long time (crystallized when Christian Laettner decided to take an extra hard step on an opponent's stomach while he was down, underneath the basket). I can't even think of many Duke players I like, although I admit a begruding respect for Johnny Dawkins and Bobby Hurley and, with still more begruding, J.J. Redick. Maybe it's because they win so consistently, or recruit so well (the two are, of course, related), or maybe because their fans can be so obnoxious (and frequently privileged--I just have this feeling that many of them grow up to vote Republican, in spite of what they may claim). The nice thing is that they won't win this year.

I don't like Connecticut much more; I'm suspicious of that silent "c" in the middle of the state's name, for one thing. I don't think Memphis has it in 'em, nor does Gonzaga. But somebody has to win, right? Texas? North Carolina? Illinois? Ohio State?

I'm viewing this as one of the trickiest tournaments to pick in years; it should be great to watch and there should be a lot of upsets. I expect someone to go a lot farther than anyone thought; maybe some team like Southern Illinois gets to the "Elite Eight"; maybe Gonzaga loses in the first round (karma?). One could be safe and pick Connecticut, which has great talent, a good coach who has been there, and a lot of experience; I'm just going with my gut on this one. Since the brackets haven't been announced as I write this, the teams chosen here may not even make the tournament, or be arranged in the appropriate way to meet up in the Final Four. Keep that in mind when you return to admire and/or belittle the following predictions.

Final Four:

UNC vs. Connecticut
Villanova vs. Ohio State

Final game:

Villanova defeats UNC

I will add a) my surprise team to go very far is the University of Alabama at Birmingham and b) every single thing here is a wild guess with virtually no chance of being correct c) next year's final game will be UNC vs. Ohio State. I actually don't like Ohio State that much, even though (or because) I taught there, but they've done well in a difficult and physical league, and they have a recruiting class next year that may only be matched by North Carolina's--and both teams are already good and quite young.

Player of the Year

As everyone knows, this comes down to two white guys (can I say that?), J.J. Redick and Adam Morrison. Their numbers are virtually identical; the standard rap is that Redick plays in a much more difficult league and is better defensively, and thus he will win (ironically, for those who follow this stuff) by a whisker.

No one seems to point out that Redick's supporting cast (Batista is not quite Shelden Williams) is considerably stronger than Morrison's; Coach K seems to get about 3 McDonald's All-Americans every year, while Mark Few gets some of the better players out of Seattle. That's what it seems like, anyway.

Redick looks to me to be tired, and I'm tired of hearing about how he's tired of apologizing for being a good Christian. Morrison looks to me to get a lot of breaks by being allowed to put his shoulder down and shove it into the defender's chest.

So I vote for Dee Brown, but expect Redick to win it by a relatively comfortable margin. I also don't expect him to be as effective in the NBA as people keep saying, not if he's tuckered out after a college season, keeping in mind he is a central focus of opponents--but the NBA plays 81, not 30, games, and if he scores much, he may get some attention and at least as much physical abuse as he saw against UNC every single night.


There will be more to be said here about the upcoming baseball season; I'm just going with quick predictions about the National League. (There's an American league?)

NL East: Mets (ick)
NL Central: Cardinals
NL West: Dodgers (ick, again)

I think the East will be close, but losing Mazzone and an aging staff makes me think the Braves won't quite get there. (Then again, people have been saying precisely that for 14 years now.) The Central will also be close, and Milwaukee and Pittsburgh are to be taken seriously any specific day; they just don't have the horses for the stretch. If Clemens pitches and stays healthy (the latter seems more of an issue than the former at this point), the Astros and Cardinals should take it down to the wire; I hope and expect Muldar to pitch very well, and Al Reyes to show Cardinal fans something as well. (I refuse to use the horribly overused word "special" in describing any sports phenomenon except the Special Olympics.) I don't really care about the NL West; they are there for someone to beat handily in the first round of the NLDS (as the Cards did to the Dodgers and the Padres the last two years). But the Dodgers are better, J.D. Drew may finally have the awesome year we've always expected, and, fundamentally, only a few dorks and people who go to games from the 4th through the 7th inning pay any attention to the Dodgers anyway.

I shall close with a link for Cardinals fans--a very informative and well-done Cardinals blog--and for those who need to understand why I, in no way, approach the geekiness of some baseball fans/Sabermetricians.

Go Redbirds!


Blogger Bobcat said...

Just to provide some balance...

AL East - Should be NY Yanks (Their offense is kinda OK. I think, though, that Boston will beat out Toronto for second, though might not beat Chicago for the wild card. It depends on Burnett and Schilling.)
AL Central - Guessing Cleveland, just to be weird (but I think their players are young, good, and have been playing together for a while now; of course, I haven't been following the off-season very much, so that could all be false now)
AL West - A's (I heard they have three new hotshot rookies).

I figure Braves will win NL East, Cardinals Central, and ... who? Maybe the Padres? in the West.

8:29 PM  
Blogger kmosser said...

Picking anyone but Chicago in the AL Central is a fool's errand. So, if you are carrying out this errand, what does that make you?

I know how you like that logic stuff.

5:14 PM  
Blogger Bobcat said...

if a fool is not good at logic, then the best way to avoid being a fool is to say that I'm one for carrying out the errand. Paradoxical.

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