Thursday, February 17, 2011

Gilbert Brown

I find college sports so much more entertaining than professional. I can't give you a real reason why that is except to say that the politics and drama in the pros take the fun out of it. I'm not saying that there isn't drama in college, because there is, but when team's like the Miami Heat form their "dream teams" it seems to take the challenge away. Suddenly, instead of creatively and strategically working with the talent that you've got, teams are put together by whoever can cough up the most cash. It also takes the "magic" out of the game. When the teams are stacked with so much talent, you don't get any 2006 George Mason basketball teams or 1980 Miracle on Ice hockey teams (that wasn't a college team, but it was composed of college players. After that, they started making Olympic teams with pros). Not to mention that the professional players are playing for money while college players are playing because they love the game (though, admittedly, money isn't far from many of their minds while they play). Now that I've got that out of the way, I'll say that I have recently begun following professional sports more than I used to mostly because I now recognize many of the players from their college years. (And, of course, this is where I'll make my Super Bowl shout-out: Packers won!)

In the NFL, I support is the Detroit Lions. In the NBA, I support two teams: The Bucks and the Lakers, the ultimate default team for half-hearted NBA followers. But I'm not one of those. I have reasons. Some people might think that I root for the Bucks because I live in Wisconsin. I'll let them think that but I really just root for the Bucks because they're coached by Scott Skiles, a former Michigan State basketball player. I root for the Lakers because Magic Johnson (Michigan State) played there and Shannon Brown, another former Michigan State player (do you see a trend?), is their resident highlight reel dunker.

The Lakers are who I want to talk about. I was listening to the radio this morning and the man was talking about having a strange dream where the Cavaliers beat the Lakers. Of course, that wasn't a dream. My mouth dropped and I honestly laughed out loud. The Cavaliers? The 10-46 Cleveland Cavaliers? Beat the Lakers? The Lakers that, 4 weeks ago, beat Cleveland by 55 points? I'll be honest, I don't know much about how the NBA works. What I do know is that the Lakers have lost 6 of their last 11 games and one was to the Celtics, which I'm sure just kills them. What really gets me about this team is that they should not be losing. This same Lakers team, with very few changes, has been to the NBA finals the last 3 years and are 2 time defending champs. Earlier this season, when they weren't playing well, the media shrugged it off saying, "This is what always happens. They're post season players." Well, to be post season players, you need to survive until the post season. They don't need to be tied for third place of the Western Conference, nine games behind the leader. They have the talent to win, but at the moment it seems that they don't have the heart. And, of course, since the reason I root for the Lakers is primarily Michigan State related, so is this argument. My Michigan State Spartans seem to be in a very similar situation: High expectations after back-to-back Final Fours, excused for poor early performances because they're a "post season team", yet continuing to underperform, not for lack of talent, but of lack of motivation.

For my sanity, I hope the Spartans, as well as the Lakers, snap out of it.

Today's title was inspired by Pittsburg Panther's senior forward Gilbert Brown. Brown averages 11.1 ppg, shoots 40% from behind the arc, and had a nice dunk against South Florida that earned him a big picture in this article. I really wanted to bring up Pitt, though, because a few weeks ago I shared my opinions on the top teams in the nation. Being #1 in basketball isn't really that big of a deal; it's not nearly as important as being #1 in football, but apparently the media thinks it's a huge honor because they talk about it constantly now that the Luckeyes have fallen as well as the Jayhawks (Number one for 24 hours! Where have I seen that before?). Anyway, everyone seems to think Texas is the best team in the nation right now. My vote would go to Pittsburgh. They're 24-2, both losses came to ranked teams, beat Texas earlier this year, and have a higher strength of schedule than tOSU, Duke, Texas, or Kansas according to Pomeroy. So March Madness, keep them in mind.

I don't  have any videos, but I do have a suggestion. To any of you tweeters out there, follow Auburn football player Jordan Springs if you want a laugh. Not only does Auburn get players illegally, they get stupid players illegally. That apparently have the same moral standings as the coaching staff. I might have to get a twitter account just to see if anything else interesting pops up there.

That is all,
The Sports Nerd