A lot has happened since my last chance to write, specifically the NFL Lockout and the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament (March Madness). Let’s jump right in and get started with a few things to watch on the NCAA tourney…
The NCAA Tournament is in its second weekend and before you suggest watching the games, make sure his bracket isn’t completely blown to shreds. If it’s not, then make sure you know some about each of the remaining weekend games. Another good card to play is to know about Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery, since they will both be calling games this weekend.
Arizona Wildcats vs. UConn Huskies
This features two of the best players in the country in Arizona’s Derrick Williams and Connecticut’s Kemba Walker. Williams is an electric player who can effectively shoot from long range as well as play close to the basket and dunk with authority. Williams had a monster game against Duke on Thursday night, scoring 25 points in the first half, finishing with 32 points overall. He has been tabbed by a number of college basketball coaches as the likely number one overall pick in June’s NBA Draft.
Kemba Walker, on the other hand is a smooth shooting point guard who has been in the running for National Player of the Year honors since the season started. While his season has been up and down, starting with the end of season Big East Conference Tournament, Walker has been consistently lighting up the scoreboard and UConn opponents for the last three weeks. Against San Diego State on Thursday Walker had 36 points. When watching UConn play it will be very easy to know which player Walker is, since he dribbles the ball up the court and is the focal point of Connecticut’s attack. Walker, like Williams will be playing in the NBA next year and will be drafted very high in June.
Butler Bulldogs vs. Florida Gators
The story here is whether or not Butler can beat the bigger and stronger Florida team and return to the Final Four for the second year in a row. Last year Butler was the Cinderella (each year there is a team or two which makes an unlikely run late in the tournament, capturing the eyes of the nation and attracting a bandwagon following overnight), going all the way to the National Championship game only to lose to Duke University after a last gasp half court shot barely missed. This year, the Bulldogs have gone through the tournament playing close games and finding a way to win.
They have two excellent players in Sheldon Mack and Matt Howard who shares a striking resemblance with SNL’s Andy Samberg. Butler is fun to watch and even more fun to root for.
Gus Johnson – If you need to know why people love Gus Johnson listen to some of his calls from previous seasons’ NCCA Tournament. Also, if a soundboard has been created in your honor, then it’s a pretty indicator that greatness has been achieved.
Bill Raftery – He is the anti-Gus Johnson. He’s neither jovial nor entertaining, merely annoying with many “signature” phrases. In the past Raftery would stick to screaming “Onions!” and a “Little Kiss!” when someone used the backboard on a shot. Unfortunately for viewers everywhere every time someone dunks the ball he now says, “Send it In!” Watch a game he is calling and be sure to point out how annoying it is. It’s sure to score you some points.
The NFL Lockout is in full effect now with the players and owners unable to figure out how to split their obscenely large profits and agree on a few key issues. In order to be able to carry on a basic conversation about the NFL Lockout you need to know the key issues. The short story is this: the owners want a bigger piece of the pie and an 18 game regular season schedule, while the NFL Players Union is against the 18 game regular season schedule (the current is 16 game), wants full disclosure of NFL team financials, and improved health care for current and former players.
The two sides went into federally mediated negotiations for a number of weeks over their key issues with the NFLPA (Player’s Union) repeatedly requesting that the NFL owners turn over their financial books to prove their need for a larger cut of the pie amidst statements of financial hardship. When the NFL owners refused to turn over the information, leading to the player’s union decertifying and a class action anti-trust law suit by prominent players Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning among others. This lockout is long from over and could impact the 2011 NFL Season.
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