Duke in Hot Water Plus Take it Easy on LeBron People

Coach K
Coach K

I certainly hope Mike Krzyzewski did all the right things pertaining to a former player's alleged sexual assault.

Duke University is finding itself once again embroiled in a sexual assault case but this time around it isn’t the storied LaCrosse program. This time around the stakes are much higher because the spotlight is now on the most prominent person at the University and that would Head Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Back in late January, Coach K dismissed Rasheed Sulaimon for “repeatedly struggled to meet the necessary obligations.” Now as it turns out, Sulaimon is alleged to have been in two different sexual assaults at the school.

Both accusers allegedly told people about the alleged attacks but did not go to anyone of authority. Options included the Durham Police as well as the Office of Student Conduct on campus. According to ESPN, the two women chose not to got to authorities because they feared what could come from the Duke fan base. If you think that line of thinking is wrong then read the story about the reporter who covered the Jameis Winston case in Tallahassee, Florida.

He was barraged with death threats and was attacked at every turn for simply doing his job as an investigative reporter.

I have no idea if what took place with Sulaimon and the two women involved but that won’t be the biggest story about this by a long shot if there is evidence that Mike Krzyzewski knew about this and did nothing. Coach K has power beyond belief on the Duke campus but people also said the same thing about Joe Paterno and Penn State and we know how that ended up.

If ESPN’s sources are accurate, then Krzyzewski did indeed know about about the alleged assaults as far back as as March of 2014.

I am in no way suggesting that this is on par with the events of Penn State; hopefully nothing ever will be again. But this can’t be waved away, not in 2015 where the media and more importantly social media are everywhere. We’ve already seen a legendary coach taken down for not doing enough. I sure would hate to see it happen to another.

LeBron

Fans need to check their memories a bit when it comes to the greats missing shots like LeBron did.

Take it easy on King James

I’ve written in these very pages before that I will never view LeBron James in the same stratosphere as Michael Jordan and the most simple reason why is the lack of a killer instinct. That said, the people throwing darts at James for his two missed free throws with just four seconds remaining in Houston the other night need to chill out.

“Jordan would have never missed those! Kobe wouldn’t have missed those either!”

I’ve got news for you folks… Both Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant missed plenty of game-winning shots during their careers. To say they didn’t means you have not seen enough of either of them because I’ve seen it and I know many others have too.

Like I said, I will never be able to place James above His Airness simply because he lacks the titles but just as importantly he lacks the killer instinct that drove Jordan so hard. That’s not his fault, it’s just how it is. Either way, lay off LeBron for crying out loud. There isn’t a professional alive who hasn’t missed key shots down the stretch.

Sometimes I wonder what universe you people are living in when you say “Jordan would have never missed those.”

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You Could Find Some Success Wagering on the NBA All-Star …

Dirk Duncan
Dirk Duncan

Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan aren't favorites for the MVP Sunday but it could be the last All-Star Game for them.

I must be crazy right? How could I possibly imagine that choosing the correct player out of all of these guys would be easy? Well, it’s not exactly easy but I think we can find a way to narrow down the field to the point where you can make an educated and solid selection.

First we have to look at history. Four of the last five NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Players have been guards. They’ve also been four different guys (Kobe, Irving, D-Wade and Paul). The only guy to interrupt that series of guards was Kevin Durant in the 2012 game.

Let’s take this a step further into the history books though shall we?

If you go back 25 years to 1990 (one year there was no game due to the NBA Lockout) there have been a grand total of three centers chosen as the MVP. All three times that center was Shaquille O’Neal. Now to be fair, Tim Duncan did win the award once but he was listed as a forward/center so it’s up to you if you want to factor that in here.

So let’s do the math here in terms of guards and forwards. Guards have been selected the Most Valuable Player 15 times since 1990 so that means forwards have won the award nine times. Where the real work comes in is whether you think the 15-9 discrepancy is enough to put heavy odds on those guards.

Let’s go ahead and  look at the odds on this year’s players.

Stephen Curry 13/4 -

LeBron James 4/1

Kevin Durant 11/2

James Harden 11/2

Carmelo Anthony 8/1

Ironically, three of the five guys listed above are actually forwards but all three are more than capable of handling the rock on the perimeter. Curry and Harden will both have excellent chances of winning the MVP award simply because they will get the ball a lot. Of this group, the sentimental pick is Anthony playing in front of the home crowd but will he play enough? Of this group I love Curry who is having an MVP season.

Irving

Kyrie Irving already has one All-Star Game MVP to his credit s why not another?

Kyrie Irving 14/1 -

John Wall 15/1 -

Russell Westbrook 9/1 -

Klay Thompson 16/1 -

Chris Paul 22/1 -

Damian Lillard 20/1 -

Ya, back to that whole “guard” thing… Any of the above guys are worthy threats to win the MVP award on Sunday. In this group however I have a feeling Klay Thompson and Russell Westbrook have great chances to get some hardware because neither will be shy about chucking the ball.

Marc Gasol 50/1 -

LaMarcus Aldridge 50/1 -

DeMarcus Cousins 50/1 -

Chris Bosh 50/1 -

Remember what I said earlier about big men winning the MVP award in the All-Star Game? Move on….

Kyle Lowry 25/1 -

Paul Gasol 60/1 -

Jimmy Butler 60/1 -

Jeff Teague 30/1 -

Al Horford 60/1 -

Dirk Nowitzki 65/1 -

Don’t be surprised if Nowitzki wins the award. With his career winding down, Madison Square Garden would be a fitting place for him to get one more moment on the podium.

Paul Millsap 50/1 -

Tim Duncan 50/1 -

Kyle Korver 50/1 -

With these final three guys, it’s all about playing time. If Korver gets enough minutes and he gets hot from downtown, don’t be a bit surprised if walks away with the hardware.

My Top Three Picks: Dismissing LeBron is never a good idea but I’m going to in this situation. I like Curry and Harden as my favorites and I’ll take Korver as my long-shot.

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NBA Spotlight on Bulls, Cavs Heading into the All-Star Break

LeBron Rose
LeBron Rose

LeBron James and Derrick Rose hook up in Chicago tonight.

The National Basketball Association is a one-man show this evening as all of the focus is on the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers. It also happens to be the last game of the “first half” of the season. Friday evening brings a number of events as does Saturday before it all culminates on Sunday in the annual All-Star Game between the Eastern and Western Conferences.

The first portion of the season has brought numerous storylines to the forefront of the league. From Atlanta’s rise in the East to the rise of Golden State and Memphis in the West.

Today I’m looking at the Bulls and Cavs as the two Central Division rivals hook up with momentum for the second half on the line.

Cleveland (-1) at Chicago (O/U 201.5) – The Cavaliers have been as streaky as any team in the National Basketball Association this season and they’re now in the midst of an upswing but that doesn’t mean there aren’t issues. As I wrote in the blog yesterday, LeBron James tweeting an anonymous, motivational message to teammate Kevin Love was not the way I or many others would have done things but if it works then OK.

Love

Kevin Love responded to LeBron's tweet but will he keep it going?

At 33-20, the Bulls have a solid record and lead the Cavaliers by just a game right now in the Eastern Conference. Chicago is tied with Washington for the third seed but holds the tie-breaker while Cleveland sits in fifth. The fact of the matter is, and this goes for both the Cavs and Bulls, is that they are light years behind conference leader Atlanta who has a lead of 11 and 10 games respectively.

Although the All-Star Game is this weekend, the season is well past the halfway point. What this means for the Cavs and Bulls is that any designs on getting the one seed in the East are futile barring an epic collapse by the Hawks and I don’t see it happening.

If you didn’t think the Bulls and Cavaliers were close enough in just about every way then consider this; they both average exactly 102.0 points per game and defensively Cleveland gives up 99.2 points per game while Chicago gives up 99.1. So far this season, the Cavaliers own a 2-0 record against the Bulls.

Cleveland won the first match-up with Chicago in the Windy City in overtime and then defeated the Bulls in Cleveland by 14.

The Pick: If Kevin Love continues to play inspired and LeBron keeps on being LeBron then the Cavs are going to be difficult on anyone they play. While the Bulls have the advantage of being at home this evening, they also played Miami last evening while Cleveland had an off night. Keep in ind too that the Bulls have better on the road than at home. Take the Cavs to cover and take the UNDER tonight as well.

Trends: Cleveland has won nine of their last ten games (written before conclusion of last night’s game)… Chicago has won three straight games and six of their last ten games… The Cavs are 12-12 on the road… The Bulls are 14-11 at home.

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Social Media Motivation Would Never Have Flown in …

Jordan
Jordan

I can't imagine Michael Jordan eve sending a tweet to motivate a teammate.

Fair or unfair, those of us who were alive to watch every second of Michael Jordan play basketball in college and in the NBA have naturally compared LeBron James to him. Much like the natural cycle of life, comparing great players in any sport is a rite of passage. I have always found the comparisons of players from different eras to be fruitless.

While team titles are typically used as one of the more important factors in deciding what player is better, that shouldn’t always be the overriding fact either. Karl Malone and Charles Barkely never won titles but should that detract from their greatness? Will Kobe always be second fiddle to Jordan because he will likely finish with five titles to Jordan’s six? Keep in mind, Bryant has surpassed Jordan in all-time scoring but will he ever be put atop of his Airness?

More than likely not.

Let me get back to my original thought about Jordan and LeBron… I couldn’t help but wonder this week about social media and Michael Jordan. What would Jordan have been like had social media been around as it is today?

James and Love

Taking to Twitter to motivate Kevin Love may have worked for LeBron but I don't think it looks good.

I ask this because of a tweet LeBron James directed at Kevin Love. First of all, this is what the tweet read: “Stop trying to find a way to FIT-OUT and just FIT-IN. Be apart of something special! Just my thoughts.”

Once that comment made the rounds, it became clear it was directed at Love who admitted a day after that he was a bit taken aback by it but didn’t have a problem with it. I credit Love for taking the high road here and I wish I could do the same with LeBron.

Can you imagine Jordan taking the passive-aggressive approach that James did? I’m almost in a complete chuckle over the thought. No one in modern sports’ history was as notorious for getting after his teammates like Jordan did. Read any definitive book on Jordan or books by his teammates and they’ll tell you that Jordan had complete authority things even got to the point where Jordan would challenge players by hitting them.

While that last part may have in fact gone a bit overboard, it sure as heck beats the move by James.

If LeBron had something to say to Love then he should have said it in-house and behind closed doors. I’m not letting Jordan off the hook because there were times when he would make comments to the press about guys needing to play better but he didn’t hide from his comments either.

I realize I’m from a different generation than the one currently playing sports today but isn’t there still a “proper way of doing things?”

Great leaders know how to motivate their teammates and maybe James is a better leader than I give him credit. Perhaps he’s been around Love long enough now to know that this was the best way to get his attention and motivate him. He did have his best game as a Cavalier immediately following the message.

Still, I don’t think Jordan would have ever taken this course of action and I hope LeBron chooses a more private course himself in the future. While comparing these two will never end, one area I think Jordan clearly has an advantage is his assassin’s attitude and ability to lead others.

Take note LeBron.

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The Cavs are Struggling; College Football Playoff Week Two

Love and LeBron
Love and LeBron

Love and LeBron will eventually get things together in Cleveland.

Welp, there it is. We may as well go ahead and cancel the rest of the National Basketball Association’s season. The Cleveland Cavaliers are 1-3 now despite having three of the game’s best players. A few more losses and we’ll likely see the riverfront once again on fire and people looting in the streets.

The whole thing is quite comical mind you and have no other way to look at than that. It’s four games people, four games!!! They have 78 more games to go and they play in the one conference where just about every team resembles the Washington Generals.

Before you “LeBron fans” have a heart attack let me remind you that his first year with the Heat didn’t exactly provide a quick payoff either. That team started 9-8 before ripping off 12-straight wins. That team made the NBA Finals where they lost to the Dallas Mavericks in six games.

It just doesn’t matter how many great players you pull together on the same team. It takes time to coalesce at both ends of the floor and right now the Cavs are having problems at each end.

Star guard Kyrie Irving had 34 points Wednesday night yet had zero assists. As a team, they had just six assists for the entire game. Kevin Love isn’t shooting the rock very well yet and he isn’t getting the looks he’s used to getting either.

The defensive end isn’t much better right now. The Cavs are 23rd in the league in points allowed (101.5ppg) and they are the third worst team in the league in field goal percentage allowed. Teams are shooting just under 50% against them through the first four games.

Head Coach Dave Blatt is not an idiot. This guy has proven he can coach but can he coach this group of players? That is the most honest question we can ask right now.

I believe Cavaliers’ fans must be patient and so does the rest of the “LeBron Nation” as well. I have every expectation that this team will start meshing and the wins will start coming. When, I do not know but in the NBA Eastern Conference, things are not as tough as they would be in the West.

Yeldon

Will T.J. Yeldon and the Tide be able slide past LSU again?

The College Football Rankings Mean Nothing

Tuesday night the 12-person college football committee released their rankings for the second straight week. There were no surprises in the top three positions with Mississippi State, Florida State and Auburn holding down the top three spots. Where the completely unnecessary sets in is  in reference to the fourth spot.

For this week, the Oregon Ducks have been selected as the fourth best team. This of course sent fans from Alabama and TCU into social media tantrums and for the life of me I cannot figure out why? This is not the final standings nor is in even the final weekend of the regular season. What the committee knows and what many fan bases already recognize is that the current top four is unlikely to remain the top four in several weeks.

Alabama has a road challenge Saturday at LSU and still plays at Auburn as well. TCU still has a schedule that consists of #7 Kansas State while these same Wildcats still have road trips to West Virginia and Baylor. Michigan State and Ohio State play an elimination game Saturday night so what I’m getting at is quite simple.

Teams are still going to lose games and that means a shake-up within the rankings. Root all you’d like for your team but these teams will figure out things on their own as the season comes to a close. In closing, these rankings mean nothing right now.

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Saturday Sports’ Bullets for You to Ponder

Bumgarner
Bumgarner

Madison Bumgarner and the Giants have achieved dynasty status in my opinion.

There are s many things going on this time of year in the sports’ world that I just can’t find one to focus on so why not give you my thoughts and the latest news in the form we all appreciate? Let the bullets fly!

-One of the more hotly debated subjects this past summer was whether or not we should consider the San Antonio Spurs a dynasty. First of all, that term is thrown out way to often and while the Spurs under Gregg Popovich have been consistently good, I don’t view them as a dynasty.

-What does constitute a dynasty is the San Francisco Giants who have now won three World Series titles in the last five seasons. Some will make the argument that a dynastic team needs to at least have back-to-back titles somewhere in their championship run. I don’t see it that way. Bruce Bochy and company are a dynasty in my mind.

James

LeBron has to be glad to have that first home game out of the way.

-I really don’t blame LeBron James for that rock concert turned basketball game the other night in Cleveland. I mean, yes, he’s to blame for some of the craziness that has followed him from Cleveland to Miami and back to Cleveland but what about these fans? Aren’t these the same ones who burned his jersey and took to social media with hate-filled rants? Apparently everything is OK as long as we return home.

-It may have been a surprise to some on the outside but the resignation of Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon wasn’t that shocking at all to those in the know around Ann Arbor. The Michigan fan site www.MGoBlog.com came into the possession of emails between Brandon and disgruntled fans. For a savvy businessman like Brandon to even reply to these was bad enough but his communications were immature and unwarranted.

-As for Michigan going forward, look for a permanent AD to be in place in the next six weeks and a new head coach in place in time for the recruiting push in January.

-I have a feeling Ole Miss goes down for the second week in a row today. Their defense hasn’t given up more than 20 points yet this season but Auburn hasn’t scored less than 20 points since Gus Malzahn took over as head coach. Factor in the loss of linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche and the diverse and up tempo Tigers’ offense and I just have a feeling the Rebels go down.

-Tomorrow of course brings us Brady vs Manning XVI and with both players shining brightly right now with their play it will be very interesting to see who blinks first. My gut tells me that Manning will put up better numbers but look for the Patriots to get the running game going early which will keep Denver’s pass rushers on their heels. Tom Brady just doesn’t lose at home either.

-If Kobe Bryant isn’t suspended for his use of the ‘N-word’ directed at Dwight Howard then all of the goodwill that Commissioner Adam Silver has built up will have been for nothing. The argument will be made that black players use that word as a “term of endearment” with fellow black players. Let’s be clear; that was not Bryant’s intent when he caught on camera. Let also not forget that Bryant has been fined in the past for gay slurs as well. Silver simply can’t tolerate this behavior from any player let alone his stars.

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Random Thoughts on All the Latest Sports News

Kershaw
Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw had another brutal postseason as he and the Dodgers are heading for vacation.

There are times when I sit down with a complete gameplan. It’s littered with the right things to say and the right ways to say them. Everyone once in a while though my gameplan goes out the window for one of two reasons; either I have just one topic which has tons of content available or I have a myriad of things.

Today, much like the entire month of October, is littered with thoughts from around the sports’ world so rather than just pick a few items to cover I’m going to give you bits on just about everything I can possibly write in this space. Here goes….

I couldn’t have been more wrong about the MLB Playoffs. All four teams I had to this point have been eliminated. This is why they call it “gambling” and not “winning.”

After yet another fantastic regular season, Clayton Kershaw was torched in the playoffs. His postseason record now stands at 0-4 and so bad is that he is now being called “Clayton Manning.” Sorry, but it’s a fair comparison to the Denver QB.

Freeze

Call it a gut feeling but I think Hugh Freeze and the Rebels get beat this weekend.

I have a feeling Ole Miss will lose at Texas A&M. Teams that aren’t consistent winners often stumble after huge wins like the one they had over Bama Saturday.

So Northwestern loses to Cal and Northern Illinois and then beats Penn State in Happy Valley and beats Wisconsin in Evanston… The Big Ten is horrible.

Speaking of the Big Ten, everyone wants to go after Brady Hoke at Michigan and rightfully so but what about Tim Beckman at Illinois? He’s won just one conference game there and is 9-27 overall in his third year.

I hear Chris Bosh hasn’t heard from LeBron James since James left for Cleveland. Somehow I don’t think Bosh is losing sleep over this.

It’s a good thing hockey season starts this week in places like Pittsburgh and Detroit. Both cities are dealing with quick baseball playoff exits.

I have no idea why the media asks some of the questions they do. They have to be smarter than some of the stuff I’ve seen and heard recently. After the game four loss Tuesday night, Clayton Kershaw was asked, “What was the feeling when you see that ball (Matt Adams 3-run home run) go over the fence?” Kershaw correctly asked the reporter, “What kind of question is that?” How in the hell do you think he felt?

The best game of the NFL schedule this weekend is in Seattle where the Seahawks host the Cowboys. Despite playing on Monday night, I expect the Seahawks to be prepared. This will be the first true test of how good Dallas actually is.

Another game to keep an eye on is Pittsburgh at Cleveland. In week one the Browns rallied from 27-3 down to tie the game before losing in the final seconds. Last week, they rallied from 25 down to win and beating Pittsburgh in Cleveland is always a welcome sight. It’s only happened once in the last nine years and Ben Roethlisberger has only lost once in Cleveland during his career.

So I guess that even though I didn’t pick any of the teams in the AL or NL Championship Series I still need to pick winners to advance to the World Series. Giants-Cardinals is tough because both teams seem to have mojo right now. The same could be said for Baltimore and Kansas City as well.

Therefore, using the latest wagering and scientific knowledge available, I’ll take the Orioles and Cardinals.

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