Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Our Temporary Escape and Richard Sherman

By Charlie Scaturro

If most people are being honest, they would admit their everyday lives aren’t all that exciting. Whether you’re working a 9-5 or making a living by some other means, there aren’t many extraordinary things we come into contact with during a given week. Which is why it makes total sense that we turn to various forms of entertainment to help us escape from our everyday lives and feel like we’re a part of something big, important, and exciting for a couple of hours.

Few things have done a better job of helping us in our endeavor to vicariously pursue excitement than watching 300-pound men battle for 3-plus hours at a time during the months of September to February. The NFL provides this release and rush for millions of Americans every week, and most things in our culture simply can’t compete.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Our Peyton Manning Legacy Dilemma

By Charlie Scaturro

Wrapped up in the immense buzz surrounding this weekend’s AFC Championship game between the Patriots and Broncos is how much this game means for Peyton Manning’s legacy. It’s been pounded into our heads in recent weeks that one of the most highly decorated regular season quarterbacks in NFL history (perhaps the most decorated) owns a pedestrian, even below average, 10-11 record in the postseason. And naturally, we’ve been trying to make sense of why a player who has been so dominant in the regular season only has one Super Bowl title to his credit. Of course, it does go a bit further than the fact that his brother, Eli, has more rings than he does. Over the years, Peyton’s teams have endured a number of early playoff disappointments after extraordinary, sometimes record-setting, regular season play.

Trying to make sense of this entire exercise has certainly been a difficult thing for us to digest as a sports culture. You could argue that the majority of the blame falls on Peyton as the leader of of those teams, and the fact that his playoff performance hasn’t been up to the impossibly high standard he’s set for himself year in and year out. You could argue that many of those Indianapolis teams didn’t have a defense or running game that offered Manning much help. You could argue that Manning ran into some great teams in the playoffs (most notably, Tom Brady and the Patriots), and couldn't quite beat them.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Len Bias, our Own Mortality, and the Choices we Make

By Charlie Scaturro

With what would have been his 50th birthday yesterday, the shock of Len Bias’ tragic passing has abated quite a bit. Time can’t completely heal this wound, but at least we have some perspective on the death of Len Bias nearly 30 years later.

Having never seen him play, I can’t take a few grainy highlights and anecdotes about his awe-inspiring physical abilities and even attempt to extrapolate what it might have meant in the context of NBA history (besides, that’s been done by much better writers than me). And even though I wasn’t around to see Len Bias play, I think what we’re looking at when considering Bias’ death after stripping away the basketball side of the equation is valuable in many ways.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Mitch McGary's Interesting Decision

By Charlie Scaturro

Source: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America
Not only did Mitch McGary help the Michigan Wolverines reach the Final Four for the first time since 1993 (and inspire articles like this in the process), but his play during the last few weeks of his freshman season left him with an extremely interesting decision about whether he should declare for the NBA Draft.

If you had a pulse during the month of March, you know that McGary went from a complete afterthought behind guys like Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr., Glen Robinson III, and Nik Stauskas during the regular season, to one of the driving forces behind Michigan’s run through the NCAA Tournament. Those who watched McGary play during the regular season saw a kid who had a ton of potential based on his size and combination of skill/hustle, but one who looked like he was going to have to wait until next season for his official coming out party to commence.

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Brief Message From One of Your Fearless Leaders

Beloved Readers,

I have been recruited for something of a trial run to become one of Bleacher Report's feature columnists for college basketball. While I'm very proud of the fan base that Charlie and I have developed over the past two years, I would have to be a complete buffoon to turn down this opportunity. Maybe it won't work out and I'll be back in your loving arms in a few weeks (and at any rate, I'm pretty sure I'll be able to continue posting my baseball/football thoughts here), but I wanted to make you all aware of my new situation, so as to not leave you high and dry on the bracket front. The formatting/style will be different, but I'll still be focusing almost exclusively on brackets and bubbles. Here is the link to my BR profile, where you'll be able to keep up with anything I post:

Thanks for all your continued support,
Kerrance James

Friday, January 11, 2013

For the Sake of Your Bracket: Volume VI (1/11-1/17)

By: Kerrance James

The format may be different, but the idea is the same. Rather than breaking down the upcoming week by day and having to pretend that there's a game every night that I really want to write about, we're breaking down the upcoming week by conference, giving you 5 options for each of the major conferences, and another dozen or so from the collection of mid-majors. These are the games that will matter the most when deciding who gets into the tournament, where they get seeded, and how far they can go. In addition to this weekly article, we're about a week and a half away from bringing back the daily elimination bubble tracker (planning on calling it "The Skimmer" as we'll be removing the undesirables from the pool, and let's be honest, you're just going to skim through it). Until then, here are the games to watch this week.

ACC: Duke @ NC State (Saturday 12:00 – ESPN), North Carolina @ Florida State (Saturday 2:00 – ESPN), Maryland @ Miami (Sunday 8:00 – ESPNU), NC State @ Maryland (Wednesday 7:00 – ESPN2), Georgia Tech @ Duke (Thursday 9:00 – ESPN)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Trying to Make Sense of the Arizona Wildcats

By Charlie Scaturro

Source: Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
With their thrilling victories over Florida, San Diego State, and Colorado in the last few weeks, you could argue that the Arizona Wildcats, who currently sport a 13-0 record and are ranked 3rd nationally, have participated in the three most exiting games of the young college basketball season. And while most of us can concede that they’re a talented team who has ridden some combination of luck, skill, and an uncanny ability to mount late game comebacks against good teams, to an undefeated start as conference play kicks off, what can we make of the Wildcats given what we’ve seen from them thus far?

While their one point victory over San Diego State was very much a back and forth affair that featured eight ties and 13 lead changes in the second half, it’s not everyday that a team comes back from double digit second half deficits (including trailing Florida by six with a minute left and Colorado by 10 with under two minutes left) against good competition to win games. But as we’ve already seen, Arizona has made a habit of doing just that in situations where other teams would probably jack up a few three’s, commit a few fouls, and call it a loss. Of course, you could view the Wildcats recent late game success in one of two ways: