Friday, December 28, 2012

For the Sake of Your Bracket IV (12/28-1/3)

By: Kerrance James

Welcome to the fourth edition of your one-stop shop for the upcoming week in college hoops. With January just around the corner, non-conference showdowns are about to give way to in-conference slugfests. The Murray States and Bucknells of the world are going to slip into relative obscurity for a few months while we determine whether that one team in each major conference (Arizona State, Charlotte, Iowa, Maryland, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State, Seton Hall, and Wyoming) is anywhere near as good as its inflated record. My mission is to make sure you don't lose track of the games being played this week that'll really matter in March. We'll be running this column at least every Friday until March 15 while adding in my annual elimination style bubble tracker in a few weeks. Stick with us for the next 2+ months and you'll be as prepared as you can possibly be to fill out your bracket.

Friday: Detroit @ Temple (3:00), Stony Brook @ Seton Hall (7:00 – ESPN3), Iona @ Saint Joseph’s (7:00), Baylor @ Gonzaga (8:00 – ESPN2), Missouri @ UCLA (10:00 – ESPN2)

Friday, December 21, 2012

For the Sake of Your Bracket 3.0 (12/21-12/27)

By: Kerrance James

If you haven't yet finalized when you're going where over the four day Christmas weekend, I would suggest leaving Saturday open for college hoops. It's nowhere near the best Saturday of the season, but you won't have much else to watch from Sunday-Wednesday, so make sure to soak it in while you can. If you're new to the program, my 3.5 month long mission is to have you as prepared as possible to fill out your brackets by making you aware of the upcoming games worth keeping an eye on - while frequently including predictions bound to occasionally go wrong. I'll be running this at least every Friday until Selection Sunday, along with my annual elimination style bubble tracker (targeting January 25 to start that up), so do yourself a favor and check back in every now and again. Now, on to the condensed week of games.

Friday – Stony Brook @ Maryland (8:00 – ESPN3), Stanford @ Northwestern (9:00 – Big Ten Network), BYU @ Baylor (9:00 – ESPN2)

Friday, December 14, 2012

For the Sake of Your Bracket 2.0 (12/14-12/20)

By: Kerrance James

Welcome to the second edition of your one-stop shop for the upcoming week in college hoops. There are 284 games in the next 7 days, and it won’t be long until we’re blessed with 300+ per week. My mission is to make sure you don’t lose track of the important ones, so here are the 35 games you’ll want to keep an eye on between now and next Friday. We’ll plan on running this column every Friday between now and March 13, while eventually (mid-January?) adding in my annual elimination style bubble tracker, as well as numerous journalistic gems from Charlie (including this one from yesterday). Stick with us for the next 3 months, and you’ll be as prepared as you can possibly be to inevitably tear your bracket to pieces – but you’ll at least feel more knowledgeable doing it.

Friday: Charlotte @ Miami (7:00 – ESPN3), LSU @ Boise St (9:00)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

What We Know About College Basketball Right Now

By Charlie Scaturro

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know nearly as much about college basketball as I think I do, and this harsh reality is compounded by the fact that we’re just a month into the season. At this point, we’re still trying to figure out which teams are for real, which teams are only off to an undefeated start because their schedule was front loaded with teams like Campbell, and which players have what it takes to carry their teams deep into March.

In a lot of ways, the first month of the college basketball season is like your first few classes with a new professor in college. Maybe you’ve browsed his page (the equivalent to looking at the pre-season Top 25), maybe the professor’s name came up at a welcome week party in between keg stands for some unknown reason, and maybe you looked over the syllabus, but you really won’t know if you have to show up to every class or actually do the assigned reading until a few weeks in. At that point, you’ve figured out if this class is going to be the bane of your existence for the next few months or if you can write your papers with minimal knowledge about the subject matter, and a feigned attempt at structuring grammatically correct sentences.

Seeing as we’re about a month into the college basketball season and conference play hasn’t started yet, I’d say we’ve had about three classes worth of knowledge about this years college basketball season; which means there’s still a lot we don’t know about the teams and players that we’ll be watching into April. That being said, here’s what we know about college basketball thus far:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

If I Was in Charge of Conference Realignment

By: Kerrance James

Realignment is inevitable. Long-standing rivalries are 100% expendable. The almighty dollar is king. The sooner you come to grips with those facts, the less angry this completely hypothetical article will make you.

Moves and rumors of impending moves are scrolling along the bottom line on a nearly daily basis, but where is it all going, and will it ever end? For a while it seemed like the Big 12 would be the Power Six conference to go under at the expense of a new Fab Five, but that may no longer be the case. Football afterthoughts like Tulane and East Carolina are helping keep the major conferences afloat in their journey to field 16 teams. The whole thing leaves me asking (at least) two key questions:

1.       If all this posturing is based on football revenue, why does it look like we’re headed for 4-5 super conferences? What’s the point in 16 team conferences if you only play 7-9 conference games per season? Wouldn’t the ideal situation be 8 10 team conferences rather than 5 16 team conferences?
2.       Where does this leave the basketball powerhouses without FBS football programs?

Friday, December 7, 2012

For the Sake of Your Bracket (12/7-12/13)

By: Kerrance James

Welcome to your one-stop shop for the upcoming week in college hoops. There are 207 games in the next 7 days, and it won’t be long until we’re blessed with 300+ per week. My mission is to make sure you don’t lose track of the important ones, so here are the 22 games you’ll want to keep an eye on between now and next Friday. We’ll plan on running this column every Friday between now and March 13, while eventually (mid-January?) adding in my annual elimination style bubble tracker, as well as numerous journalistic gems from Charlie. Stick with us for the next 3 months, and you’ll be as prepared as you can possibly be to inevitably tear your bracket to pieces – but you’ll at least feel more knowledgeable doing it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Takeaways from Indiana-Georgetown

By Charlie Scaturro

Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America
After watching Georgetown’s impressive showing against UCLA on Monday, everyone figured that we might be in for a serious dogfight when the Hoyas played number one ranked Indiana in the championship game of the Progressive Legends Classic (can we seriously call this a ‘classic’ if no ones ever heard of it before?), and that became clear very early on during last night’s game.

Forget about the fact that the Hoosiers held a slim four point lead at the half or that both teams were on fire from three in the early going, if you watched the way these two teams were competing and flying around the court in the first few minutes of last night’s game you knew this was going to be a slugfest throughout. The electricity emanating from the first few minutes of this game prompted me to say on Twitter that if you weren’t watching this game you didn’t have a soul, and while that might not be the case, those who missed Georgetown-Indiana certainly aren’t college basketball fans (I could argue that people who aren’t college basketball fans don’t have souls, but I digress).

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

One Major Thought on Each Major Conference

This is extremely depressing news, but as of the end of the day on Wednesday, we will be 10% of the way to Selection Sunday. To keep from hyperventilating about that thought, let’s make some observations based on the past week and a half. I’ll hit on one thing from each of the major conferences, and if you don’t consider the A-10 a major conference, you’re crazy.

A-10: Reports of Xavier’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Harsh Reality of the Royce White Saga

By Charlie Scaturro

Source: Nick Laham/Getty Images North America
Your average 21-year-old dealing with anxiety issues as he tries to figure out his place in the world usually wouldn’t be making headlines. But as we all know, Royce White isn’t your average 21-year-old.

Basketball players like White don’t come around very often and they sure as hell don’t last long on draft day. A 6’8’’ 260-pound point forward whose physique more closely resembles that of a linebacker than a basketball player; White’s immense versatility coupled with his size makes for a downright frightening combination on a basketball court. Equally comfortable bulling his way through the paint and crashing the boards as he is handling the ball and dishing to teammates, there’s little doubt that White has plenty of potential to succeed in the NBA. On paper, GM’s around the league were looking at a player who easily could have (and almost definitely would have) been selected in the top five of the 2012 draft had it not been for his anxiety disorder.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Joy and Sorrow of College Hoops in November

By: Kerrance James

Let’s start with the Joy:

Thank the good lord that the games are back. It was a miserable 221 days between Kentucky cutting down the nets and Eastern Michigan’s tip-off this past Friday afternoon. Scandals ran rampant from current players at Harvard to former players at Duke and UNC; new stories of future conference realignment over-shadowed the actual off-season conference realignment, thereby guaranteeing that no one will know who is in which conference until February (not without a handy-dandy cheat sheet, at any rate); and we still have no idea whether or not we’ll see Shabazz Muhammad play a game for UCLA this season. But that’s all behind us (except for the Muhammad part) and we can get back to actually enjoying the game.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thoughts from the 24-hour College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon

By Charlie Scaturro

Source: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America

ESPN kicked off the return of college basketball this week with its annual 24 hour marathon of hoops that forces some of us to ignore aspects of our life like work, significant others, sleep, and even basic bodily functions to tune in. Of course, as expected, it was totally worth it. College basketball fans quickly put all of the aircraft carrier nonsense behind them and got back to enjoying games that didn’t have us thinking about condensation ridden courts, high winds, or blaring sun (by the way, has anyone checked on Jim Boeheim and Steve Fisher after those 3-plus hours in the sun on that aircraft carrier? Hope they applied sunscreen liberally and often on Sunday).

Besides the fact that having college basketball games on TV during the middle of the day and into all hours of the night probably reminded some of us of March Madness, there was plenty to take away from the games that were played during the 24-hour period. Here are a few thoughts I had during the marathon:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Michael Vick’s Ironic Monday Night in New Orleans

By Charlie Scaturro

Although it’s impossible to know what’s going on in Andy Reid’s head as the Eagles struggle through another season that started with great expectations, it’s clear that the pressure was on Michael Vick to deliver this past Monday night against the Saints. Although the media may have sensationalized the situation a bit, there’s no doubt that Vick’s job security as the Eagles starting quarterback was the shakiest it’s been since he supplanted Kevin Kolb three years ago as the Eagles Week 9 game against the Saints loomed. Some even hypothesized that another poor performance would have one of the most polarizing professional athletes of all time sitting on the bench in favor of rookie Nick Foles.

And when you really think about it, how much time does Vick have left? I touched on this in a post a few weeks ago, and at the age of 32 not only is it becoming clear that Vick won’t be getting any better, but it’s certainly possible that his disappointing play this season is signaling the beginning of the end.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cut to the Chase: Forecasting the Finish of the NASCAR Season

For a second time, we're opening the SIIJ door to an outsider. As was the case with last month's NHL article from Keith Gideon, this was written by a very good friend of mine - Doug Erwin. Hopefully this article won't have the same season-ending lockout effect as Keith's. Doug and I see eye to eye on a great number of things; the art of stock car racing is not one of those things. Fortunately, Doug has graciously volunteered to provide an SIIJ voice to that demographic. If you like what you see, check back in the future for more NASCAR articles, tennis articles, and maybe a college football article if Clemson does something worth mentioning. - Kerrance James

Hello Brooklyn: Welcome to the Modified Mediocrity Treadmill

By Charlie Scaturro

Source: Alex Trautwig/Getty Images North America

With all due respect to Dwight Howard landing in LA (and engaging in an awkward yet entertaining pissing contest with Shaq), and LeBron’s quest for back-to-back titles, the biggest story in the NBA at the start of the 2012-13’ season as far as I’m concerned is the Nets landing in Brooklyn. By now we’ve all heard about the Barclays Center, Jay-Z’s involvement with the team, and their new logo/uniforms, but in just a couple of days this team will actually step on a basketball court and start playing meaningful games (so much for just selling trendy merchandise and enjoying the warm glow that accompanies being the first professional sports team in Brooklyn since the 1950’s).

All of the fanfare and hype that has surrounded the Nets move to Brooklyn up to this point will begin to matter less and less as we begin to focus on, you know, the actual product Billy King and Mikhail Prokhorov have put on the court.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Your Cheat Sheet for NCAA Hoops Conference Re-alignment

With the start of college basketball season rapidly approaching (16 days!), I thought it would be helpful to put together a cheat sheet of all the conference re-alignments affecting the upcoming season. Last year, it took me at least a month to come to terms with the fact that Nebraska and Colorado were no longer in the Big 12, and to figure out where exactly they went; so we’re going to be a little more proactive this year and figure that all out before the games begin.

First, the easy ones – 15 Conferences that haven’t changed from last season to this season:

Friday, October 19, 2012

Random Mid-October NFL Thoughts

By Charlie Scaturro

Work is busy and time is at a premium, but here are a few random mid-October NFL thoughts I've had on my mind recently.

Source: Brian Bahr/Getty Images North America
Did the Giants really discover the “blueprint” to beat the 49ers?

After the Giants resounding 26-3 victory over the 49ers in Week 6, many people started asking whether Tom Coughlin and the rest of his coaching staff had crafted the “blueprint” for beating a San Francisco team that looked as formidable as anyone through the first few weeks of the 2012 season.

During their impressive win, there’s no doubt that the Giants did things to the 49ers that many teams would like to do; they ran the ball effectively, forced Alex Smith to lead San Francisco from behind, and they prevented a fearsome 49ers front seven from wreaking havoc. But the thing that always gets me about these so-called “blueprints” is that any coach not named Norv Turner already knows how you want to attack the opposing team, it’s a matter of executing such a plan.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

You Never Get Used to Heart Break

By: Kerrance James

More so than any other sport, baseball is like a marriage. Maybe you feel more passionately about other sports, but with upwards of 185 games per season, baseball is in your life more often than not. At times, your baseball cap becomes as much a part of your wardrobe as your wedding ring. There are quirks amongst your players and announcers that others probably don’t notice, but you grow to love or despise the person for them. And though you almost always forgive your significant other when they wrong you, you never truly forget.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Be Honest: If You Were a Chiefs Fan, You Would've Booed Cassel, Too

By: Kerrance James

As a life-long Chiefs fan (and it has been a long, long 26 years), I feel as though I’m required to weigh in on this whole Matt Cassel thing. So here goes nothing.

Let it be known that I am unabashedly one of those fans who has no issue with booing his favorite team when they egregiously underachieve. Aside from seeing the visiting teams play, the only highlight of having Wizards’ season tickets last year was when all 29 of us would make sure Andray Blatche knew how much we “question” his “talent” every time he came to the scorer’s table. That being said, here were my tweets about Matt Cassel while watching the game yesterday:

Monday, October 1, 2012

Random Thoughts on a Crazy Weekend in Sports

By: Kerrance James

Maybe the replacement refs weren’t so bad after all.

There were an awful lot of questionable calls yesterday, culminating in 3 pass interference calls in the final drive during the primetime game. While listening to the Redskins / Buccaneers game, the Bucs were flagged for an unnecessary roughness penalty for performing somewhat of a suplex on RGIII. The Redskins’ radio crew immediately started complaining about the call, saying that on that play, RGIII was a running back and you can’t overly protect him in that situation. So, to recap, the officiating/rulebook is so bad that people are even complaining when the calls benefit the team they’re supporting. I really think the only major difference between the “real” refs and the replacement refs was that the replacement refs had no confidence. Yes, the Packers/Seahawks game was a disaster, but so was the Packers/Saints game yesterday. The only reason the calls in the Seahawks game received the vitriol that they did is because we became pre-conditioned to doubt every single call they made. The real undeniable problem – and I’m not trying to open up a race debate here – is that predominantly white guys in their 50s can’t keep up with today’s athletes. The same thing has been plaguing college hoops for the past decade.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Completely Meaningless (but fun) Statistics After 2 Weeks of Football

By Charlie Scaturro

Source: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America
As anyone who knows anything about the NFL will tell you, two weeks of football is too small of a sample size to draw any wide-ranging conclusions. However, seeing as I have extremely limited time and it’s fun to overreact about statistics that might mean absolutely nothing, I figured I would dig up as many early season numbers as I could and cryptically post them. Maybe these stats are a sign of things to come, maybe they’re simply the product of us being two weeks into the season, but here goes nothing ( If you’re getting a “60 percent of the time, it works every time” vibe from some of these, that’s intentional):

- Michael Turner has 3 more carries that have gone for 5+ yards than times he’s been arrested for DUI since Week 1

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fantasy Units: 2. Individual Leagues: 0.

If you play in a normal fantasy league, there are very good odds that you were none too pleased with the San Diego Chargers this past weekend. Three receiving touchdowns, two rushing touchdowns, and none of them scored by a guy who was owned in more than 0.2% of leagues. It must have been frustrating to handcuff Curtis Brinkley or Le’Ron McClain to Ryan Mathews only to watch Jackie Battle steal the show; or to find out moments before the game that Antonio Gates would not be playing, and then rush to the waiver wire to pick up the Chargers #2 TE before the Chargers #3 TE scored 3 TDs.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hockey Season Anyone?

This article was written by a close friend of mine - Keith Gideon. He has pointed out on multiple occasions that our web site has been severely lacking in hockey coverage, so I challenged him to write something for us to post, since Charlie and I are about as interested in hockey as, well, most of America. Here's what he came up with. If there actually is an NHL season, we just might make him an occasional contributor. - Kerrance James

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Wednesday Recap

     By Kerrance James

- In the college realignment that will never end, Notre Dame has agreed to join the ACC for all sports except football, possibly as soon as the summer of 2014. In lieu of joining a new conference in football, Notre Dame will remain Independent, but are petitioning to change their nickname from the Fighting Irish to the Laissez-Faire Swiss.

- Recognizing that UConn is ineligible for the post-season this year and that Notre Dame’s move means there may not be a Big East in 2 years, Jim Calhoun chose to end his career as a head coach at Connecticut. Upon hearing the news, Dick Vitale cried for several hours, and Lou Holtz began pleading with ESPN executives to hire Calhoun as a “collish bashketball analysh” so he would no longer be the most difficult person at the network to understand.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The “Elite Quarterback Trap” and Why the Giants Need to Avoid Falling Into it

By Charlie Scaturro

Source: Al Bello/Getty Images North America
It’s the reason why Peyton Manning only has one Super Bowl ring despite being one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. It’s the reason why Tom Brady hasn’t won one since 2005 despite the fact that the Patriots have consistently been one of the best teams in the NFL for close to a decade. It’s the reason why Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees didn’t even reach the NFC Championship Game last year despite posting two of the most impressive statistical seasons by quarterbacks in NFL history. It’s what I’m calling the “Elite Quarterback Trap” and it’s why the Giants might have a disappointing 2012 season.

Is Eli Manning on the same level as the aforementioned quarterbacks? For all of his postseason success and Toyota commercials, it doesn’t seem likely that many would take the younger Manning over any of the quarterbacks mentioned above (with the exception of Peyton if you’re not buying his impressive debut against the Steelers and surgically fused neck). Even if he’s not quite in the stratosphere of guys like Brady, Brees, and Rodgers, Eli has proven that the Giants can lean heavily on him to win games when all else fails.

Tuesday Recap

- For the second consecutive day, the Oakland A’s beat the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, this time by a score of 6-5. Despite going 3 for 4 and increasing his league leading batting average to .332, Angels manager Mike Scioscia held Mike Trout solely responsible for the loss. “We’ve come to expect more from him,” lamented a dejected Scioscia. “When Trouty makes an out, our chances of winning drastically decrease. And he didn’t even homer tonight either. I don’t know what I’ve done to upset him, but this display of defiance is simply uncalled for.”

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Monday Recap

- Following up on his Olympic gold medal, Andy Murray won the US Open to claim his first Grand Slam title on Monday with a 5-set win over Novak Djokovic. Having nearly given up hope of winning one of the 4 major tennis tournaments, Murray prepped for the US Open by eating at Denny’s every day for a month, angrily ordering the Grand Slam over and over.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Continuing the Case for Fantasy Units

Your Honor, the prosecution would like to call a few key witnesses to the stand.

Alfred Morris, are you aware that you were a 6th round draft pick from a school that went 1-11 last season? And that you were 4th on the Redskins depth chart as recently as 10 days ago? Just who the hell do you think you are?

Jeremy Kerley, did you know that you scored more touchdowns in the first 18 minutes of this season than you scored in the entire 2011 season? You weren’t even a top 100 WR in fantasy drafts this year! How do you respond?

Weekend Recap

- After allowing 5 earned runs in 3 lackluster innings of work on Friday, Davey Johnson made the decision on Saturday to shut down Stephen Strasburg for the remainder of the 2012 season. In protest, Strasburg threw a 2-seamer into the clouds, resulting in a torrential downpour.

- In his first game since tearing his ACL near the end of last season, Adrian Peterson ran for 2 touchdowns to help carry the Vikings to an overtime win over the Jaguars. During the post-game press conference, Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo burst into the room, wildly declaring that the Vikings should limit Peterson to 160 touches this season, no matter where they are in the standings when he reaches that point. A potential "incident" was avoided when Rizzo was subdued with a tranquilizer dart.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fantasy Unit Draft Recap

The first ever team unit draft is in the books. It took 14 of us 9 calendar days to finish the 9 rounds, but we fought through the weddings, holidays, and laziness to get our teams set in time for the Cowboys/Giants kickoff. Here’s a brief round-by-round recap of what transpired. Please note that D, K, P, and R represent Defense, Kicking, Passing, and Rushing, respectively. If you need a reminder of what the hell we’re talking about, here's the original article I posted a month ago outlining my idea on how to revolutionize fantasy football.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Why the Magic Won the Dwight Howard Deal

If you think the Magic got hosed in the DH12 trade, I have one simple question for you:

What were you expecting?

If you hate the Lakers as much as I do, this trade is quite the downer for the next 2 years (although, really, is Howard that much better than Bynum?), but the notion that the Magic gave up a dollar piece and a quarter and only got two dimes, two nickels, and three pennies in return is absurd.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Forget Everything You Know About Fantasy Football

As excited as I am for the upcoming season, I've been doing a lot of thinking about fantasy football, and how the system is fundamentally broken. How often does the person who dominates the regular season actually win the playoffs? And how often is that due to individual guys getting injured (Matt Forte) or benched to avoid injury during the home stretch (Aaron Rodgers)? The most entertaining day of the year (draft day) is rendered useless by guys like Victor Cruz coming out of nowhere for an entire season, or, more notably, guys like Donald Brown and Jared Cook emerging out of nowhere in the fantasy playoffs. And is there anything more frustrating than starting James Starks and watching John Kuhn or BJ Raji get a rushing touchdown?

Friday, July 27, 2012

What We Can Do in the Wake of the Penn State Tragedy

By Charlie Scaturro

I used to think that regular people couldn’t change the world. I used to think that it’s just too difficult to stand out from the crowd. I figured that the world is such a big place and each individual person is so small that it just wasn’t possible. But after witnessing how the inaction and cowardice of individuals at Penn State enabled a monstrous pedophile to continually victimize young children, I now know that regular people can change the world. If they’re willing to make the necessary sacrifices, and put the well being of others ahead of their own.

For months we’ve heard about the atrocities Jerry Sandusky committed on Penn State’s campus and elsewhere under the umbrella of the institution that was Penn State football. These disturbing details have played themselves out in the media as well as the courtroom, and they left everyone who heard them feeling a multitude of emotions.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

When Fantasy and Reality Collide

It's been well documented on this website as well as on Twitter that I am an unabashed Washington Nationals fan. During their current pivotal two week stretch against NL East foes, the Nats recently hosted the New York Mets for a 3 game series - and my loyalties came under severe personal scrutiny.

Not because I was tempted to root for the Mets. Don’t be silly. If there’s been one constant throughout my life of baseball fandom (grew up near Philadelphia rooting for the Braves thanks to TBS, became an Astros fan for a decade, and have lived in DC rooting for the Nats for the past several years) it’s been “Screw the Mets.”

However, I do have David Wright on my fantasy team.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Brooklyn Nets and Fandom

By Charlie Scaturro

Aside from providing NBA fans with seemingly endless entertainment since the Finals concluded about a month ago, the Nets move to Brooklyn has sparked a discussion about when it’s “acceptable” to become a fan of a certain team. This discussion really wasn’t very noteworthy before the Nets re-signed Deron Williams and Gerald Wallace, while they somehow mustered the courage to trade for Joe Johnson’s grotesque contract, but now that the Nets are a legitimate playoff team (at least they should be), and the Knicks seem hell bent on acquiring overweight point guards instead of retaining media darling Jeremy Lin while they simultaneously try to add every active NBA player over the age of 38, you could see why some Knicks fans might be contemplating a switch. Over the past few days, many have given their opinion about whether it’s ok for Knicks fans to become Nets fans, and as a native New Yorker who loves basketball, this topic hits especially close to home.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

NBA Offseason Memes

By Charlie Scaturro

Seeing as we’ve reached the dog days of summer where real NFL football is still about 2 months away, the NBA and college basketball won’t be back until late October/early November, and baseball is the only sport on TV, the flow of content here at SIIJ has slowed. It’s not that I don’t have plenty of ideas floating around in my brain, but when you combine the slow sports season with an extremely busy work schedule, there’s just not enough time in the day to churn out articles.

However, I’ve recently discovered an easy-enough way to generate memes, and although I’d much rather be crafting a 3,000 word article on the Brooklyn Nets from the perspective of a native Brooklynite, the memes will have to do for now. Here’s a couple I’ve crafted in the last few days that pertain to the increasingly comical and always entertaining NBA offseason.

After the Nets signed Gerald Wallace, Joe Johnson, and Deron Williams, there’s been some squawking about who the best team in New York is, well here’s the final word in that pissing contest for New York’s heart:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wrapping Up the NBA Finals

By Charlie Scaturro
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images North America
Although I watched the NBA Finals from my couch, trying to digest everything that was happening between the Heat and Thunder left me feeling worn out. This exhaustion was probably due to some combination of the contrived narratives that floated around throughout this series, the frenetic pace every game was played at, everything about the “Russell Westbrook experience”, Scott Brooks being Scott Brooks, and of course, listening to people criticize LeBron for weeks on end regardless of what he did.

There was a lot happening both on and off the court, but the one thing I’ll remember about this series above all else was that we got to see two players who have the potential to be regarded as all-time greats by the time their careers are over (Kevin Durant and LeBron James) go toe-to-toe for the most coveted prize in professional basketball. The other thing that I will remember about this series is that it was the first time LeBron put all of the pieces together and reached his seemingly limitless ceiling to bring home a title. In other words, we witnessed one of the greatest players in NBA history maximizing his potential. And it was incredible.

Whether or not LeBron can build off his first title run to pile up the championship banners in the coming years is something we simply don’t know right now, but at the very least, we saw him become the player we all know he’s capable of being; an unstoppable 6’9’’ 260 lb. force of nature who has absolutely no weaknesses on a basketball court.

Throughout various points of the NBA Finals, I found myself saying “What the hell just happened?” more times than I thought possible, but when a series features so many compelling moments, personalities, and downright draw dropping basketball, I really had a hard time processing everything that was going on. I’m a little late on this recap (work has been busy lately), but here’s my best effort to wrap up the NBA Finals between the Heat and Thunder:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wherefore Art Thou, Ryan Zimmerman?

I know we’ve got about 100 games left in the regular season, but it’s time to start taking the Washington Nationals seriously as a playoff contender. The “will they or won’t they” debate over Stephen Strasburg’s innings limit is a debate for another day about two months from now, but here’s their potential line-up and pitching rotation for a playoff series:

2B Espinosa
CF Harper
3B Zimmerman
LF Morse
1B LaRoche
RF Werth
SS Desmond
C Flores
SP Strasburg/Gonzalez/Zimmermann/Jackson
RP Mattheus/Clippard/Storen

Looks pretty formidable to me. But is there any question that Ryan Zimmerman is the biggest liability on that list?

Monday, June 18, 2012

SIIJ's 2012 NBA Mock Draft

About ten days ago, we realized we hadn’t been giving our site the tender love and care it deserves. Back in late February / early March, SIIJ was either getting a new article or an update to a running article on a daily basis – as one might expect, as our primary focus / passion is on college hoops. Since the tournament started, however, we’ve been pushing out an average of one article every other week, the majority of which have been Charlie’s doing. We could throw a bunch of excuses your way, but the fact of the matter is that’s simply unacceptable, and starting with this joint effort, we’re going to drink our prune juice to try and get a little more regular with our output.

After spending six straight weeks watching the NBA playoffs on a nightly basis (do you realize Derrick Rose tore his ACL on April 28? This post-season is almost as long as the regular season.), we decided we had to write something about the NBA. Still, we didn’t want to become the four millionth web site to post its opinion on LeBron or Durant, so we settled on a McShay/Kiper style NBA Draft article. If you turned on ESPN at all in March or April, you probably get the idea: we each mock-drafted the entire first round, mashed it together, and each wrote about 15 of the 30 picks. As such, there are a couple of guys that we wrote about twice (we apparently love Harrison Barnes) and a few that were barely mentioned at all (sorry, Terrence Ross), but what follows is our collective opinion on what each team should do with its first round draft pick(s).

And yes, we realize that this whole thing crumbles to nothing after 6 of the first 10 picks get traded around, but it’s a fun read nonetheless.  Any write-up that is followed by a "C.S." was written by Charlie, and any write-up that is followed by a "K.M." was written by Kerry.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Searching for This Year's Isaiah Thomas and Kenneth Faried

By Charlie Scaturro

Source: Rob Carr/Getty Images North America
With all due respect to Isiah Thomas, who is currently stuck in basketball purgatory after being fired from FIU, I find that the case of Isaiah Thomas (who spells his name the Biblical way, and just completed his rookie season with the Sacramento Kings) is much more interesting. And this is especially true when you consider that the NBA Draft is just a few weeks away.

If you were a fan of college basketball during the last few seasons you know that Thomas was one of the better guards in the country during his final two years at Washington, not to mention being one of the most exciting players to watch in all of college basketball. But despite how productive he was for the Huskies and despite his stunning athleticism, Thomas’ meager 5’9’’ 185 frame had many doubting whether or not he could even stick on an NBA roster, much less be a difference maker on the court. So when the Kings selected the Washington native with the final pick of the 2011 NBA Draft last June, not only did the pick not make headlines, but it didn’t mean anything to anyone who wasn’t a big college basketball fan or University of Washington alumnus.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The NFL’s Concussion Problem Through the Lens of Public Health Issues

By Charlie Scaturro

Charles LeClaire/US Presswire
Football fans didn’t have much of a chance to digest the media spectacle that is now known as the NFL Draft before they were hit with the tragic news that Junior Seau committed suicide. Retired NFL players who came before Seau have struggled with their lives after football, some of these same retired players have even taken their own lives as a result of their struggles, but none of them were as good on the field, as well liked off the field, or played as recently as Seau. When you’re talking about people suffering and possibly taking their own lives, it doesn’t matter whether they were first ballot Hall of Famers or just another cog in the NFL machine; a life is a life and it’s tragic no matter what their place in NFL history was.

At the same time, because Seau was revered off the field and an All-Pro linebacker on it, his shocking suicide has further exacerbated the current head trauma crisis that has gripped the NFL. It’s still unclear how much of a role Seau’s 20 year NFL career played in his decision to take his own life a few weeks ago, but it’s safe to say that anyone who opted to ignore (or perhaps just hadn’t heard much about) the issue of head trauma in the NFL before Seau’s passing is paying attention now.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Conversations Overheard In NFL Draft War Rooms

By Charlie Scaturro

Have you ever wondered what actually goes on in an NFL war room during the draft? Me too. When you think about it, those rooms contain highly paid executives, coaches, and scouts making multi-million dollar, pressure-filled decisions that will determine the future of their respective franchises in the most popular (and profitable) sports league in this country. I honestly can’t think of a more nerve racking, adrenaline filled, high stakes game of chance that directly affects so many different people. Based on the enormity of the situation, you would have to assume that everyone involved in this process is highly intelligent, informed, and aware of everything that is going on around them, but I think we know a little too much about certain coaches, general managers, and owners to say that this isn’t necessarily the case.

While it would be amazing to know exactly what Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett were discussing right before they called in their pick, unfortunately, I don’t have the inside sources or access to any kind of Mickey Loomis-style eavesdropping equipment to find out. But what I can provide is my best guess as to how things went down in some of the more entertaining war rooms during the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Let’s take a look…

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Sky Isn't Falling Because Kentucky Won the National Championship

By Charlie Scaturro

We’re a little more than three weeks removed from the Kentucky Wildcats, and more specifically in some people’s minds, John Calipari and a talented group of freshmen, winning a National Championship in rather dominant fashion. You know how they did it, you’ve heard all about Calipari finally winning that elusive championship, and we now know that many of the players who were instrumental in the Wildcats eighth National Title will be heading to the NBA. But one of the more dramatic, and frankly misinformed, conclusions that some people have drawn from Kentucky’s triumph over Kansas a few weeks ago is that it spells doom for college basketball.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Journey to Sell the Worst Tickets in America

I feel the need to preface this article with a little bit of background.

I’ve never been an NBA fan. I’ve proven on multiple occasions that I can watch college basketball for at least 14 consecutive hours, but I’ve just never enjoyed the NBA. To a layperson, that probably sounds akin to a fanatic of AA baseball that just can’t get into MLB, but it’s just the way I am.

That being said, I moved to the DC area 2 years ago, went to a few Wizards games with some friends, and eventually got drunk enough to purchase season tickets for the 2011-12 season. The theory was that we would get to see some of the all-stars while laughing at the perils of the Wizards, and that at $16 a game, season tickets would be cheaper than trying to Stubhub the “premium” games.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the Myth of Celebrity

By Charlie Scaturro

There used to be a fine line between athletes and celebrities, but that line has all but disappeared.

Somewhere between the time when professional football and baseball players had to hold second jobs to make ends meet, and when Michael Jordan became one of the most recognizable people on the face of the Earth, our culture has been conditioned to view athletes as a hybrid between hero and celebrity, just for playing a game very, very well. Of course, when Kobe Bryant is dropping 81 points on the Raptors, or Aaron Rodgers is picking apart every secondary in his path, while both guys are simultaneously appearing in commercials with Kanye West or pushing car insurance, it’s easy to see why the modern pro athlete is viewed the way he is.

Despite the seemingly endless number of celebrity/athlete screw-ups and unflattering moments that the public has witnessed through the years, we still hold our favorite athletes and celebrities above everyone else. Of course, even the best athletes fail sometimes, but at the end of the day they’re still multi-millionaires in peak physical condition who could run circles around 99.9% of the population, and the failures they may experience in their respective sports would be considered successes for anyone else on the planet.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Examining the Chances of Each Sweet 16 team in 200 words or less

By Charlie Scaturro

Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America

What are the chances your bracket still has a shot? If you were banking on Duke, Missouri, or Florida State to make deep runs, chances are you’re done. Even if you still have three of your Final Four in tact, the fact that everyone and their mother picked Kentucky to win the championship means that you could already be out of the running because someone else has the exact same picks as you, the only difference being they somehow had Ohio winning two games, and you ignored them like 98 percent of people who filled out a bracket.

Regardless of where your bracket stands right now, the one thing we know for sure is that there are only 16 teams left that still have a shot at winning the National Championship, but all things aren’t created equal. By virtue of each team’s talent, their projected road through the rest of the tournament, and other variables like injuries/suspensions/who’s peaking at the right time, some teams simply have a better chance of cutting down the nets than others. Here’s a look at the chances of each remaining team to continue their run through the tournament in 200 words or less:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

40 Random NCAA Tournament Thoughts

By Charlie Scaturro

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images North America
Everyone knows the tournament is here, and as I tried to find a way to make sense of the 68-team field in some kind of a reasonably coherent post, I quickly realized that this would be impossible. The last few days of conference tournament play, bracketology, selection committee’s, “expert” picks, and upset alerts have my head spinning to the point where I feel like everyone’s just shouting at each other and no one can even get a word in edgewise. So I’ve decided that the only way I could preview the tournament here at Send It In Jerome is to start shouting random tournament related thoughts of my own. Here we go…

Monday, March 12, 2012

Fun Facts About Each of the 68 Tournament Teams

Before you fill out your bracket, I've compiled a list of fun facts about each of the tournament teams. Some of them contain valuable information (see: UNLV). Some of them are just intended to be funny (see: Saint Bonaventure). Either way, I'm willing to bet you didn't know most of this, so hopefully you can use it effectively in whatever your selection strategy may be.

#1 Seeds: 

Kentucky – John Calipari has never won a national championship. Anthony Davis does not own a mirror. Kentucky led the nation in blocks per game and average margin of victory.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Argument For and Against a BCS-Style Syracuse-Kentucky National Championship

By Charlie Scaturro

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America
You have to search pretty hard to find anyone who truly believes the BCS is the right way to organize a championship (excluding the guys who line their pockets from the system), but after watching what Kentucky and Syracuse have managed to accomplish during the regular season I think it’s fair to ask; would you really have a problem with them playing for a National Championship at the expense of giving any other team a similar chance?

Of course, we know this won’t happen, but if you can suspend your disbelief for around 2,500 words a solid case can be made that this should, in fact, happen.

As with every college basketball season, there have been plenty of entertaining storylines that deserve their share of attention, but it’s hard to focus on much else when two of the nation’s premier programs have posted a combined record of 60-2 at the end of the regular season, and have clearly been the two best teams in the nation from November to March.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Searching For an Under The Radar Final Four

By Charlie Scaturro

Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images North America
Let’s be honest with ourselves for a second, regardless of how much college basketball you’ve watched up to this point in the season, you don’t know which teams are going to make the Final 4, I don’t know which teams are going to make the Final Four, and neither do the experts. If you’ve been watching your share of college hoops and you don’t suffer from “Jim Caldwell syndrome” (otherwise known as the inability to have an opinion, take a stance on anything, or show any emotion) you probably have some idea about which teams you think are capable of making a run to the Final Four, and you probably have some idea of which teams you don’t trust to win four straight pressure-filled tournament games.

But the only thing we know for sure right now is that at this time last season, none of the teams that would eventually go on to reach the Final Four were ranked in the top 15 in either poll. What happened last year was certainly unexpected, even for March Madness, but it’s safe to say that the tournament has been trending this way for some time.

Unless you were the lone VCU alum who played the “I don’t care if we barely limped into the tournament, I’m picking us to go to the Final Four” card (isn’t it annoying when this guy wins your pool?), the unforeseen run that VCU made last season was completely out of the blue, and although teams like UConn and Butler had talent on their side, neither one seemed capable of making too much noise in the tournament at this time a year ago either.

Monday, February 20, 2012

It's Time to Include Draymond Green in the National Player of the Year Discussion

By Charlie Scaturro

Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images North America
Anythony Davis and Thomas Robinson. That’s where the National Player of the Year conversation pretty much begins and ends right now, and it’s fairly understandable.

If you have a television and are even remotely interested in college basketball, you’ve had the chance to experience the incredible freshman season that Davis is having in Lexington, and whether you’re talking about the absurd impact he has on the defensive side of the floor, or the fact that he’s the leading scorer and rebounder for a team that’s only lost one game and is the current favorite to cut down the nets in New Orleans, it’s clear to see why the 6’10’’ future lottery pick is the current front runner to win the National Player of the Year award.

Thomas Robinson isn’t far behind Davis in the unofficial Player of the Year standings, and his emergence under the basket for a 22-5 Kansas squad that is much better than anyone would have guessed after they lost the Morris twins, Josh Selby, Tyrel Reed, and Brady Morningstar, can’t be understated. Both Davis and Robinson are having great seasons for two of the best teams in the nation, and while they certainly deserve to be the front-runners for the most prestigious individual award given to a college basketball player, Draymond Green needs to be included in the conversation as well.