Michael Porter, Jr. More Than Likely Out For Season

SPECIAL NOTE:  This blog is dedicated in memory of singer David Cassidy, who died in a Florida hospital at age 67 after a long illness.  Best known for leading the 1970’s ABC musical comedy series “The Partridge Family”, the group’s ten albums gained them a legion of fans with their catchy pop tune jingles.  Even after the group disbanded, David succeeded as a solo artist and even was a guest numerous times on the former Mike & Mike show on ESPN Radio–a few years before suffering from dementia.

As the old adage goes, ‘Some people were left with a harp in heaven, but I am sure others gave out guitars instead.’

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Crushing blow for Missouri

Center/forward Michael Porter, Jr., chosen by some members of the media as Preseason All-American will be heading for major back surgery.  This news was according to ESPN, CBSSports.com, and other key media outlets on Tuesday.

Simply put, what a blow for the Missouri Tigers and their potential NCAA Tournament hopes.  ESPN.com still projects him as the Number 2 ranked prospect for next June’s NBA Draft.

What this means in terms of the college landscape is that their slot could be taken over by:  a) another team in a Power 5 conference, like Texas A&M or Minnesota, or b) if the resumes stack up among any available mid-majors, there could be a possible last minute addition to the 10 or 11 seed line.

But again, we will know a lot more with 110 days remaining until Selection Sunday.

See you all next week with my Maui and PK80 Tournament recaps.

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Maui and PK80 Tournament Previews

 

Monday begins another fun week for ESPN.

“Feast Week” brings true tropical flair in our 50th State

At Lahaina Civic Center in Hawai’i will be four quarterfinal games:

The first pair of games are on ESPN2:

2:30 p.m. Marquette vs. VCU, Rams should be favored

4:30 p.m. Wichita State vs. California, Shockers have 5 guys averaging double figures led by Shaquille Morris averaging 17 ppg, shooting 13 of 18 from the field good for 72.2 percent and he has six blocked shots.

The other pair of games will be on ESPNU

9 p.m. Notre Dame vs. Chaminade, Fighting Irish led by Bonzie Colson.  Good sample size of averaging 20 ppg to go along with 11 rebounds per game and 9 blocks.

Shortly after 11 p.m. Michigan vs. LSU, could go either way but both schools moving on after losing key pieces to the NBA.

Late Tuesday are the semifinal games and Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. Eastern time on ESPN2 will be the championship.

PK 80 brings 16 Team Style Bracket in Honor of Phil Knight’s 80th Birthday

The newest tournament begins on Turkey Day in Oregon with eight games:

2:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN  Portland vs. North Carolina

4:30 p.m. ESPN  Portland State vs. Duke

5 p.m. ESPN2  Arkansas vs. Oklahoma

7 p.m. ESPN2  Butler vs. Texas

9 p.m. ESPNU  UConn vs. Oregon

10 p.m.  ESPN2  Florida vs. Stanford

11:30 p.m. ESPN  Michigan State vs. DePaul

Midnight ESPN2  Ohio State vs. Gonzaga

The rest of the schedule for Friday’s Motion Bracket (the Thursday losers) and Victory Bracket, along with Sunday’s championship game can be found at this link:

http://pkinvitational.com/brackets

Please have a happy and safe Thanksgiving weekend, everybody.

See you all this time next week with my review of both tournaments, along with my first edition of “Stock Up, Stock Down”.

 

Facebook to partner with Stadium in doing 47 live streaming games

The games will be from smaller conferences, echoes similar deals from college football and Major League Baseball

WatchESPN and Amazon have a new partner in the streaming game.

According to the website Awful Announcing, 47 games will be exclusively streamed on Facebook.  Schools like Gonzaga, St. Mary’s, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, VCU, Rhode Island, Nevada, and New Mexico State will be featured.

The games will be streamed at this page:

https://www.facebook.com/StadiumCollegeBasketball/

The popular social media channel will also air three first-round games in the Mountain West Tournament, as well as two quarterfinal game in the Conference USA Tournament come early March.

There will also be a 30 minute studio weekly studio show airing on Wednesdays, which will preview the games and reviewing other key highlights and news in the sport.  First show is on November 29 at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time.

For more information on which games will be airing, check out this press release:

http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb14923661.htm

and bookmark this site to see instant highlights and clips highlighting recent games:

https://watchstadium.com/

So Long, Greeny–At Least For A While

A few years into the ESPN Radio era when weekdays were added to the schedule, Tony Bruno commanded the mornings from 1995 to 1998.  He was a steady, but firm voice who properly put the key sports headlines from the night before into proper perspective.

In 1998, nine year NFL veteran Mike Golic entered the picture.  Late in 1999, Bruno accepted a job to begin a new era for Fox Sports Radio in Los Angeles.  Several rounds of auditions took place on the Bristol campus.  Several reporters and a wave of former athletes tried but were all rejected.

The person who ended up getting the job to wake up early in the mornings was an original Scorehead that helped launch WSCR (which was then heard only in the daylight hours at low power frequency 820 AM) “The Score” SportsRadio in Chicago.  A sports reporting stint on WGN sister cable news outlet CLTV (short for Chicagoland TV News) would soon follow.

Mike Greenberg would gain national prominence being one of the first anchors for the 24 hour ESPNEWS outlet in 1996.  A few years of doing weekend editions of SportsCenter would soon follow.  When the one-time Duel game show host on ABC who loves getting pedicures and going to the opera as much as women would be the right combination with Mike Golic, Mike & Mike In The Morning was born.

From January 2, 2000 to today–November 17, 2017, over three million devoted listeners (more if you count all of our devoted servicemen and women overseas) would make their show our morning routine to laugh, sometimes criticize, ponder, but most of all to have fun.

For Yours Truly Online, just hitting the one button to turn the radio on was all I needed to hear when Greeny would affectionately say shortly after 6 a.m. Eastern time,

“Gooooooooooooood Morning…We are back, and better than ever.”

We have had six months to brace for this moment to say good bye.  But it is not a good bye forever.  Greeny will still be employed by ESPN, and I am sure he will be keeping many fans of his books apprised when his fifth book (his first foray into fiction writing) will be something to watch later in 2018 or early 2019).

He is very active on Twitter as well, especially giving off his honest thoughts about his hometown team in the New York Jets.  So in a way, this will be a homecoming for him when he gears up to host the new ESPN weekday morning show simply called Get Up when it is tentatively scheduled to start sometime in the spring.  The primary reason, according to sites like Awful Announcing and Sports Media Watch cite the fact that there have been several construction delays at their new studio around Chelsea Piers, adjacent to the GMA studios at Disney sister cousin of ABC.

This much we do know–Michelle Beadle and Jalen Rose will be leaving NBA Countdown and Beadle’s weekday gabfest of SportsNation to join Greeny as co-hosts.  More talent will soon follow, with a possibility of maybe having occasional appearances by GMA Meteorologist Ginger Zee (whom by that time will be coming off her second maternity leave) to give fans key weather details of major sports events nationwide.  The show will air weekdays from 7 to 10 a.m. Eastern, with simulcasts on Sirius XM Satellite Radio.  SportsCenter: AM will slide over to ESPN2.

As for the new era on the radio side, we won’t have to wait too long for the Trey and Mike era to begin.  The one-time page for David Letterman and longtime host of NFL Live will be the new full-time co-host starting on Monday, November 27, 2017.  Even more interesting is that fellow Notre Dame alum Mike Golic, Jr. will join his father during the first hour (keep in mind that Golic, Jr. appears with Robin Lundberg on the overnight talk show, First & Last–heard weekdays from 4 to 6 a.m. Eastern time).

Of course, the 2005 cartoon making fun of themselves called the Off Mikes was too cute to pass up.  But the annual March rite of downright craziness and idiocy climaxed during each of the NCAA Tournaments from 2000 to 2014.  The “Sheets of Integrity” were definitely strange episodes indeed, especially since Mike Golic would complain to Greeny many times about him winning his pool on five different brackets, where you are supposed to only fill out one.  The loser would be forced to do something very dumb, of which you can see the results for yourself on YouTube if you so desire.

The new era already has a few practice runs

Yes, I have heard Trey Wingo more than a handful of times when he was paired with Mike Golic, and it appears the show will be in very good hands going forward.  Once the football season ends, it will be interesting to hear their general thoughts on the 2018 Winter Olympics, followed by the NCAA Tournament, and the start of the baseball season which will be happening much earlier than in decades past–on Thursday, March 29, a full two days before Super Saturday at the Final Four in San Antonio, Texas.

But, if you want to hang on to the glory days going into and during the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend…

There is hope for you after all.

Besides their uber popular podcasts, there are 2,430,000 YouTube clips for you to enjoy.

Plus, the guys talked about many things including why Mike Greenberg came up with the dumbest idea ever when the winning baseball league in the All Star Game during the years 2003 through 2016 earned Game 7 home field advantage in the World Series.

That and a short conversation with the wives, Stephanie Greenberg and Christine Golic appear in the April 2010 five disk CD set titled appropriately enough:

Mike and Mike’s Rules for Sports and Life

https://www.amazon.com/Mike-Mikes-Rules-Sports-Life/dp/1598597124

Believe me, you wouldn’t want to get the book–since the text is mostly written in yellow and green ink.  A little difficult to read, IMHO.

At least, I will end this special blog with one of their early slogans and how I will remember 18 great years:

“What makes them different makes them great.”

So long, Greeny.  It is time to get some much needed rest.

At least, it was a very, very classy move in the final moments at 9:53 a.m. Eastern time for both of the families to enter the set and share in the final seconds of over 17 1/2 incredible years.  Many past and present ESPN reporters took time to send their thoughts via Twitter, leading off with newly christened NBC Olympics prime time host Mike Tirico:

http://awfulannouncing.com/espn/mike-golic-greenberg-sign-off-espn.html

 

 

 

Big South Conference To Add Pair of Schools For 2018-2019 Season

Big South to Grow to 12 Team League

Following an ESPN.com report earlier in the week by South Carolina Upstate, Hampton on Thursday has decided to leave its’ long standing home in the MEAC and join the Big South Conference.

SC Upstate will leave the Atlantic Sun, which traditionally is the first conference to decide the slew of 32 automatic bids into the NCAA Tournament.

The Big South has two divisions, with the North comprising of longtime conference tournament champions in Campbell, along with High Point, Liberty, Longwood, and Radford.

The South has a few current powerhouses in Charleston Southern, along with Gardner-Webb, UNC Asheville, Presbyterian, and Winthrop.

By the time we get to next October, I will hope to analyze Hampton and South Carolina Upstate and see how they both stack up in their new conference.

 

 

 

 

LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill, and Cody Riley Suspended Indefinitely by UCLA

Nine hours before the UCLA Bruins played their home opener against Central Arkansas…

One by one, the players spoke and gave their long winded apologies during the school’s late Wednesday morning press conference–to the Chinese government, President Donald Trump and the White House staff, the UCLA coaching staff, students, alumni all over the world, along with their close friends and families.

Most of their statements by Cody Riley, LiAngelo Bell, and Jalen Hill were simply frank and mostly heartfelt.  I am sure the school had some staffers craft what was hoping to be a firm and decent apology.  Yes, the black mark they all left behind in China is a major one–it will not be going away anytime after everyone opens up their Christmas presents.

Once the players left, UCLA Coach Steve Alford spoke and mentioned the substantial punishment each player has been sent:

“Our interest was the safety of these young men…We are extremely disappointed in their actions.  They are going to have to regain their trust of the Athletic Department…Trust is earned, it isn’t just given.  They will not suit up or practice for any games.”

Finally, UCLA Athletic Dan Guerrero presented to the media a timeline of the key events of November 6 and 7, during of which the players had 90 minutes of “free time”.  The players ended up stealing items from three different stores adjacent to the team hotel in Hzangjou, China.  Twenty police officers then went to the hotel and searched every player from Georgia Tech and UCLA, including everyone’s bags.  The amount of bail was $2,200, of which it was all refunded and the charges were later dropped.  After the arrest, two UCLA staffers stayed behind in China to keep track of the player’s well-being once the rest of the team left late on Saturday night.  President Trump’s Chief of Staff, General John Kelly spoke by phone with the players during this ordeal.

The UCLA Office of Student Conduct and Alibaba were both heavily involved in this matter.  Guerrero also said more announcements could be forthcoming.

Punishment is so severe, I highly doubt they will suit up for the Bruins this season

Echoing the similar thoughts that ESPN college basketball analyst Seth Greenberg said on Tuesday night in Chicago, he said by phone,

“You want to be known for good things.  Everyone does deserve a second chance.  It’s a privilege, not a right…It’s going to take a while…When you are on campus, everyone knows who you are…This season will end up having an asterisk.”

This is a new precedent as far as handling them as players.  Their current roster is in transition, but losing these three freshmen players–they join Kansas and Kentucky as talented teams without a lot of depth.  Seth Greenberg also commented that they will lose a lot of ability in rebounding.

Hopefully, these three young men can begin exercising good judgment, both in and especially outside of the classroom.  They have a lot of things to learn from this international incident.  They should hopefully seek out and find as much help and support from as many people on and off campus in areas such as counseling, helping out in the community, plus other support channels as humanly possible.  Only nine players are on the active roster and a challenging schedule awaits them before the start of the Pac-12 season against Washington State on December 29.

 

Duke Outlasts Michigan State, while Kansas Barely Squeaks By Kentucky

SONG SELECTION:

The Thin Cherries, “I Like It”

Self-titled album released April 21, 2017

More information about the album can be found on their Bandcamp page:

https://thethincherries.bandcamp.com/album/the-thin-cherries

Win Number 1,001 Did Not Come Easy For Coach K

In the song selection I chose, this Chicago band talks about coming home and meeting that special someone after a long day at the office.

In this case, the “office” was 1901 West Madison Street on Chicago’s renovated West Side in the self-proclaimed “House That Jordan Built”, the United Center for the 7th Annual State Farm Champions Classic.

The usual full house of over 20,000 fans plus a worldwide television and radio audience tuning in on ESPN and ESPN Radio were treated to two very interesting games.

First, we were treated to a match-up involving the Number 1 and 2 teams in the polls.  This was only the 49th time in the Associated Press Poll Era (going back to when the television was just starting out in 1948-49).

Duke started as cold as the weather outside in most of the country–shooting only 2 of 12.  Michigan State managed to get four early rebounds, but that edge quickly dissipated thanks to some heady plays by Trevon Duval and Marvin Bagley III.  The Blue Devils made a 13 point run over a period of 4 minutes, 22 seconds to give them a four point edge over the Gang Green Spartans at 16-12 during the second media time out (11:47 left in the first half).

A horrific moment happened with about ten minutes to play in the first half with Duke leading 19-12, as Bagley was attempting to block a shot.  With two Kansas players on both sides of his shoulders, one player poked Bagley in the right eye.  He had to leave the game for what Coach K called as a precautionary measure.  Bagley finished with 4 points and six rebounds.  Michigan State made a 22-11 run over the remaining stages of the first half to make the game competitive.

But this night belonged to senior Grayson Allen.  He hit shots from many spots along and beyond the three-point line.  These were the similar spots were past Chicago Bulls greats like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Toni Kukoc, Ron Harper, Randy Brown, Jud Buechler, and even Dennis Rodman would light up the scoreboards on most nights during their second three-peat run from 1996 to 1998.

Allen set a new Champions Classic record scoring 37 points on 7 of 11 shooting from three and 11 of 20 overall, while being a perfect 8 for 8 from the foul line.  The previous record was held by Jabari Parker in 2013 when he scored 27.  Another cool nugget ESPN shared after the 88-81 final–Allen scored the most points by any Duke player against a Top 2 ranked team since J.J. Redick back in 2005 when he had 41 points.

Michigan State held tough until the final four minutes when Duke closed out with a 15-6 run to put the game away.  Even worse, the Spartans allowed Duke to grab two more offensive rebounds (25 overall) than what Michigan State was able to get in defensive rebounds (23).  In other words, Duke had 17 second chance points.  You just cannot do that against a team that has the talent and the caliber that Duke displayed on Tuesday night.

Michigan State shot nearly 50 percent from the field (31 of 61), but they could not get to the free-throw line as much as Duke did.  MSU was only 10 of 18, while Duke was 19 for 29–that was 9 extra points right there.  Tom Izzo is 1-11 against Mike Kryzyewski in his Hall of Fame career.  Sophomore Miles Bridges finished the night with 19 points, going 5 of 10 from three point land to go along with four blocked shots.

It would not surprise me that both of those schools reach the Final Four, they are that good.

As ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas told David Kaplan on his morning show Tuesday on ESPN 1000 in Chicago regarding the second game between the sport’s two all-time winning programs,

“Kentucky is not quite ready for the big stage.  Kansas has more experience and they have been there before.”

Shortly after Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit, and Friends dissected the new College Football Playoff Rankings (what was the main reason why Oklahoma was ahead of Wisconsin?), Kansas and Kentucky got into a track meet of their own.

Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk was out in full force early, leading 7-4 in the opening minutes.  Somehow, Kentucky Coach John Calipari really enjoys lighting up fires within freshmen players, and they managed to find a spark late in the first half.  UK enjoyed a very brief 33-32 lead just before the intermission.

In a rather cheeky moment between Coach Calipari and ESPN sideline reporter Maria Taylor, he basically threw in the white towel:

“We absolutely have no chance of winning this game.”

But Kansas played like veterans and their defense forced 18 turnovers as the Jayhawks prevailed in a close affair, 65-61.  Kentucky led most of the statistical categories, but rebounding was surprisingly even–at 39 each.  Even UK dominated scoring off the bench, pounding Kansas in a lopsided stat 17-3.

The game remained close until the final seconds, of which Kansas made some key defensive stops in a game which saw 12 lead changes and the largest lead was 11 points.  Neither team trailed by as many as two.  De’Vonte Graham iced the game with two free throws in the final 9 seconds of play.

One post game comment from Coach Calipari really surprised me from the Twitter world, according to Scott Chasen:

“We were going to play 40 minutes of zone. My staff talked me out of it. Then I heard Duke played zone.”

On the other end of the locker room, Kansas Head Coach Bill Self realized the magnitude of the moment and did not feel like getting big headed realizing it is a long season ahead for both of these teams.  According to a tweet by KUSports.com:

“That was one of the best wins we’ve had since I’ve been here…The guys, they wanted to be there, they wanted the moment and certainly they got it.”

Both teams did shoot under 30 percent from three, so there is definitely room for improvement.  Jay Bilas feels that this time around considering how much talent left for the NBA, Kansas could be again an Elite Eight contender, while Kentucky in his mind could be “Sweet 16 bound.”

Kevin Knox led all scorers with 20 for Kentucky, while Kansas had four players in double figures, led by Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk with 17.

Other key scores of note on Tuesday night were Villanova and Gonzaga winning easily, while Purdue got a nice win at Marquette 86-71 by scoring a whopping 54 points in the second half.  Isaac Haas came up huge for the Boilers scoring 22 in the win.

A long night turned into an early Wednesday morning post for Yours Truly online.

The next time I greet you with another blog will be this coming weekend, with a short podcast to boot–as I preview the first slew of holiday tournaments highlighted by the always fun Maui Jim Maui Invitational in Hawai’i along with the brand new PK 80 Tournament at Nike Headquarters in Oregon.

I hope to also touch on some other tournaments worth keeping a small eye on in-between preparing the annual turkey with the stuffing.  Want to know what my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal is?  It is making the cranberry sauce that isn’t too sugary to taste like candy, but not tart enough to send to the scrap heap.  Everyone I know loves it, I make enough to have a leftover for at least three or four days.

We know these four prominent programs are in a work in progress–but I wouldn’t be surprised if at least three of these schools advance all the way to the Final Four in San Antonio.

As I say in my household, Pleasant dreams.