March 27, 2023
It happened again. For the 2nd time in 3 seasons, Gonzaga is sending UCLA home from the NCAA Tournament. I know we all want to say that UCLA fought hard with injuries, and was right there with an opportunity to win at the end. That’s all true. However, the reality is that the Bruins went 11 minutes without a field goal in the 2nd half, and got crushed on the boards. If they cold make just a couple of baskets in that stretch, they win this game, and probably should have won in a blow out if we’re being honest. Injuries or not they should have won that game. Plus, when I look at teams remaining in the tournament, boy was this a missed opportunity. Heck, the last three seasons, this has been an immensely talented Bruins team that should have more to show for it than two Sweet 16 appearances, and a Final Four Appearance. I get that this is the nature of the NCAA Tournament, but still. The Bruins were right there. Unfortunately, it appears as though next year, UCLA probably won’t be that good because they could lose just about everybody. Adem Bona, Amari Bailey, Jaime Jacques, Tyger Campbell, Jaylen Clark, David Singleton, and Kenneth Nwuba, are all likely to leave. Yes, they all have remaining eligibility left, but they would all need some serious NIL money to stay in school and come back for another run. In all likelihood, UCLA is at least another season away from truly contending again. My only criticism of Mick Cronin is his inability to develop a deeper rotation. Then again, not many in College Ball have one. It’s just a reminder that even in college sports, as a player or a fan, the experience is 99% kicks to the balls and 1% glory.
Elsewhere around the Final Four, who are the 37 of you lunatics that correctly picked Miami, UCONN, San Diego, and FAU in your Final Four? I don’t know if you were all drinking when you made your picks, but whatever you were drinking, I’d like you to be part of your next round. These 4 teams were obviously much better than most of the “experts” thought, but that’s probably because they didn’t actually watch them throughout the season. Which is their job by the way. However, it does make you ask the question of whether or not you’d rather see all these crazy upsets at the beginning of the tournament if you’re left without the “blue bloods” and true number 1 seeds we’ve seen all year long? For the casual fan I think the answer is yes. For the degenerate gambler and the real college basketball fan, I think the answer is probably no. For the casual fan though, you probably won’t even remember who won the tournament in any given year. But you will remember the upsets and magical moments!
In the NBA, it’s a roller coaster ride for the Lakers every game. The Lakers win and their fans think they are going to win the Championship. The Lakers lose and their fans think this team is garbage and should be blown up. There is apparently no in between. The Lakers got a huge victory on Friday against OKC, and lost to the Bulls yesterday. That’s exactly the rhetoric that ensued over the last few days. With all that being said, I think the Lakers will make the play-in, although it may be the 9th or 10th seed, meaning they’ll have to win two games to get in the postseason. However, we’ve reached the point where if this team is going to go on a run, they need to have Lebron, AD, and DLo in the lineup every game. If not, the run we’ve all talked about won’t happen. Getting Lebron back was nice, but it’s an adjustment for the whole team. They need to go back to leaning on AD and having him be aggressive. 8 shots for AD yesterday is not acceptable. I have to say I’m also a little nervous about Lebron’s foot even though he’s back, after hearing him talk about it yesterday. He said he went to “the Lebron James of feet” to get treated. Does that mean the previous two doctors he went to were “the Smush Parker of feet”? There’s 7 games left, and they need to win just about every one of them. The good news though is that every other team around them seems to be going through their crap as well.
As for the Clippers, they got their own bad news last week. Paul George is going to miss the rest of the regular season with a knee injury. That one could have been a lot worse, but fortunately, he’ll be ok in a few weeks. Still, the Clips situation is fragile. They could easily slip back into the play-in tournament, which for them would be dicey because you never know in one game who could be available for them. So the next couple of weeks will be crucial for them as well. There’s also the rumors that Ty Lue may be stepping down at the end of the season, which of course the Clippers and Lue’s camp squashed. However, you can see why this could be true. It’s hard to coach a team where every single night you have no idea who is available to you and who isn’t. Only time will tell if this is true, and the next few weeks will probably have a lot to say about that. The best news for the Clippers though is that Kawhi is playing amazing despite the fact he got his face smashed Saturday. As long as he’s on the floor, the Clippers have a chance.
The baseball season has really snuck up on us and the Dodgers open the season on Thursday against the D’Backs. I’m still really shocked about the rhetoric around the Dodgers going into the season. Everyone seems to think this team is going to suck, and that they can’t hang with the Padres. If those are your expectations, I think you’re going to be pleasantly surprised. Sorry you’re used to have a $300 million payroll and instead it’s only $232 million now. It’s like you people are disappointed that you’re downgrading from a Ferrari to a BMW. The BMW might actually be more reliable in the long run. The Dodgers won’t win the World Series until they change their over analytical approach, so the postseason will always have it’s troubles until then, but this team is no less formidable than last year.
Then there’s the Angels. Arte Moreno messed up again. This time after Japan won the World Baseball Classic on the back of Ohtani’s brilliant performance, Moreno called him a “top 5-10 player”. He means “Top 5-10 player” all time right? This is downright idiotic. I wonder if Arte told his wife when he was courting her that she’s in the top 5-10 women that she’s dated all-time? That’s exactly what Moreno did in this instance, with Ohtani on the verge of free agency, and nobody of the opinion that he’s going to re-sign with the Angels. Those comments probably didn’t help. Nevertheless, there seems to be some optimism around the Angels with the season starting this week, but I need to see it before I believe it. I’ve been hearing about this for years, and supposedly the team has more depth, but I personally think the division is still too tough.