Monday Morning Coffee

Powell Jam

March 23rd, 2015

How predictable this was.  The UCLA Bruins basketball program is stuck in Sweet 16 purgatory forever.  UCLA lucked out and was given an at-large birth in the tourney.  Then they lucked out and defeated SMU on a miraculous goaltending call, which should not have been goaltending in my opinion.  The luck continued when they played UAB in the 2nd round, whom they had already beaten this season.  Here they are once again, in the Sweet 16, where they are going to get exposed.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the Bruins and hope they somehow keep this going, but I’m just not convinced that Steve Alford is doing this with any more than smoke and mirrors.  I sure wish I could have been in the Bruins huddle before that last play against SMU.  “Ok guys, everybody get the hell out of the way and give the damn ball to my son.  He’s going to shoot this 30 footer with two guys in his face.”  Great play call Coach Alford.  I think that was the worst shot in basketball I’ve ever seen.  Here’s to hoping the Bruins somehow keep the winning going, except that means more Alford and more mediocrity, just like the Steve Lavin era.

One of the things that has really been bothering me about UCLA basketball is the fact that the basketball alums have distanced themselves so much after they left.  A lot of that has to do with Ben Howland, and how much players disliked playing for him.  Why does Kevin Love rarely even speak about his time at UCLA, let alone show up at any games?  Why hasn’t there been a night honoring Russell Westbrook given how much he still loves Southern California?  The Bruins should have a night honoring him, and it should be “Russell Westbrook Fashion Night”, where all the fans dress up in his nerdy clothing line.  The program should be operating like Duke, North Carolina, and Kentucky.  Not some glorified mid major.

How bad is your bracket looking right about now?  The person ranked #1 in your pool is probably the girl who picked winners according to the schools with the cutest mascot.  The person ranked #2 is the 8th bracket of a guy who made 10.  Your mom is right around 40th, and you must be 41st.  College basketball is so screwed up because of the one and done.  The mid-major teams with players who have played together for 3 or 4 years are better prepared to knock off the talented but inexperienced teams with higher seeds from power conferences.  Still, the Sweet 16 is going to have some of the household names we are used to: UCLA, Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State,  North Carolina, and Arizona.  I still don’t think anybody is beating Kentucky.  Jahlil Okafur was phenomenal yesterday and is going to be a great pro.  SDSU is a great defensive team, but that was a terrible matchup.  If the Aztecs and Virginia played horse, they would need all weekend to complete the game.  Tom Izzo and Michigan State do more damage in March than college kids do during spring break in Cancun.  Stupid shot selection by UC Irvine against Louisville at the end of the game, or they would have pulled off the upset.  Kansas chokes again in March, a tradition unlike any other.  Here’s a look at my bracket…..


Oh and this happened too during the first weekend of the tournament………

It would be way too easy to start firing off jokes about Steve Nash after he announced his retirement yesterday.  However, the reality is that at the time, the Lakers made the right move by trying to acquire Steve Nash for two 1st round picks and two 2nd round picks from the Suns.  Nash was still a very effective player, and it was simply a freak injury against Portland in his 2nd game that forever messed him up.  The Lakers had a chance to win a title with Kobe, Pau, Dwight Howard, and Nash a few years ago.  Had they hired the right coach, it might have actually happened, and that Nash trade would have worked out.  Nevertheless, Nash is still a great player, one of the ten best point guards ever, and a stand-up dude.  Oh by the way, the Celtics, Rockets, Spurs, Suns, and Kings are planning a ceremony for Nash to honor him for the destruction of the Lakers.

As for the Lakers themselves, I actually had a pair of tickets to the game vs the Sixers last night.  I had been trying for weeks to get rid of those tickets.  When I asked people if they wanted them, the response I got included “do you really hate me that much?”, and “you’re going to pay me to go watch that game right?”

The Clippers won their 4th in a row last night to move back into the 5th spot in the West.  Blake Griffin is looking healthy again, but the Clipps may be not have home court during the playoffs as the 5th seed.  Most of the players say it isn’t a big deal because it really comes down to matchups. However, I don’t agree.  The Warriors, Blazers, and Grizzlies are all excellent on their home court, and LA will likely have to go through these teams if they plan on doing anything of significance in the playoffs.

On to baseball, where the Dodgers got a big scare a few days ago when Clayton Kershaw took a line drive off the side of his mouth, but fortunately, he just needed a little dental work.  We’re only a couple of weeks away from the start of the season, and LA is still looking to trade Andre Ethier.  I get that Joc Pederson has had a great spring, but I want to see what he looks like on an everyday basis in centerfield before trading away Ethier.  If you remember correctly, Pederson had a nice spring last year, but couldn’t hit anything in the short time we saw him in the big leagues during the season.  Besides, Ethier has still been productive this spring, so let him get his trade value up before just eating his contract in a trade.

I’m telling you, the Kings are screwed.  The magic runs out at some point, and I think this is it.  Another home game against Vancouver on Saturday, desperately needing a win, and again, they only come up with 1 goal.  It’s gotten so bad that they are actually calling Mike Richards back up, expecting him to solve their offensive problems.  The same Mike Richards that has had trouble scoring for a while.  This road trip against the Devils, Rangers, Islanders, and Wild is going to be the death of LA’s season.  When you sleep walk through games in December, eventually, it comes back to bit you in April, when you have no margin left for error.

And finally, things got wild on The Walking Dead last night.  Spoiler alert if you haven’t seen it yet.  Here’s a quick recap.  Carol starts off by leaving a Casserole on the Monroe’s doorstep and a sympathy note following Aiden’s death.  Deanna burns the note, clearly influenced by what Father Gabriel told her last week.  Carol continued to urge Rick to step in and stop Pete from abusing Jessie.  Meanwhile, Sasha just keeps taking her anger out on Walkers in the woods.  Michonne tracks her down, and memories of her own are triggered, and she goes crazy on the Walkers too.  Carl and Enid have their own romantic moment hiding in a tree from a herd of Walkers.  Rick confronts Deanna about Pete, but Deanna says under no circumstances will he be killed, just exiled.  Rick disagrees.  Rick then confronts Jessie, and at first she suggests that she shouldn’t make this his business, but then opens up.  Eventually, she agrees to protection from Rick.  Pete then confronts Rick and Jessie, and a brawl erupts between Rick and Pete.  After the fight ends up in the street with everyone watching, a bloodied Rick is urged to stop by Deanna.  Rick tells everyone that “their way” is going to get everyone killed and destroy Alexandria.  Rick is then knocked unconscious by Michonne, as the episode comes to an end.

This episode was a wild one.  Rick has lost his mind and become psychotic again.  Rick wants to take over Alexandria and do things his way.  However, things are getting messy.  He needs to be more like Carol.  She plays things way closer to the vest, and gets things done by operating under the radar.  If this were a poker game, Rick would be telling everybody exactly what his cards are.  He should have taken a more discreet approach to the situation, and he would have gotten exactly what he wanted.  My guess is that Michonne knocked out Rick to buy time, and prevent the situation from further escalating at that moment.  I doubt she turned on him.  i don’t trust Enid, and I don’t buy that she and Carl are having some innocent teenage romance.  Something tells me she’s got some other intentions.   There were too many characters that had story lines going on in this episode, which made every story line lacking a little depth.   Sasha is going ape shit.  She’s going to get herself killed at some point.  I fully expect a death or two in the season finale next week.  Feels weird to say looking forward to it after making that statement, but should be a great finish to the season.

The Walking Dead





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