Monday Morning Coffee

2016 Bracket

March 14th, 2016

There’s your 2016 NCAA Bracket.  Too bad the UCLA Bruins aren’t a part of it.  They aren’t even good enough for the NIT Bracket.  What a complete disgrace their 1st round loss to USC was last week.  There’s nothing quite like getting embarassed three times in one season by your non-basketball school rival.  UCLA really couldn’t manage to be one of the seven schools from their conference to get invited to the tournament?  It’s easy for Steve Alford to put the blame on himself when he knows he’s got a $10 million buyout, making it difficult to fire him.  That’s not enough though.  Not only did the entire team quit on him, but so have UCLA fans.  The basketball program is struggling to sell tickets, is televised on a network that barely anybody has, and is quickly becoming irrelevant in Southern California.  Do Southern California kids even identify UCLA as a basketball school anymore? This is no longer a Steve Alford problem.  It’s a Dan Guerrero problem.  Of course Guerrero won’t fire him because he himself would probably lose his own job if he cycled through another basketball coach. The big donors are pissed, but there’s nothing they can do about.  Even if they came up with $10 million, they probably have little confidence in their Athletic Director hiring the right coach.

Meanwhile, Twitter spoiled the drama by leaking some of the brackets early, and the Trojans found out they are in the tourney for the first time since 2011.  The committee didn’t make it easy on them by any means.  Not only do they have to go back east, but they have to take on a Providence team with two very good NBA prospects in Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil.  Both teams have similar tournament resume’s, losing to Xavier and beating Arizona.  However, Providence has tournament experience, and SC hasn’t been all that great away from home.  I like the Friars in this one, but neither team stands much of a chance against Carolina in the next round.

As for the remainder of the bracket, good luck trying to make your picks.  I feel like I’d have the same luck throwing darts blindfolded.  It’s like arguing with a woman.  You’re going to be wrong no matter what.  There’s probably 25 teams that can actually win the NCAA Championship this year.  UNC probably has the easiest path to the Final Four, if there’s such a thing this year.  Unfortunately, my Fighting Irish of Notre Dame ended up in their region.  In related news, Oregon received a #1 seed, and Nike responded by ordering Asian children to make new jerseys.  Villanova and Kansas have already been upset.  It’s an annual tradition unlike any other.  San Diego State and Monmouth were by far the biggest snubs in my mind.  SDSU only has themselves to blame though since the Mountain West was weak, and since 22 conference tournament winners didn’t finish 1st in their conference during the season.  Monmouth on the other hand, played a tough non-conference schedule, and the committee basically just told them it’s better to play power puffs early on, but we’ll still penalize you if you aren’t in a power conference.  I would have left out Tulsa and Vanderbilt.  Have the Lakers accepted their bid to the NIT yet?

What a stupid win that would have been for the Lakers last night against the Knicks.  Jordan Clarkson, D’Angelo Russell, and Julius Randle  played only 22 minutes each.  Byron Scott felt like he owed it to the bench to play most of the 4th quarter.  Apparently, nobody told Byron the Lakers have been eliminated from the playoffs and have nothing to play for other than ping pong balls and player development.  Nevertheless, I think we’ve reached the point where we can say for now, the Lakers picked the right player with the #2 pick in last summers draft, D’Angelo Russell.  Russell has scored 20+ points in 7 of his last 10 games.  In the month of March, he’s also shooting 46% from the field and 42% from three.  It usually takes guards a lot longer to develop, but he and Clarkson appear to be developing quite nicely when given playing time.

Nice battle between Kobe and Lebron the other night at Staples.  I think Lebron was a little surprised Kobe put up that fight he did, given how beaten down his body is.  The Mamba probably even got the better of the matchup because of it, but the Cavs prevailed.  The funny part is, if Lebron wanted to, given that he’s that much younger, he probably could have taken it to Kobe early and ended it.  Had the situation been reversed, and Lebron was 7 years older than Kobe, The Mamba would absolutely destroy him, and when the game was over, he would have made him stay and play one on one to try and continue the demoralization.  Kobe did exactly this when he matched up with Michael Jordan when MJ was at the end of the line with the Wizards.  Kobe dropped 55 on him in that game.  That pyschopathic competitiveness is what really separates Lebron and Kobe.  The two of them are extremely close in terms of greatness, and Lebron may be seen as a slightly better individual player. However, Kobe’s competitiveness would make me want to take him over Lebron if I had to play one game to win.  Look at Kobe taking LBJ with these YMCA moves…..

Oh….so now you think the Clippers actually need Blake Griffin back in the lineup to win basketball games huh? I thought the Clipps were a better team without him? This is a classic case of the Ewing Theory.  Star player gets hurt, and the team plays well for a while without him, but over time, they can’t be as good of a team as they were with him.  Then again, since most of the Clipper fans (or Laker haters I should say) started watching basketball yesterday, this concept is probably unfamiliar to them.  The Clipps got exposed for what they are by a scuffling Cavs team yesterday, and with or without Blake, are sure to get bounced early on in the playoffs once again.

The Rams got off to a rough start in free agency, losing Janoris Jenkins and Rodney McLeod, valuable members of their backfield.  I guess nobody told these guys they would now be living in Southern California instead of St. Louis.  The Rams still have plenty of cap space though to improve their defense, as well as improve their quarterback situation.  I’m disappointed they have yet to show much interested in Robert Griffin III, who is a perfect low risk move, who even wants to be a Ram.  Elsewhere, Colin Kaepernick’s agent fears that he is suffering from brain damage, since he actually wants to play for the Cleveland Browns.  Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant smokes a plant and gets suspended for a year.  His teammate, Ben Roethlisberger, is accused of multiple rapes and gets four games.  The NFL disciplinary policy makes perfect sense.   Now that Russell Wilson is engaged, Tim Tebow remains the only virgin winning playoff quarterback in NFL history.  Johnny Manziel doesn’t have a drinking problem.  The Browns had a problem with him drinking.  The Broncos have replaced Peyton Manning with Mark Sanchez.  That’s like replacing a Ferrari with a Honda Accord.  Denver’s GM, John Elway’s phone has been blowing up ever since…..

Elway's Phone

I don’t know who is in worse shape: Scott Kazmir or Jeff Weaver? Both of them looked atrocious pitching against each other in a spring training game last week.  This is no surprise, because Kazmir doesn’t just go through stretches where he struggles, he has been downright atrocious for some teams, including the Angels.  Thank god the Dodgers signed him to a three year deal.  Weaver on the other than is in the last year of his deal, but is dealing with a degenerative spinal cord issue.  He isn’t in any pain, which is unfortunate, because he has no explanation for throwing 80 miles an hour last week.  I guess his excuse is that he just sucks now.

That last episode of The People vs OJ Simpson on FX was really unexpected.  It was all about Marcia Clark and everything she went through during the trial.  I never really thought I would feel bad for her, but I did.  She faced a tremendous amount of sexism, and was ridiculed immensely by the defense, as well as Judge Ito.  To top it all off, her ex-husband decided to publish naked photos of her during the trial.  At the time, everyone hated her because she symbolized somebody who was trying to take down one of the most popular celebrities in America.  If OJ had been convicted, I suspect that over time Clark would have been recognized as one of the best in her field.

Finally, that was another very intense episode of The Walking Dead last night on AMC.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it.  I definitely thought we were going to lose Carol or Maggie after they were kidnapped, or somebody else in the process of saving them.  It turns out that Carol and Maggie showed us a side of them we haven’t seen, killing their captors and escaping themselves.  Those Saviors thought the 2nd hand smoke was going to kill them? Think again, it was Carol and Maggie.  The show just keeps getting darker as Rick’s group is being forced to kill people to survive.  They do it, but you can tell many of them don’t like it.  In fact, when Darryl asks Carol if she is ok when it’s over, she says “no”.  Carol saw herself in Paula.  A previously battered woman who underwent a similar transformation that she did.  Only Paula’s transformation was obviously for more evil.  She was reluctant to kill Paula because of their similarities, but when push came to shove, she knew she had to in order to survive.  That was one spectacular death by the way.  However, when it comes to defending the ones she loves, like Maggie, Carol didn’t even think twice about pulling the trigger and killing that brunette Savior.  Carol is the Heisenberg of the apocalypse.

Rick’s group has inflicted far more violence upon the Saviors than they have on them.  The line between “good” and “bad” is not nearly as clear as seasons past, which has been a key element of character development.  Rick apparently seems to have less of a conscience about this line, while Carol is still keeping a body count.  The last few episodes have been that test for every key character.  Morgan is apparently the only one who refuses to cross that line.  Lastly, I love how every member of the Saviors claims that they are Negan.  This symbolizes the fact that he is a beast that can’t be eliminated so easily, because his army of people are fighting so hard for him.  Something tells me that the real Negan is so evil, he will make Rick’s group pay a price for what they’ve done.

Carol and Maggie



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