Thursday, January 29, 2009

To anyone who thinks Jeremy Pargo is an NBA-caliber guard...

...let me send you a tape of tonight's St. Mary's-Gonzaga game. It's a microcosm of what type of guard he is, which is an awful guard.

If you want a headstrong (that's not a compliment), spotty, poor-shooting, out-of-control, irresponsible guy running your team, draft Pargo. If you want a player who takes over the game (again, not a compliment), who can lead by example and who makes good decisions, do the right thing and stay away.

Jeremy Pargo, in one offseason, has gone from a potential first-round draft pick who had NBA scouts ogling over his gritty, Chicago background to a guy who single-handedly blew the game against Connecticut, was the primary catalyst in the loss to Portland State, is in the midst of screwing over the Zags against WCC rival St. Mary's and has zero tools that would make a good point at the highest level (he's kind of like Stephon Marbury, except worse and without his own stupid trademark).

The stats at halftime (5 points, 2 turnovers, no assists) don't do it justice... you need to watch the game to understand. Just when Gonzaga has a chance to gain some momentum, Pargo takes over and crushes it. Or, in a 37-33 game with 40 seconds remaining in the half, Pargo has a chance to run the clock down to about 10 seconds and still get a quality shot off for someone. Instead, he drives in the lane against two people, trying to simply draw a foul (oh, he's a 65.8% FT shooter), gets no call and rightfully so, all while taking 10 seconds off the clock, allowing the Gaels to add another couple of points and take a 39-33 halftime lead.

If there's one thing worse than his offense, it's his defense. His counterpart, Patty Mills, has 18 points on six threes (a career high) and has made Pargo look bad for 20 minutes.

Oh, and he has the worst haircut in the NCAA. That's a fact.

The Streak (1/29)

Having run my streak to three for the fifth time and reaching four wins only once, I'm starting to develop a set of guidelines for the game, which would probably be publishable if, well, I could get to four games. Or 27.

Nevertheless, some rules to remember when you're going streaking:

Stick to the sports you know. I like to think my forte is MLB, NCB and NHL and, save for MLB (since they are in the offseason) and the NHL (where my record is surprisingly awful), I've had success. Yes, I realize this only leaves college basketball. But I'm solid there! Except for Clemson, who is trying to sabotage my streak...again.

Records and rankings don't mean much. The teams with the advantage in the streak game is usually the home team. I'm watching my streak crumble to a prime example of this. Virginia Tech, at home, is crushing #11 Clemson 45-31 with 4:38 left in the first half. It's too bad too, because I thought I had virtual locks at 6 p.m. with #20 Illinois at #24 Minnesota and at 8 p.m. with #25 Gonzaga at home against #18 St. Mary's. If Clemson rallies, I can almost assure my streak will be at six by the end of the day.

Finally, when in doubt, take the underdog. This usually falls in accordance with the obvious game that ESPN usually throws out there. If something looks too good to be true, it probably is. If you must pick that game, I strongly recommend the side that 4% of the picks are taking.

Good luck, though you probably don't need it as much as I do.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Streak (1/26) and other thoughts...

Yet again, I run my streak to three... the problem in 2009 has been getting to four. The good news, however, is that I'm staring at a plethora of matchups that I like on Monday. These, for your benefit, include:

Notre Dame over Marquette
Miami over Atlanta
Oklahoma over Oklahoma State
Eric Gordon to outscore Brandon Roy

The two I like most, since the first two are 4pm games and the last two are at 6 and 7pm, respectively, are the college basketball contests, obviously. Not to toot my own horn (beep beep) but I'm sporting an 11-3 NCB mark, compared to a 3-4 record in the NBA. I like my chances of being spot on on those picks, though.

A couple other things to ponder...

The East All-Stars knocked off the West in the NHL All-Star Game tonight, 12-11 in a shootoot. Sure, this is how a regular-season game would have been decided, but perhaps Bud Selig could learn something from Canada's Pastime.

Here's an idea that's probably been kicked around by someone at some point: After the ninth inning, if a game is tied, send out three hitters against a BP thrower of their choice for an abbreviated home run derby. Each hitter gets one swing. If the three hitters tie, send out hitters one at a time until the tie is broken. Sounds like fun, eh?

What's not fun is the latest trend to sweep America's sporting events: singers who turn the National Anthem into their own personal American Idol tryout. Listen, 16-year-old singing at a Spokane Chiefs game... if you want to put cute wavy notes on words in which they don't belong, do it to your favorite Britney Spears track. Don't screw with the National Anthem. You're supposed to be singing it out of respect for your country, not to impress Simon Cowell, who will undoubtedly not be listening to you anytime soon.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Streak (1/23)

Unfortunately, West Virginia couldn't hustle a bit in their victory over Georgetown, so I wasn't able to squeeze in St. Mary's and San Diego under 130. With the streak at 3, Friday's slate is gross... tennis, soccer, golf and the NBA.

I hate all the matchups on the board, but my streak has a long way to go, so I'm taking a stab in the dark by picking the Oklahoma City Thunder (formerly, the.... well... you know) to go to Staples Center and knock off the Los Angeles... Clippers. Hopefully, I can steal one here by not picking the slightly too obvious games (Houston @ Indiana, New Orleans @ Minnesota).

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Streak (1/22)

Thanks to a cheap soccer win and 'Nova hitting more from the perimeter than UCONN, I ran my streak back up to two. Awesome.

Unfortunately, Thursday's slate is gross. Nothing on the board is particularly appealing, unless you like soccer, golf or tennis.

Since I have no grasp on any of these, here are the matchups I like in the other sports.

My 7 p.m. pick: Ruoff (WVU) outscoring Freeman (Georgetown). Freeman has had trouble scoring against tougher competition, whereas Ruoff has been far more consistent. Seeing as the Hoyas also have an abundance of scoring in other areas, I like Ruoff in this matchup.

In fact, that right there is the only contest I like out of the 11 for tomorrow. To be fair, I didn't do a bunch of research on 3-point shooting in the WAC.

In the late games, if I had to pick something, which I do, I'll go with St. Mary's and San Diego scoring below 130 points. The defenses combine to allow roughly 122 points per game and USD hasn't been strong on offense this season. I'm concerned this game could go to OT and affect the outcome. My prediction: St. Mary's- 65, San Diego- 56. 121 points...perfect.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Streak (1/21)

For claiming to know a bit about the NHL, I'm terrible with the picks. I love that ESPN has a tool which shows each individual's win-loss record by sport. This is mine, since the game reset with the New Year.

College Football: 1-0
Tennis: 1-0
College Basketball: 7-2
Soccer: 4-2
NFL: 2-2
NBA: 1-3
NHL: 2-7
Golf: 0-1

Now, if I had any patience, the smart thing would be to fall in line with the stats and stick to college sports. I'm neither patient, nor smart.

My soccer record is pure luck... I do little to no research and go with my gut. For today, my gut says to take 4 goals or more in the early afternoon. When ESPN puts a game up that seems a little too obvious, go with the underdog. Since soccer games are typically low scoring, I think ESPN knows something the casual fan doesn't.

In the early evening set, I like Illinois over Ohio State. It's a home game, and the Illini are notoriously tough in their own building. All things being even, gimme the edge at home.

Finally, in the late contests, I'm taking Vancouver and San Jose to score six or more goals. Roberto Luongo is a great goaltender, but since returning from injury has been terrible. The Sharks have given Vancouver fits and if Lu isn't back to full strength, San Jose could put up six themselves.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Streak (1/16)

Well yesterday, I finally broke my 4-game losing streak and netted back to back wins with UCONN and St. John's below 140 and USC over Arizona State. Apparently, college basketball is my bread and butter... soccer has been rough for me, I know nothing about the NBA and I haven't had any luck on the ice.

Tonight, looking to extend my streak, I like the Knicks over the Wizards. New York is 3-0 versus Washington this season and has been playing good ball lately. After checking the score, the Wiz have an early 18-12 edge. I wasn't lying about the NBA thing...

Either way, tonight in the nightcap, I'm going with the Lake Show at home against the torrid Orlando Magic. Until I get to five consecutive wins, I'm not going to be too picky. I don't really like this matchup for streak purposes (nor do I the other NBA game at 7 p.m., Milwaukee at Sacramento), so until I tie my longest streak, I'm just trying to get lucky.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Streak (1/14)

ESPN's Streak for the Cash game is possibly the most addicting fantasy sports game. For those of you who have no idea how it works, you pick a winner of a matchup during that day's sports lineup, hope to get it correct, and start a streak. Initially, the goal was 25 straight, but now, 27 wins are needed to capture $1 million.

Having played for a few months now and never exceeding five wins in a row, my resolve has been unwavering and I continue logging in every day, hoping to crack that number... then maybe reel off 22 more wins after that.

After incorrectly picking a soccer match to try to pick up a cheap W this morning, my pick for the night is Atlanta over Ottawa in NHL action.

The Thrashers just yielded eight goals in their last contest, but the Senators are the worst road team in the league. Atlanta hasn't played well at home, but they should pick up a win tonight.

And if you can squeeze it in, at 7:30pm, Golden State and Sacramento should go over 225 combined points. Orlando put up 139 on the Kings last night and Golden State has the offense and lack of defense to allow the Kings to put up a bunch of points as well.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tri-City @ Chilliwack Glog

Thanks to FSN, six WHL games are being broadcast throughout the second half of the regular season. Tonight, thanks to my empty social schedule, I can blog the Americans-Bruins game.

Tri should win this game... they have many things Chilliwack doesn't...a good team, a first-place standing... and a team full of kids nobody likes.

Chilliwack, meanwhile, is out of a playoff spot at the moment. They are terrible scoring goals. Fortunately, they should be able to hang around in this game because... uh... well, they're probably screwed. Hopefully Chet Pickard's return doesn't go well because his feelings are hurt he rode the pine behind Spokane Chiefs' starter Dustin Tokarski on Team Canada. Too bad Toko is better than Pickard... anyway, onto the game. Go Bruins!

A minute in and Tri is putting on good pressure on the Bruins... absolutely nothing resembling an offense to start the contest, as their is a lot of fresh ice in front of Pickard to start the game.

A minute and a half in and the first Colton Yellow Horn reference has been dropped. What a douche.

Chilliwack is awful... no shots on goal yet, a 3-on-2 which results in an odd man rush the other way and a rebound of a Jason Reese shot gives Justin Feser a wide open backhanded goal. 1-0 Ams. Finally, Pickard gets tested for the first time, but nothing doing for the home team.

Speaking of awful on ice, I played ice hockey on Friday for the first time ever... fell six times and had two shots on goal in an hour of play. If I was age-eligible, Chilliwack would have my number on speed dial.

The Bruins are slowly applying more pressure, with little success. They're only a few 5-on-3's away from making a game of this, as a Tri skater finds a punck amid three Bruins.

Chilliwack's goalie Lucas Gore makes three saves about five feet in front of his crease... good form. No penalties thus far in the game, though with Kirk and Smith doing the officiating, that's only because there are no Chiefs on the ice to call for something that never happened.

If I wanted to watch a game where one team lost possession to the other team nearly every time they were on offense, I'd see if I could get a copy of the Miami-Baltimore playoff game. Chilliwack has iced the puck three times, can't clear their own zone and on their last trip to the Tri zone and straight up gave the puck to Ams forward Taylor Procyshen. I don't know who is quarterbacking the Bruin offense, but when I find out, he's going to be called Chad Pennington for the rest of the game.

I just heard "Oh-ffensive zone"'s officially a Canadian broadcast!

Ryan Howse, the Bruins' best player, just had a breakaway, but couldn't finish and Tri walked out with the rebound. Meanwhile, Chilliwack is surrendering more offensive rebounds than the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Should be 2-0 Tri shortly...

As Chilliwack ices the puck again, the stands appear very empty. If that's not an indication of how bad this team is, I don't know what is. What else is there to do in Chilliwack? Ice fish? Meanwhile, Tri just took that 2-0 lead...I made the comment with roughly 5:15 left in the period... the goal came with 3:19 left.

The Bruins are on the first man-advantage of the game. AND A GOAL! Jesse Craige! Finally some semblance of an offense, thanks to the visitors having one less player on the ice. 2-1 bad guys with a couple minutes left in the first.

Tri will get their first power play of the game with just over a minute left in the period... be nice if the Bruins can kill most of it and get into the break down only one.

The Chiefs were 4-for-5 on the power play last week against Chilliwack, if you're wondering how effective their kill is. The Ams have put a lot of pressure on, but no results yet.

After one, Tri leads 2-1. Chilliwack is being outshot at roughly a 3:1 clip, but have hung in thanks to their special teams.

The Ams are still on the power play for a few seconds as the second stanza starts. Nothing doing, however, and the Bruins are not at full strength... which hasn't done them much good thus far.

Great scoring chance for the Bruins goes by the wayside. Chilliwack keeps the pressure on, though, as Tri is on their heels a bit to start the period. Really boring hockey to start the period...little pressure on either end and a lot of neutral zone play.

Petr Stoklasa screws up a 2-on-1 chance for the Ams. Love it. Stoklasa is far from my most hated Tri skater, but only because he isn't that good, so you don't notice him much. Johnny Lazo and Pickard are my two least favorite, but only because Yellow Horn is gone. I hated Colton Yellow Horn, often comparing him to A-Rod. Both were among the best in the league and had very punchable faces.

The announcers are lauding Tri as the 10th-ranked team in the CHL and ask why nobody is talking about them. How about because they were in virtually the exact same position last year and couldn't knock off the Chiefs in Game 7 at home? Scotty Munro champs, but couldn't get the job done. It's the same story as their writing this year, except they won't win the Munro trophy.

The Bruins have their second power play of the game after scoring on their first. A 2-on-1 chance fails, as Howse can't squeeze the puck past Pickard for the second time. Face off in the offensive zone though, which doesn't do them any good, as Tri clears.

Matthew Ius is on his third team this season (Chilliwack) because of a lack of opportunity. The announcer says "I think his best hockey is still ahead of him." Well I would hope so... the WHL Web site won't connect, but I promise you he hasn't played any good hockey. He's been traded twice in like a 12-game stretch. So yeah, I'd say his best hockey is still ahead of him. By the way, nothing happened while I was trying to research that. Seven minutes left in the period, more pressure by the Ams, but still 2-1.

It's working now. Ius has played 100 games, scored seven goals, 10 assists and is a minus-12. I'm not a liar.

Ams almost blow it in their own zone, but the puck trickles wide. Ams mystique, I tell ya. And you wonder why I hate this team...

Mitch Fadden basically plays 1-on-5 with Chilliwack before finishing around the net to make the score 3-1. That was simply terrible defense... three Bruins had a chance to knock the puck away. Zero did. And there's your difference between a first-place team and a last-place team.

A Chilliwack breakaway results in a blown call with a trip missed... the Bruins get robbed of a potential man advantage with just under two minutes remaining in the second.

3-1 Tri after two...the shot discrepancy is sick... 33-13. Meanwhile, Jason Reese just blinked hard about 461 times during a quick intermission interview. They asked him and Pickard about the rivalry with Spokane, with both of them saying they were so close. Well Mrs. Rieken would say that close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. How's that near Memorial Cup looking in the Toyota Center, Ams fans?

The third starts with the league's worst offense needing two goals to tie the game. Tri is 23-1-0-1 when leading after two, while the Bruins are 2-23-1-1 when trailing. This isn't good...

I hate these announcers... I'm pretty sure one was born in Pasco and one in Richland. You couldn't have lost anything by switching Pickard with Tokarski in the World Juniors? How about a gold medal? That's what Canada got with Tokarski in the last two games. You couldn't have done better than that. But worse? The possibility exists... idiots.

The Americans are going to the box because Taylor Procyshen is a hooker. Questionable call? Yeah, but whatever... he might actually be a hooker, so it works out.

Another dumb penalty by Tri gives Chilliwack a 5-on-3 as Tyler Schmidt high sticks around the net. If the Bruins are going to have a chance, they better score here.

The Ams clear twice before Chilliwack is offsides. Really? This is the worst offense in the league. Only by stats apparently... sigh.

Howse misses a third time against Pickard before a shorthanded goal by Procyshen blows the game open, 4-1. I'm so glad I'm not a Bruins fan...this is brutal. Please let it be fight night...

Tri is going on another power play after a crystal clear kneeing penalty. The odds of it being 5-1 within the next two minutes is good... find a WHL bookie if you can.

Told you...5-1, thanks to Brett Plouffe. I hate Tri-City.

Holding on Chilliwack... this isn't good. With the game in hand, I'm trying to figure out if there are more people in the seats since the game started or less people. It was pretty empty when the game started, and with the score 5-1, there are probably a few more open seats, but I wouldn't be surprised if a high school curling match ended and a few fans came to catch the end of the blowout...

Nothing has happened over the last few minutes... no real pressure on either side... no fights. Just over two minutes remaining and I don't see Chilliwack getting to two.

A little scrum at the end of the game, followed by no further fighting wraps up the 5-1 victory for the bad guys. Nothing surprising in this one...44-20 advantage in shots tells the tale.

Spokane @ Tri-City on Saturday. GO CHIEFS GO!