College Basketball Coaching Carousel – who will take the leap and who will stand pat?

college basketball coaching carouselAlthough the NCAA Tournament brings euphoria too fans and memorable moments to players and millions of dollars in revenue to colleges and universities the biggest beneficiaries of march madness are the head coaches. Unlike most job basketball coaches IQ is put on display in front of millions of onlookers which conclude that the coach is either a genius or a dummy.

For the coaches who are fortunate to make the field of 68 they often find themselves inucla bruins 2013 pac 12 champions prime position to either get a pink slip for under performing which means your fired, or golden ticket, which is an invitation to run a premiere program with all of the amenities. So far two prominent coaches have become casualties of the coaching firing squad: UCLA Bruins coach Ben Howland and Minnesota Golden Gophers coach Tubby Smith.

Year in and year the need to replenish coaching vacancies continue with prominent programs pillaging mid major programs of their promising young  talented coaches.  However, unlike in times past these coaches are using the interest from elite programs to secure extensions and pay raises.

Programs like Virginia Commonwealth and Iowa State find themselves in uncharted welcome to the good lifeterritory as their young promising head coaches Shaka Smart and Fred Hoiberg  signed huge extensions and were not lured in by the big dollars, private jets, and television exposure.

Although programs like UCLA, USC, and Minnesota will eventually fill their coaching vacancies they will likely have to settle for option C or option F if they are lucky. Memphis Tigers coach Josh Pastner and Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon have reaffirmed their commitment to the their programs by signing extensions, and Butler coach Brad Stevens is expected to do that same.

Will Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall and Florida Gulf Coast coach Andy Enfield follow suit or will they along with Marquette coach Buzz Petterson be lured in by the bigger stage, flashing lights and private jets? Stay tuned… I know I will.

Anthony Denmark is a writer for Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 630 PM EST & Sat 1030 AM EST

Heat win streak ends at 27: Heat win in losing effort

Lebron James Miami HeatSince February the Miami Heat have captivated the nation winning 27 consecutive games as they attempted to break or tie 33 straight wins set by the 1971 Los Angeles Lakers. Although the Heat fell short their attempt made each regular season game matter, they gave fans a reason to tune in and watch instead of waiting until the playoffs.

Now that the 27 game win streak is over Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra will reduce the minutes of his stars and prepare to win the 16 games that really matter, the ones needed to repeat as NBA Champions. Maintaining the record-breaking winning streak was extremely taxing and there were  many time that both Lebron James and Dwayne Wade looked exhausted. Wade missed the last two games due a swollen knee and James had a few injuries scares along the way.

No longer worried about the win streak I expect the Heat to let Wade and his salmon Lebron James and Dwayne Wadecolored pants sit on the bench while little used veteran shooters Mike Miller and Jame Jones dust off their jersey and shorts and break a sweat for once this season.

Although regular season streaks are impressive if they do not equate to championships then they do not matter. When the Big Three decided to join forces in Miami Beach they said their goal was to win multiple championships, not just one.

miami heat failFor a moment imagine if the Heat had broken the streak but failed to win a title what would have happened? The press would have questioned the judgment of Coach Spoelstra? Talks of Lebron being unable to win the big one would have resurfaced? And blame may have been placed on Chris Bosh being soft and Wade’s age and ailing knees.

By losing now the Heat are able to lick their wounds from a brutal regular season and enter post season play well rested. Their loss to Bulls only assured that the Heat stars will wearing suits on the sidelines as the regular comes to an end. Although their tailors may be happy, the rest of the NBA just sighed in annoyance. Will the Heat be beat when it counts or repeat as NBA champions? Stay tuned… I know I will

Anthony Denmark is a writer for Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 630 PM EST & Sat 1030 AM EST

Pre-season College Football Top 25 spring edition: (1-5)

Road to the BCS Championship

Road to the BCS Championship

Although the euphoria of March Madness has consumed the time of the common man my true college football fans have already began the countdown to kickoff for their favorite teams. I have frequently given pre-season polls a hard time because it fails to account for injuries and the eligibility of college football’s biggest stars who either ruin a team’s chances due to their selfishness and poor attitude.

For true college football fans pre-season polls provide us with an opportunity to speculate on the endless possibilities that await our favorite teams as we grow one step closer to 17 weeks of excitement, mayhem, and upsets. And without further adieu here is my Pre-season College Football Top 25 spring edition: (1-5)

  1. Alabama wins BCS National ChampionshipAlabama Crimson Tide (13-1): The Tide must replace three key members of their offensive line and former five-star recruits will have to step up to account for losses in the secondary. The Tide return Heisman candidate quarterback and sophomore running back  TJ Yeldon and wide receiver Amari Cooper who will likely contend for All-American honors.
  2. Ohio State Buckeyes (12-0): Now eligible for postseason play the Buckeyes welcome back quarterback Braxton Miller who is a favorite to contend for the Heisman. Coach Urban Meyer has recruited sec-like speed into a defense that is high on talent but low on experience. Due to a week non-conference schedule and with the Big Ten experiencing a down year an unblemished regular season appears likely and is expected.
  3. Stanford Cardinals (12-2): The Cardinals have found their next star Stanford wins Rose Bowlquarterback in Kevin Hogans whose athleticism and in-game moxie conjured up memories of Andrew Luck. Cardinals will continue to rely heavily on their run game which has its fare share of bull-dozers. All-American linebacker Shayne Skov appears to be fully recovered from his torn ACL a year ago and will lead a dominant defense that led the nation in sacks last year.
  4. Texas A&M Aggies (12-2): The Aggies return reigning Heisman winnerTexas AM wins Cotton Bowl Johnny Manziel and a bevy of weapons on the offensive side of the ball. Although the Aggies will have little trouble scoring points the defense must fill a lot of key position.
  5. Oregon Ducks (12-1): Although the Ducks lost head coach Chip Kelly to the NFL the Ducks explosive offense should not miss a beat lead by quarterback Marcus Mariota who ranked top ten in the Oregon Ducks Quack Attackcountry in passing efficiency. The Ducks lose a lot of talent and senior leadership on a defense that lacks experience. Their offense will score enough points to allow the defense time to mature in time for November 7th match-up at the Farm against the Stanford Cardinals.

(6-10 on Thursday)

Anthony Denmark is a writer for Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 630 PM EST & Sat 1030 AM EST

NFL Veteran Reality Check: Signed today, cut tomorrow

you are firedUnlike wine which only gets better with time the time span of an NFL athlete has an expiration date. No matter how intensity the veterans off season workout may be every player on the gridiron will lose the battle to father time. Each year the NFL get an infusion of new faces, fresh legs, and new talent and in  order to make room for the next group of stars veterans are forced to either retire, be cut, or waived. The franchise cornerstones of fans favorite teams struggle accepting this inevitable fate and often fail to leave with their pride intact.

The NFL waiver wire is filled with players who have collected their fair share of honors atBrian Urlacher Chicago Bears the height of their career who are now unemployed looking for work. Even Canton-bound Hall-of-Famers like former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher and 2011 Defensive MVP Charles Woodson must find a new home place to finish the final years of their career.

Reality CheckThe brutality and sheer violence of the NFL game played on the gridiron is nowhere near as intense as the cold truths issued out by an NFL franchise front office. At the prime of a franchise player’s career he can do no wrong but with each new acquisition or draft selection the same player many viewed to be irreplaceable will one day be deemed an expendable asset.

Although a few of the former All-Pro players will receive another chance at stardom, majority of them will be forced to accept the reality that their time in the NFL is done. Which veteran who once filled stadiums and excited masses will be left waiting in vain for that call thatFalcons sign Steven Jackson will never come? Ex- Pittburgh Steelers linebacker, James Harrison? Ex – New York Jets linebacker Byron Scott? Ex- Indianapolis Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney? Ex- Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner?  In time the answer to these questions and more will be revealed because in the NFL its not the guy in pads but the guy in the tailored suit with matching cuff-lings who will end their career in the NFL. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark

Anthony Denmark is a writer for Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 630 EST & Sat 1030 EST

Bluegrass Blue Print to a Title: John Calipari’s quick fix or Rick Pitino’s steady development

Battle of the BluegrassIn the state of Kentucky college basketball beats deeply through the veins of every citizen in the blue grass state. Fans of the Kentucky Wildcats and the Louisville Cardinals have been fortunate to witness their perspective programs return among the nations elite due Rick Pitino and John Calipari restoring the luster to two tradition rich programs. However, each coach took different routes to becoming title contenders.

Always known as a elite recruiter Calipari assembled some of top recruiting classes of all time which rivals and surpassed the infamous Fab Five from the University of Michigan. Unable to lure similar talent Pitino assembled his team by unearthing diamonds in the rough and developmental projects from other countries like Senegalese-born center Gorgui Dieng. Calipari’s Wildcats garnered more national headlines due to his rosters being loaded with charismatic players who were destined to be early NBA Draft lottery selections like John Wall, Demarcus Cousins, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.anthony davis michael kidd gilchrist marquis teague

Despite being second fiddle in their own state the Cardinals had the luxury of returning experience and leadership each year since no players left early for the NBA Draft. Last year both programs made it to the Final Four and the Wildcats led by freshman phenom Anthony Davis won the title.

Since Calipari took the reins the program’s success has been dictated by unproven freshmen either fulfilling their high school press clippings and failing miserably. So far the Calipari gamble has paid off but this season provided a harsh reality check as the Wildcats missed the NCAA Tournament and was eliminated in the first round of the NIT Tournament by Robert Morris.

Louisville Cardinals 2013 Big East ChampionsAs the Wildcats return to the drawing board the Cardinals find themselves back in the tournament as the number one overall seed and favorite to cut down the nets in Atlanta. Both of these prominent programs have found their own formula for success but Pitino has reminded us all, that quick fixes are great for highlights but do not assure long term success.

The Wildcats will welcome another star studded freshman class and the Cardinals will yetkentucky wildcats and louisville cardinals again not be as fortunate. The Cardinals clearly got the last laugh this year, what will happen next year. Stay tuned I know I will – A. Denmark



NFL Free Agency: Its how you spend NOT how much you spend that makes the difference

2013 NFL Free AgencyNFL Free Agency is 24 hours away and several NFL franchises have a lot of money to spend while other teams have only lent in their pockets will be relegated to the sidelines forced to find value with their pennies.

Free agency is an invaluable tool that benefits players who wish to maximize their value and teams looking to add the missing piece to make a long playoff run. The NFL Free Agency period has been an off season fixture although high-priced acquisition make headlines year in and year out it is rare that the team that spends the most cash hoists the Lombardi Trophy at season’s end.

For years the Washington Redskins have been the biggest spenders on the freeWashington Redskins Spending Spree agency market, foolishly handing out lucrative contracts to big name players way past their prime in Bruce Smith and Deion Sanders to 5 year contracts for a combined salary of $90 million dollars after their 15th years in the league. Or who can forget $100 million contract the Redskins gave Albert Haynesworth whose poor conditioning and bad attitude led him right out of the league. Redskins owner Dan Snyder can spent nearly $330 million on big name free agents and still has yet to get past the second round of the NFL playoffs.

Although it seems that Snyder has finally learned his lesson, it appears that several franchises may receive a similar reality check this off-season. The Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins and the Indianapolis Colts appears to be the three franchises with the deepest pockets this year.

mike wallace 2012 game logsThe Dolphins are reportedly a favorite to land wide receiver Mike Wallace who is believed to be the top wideout available in free agency. But before the ink dries on his contract the Dolphins should be reluctant because Wallace struggles with drops and has some diva-like  tendencies, frequently giving up on routes and quitting when the ball is not coming his way. Dolphin fans remember we buy Advil for headaches we don’t spend $30 million to guarantee them.

The Browns and Colts are reportedly in a bidding war for the services of defensive end paul kruger ray lewis ed reed baltimore ravensPaul Kruger, numbers have allegedly reached an absurd $10 million dollars per year. Although Kruger was a dominant force during the Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl run, he failed to record a single sack during the regular season. Clearly Kruger’s postseason performance has clouded the judgement of two franchises whose desperation will only lead to disappointment.

After the dream team failure it would have been reasonable to presume that the philadelphia eagles dream teamPhiladelphia Eagles would resist the bait of big name free agents. However, news of their reported interest in former Tennessee Titans tight end Jared Cook who is rumored to be demanding to be the highest paid tight end in the NFL says otherwise. Cook is commanding $8-10 million and it appears the Eagles and the Dolphins may be the only two franchises dumb enough to meet his demands.

Free Agency was created to serve as an equalizer, to provide franchises an opportunity to go from worst to first. However, year in and year out the franchises with the biggest pockets disappoint their fan bases by remaining in the division cellar, and reminding us spendthat it’s not how much you spend, but how you spend which separates a title contender from a pretender. When the clock strikes twelve NFL March Madness will begin… Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark


Anthony Denmark is a writer for Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 630 EST & Sat 1030 EST

NBA Title Hopes – 1 Ankle and 3 knees will be the deciding factor

injury bug hits NBA title contendersWhen NBA fans and pundits began to discuss title contenders and pretenders the key element often overlooked during these debates is the hated injury bug. The injury bug has already crippled the title hopes of the Chicago Bulls and the Boston Celtics whose point guards Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose tore their ACLs. Although each of these teams title hopes were dealt a serious blow their playoff chances were unaffected.

As the NBA enters its stretch run the injury bug has begun to rear its ugly head yet again and even the reigning NBA Champion Miami Heat have felt the brunt of its harshlebron james hurts knee sting. Currently on a franchise record 16 game winning streak Heat fans all held their breath when Lebron James twisted his knee, however fans all breathed a sigh of relief when x-rays came back negative. Although no NBA team has ever been considered unbeatable James injury is reminder of how quickly fortunes can change.

Since James was fortunate enough to avoid an injury scare it appears that the carmelo anthony injures kneefranchises that poses the biggest threat to the Heat winning another NBA title were not so fortunate. The New York Knicks who are a close second in the Eastern Conference behind the Heat is currently without their All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony who twisted his knee two nights ago in a freak accident against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Although the Knicks won the game their chances of securing home court throughout the playoffs were dealt a serious blow with the Indiana Pacers a game and a 1/2 behind them.

However, the Pacers also a star to injury, Danny Granger who is out yet again for an danny granger reinjures kneeindefinite period of time due his surgically reconstructed knee swelling up after playing extended minutes against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday.

In the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs who have the best record in the NBA lost All-NBA point guard Tony Parker for a month due to a sprained ankle. Although the Spurs record tony parker sprains anklewill lead one to believe that they won’t miss a beat in Parker’s absence their title hope rest on the ankle of the diminutive French point guard who was playing at an elite level.

As the NBA Playoffs grows near the title hopes of the Spurs, Knicks, Heat, and Pacers can all change due to an errand pass or a wet floor. Despite injury scares by their franchise players each of these teams have continued to persevere even when their stars were not 100 percent. So the next time you discuss title contenders, do what bookies in Vegas do, check the injury report and hope that your favorite team makes it through a meaningless regular season game unscathed. Stay tuned… I know I will. – A. Denmark (@eatdrkslpsprtz2)

NBA Game of the week <Pacers vs. Heat, March 10th>

Anthony Denmark is a writer for Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 630 EST & Sat 1030 EST