Friday, March 20, 2015

And Then There Were None (NCAA)



Day one of March Madness is in the books. Upsets, upsets, upsets! These three words pretty much sum up what transpired on yesterday for Texas teams in the NCAA Tournament.

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If you weren't aware, there are actually 0 teams representing the state of Texas in March Madness right now. I anticipated the losses of Texas Southern and Stephen F. Austin (mainly because SFA is my alum's rival). Oh, and Texas since I predicted UT getting sent home in the 3rd round. However,  I cannot say the same for Baylor and SMU.

Judging from my bracket below, you can see I was a victim of "Texas bias". Baylor AND SMU making it to the Elite Eight?! Yea, I guess you can say I had high hopes.

It was unfortunate that both teams fell to underdog opponents. I can only imagine how long the bus/airplane ride back home feels. However, these teams should be back in the tourney next year. SMU lost a few starters and managed to win their conference this past year. I look forward to the Mustangs readjusting and making a lengthier run in the 2016 tourney.

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Fans of the Bears have a lot of positives going into next season, mainly because they're only losing two seniors. Baylor has always been a tough competitor. Plus, there will be a chip on their shoulder as they look for redemption in 2016.

Let's just be thankful I didn't predict one of those Texas teams to win it all.

So far, I have four brackets in total (three on ESPN Tourney Challenge; one on CBS Sports that you see below).

Surprisingly, I was sold on the idea of Kentucky (and even Duke) winning the championship. But I have a good feeling that Wisconsin may be the team to surprise everyone.

At the end of the day, it's March Madness. Anything can happen (like the goal-tending call on SMU

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Farewell, DeMarco

DeMarco Murray made his final decision today, signing a contract with Dallas Cowboys' rival, the Philadelphia Eagles. Three months ago, I wouldn't have believed this would occur in the off-season. Especially after Murray's great season in clinching the rushing title for the 2014-2015 NFL season.

As Cowboys' fans, we must move forward. It is perfectly fine to feel disappointed at the organization for today's situation. However, this is what the organization asked for. They played "chicken" with DeMarco. And let's just say, Murray swerved out of the way to land in Philadelphia.


The current team is now (not surprisingly) dismantled at the running back position. Plus, I have a scary feeling the Dallas Cowboys may continue to pursue Adrian Peterson. First, I thought we had a good chance at drafting or securing a decent backup quarterback; but now, the running game is our main priority. I'm pretty sure the Cowboys organization will soon realize how much Murray meant to the offense's success. And to make matters worse, we will face Murray and the Eagles' spread offense twice in the regular season.

If the Cowboys' dominance in their regular season match-ups gave them an edge over Philly, they need to think again because this Eagles team has a brand new face. I expect for the Cowboys-Eagles rivalry to live up to its hype and even more next season. Hopefully the Cowboys will make great improvements in personnel, because Philadelphia is thinking about the playoffs as we speak!

Until next time.

Follow this blog on Twitter: @214_Manuscript

The Evolution of Russell Westbrook



Russell Westbrook: a guy I have constantly joked about in regard to ball-hog tactics and selfish play (sound like a young Kobe?) has slowly grown on me. The former UCLA guard never struck me as the type to carry a team one day. But now the time has come. Better yet, Russell Westbrook's time has come.

Currently, the league's reigning MVP Kevin Durant has been sidelined for most of the NBA regular season. Meanwhile, Westbrook has gladly taken over the reins for Durant and stepped up in a major way for his team. In the past, Westbrook was known for his bad decision-making on the court. Some said Westbrook didn't pass enough. Others said Westbrook shot the ball in traffic too much.

Russell's on-the-court performances have refuted these claims. Westbrook's current numbers are: 27.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 8.3 assists.

Here's what the Washington Post had to say about Russell Westbrook's MVP-esque performances:


I believe last month's NBA All Star Game was the landscape Westbrook needed. He walked away with the All Star MVP trophy posting 41 points (one point shy of the NBA All Star Game Record for Points). Russell also walked away with an attitude of becoming a better leader.

Think about it. If this guy can lead a team of superstars (it's an All Star team), what's stopping him from leading a team of decent role players?

The simple answer is Russell Westbrook. This same focus can apply to our lives: we are the ONLY people holding ourselves back from reaching our full potential.

Russ has dug deep and found his untapped potential. Now, I'm not going to say Westbrook will abandon his ball-hogging ways and immature decisions forever; but I feel as if he actually "gets it" now. OKC needs him and he has rose to the challenge.

He knows he must carry this team since Durant is out. Plus, when Durant comes back...we can arguably say the team is now Westbrook's. And you know, I don't have a problem with it. Durant most likely wouldn't have a problem with it, either. Especially when Westbrook is creating more shots for his teammates. This team has the formula for making it to the NBA Playoffs this year.

Currently at the #9 spot of the playoff picture (or at the house in April), I look forward to seeing Russell Westbrook and OKC fight their way into the playoffs. This team really deserves to be there.

Follow this blog on Twitter: @214_Manuscript


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

QTNA: The Status of Dez and DeMarco?

In a post from last month, I received a question regarding the Cowboys (specifically the status of Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray). I'll try my best to answer as thorough as possible without too much fluff.

 "Who can we expect to replace Demarco Murray in the backfield, and what will come of Dez Bryant?"
- Alex A.

The noise of the NFL post-season has gradually withered away, gearing fans up for another off-season of trades, contract extensions, and filled coaching positions. As for the Dallas Cowboys, there are many fans (such as myself) who have high expectations for the 'Boys in the future.

Recently, the organization has placed a franchise tag on Dez Bryant. This means: Bryant will receive a one-year contract with the Cowboys in order to prevent him from signing with another team as an unrestricted free agent.

Bryant put on a great performance this past season with the Cowboys (arguably one of his best). The new energy and young receiving core of the Cowboys really put Bryant in a position to either "put up or shut up." The leadership and numbers of Mr. Bryant spoke volumes to the offensive performance. I applaud the Cowboys for placing the tag on Bryant; although, this only solves half the issue.

On the other side of the spectrum, DeMarco Murray will test free agency this off-season. I'm pretty sure the other 31 NFL teams are getting their offers ready for Murray. Again, the Cowboys have placed themselves in an undesirable contract situation. This stems from the big payday Tony Romo received two off-seasons ago. If the Front Office expected Murray to have a breakout season, maybe Romo wouldn't have been provided with his "Super-Bowl quarterback" salary (just a thought).


Murray is arguably the best thing running for the Cowboys since Emmitt Smith. DeMarco's field vision, use of the offensive line, and ability to pass block rank him in close proximity to Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch. If Murray performs another great season such as 2014-2015, I wouldn't be surprised if the media places him in the elite RB category.

Speaking of Adrian Peterson, Vikings and Cowboys fans should keep their eyes and ears peeled back this off-season. Peterson has voiced his dissent with Minnesota and has expressed to Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones his desire to play in Dallas. To be honest, I don't think Peterson is coming to town.

An excerpt from Washington Post regarding Adrian Peterson


Two things can come from this situation:

1) Cowboys let Murray sign with another team; Gamble by pursuing Adrian Peterson (who may be rusty since his league suspension); find themselves in another hole when Dez Bryant needs new contract.

2) Keep Murray by any means necessary; Possibly negotiate a pay cut for Romo, if possible.

Both scenarios are risky, but I believe pursuing Peterson is the greater risk versus scenario #2. Adrian Peterson has been away from the game for an amount of time. He also has the reputation for being one of the highest paid running backs in the league. I believe the Cowboys would be shooting themselves in the foot for AP; but, I also understand it's all business at the end of the day. I look forward to seeing how this running back fiasco will turn out.

Keep DeMarco.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

(Five) Most Annoying People in Rec Sports

The (Five) Most Annoying People in Rec Sports

Recreational sports can be really enjoyable. The people? Maybe not so much.

I recently reminisced with a friend about the times in college we played intramural flag football, basketball, and softball. Of course we bragged about ourselves, whose team was better, why so-and-so shouldn't have won the championship, etc.

Then the conversation took a turn toward endless laughter as we discussed the most annoying people we played against. We continued to call out a laundry list of names and how these people affected the games (arguing, fighting, whining, etc.).

We can all relate to some annoying players, whether it's rec sports or professional leagues. The point is: these annoying people need to be stoppped.

1. The Johnny Football Wannabe

This guy gets all his moves from watching the NFL. He feels like every rec sports football game is a showcase of his talent. Somehow, this guy makes almost every play last 10 to 15 seconds.

The Wannabe's signature move is to drop back and scan the field, only to look like a pro. Do not be fooled. He has no intention of throwing the ball, and often decides to gain cheap yards because it "looks good."
 

2. The Victim (D. Wade Type)

Next, we have The Victim. This guy is primarily on the basketball court throwing himself into a pack of players looking for a foul. Come on, man. It's obvious everyone knows what he's doing. Let D. Wade and Ginobili remain as the masters of flop-ology. The Victim also overuses the "call your own foul" rule and even over-steps his bounds to serve as a psuedo-referee.

You WILL see this guy. He's the one who waits to see if his shot will go in before calling a foul. Plus, he will yell "And one!!!" so loud to make it as if he's letting you off the hook for "fouling" him. Just give it up, man.

3. The Wrecking Ball (Ron Artest Type)

They go for truck sticks on the flag football field, jab their forearms in your sides on the basketball court. These guys are just plain dirty. Like seriously, who "goes for the knees" in a flag football game?! The type of player treats every matchup as if it's a UFC fight.

Chill, bro.

4. The Complainer (Tom Brady Type)

This guy will always try to make things go his way. Whether it's the spot of the ball, the number of downs, or the exact score...this guy WILL argue you down to the wire. If you're not sure you've encountered this type of player, have you ever diffused a possible argument by saying:"It's not that serious man, ya'll can have the ball." If yes, then you've met him.


It's not that serious, Tom.
You can have the ball next season.
This guy almost always has his hands on his head  or hips with a distressed and/or confused look on his face. They are truly the worst people to play with/against.








5. The "My Bad" Guy (Russell Westbrook Type)
"The kind of guy that plays like he's in a video game. You hold turbo for the whole game, make zero passes, and shoot fast break/transition 3-pointers going 3 for 28 from the field" - my friend, Josh Pegram 

This guy plays as if he has absolutely no sports IQ at all. He tries to master ALL of the skills on video games and bring them to the court. This type of guy is a cancer to teams everywhere. They will shoot you out of a game. Look at you in the eyes when you're wide open and decide to take on a triple team. Even shoot half-court jumpers to show you his "range" on the first possession.

This guy usually will create an impromptu one-on-one matchup when there's 8 other people on the court. And most of the time when he finally feels he has messed up, you will see him tap his chest twice with the utmost sincerity saying: "My bad, bro. I got you on the next one."

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Kobe Bryant's Muse (NBA)


Watch Kobe Bryant's Muse

If you missed this weekend's premiere of Kobe's latest documentary, Kobe Bryant's Muse, I suggest basketball fans and those who enjoy sports docs (even if he's not your favorite player) to take a look at this film.

Muse does a great job in its different approach to the world of sports documentaries. Instead of interviewing people associated with Mr. Bryant, the film solely grasps its content from its most credible source, Kobe. With this approach, Kobe is able to express the raw details of his life, family, struggles, and career.

From his isolated childhood to becoming one of the greatest basketball players in NBA history, Kobe opens up in this film unlike anything we've seen from him. His words paint a vivid, moving picture on a canvas, giving us insight on where his journey will take him in the future.

Something to Think About

The atmosphere surrounding Kobe following his last two season ending injuries have left his fans in a suspended state. Some fans want to embrace the new era of basketball elite, while others want to hold on to the era of Kobe, Dirk, and Kevin Garnett. Such as those summer camp days as a kid, all good things must come to an end.

Kobe has come to grips with his awaiting lifestyle after retirement. And fans should, as well. I can admit I would like to see Kobe come back for two more years of action, but it's very unlikely. One thing for sure is that I will keep the Kobe legacy alive.

Enjoy.

Watch Kobe Bryant's Muse

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