The Clippers Destroyed the Lakers
Last night I watched almost the entire Clippers-Lakers game. The Lakers have been “The” Los Angeles team for as long as I can remember. Now, that’s no longer the case. The Clippers have made the post-season two years in a row and are heading for a third while the Lakers are heading towards their first losing season in years.
The arrival of Chris Paul cannot be overstated in turning the Clippers around. He & Blake Griffin (with others of course) have injected excitement into the team.
One of the biggest takeaways from last night was just how efficient the Clippers were. The Lakers looked lost, without a leader on the floor. The Clippers had their veteran leader in Chris Paul, but he shares the responsibility with Blake and others on the team.
Last night’s game was the worst loss in franchise history for the Lakers and it seems like fate that it came against the Clippers. The attitudes after the game point to a shift between the two teams as well. The Lakers players discussed being embarrassed and how the game will stick with them. The Clippers were talking about how to use this game to better themselves. It gives me hope that this year the Clippers will make it farther than they have the last two years in the post-season.
The Reds Are Back
Yesterday kicked off the Spring Training games for the year. In other words, the Reds are back. Granted Spring Training games aren’t a great way to judge how the season will go. However, for us fans it’s nice to see our boys in red (or black) back on the field.
What do we have to look forward to this year? Billy Hamilton - can he do what the Reds need him to do? He just needs to be able to get on base. After that, it’s likely that Price will give him the constant green light to harass pitchers by threatening to steal. Johnny Cueto - can he go a full year? That remains to be seen, but he’s had some time to heal and this could be a great year for him. The Offense - can it show up consistently? That’s the biggest question, but Price seems to have a better understanding of holding the men accountable for what they need to do.
That being said, let’s enjoy some Spring baseball…
That Was Quite a Show
I missed the first half of the Super Bowl last night & only knew the score at half-time. Knowing that the two teams heading into the game were the #1 defense & the #1 offense had me assuming that it would be a hard fought win for whichever team ended up winning.
What I didn’t expect was the absolute dismantling the Broncos suffered at the hands of the Seahawks. It’s past time to realize that a great quarterback alone cannot win games. There has to be defense. The Seahawks proved that last night. Their defense was as suffocating as it has been all season, it just took this one game to truly understand how good they have been.
Manning’s reputation shouldn’t (but probably will) suffer. He’s an elite quarterback, whether he’s done after this season or not. He sat out an entire season because of surgery, then came back & led his team to the Super Bowl. It’s impressive, even though they lost last night.
What does this mean for Bengals fans? Well, it gives me some hope. While the Bengals offense has its issues, the defense continues to improve. Based on how the Seahawks won last night, that should give lift some spirits as we head into the off-season.
Semaj Christon Making Headlines for XU
Since preseason talk, Doug McDermott from Creighton has been the favorite to win the Big East Player of the Year Award. There are small murmurings that Semaj Christon deserves to be in those talks for good reason.
Over the last five games, Christon is averaging 24 points a game. Not an easy feat playing in the new Big East. In Big East play, Christon is averaging 21.7 points per game and shooting 63.5 percent.
Before the Musketeers embarked on conference play, Christon was averaging much the same as last year. As the competition has increased, so has Christon’s efficiency.
The Musketeers only conference loss came against McDermott & Creighton. The two will face off again on March 1. It’s too early to say Christon should marginally be in the conversation, but if he continues to be as versatile for XU as he has been so far, writers will be hard-pressed to overlook him.
Changes in the Bengals Coaching Staff
Last week we heard that Bengals OC Jay Gruden would be taking the head coaching job for the Washington Redskins. Hue Jackson replaces him on the coaching staff, something a lot of fans seem excited to see. This week we’re hearing that Mike Zimmer might be taking the head coaching job for the Vikings (let’s be honest, the man deserves a HC position).
So far, the rumors about Zimmer are unconfirmed. In fact, some are just saying he’s heading to Minnesota for his second interview. He’s one of the coaching staff that many will be sad to see go. His defensive genius has done wonders for the Bengals.
Another observation from this weekend: most fans are calling for Marvin Lewis to be fired & for Zimmer to replace him. I’m hearing that Zimmer & Marvin are friends so I highly doubt that happens. Also, although the Bengals haven’t made it past the first round of the playoffs the last three years, how often had they gotten there before Andy Dalton & Marvin Lewis led them there? Yes, that’s something we can conveniently forget now. I’m not saying fans shouldn’t expect more (and of course we do). But let’s be grateful for this turn of events.
A new offensive coordinator could definitely go a long way towards getting the Bengals farther. You can’t argue with Marvin when he says the team has made some strides over the last year. They were undefeated at home all season until the playoffs. That’s impressive for any team.
Now that we’re used to the Bengals getting to the playoffs, let’s look forward to the year they advance (hopefully next year). The team has come together over the past year. Now let’s see what they can do.
I love Xavier. I really, really love my alma mater. But I’m going to need them to stop ripping my heart out. The Xavier basketball team traveled to the Bahamas for a holiday tournament. Now, I’m not saying they should have won the whole thing, but they most certainly should have at least been contenders in their last two games. Instead, it’s like our beloved team forgot how to play basketball.
They seemed to sleepwalk through the Tennessee game and I’m still wondering if they even showed up against USC. I mean really, this team took #23 Iowa into overtime and still almost beat them. Then, they just sort of gave up. As a fan, it’s frustrating. As a player, I can only imagine that plane ride back with Tennessee. My guess is that Chris Mack is less than pleased with the team’s play and free throws will likely be a major part of practice this week.
The Dolphins Won, Despite Themselves
The Dolphins. I love them. I really do. I love that team. I’m happy with our quarterback. I like it when they do good things. Games like the one Sunday leave me scratching my head. They managed just six points in the first half even though they had 265 yards to the Jets’ 39. Sportswriters are calling it the most complete game the Dolphins have player. Maybe so, but any other team would have taken advantage of the interception in the first half (sorry, the Jets just didn’t).
Ryan Tannehill threw for 331 yards and had two touchdowns. The Dolphins finished with 453 yards while the Jets just managed 177. Maybe it’s just me, but this team needs to do some serious work to be contenders for the rest of the season. Merely gaining more yards won’t win the game for you. Time for the Dolphins to start learning how to score early and often.
College Football Is a Newer Passion for Me
Saturday was a day of Oh-my-god-did-that-really-happen in college football. Florida State rolled to a win (to no one’s surprise). Ohio State and Michigan were locked in a back and forth cage match until Michigan decided to try a two-point conversion for the win instead of kicking the extra point and going into overtime.
Personally, I’ve only been a college football fan for about a year or so. You can call me bandwagon fan if that makes you feel better, but I only started actually following college football because of a book my company published.
That being said, I fell for Alabama last year. No, not just because they win, but because of how they win. They don’t run up the score on teams when they’re winning. Coach Saban has this way of getting his players to play with passion, but focused on their on-the-field job. Lately, college athletes seem to be getting away with a ridiculous amount of stupid actions. At Alabama, that doesn’t fly. Alabama fans typically love Saban because he reminds them of Bear Bryant in his ability to always get his players to focus on each game and realize that this is a game and winning in life is more important.
As such, Saturday’s game was devastating. I knew that the game would be close, no matter how good Alabama has been this season. Rivalries bring out the best in teams and Saturday was no different. I was at work and couldn’t watch the game, but when I saw that Alabama had the ball with 28 seconds left, my immediate thought was that we would be entering overtime. Unfortunately, then I saw the outcome a few minutes later.
I thought that though the game against Auburn would be difficult, Alabama would pull through and be one step closer to a third consecutive national championship. Though Alabama still has a very small chance of making it to the championship game, it just seems out of reach at this point. I’ve always disliked Ohio State (because of the obnoxious, annoying fans I grew up around) so I’ll be pulling for a title game between Florida State and Auburn, unless the unthinkable happens.
Last night Xavier faced off against the Abilene Christian Wildcats. ACU should have been an easy win, but Xavier likes to pretend like they forget how to defend sometimes. The first half was a frustrating show of just how important defense is even when your offense is clicking.
ACU stayed in the game in the first half because of their three-point shooting. However, when the Musketeers came out for the second half, they had something to prove. They went on an 11-0 run to put the game away for good. The final score was 93-65 and Xavier heads to their first away game at 5-0.
Next up for the Musketeers comes #23 Iowa in the Bahamas. They have a few more games to work on the defense, but once conference play starts the Musketeers will need to be on top of their game.