The ball is in your court, Mr. Stern

During Sunday’s Miami Heat – Indiana Pacers playoff game, ESPN interviewed Commissioner David Stern who watched the game from court-side. Stern was asked about Pacers coach Frank Vogel who called the Heat the biggest “floppers” in the league which led to a $15,000 fine.

Stern defended the fine, but expressed his agreement with the underlying policy behind Vogel’s comments. The NBA, and basketball in general, faces a major issue in flopping. Stern labeled it not even a legitimate play.

Amen! Finally, someone in the power structure of a sport admits that flopping is a serious problem which should be eliminated from the game (take cue, soccer; someone please stand up and stop the insanity on the pitch).

Flopping took center stage in one of the NBA’s best first round series between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Los Angeles Clippers. Players such as Chris Paul, Blake “Flake” Griffin, and Reggie Evans continuously flailed their limbs and landed on their asses in the seven game series.

Grizzlies’ forward Zach Randolph called the Clippers the biggest floppers in the league “by far” on the Doug Gottlieb Show on ESPN Radio (see all of his comments in the same link above). Below, you can see one example of Clippers’ superstar Chris Paul falling to the ground with minimal contact after grabbing a rebound. In another video, Reggie Evans of LA’s basketball step-child exaggerates contact after setting a screen.

Sir Flops-a-Lot Paul

And the invisible uppercut to Reggie Evans’ chin

The Clippers are not the only ones. Manu Ginobli of the San Antonio Spurs is well-known for his disgraceful flopping prowess. It’s a league-wide epidemic affecting superstars and role players. It’s out-of-control.

At one point earlier this season in a game between the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks, former NBA coach and current ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy embarked on a two minute diatribe against flopping (video below). Van Gundy’s the voice you heard at the end of the Evans’ flop clip above. He’s a well known anti-flopping advocate and an important voice in the war on embellishment.

It’s time to take a hard-line approach on flopping. It cannot be tolerated. Violators should face stiff penalties designed to strongly discourage such action and rid the disease from the game of basketball.

Referees are able to stop flopping by making the requisite calls. However, all potential incidents should be subject to post-game review by the NBA. Offenders should be fined and suspended games. If you want to play, play the right way.

For example, first time offenders, aside from in-game fouls, would be subject to a $10,000 fine and a one game suspension after a post-game review by the NBA. Secondary offenders would be subject to a $25,000 fine and a three game suspension. A player who commits a third offense must pay a $50,000 fine and miss five games. Any further violation should result in a $100,000 fine and a ten game suspension.

David Stern, it’s time for you to set a precedent. Exterminate this nasty disease from the game of basketball. It’s better for the sport, the players, and the fans. You made your feelings public, now it’s time to act on them.

I’ve Been Experienced: Chapter 67

I Have Been Experienced, by Jose Kortez
Table of Contents
In the beginning of college, I was a drinker more than a student, but as I got in to my third year, I realized I needed to do some work to help me stand out to folks who would hire me after graduating. So, I started studying to get my GPA above the 2.76 it had been following my sophomore year. And then I decided that an internship would also help.

Women always seemed surprised by my actions even when they had heard from friends what would happen.

Women always seemed surprised by my actions even when they had heard from friends what would happen.

Finding an internship as a drunk, exceptionally average college student is remarkably difficult. It turns out that free labor is readily available and people fitting my bill are regarded as criminal threats moreso than the future workforce. So, after some looking, I managed to talk two biologists in to letting me do an internship on a research cruise of theirs. This meant they wouldn’t have to spend 7 weeks at sea and I would have to do a good enough job of collecting samples that they’d be able to publish a paper based on the results.

The boat was set to leave on February 2nd and return on March 24th. This in 1998, so the most horrible part for me was missing UNC’s dream season and then getting back just in time to watch it all fall apart. My parents were good enough to record the UNC Duke game from that year when UNC won by 27 and Vince Carter barely missed what would have easily been the greatest dunk in UNC history.

But more importantly, I was briefed by the two scientists a week before leaving and then, rather than returning to school for my spring semester, I flew out to San Diego, where I made my way to the Naval Yard. The boat I would spend the next 7 weeks on was 224 feet long and would house 28 of us – mostly permanent crew. There weren’t too many rules – the only one of any significance was “no beer.”

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Vagabond Joe’s Tournament Predictions/Preview/Opinions/ Garbled Nonsense

Goooooo, Peacocks!!

For the sake of brevity, I won’t go into the supposed/actual snubs the committee pulled this year. But…wow.

Play-in games:
Nobody cares.

East:
In a word: Brutal. I think if OSU gets out of the region, they will win it all. But, anyone who knows me knows my March motto, “Fuck the Big Ten” when it comes to betting/predicting. Whatever I pick a Big Ten team to do in the tournament, be it win or lose, they do the opposite….so, whatever. I hope Syracuse and UNC meet. I think that would be a great game.

Winner: tOSU (Good luck with that, Matta!)

West:
Despite appearances, there are a number of teams here that have the potential to trip up Duke. SDSU, however, is not one of them. Should be interesting to watch. I don’t see UConn going too far because I feel they are too reliant on Kemba Walker. And in the tourney, if he has even and average game…they could be sunk. Can he sustain it for a long run? Who knows, but I would guess if it ends up being UConn/Duke in the final, Duke cake walks through it. Hopefully, I’m wrong.

Winner: Duke

Southwest:
As a Kansas fan, I don’t feel good about this draw. But, then again, I NEVER feel good about Kansas’ draw. It’s Kansas. They find a way to screw up even the biggest gifts. Not that this is a gift. UNLV, Louisville and (God-willing) any one of Purdue, Notre Dame and a healthy Georgetown all scare me. Not piss-my-pants scared. But, realistic concern. If Louisville is hitting even 30% of the 5 million 3′s they take each game, Kansas has no shot.  I love the prospect of facing the Illini, but we’ll have to see if they can get through Vegas. Of course, none of that matters if Kansas can play like they did on Saturday. If they (looking at you, Tyshawn) can keep that up…Houston, here we come.

But, as I said, it’s Kansas.

Winner: Louisville

Southeast:
The only remotely interesting stories here are just how many suckers Jimmer will be able to light up and St. John’s. St. John’s rides its return to any significance whatsoever into the Tourney for the first time since ’02. And I wish Lavin success. I would love for them to get to the Final Four…but mostly that’s just because it would mean that Pitt is not there.

Winner: Pittsburgh

Final Four:
Since I went all 1 seeds save one (the team I root for) I tend to not care about this anymore.  Even in prediction form.  But, just for completists sake…Let’s just say Ohio State over Louisville in the final.  Why not?

General:
I love all of the Coaches v. Former Team scenarios that could play out. Doesn’t necessarily mean good basketball…but it’s interesting nonetheless.

The Southwest wins as far as ridiculous mascots go.  Terriers, Spiders, Peacocks, Zips….Jayhawks, Hoyas, Boilermakers!  Just try and keep up, other regions.  You can’t.

I think that this tournament will reflect this season. Even the best teams are vulnerable and anything could happen. Hopefully, that will make for an exciting couple of weeks. First 2 rounds should be ridiculous.

EJSIC College Basketball Top 25 — Week 4

Pre-Season | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4

Outside of UNC’s upset of #11 Kentucky in Chapel Hill, nothing Earth-shattering happened this week. Duke was still Duke in December and Michigan State was still Michigan State in December. I’m guessing both incarnations will be vastly different when March rolls around. The “down” Big East now sees itself represented by 6 teams in the top 25, the most for any conference. Barf.

Remember that this poll also includes a combined ballot from the polls submitted by readers. If you would like to have your poll included in the combined ballot, e-mail it to elitistjerksports@gmail.com.

So… Without further ado… Here’s our poll.

1. Duke 8-0 (125 – 5)

2. Ohio St. 6-0 (120)

3. Kansas 7-0 (105)

4. Pittsburgh 9-0 (103)

5. UCONN 7-0 (99)

6. Kansas St. 7-1 (98)

7. Tennessee 6-0 (93)

8. Michigan St. 6-2 (90)

9. Syracuse 8-0 (86)

10. Memphis 7-0 (82)

11. Illinois 8-1 (75)

12. Baylor 6-0 (66)

13. Villanova 6-1 (63)

14. Georgetown 8-0 (56)

15. Kentucky 5-2 (53)

16. Missouri 6-1 (44)

17. San Diego St. 8-0 (38)

18. Texas 6-1 (36)

19. UNLV 8-0 (32)

20. BYU 8-0 (28)

21. Washington 5-2 (24)

22. Purdue 7-1 (20)

22. Arizona 7-1 (20)

25. Minnesota 7-1 (18)

25. Louisville 6-0 (18)

Others receiving votes: Notre Dame (16), Florida (13), Wisconsin (8)

EJSIC College Basketball Top 25 — Week 3

Pre-Season | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3

There was plenty of moving and shaking this week (wait for it), especially in the Maui Invitational where UCONN battled through an earthquake (nice, right?) to upset #2 Michigan State and #8 Kentucky on their way to the Paradise Title. The Huskies were rewarded with a #6 ranking in this week’s poll after being unranked heading in to the week. Other big movers include Tennessee who moved up to #8 and Minnesota who made it up to #15, after both teams won their respective tournaments.

Remember that this poll also includes a combined ballot from the polls submitted by readers. If you would like to have your poll included in the combined ballot, e-mail it to elitistjerksports@gmail.com.

So… Without further ado… Here’s our poll.

1. Duke 6-0 (149 – 5)

2. Ohio St. 5-0 (145 – 1)

3. Kansas 6-0 (133)

4. Pittsburgh 7-0 (132)

5. Michigan St. 5-1 (120)

6. UCONN 5-0 (116)

7. Kansas St. 5-1 (106)

8. Tennessee 5-0 (93)

9. Memphis 5-0 (88)

10. Villanova 5-1 (86)

11. Kentucky 4-1 (83)

11. Syracuse 6-0 (83)

13. Baylor 4-0 (80)

14. Georgetown 6-0 (66)

15. Minnesota 6-0 (61)

16. Illinois 6-1 (59)

17. Missouri 5-0 (57)

18. Florida 5-1 (53)

19. Texas 5-1 (50)

20. San Diego St. 6-0 (38)

21. Florida St. 5-1 (27)

22. BYU 6-0 (26)

23. Washington 3-2 (21)

24. Purdue 5-1 (20)

25. Louisville 4-0 (17)

Others receiving votes: UNLV (14), Arizona (8), Temple (4), Virginia Tech (4), Gonzaga (3), Richmond (3), West Virginia (3), Wisconsin (2), Butler (1)

SELF PLEASURE: A preview of the 2010/2011 Big 12 men’s basketball season

SELF PLEASURE
A preview of the 2010/2011 Big 12 men’s basketball season
Part I (teams 7-12)

____________________________________________________

The more things change, the more they stay the same…

In what will be the final year of play for the Big 12 as we know it, Kansas will once again be the team to beat. It has become a familiar refrain: they lose several key contributors from the previous year’s team, but through excellent recruiting and the continued development of guys who were once just role players, they come back and just keep winning.

Most years, they absolutely dominate this conference. But this year, there are a few teams that could actually challenge the Jayhawks’ league supremacy, beginning with one just down the road. But until one actually knocks them down, they remain the favorites to win the league.

How it’s going to look:

Wrong finger, Doc.

(12): Nebraska Cornhuskers
Clearly, Big 10 Conference commissioner Jim Delany was not made aware of the fact that in order to get the football team, they had to take the basketball team. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure he would have called the deal off.

Fact: Nebraska hasn’t won a conference title since sharing the Big 8 title in 1950. In case you don’t possess basic math skills (which if you’re a Nebraskan, you probably don’t), that was 60 years ago.

Fact: Nebraska is one of only 3 BCS programs (Northwestern and South Florida being the others) to have never won a single NCAA tournament game. Not ever. Not once. Never. Not even by accident. Doc Sadler does return 3 starters from last year’s team, but considering last year’s team won only 2 league games, I don’t know how this is a good thing. Expect more of the same in their final year in this conference.

(11): Colorado Buffaloes
Also a lame duck team, the Buffs are off to the glamour of the Pac-12 Conference (nee Pac-10). A jovial Larry Scott acted as if he had pulled off a major coup by accepting Colorado into his conference, when in fact he did the Big 12 a great favor. In case nobody has noticed, Colorado has pretty much sucked at everything they’ve done for several years, with the exception of dragging down the strengths of schedule for their fellow conference teams. I’ll give them credit, they are the best at that.

For their last season in the Big 12, there is some hope in Boulder, as they do return 2 fairly good players in Cory Higgins and Alec Burks. They won’t be nearly enough and, like Nebraska, Colorado will go out on a low note. And I’m not entirely sure how, but SOMEhow, Cody Hawkins will enter a few of the basketball games this season and immediately throw a couple of interceptions. His dad will say, “That’s my boy!”, and then return to the unemployment line.

"Do you smell something?"

(10): Iowa State Cyclones
I remember vividly when noted Iowa State basketball fan Mother Teresa (she once dated Johnny Orr in college) came to Ames to speak. She was introduced to an enthusiastic crowd of thousands, and as she stepped to the podium amid wild cheers, she said, “Thank you so much. Thank you. God Bless you. Thank you. What a wonderful university you have here. By the way, why are the chicks in this town so fat and why does the entire state smell like shit?!” She had a point.

As for the basketball team this year, Fred Hoiberg returns to his alma mater and will attempt to restore the Hilton Magic of old. Eventually, Hoiberg wants to implement a fast paced, high scoring, exciting style of play. With the current roster of players he inherited, however, about the only thing they’ll do quickly this year is exit the conference race.

(9): Oklahoma Sooners
There is a rumor floating around that there are actually other things to do in Norman besides sleep with your sister and watch football, but I have not been able to confirm that. One thing is certain: Jeff Capel’s basketball team has more new faces than the Beverly Hills Ladies Auxiliary weekly luncheons. The good news is that these new players will almost assuredly have more chemistry than the highly disappointing team of last year, which went 13-18 for their first losing season since 1981. The bad news is that none of these new players are named Blake Griffin. Capel should get this team back on track, but it isn’t happening this year.

Quitter.

(8): Texas Tech Red Raiders
As part of my crackerjack investigatory research, I sometimes am forced to employ questionable tactics. Such is the case a few years ago when the rumors were swirling that Bob Knight was about to resign. I knew that if I was going to get the story, I would have to use the old hidden camera/microphone trick. I just needed a safe place to keep it. Somewhere that it would never be noticed, somewhere that it would be safe from inspection, somewhere that not a single person would ever be tempted to look. So I put it on the inside of a Tech cheerleader’s skirt. What I got was Coach Knight telling his son, Pat, that indeed he was abruptly retiring; Pat saying, “But you always tell the kids never to quit”; Bob punching Pat in the Adam’s apple; Pat crying and screaming; Bob saying, “SHUT UP! It didn’t hurt that bad!”; Pat saying, “That’s not why I’m crying. I’m crying because you’re leaving me in charge of THIS team!”. And it’s been downhill ever since.

The good news is that Pat Knight apparently didn’t inherit the dickhead gene from his father – by all accounts he’s a nice guy. The bad news is that he also didn’t seem to inherit any of the coaching genes, either. One thing this team has going for it is that they will have 4 senior starters this year, including F Mike Singletary, the league’s most underrated player. This team can score. The problem is that they gave up an average of 213 points per game last year, which was probably a record.

(7): Oklahoma State Cowboys
The loss of Big 12 player of the year James Anderson is really going to hurt Travis Ford’s team this season. One of the things Ford has going for him is that this team is deep. So while no single player will be able to make up for Anderson’s departure, a continuing rotation will ensure that players will remain fresh as the committee approach will be utilized. As always, another thing in Oklahoma State’s favor is their building, Gallagher-Iba Arena. Named after legendary coach Henry ‘Hank’ Iba and his former assistent, a comedian who smashes watermelons with a giant hammer, this is one of the best venues in the country in which to see a college basketball game. But perhaps the most exciting thing for Cowboys fans this year is the ‘Eddie Sutton Experience’, a very unique program. For only $500, one lucky fan per home game will get the chance to be Eddie Sutton for an evening. Approximately 2 hours before game time, this fan will be escorted to a hospitality suite where they can enjoy appetizers that Sutton enjoyed, such as hot wings, onion rings, and Vicadin sandwiches. This lucky fan will also get a chance to look through Sutton’s favorite drink menu, which is considerably thicker than the Oklahoma State media guide. And finally, this fan will get to sit in Eddie Sutton Seat on Eddie Sutton Court – the exact same seat where he spent so many seasons dozing off during games. Exciting times in Stillwater.

So there you have it, Part I of the Big 12 preview. I do realize that some people don’t take me seriously and I know I have my share of detractors. Many of these naysayers have even started clubs (I believe they are called ‘not-for-Prophet organizations’). But remember, I correctly predicted the outcome of every single NCAA tournament game last year. I mean, maybe not EVERY game, but most of them. Although I didn’t have any of the Final Four teams, I came close. Other than the team I predicted would win it all didn’t get out of the first weekend. Actually, come to think of it, I pretty much suck at this. At any rate, Part II shall follow later in the week…

Flowcharting the 2010 NCAA Tournament

Want to dominate your office pool but don’t know a thing about college basketball?

This would be a great time to create water-cooler talk with the boss, wouldn’t it?

Well here at EJSIC, we’re here to provide exactly what the people want: below, you’ll find the key to winning your office pool, with the EJSIC 2010 NCAA Tournament flowchart.

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Grainy Footage Clearly Shows Basketball Assault

Footage released this week in the aftermath of South Carolina’s shocking upset of Top Ranked Kentucky has been reported to show star freshman DeMarcus Cousins assaulting a South Carolina Student as the student rushed the court at the end of the game. See Footage Here.

BigfootExtensive research on the alleged incident by the EJSIC staff has revealed something far more troubling, however. It appears, after several viewings of the tiny corner of the grainy footage, that not only did the assault take place, but it took place directly in front of Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and the Grassy Knoll Shooter, all of whom were attending the game as Kentucky coach John Calipari’s most recent celebrity guests.

“It really was terrible,” Bigfoot said when reached back at his secret lair somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. “The kid was just trying to call DeMarcus names before he ran out on the court to celebrate and then DeMarcus hauled off and gave him a chicken wing and then cold-cocked him.”

“You just hate to see something like this happen,” Mr. Foot continued. “One minute I was in the locker room before the game talking to the kids about making sure your number 1 ranking doesn’t just become some kind of legend and then something like this happens.”

The Loch Ness Monster echoed Bigfoot’s concerns. When asked about the chicken wing specifically, Mr. Monster simply replied “Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm chicken wings.”

Citing longstanding CIA concerns, Mr. Shooter declined a request to be interviewed for this story.

EJSIC will have more information about this breaking story as it becomes available.