Monthly Archives: February 2010

Women’s Basketball: Elon Phoenix vs. UNC Greensboro Spartans

Be sure to check out the Elon University Phoenix Women’s Basketball team as they host the UNC Greensboro Spartans tomorrow at 2:00 PM in Alumni Gym, in what will be the last home game of the season for the Phoenix and their regular season finale. The Phoenix, with a record of 11-17, are coming of a 69-64 loss against conference rival Wofford. The Phoenix hope to finish their season strong against the Spartans, a team that defeated them by the score of 84-70 earlier in the year. The game will be called by Erik Kendall and Brian Dudiak, and can be heard on WSOE 89.3 FM. You can also listen to the game live and read the live blog updates on the website at wsoesports.wordpress.com. Click on the link below for live updates as they happen from Alumni Gym.

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Elon Phoenix vs. North Carolina A&T

Be sure to tune into WSOE’s broadcast of the Elon University Phoenix as they host the North Carolina A&T Aggies tomorrow at 4:00 PM at Latham Park. The game will be called by Matt Curry and Eli Kaufman. WSOE’s coverage will begin at 3:45 PM, and can be listened to at WSOE 89.3 FM and also online through the “listen live” feature. To read live blog updates from the game click on the link below.

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Elon Phoenix vs. Ohio Bobcats

Be sure to tune into WSOE’s broadcast of the Elon University Phoenix as they host the Ohio Bobcats tomorrow at 12:00 PM at Latham Park. The game will be called by Tom Waterman and Greg Brzozowski. WSOE’s coverage will begin at 11:45 AM, and can be listened to at WSOE 89.3 FM and also online through the “listen live” feature. To read live blog updates from the game click on the link below.

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Elon v. Towson

Elon will play their first baseball game of the year against the university of Towson. Listen to Russel and Eric broadcast the game live or look at our live blog through the link below.

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MLB: A Division-by-Division Look at the 2010 Season: AL East

New York Yankees (2009 Record: 103-59)
-Key Additions: SP Javier Vazquez, CF Curtis Granderson, DH/1B Nick Johnson, LF Randy Winn, RP Boone Logan, OF Jamie Hoffman, OF Greg Golson

-Key Losses: CF Melky Cabrera, DH Hideki Matsui, LF Johnny Damon, C Jose Molina, RF Xavier Nady, SP Chien-Ming Wang, RP Phil Coke, RP Michael Dunn, OF Austin Jackson, SP Ian Kennedy, RP Brian Bruney, OF Jerry Hairston, Jr.

It’s hard to believe, but the Yankees actually controlled their spending this offseason. The reigning World Series champs let some key pieces walk in free agency, namely World Series MVP Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon.

However, they made a great deal with the Atlanta Braves that sent Javier Vazquez back to New York to be the number three or number four starter, which makes the Yankees’ pitching staff one of the deepest in baseball with CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte and one of either Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain. They also addressed their outfield defensive problems by trading for Curtis Granderson and acquiring Jamie Hoffman through the Rule 5 Draft. On paper, it looks like they lost a lot and gained little, but in reality, this team is every bit as good if not better than last year’s team. The Yankees look poised to make another run at the World Series and they are feeling confident as evidenced by manager Joe Girardi already stating that the Yankees are ready to win their 28th ring.

Boston Red Sox (2009 Record: 95-67)
-Key Additions: SP John Lackey, CF Mike Cameron, 3B Adrian Beltre, LF Jeremy Hermida, UT Bill Hall, SS Marco Scutaro, SP Boof Bonser

-Key Losses: LF Jason Bay, RP Takashi Saito, RP Billy Wagner, C George Kottaras, SS Alex Gonzalez, 1B Casey Kotchman, OF Rocco Baldelli

The Red Sox clearly spent this offseason focused on improving pitching and defense. The most telling move was the addition of Mike Cameron, a 37-year-old center fielder who spelled incumbent Jacoby Ellsbury to left field. Cameron’s age is a concern, but he is still one of the top defenders in the league. However, in pursuit of better defense, the BoSox find themselves loaded with corner infielders. There is a logjam at third base with Adrian Beltre, Mike Lowell, and Bill Hall all vying for playing time, while first base will likely be split between Kevin Youkilis and Victor Martinez. The most obvious strength for the Sox this season will be their pitching depth. They arguably have the deepest rotation in the league with Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Clay Buchholz. It’s not unreasonable to think that the Sox could win five or six more games this year than they did last year, but pitching and defense is not known to win in the regular season.

Tampa Bay Rays (2009 Record: 84-78)
-Key Additions: RP Rafael Soriano, C Kelly Shoppach
-Key Losses: 2B Akinori Iwamura, RP Troy Percival, RP Mitch Talbot, C Gregg Zaun

Once again, the Rays were very quiet this offseason, relying more on their farm system than the free agent market to improve the team. The departure of second baseman Akinori Iwamura was the biggest lost for this team and that is not even that big of a deal because Ben Zobrist had his breakout season last year. The Rays are still very young but they are maturing as a coherent unit led by All-Star third baseman Evan Longoria. The Rays hope that David Price and Wade Davis will be every bit as good as they are advertised and anchor the pitching staff behind James Shields and Matt Garza. Rafael Soriano is a huge upgrade over the rag-tag closer by committee the Rays had last year and he should be good for an extra two or three wins this season. The one lingering question around the Rays this year will be what they do with outfielder Carl Crawford, who is in the last season of his contract. There is wide speculation that if the Rays are not competitive in July, Crawford could be dealt to a contender. However, the upstart Rays are proving that they are ready to be taken seriously. Remember, they’re only two years removed from being in the World Series.

Toronto Blue Jays (2009 Record: 75-87)
-Key Additions: SS Alex Gonzalez, C John Buck, SP Brandon Morrow, SP Kyle Drabek
-Key Losses: SP Roy Halladay, RP Brandon League, SS Marco Scutaro

The Blue Jays had an eventful offseason behind the departure of longtime ace Roy Halladay. The Blue Jays have clearly entered a rebuilding phase and they definitely have the pieces in place to start that process. They received the Philadelphia Phillies’ top prospect Kyle Drabek in the Halladay deal and they have young players that have the potential to grow into good major league players. Of these young players, the most notable are starting pitchers Ricky Romero and Scott Richmond and outfielder Travis Snider. However, a sizeable recession for this team is all that can be expected. Good things can be expected from this team down the road, but how far down the road is unknown.

Baltimore Orioles (2009 Record: 64-98)
-Key Additions: RP Mike Gonzalez, 3B Miguel Tejada, 1B Garrett Atkins, SP Kevin Millwood
-Key Losses: 3B Melvin Mora, RP Danys Baez, RP Chris Ray, SP Rich Hill

The Orioles actually made some decent moves this offseason by plugging the holes on their roster with seasoned veterans. While some veterans may be too seasoned (Miguel Tejada and Kevin Millwood are both over 35), they provide valuable experience for this young club. The Orioles have an exceptional corps of young players led by All-Star outfielders Nick Markakis and Adam Jones and budding catcher Matt Wieters. There is also a quartet of young starting pitchers for this team made up of Brad Bergesen, Brian Matusz, Charles Tillman and David Hernandez, who should all learn valuable lessons from Millwood. There are no expectations for the Orioles this season and they may be the team that plays spoiler over the course of the season and not be considered an easy win.

Wall or Nothing

With the NBA season now a couple games into its second half, most fans have a good feeling about which teams will be around for the playoffs come mid April. On the flip side, it’s also easy to tell which teams stand no chance whatsoever for postseason glory as many of the basketball bottom feeders are as close to being eliminated as a team can get. For these fan bases, there is pretty much only one thing left for them to be excited about… the possibility of acquiring the number one selection in the NBA Draft Lottery! Fans have even more reason to be excited about this year’s top pick as the grand prize of this year’s draft class is one of the best prospects to come along this decade. If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past three months or lost your ability to communicate with society, you know that losing teams are dreaming for the chance to take John Wall, the 6’4” Freshman Point Guard from Kentucky, with the first pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

Now if this were football or baseball, there would be no speculation over which team would have the first pick in the draft; the club with the worst regular season record would be awarded the first selection. But in basketball, this is not the case. In an effort to cut down on teams giving up on their seasons by just losing games on purpose in order to get a high draft pick, the NBA developed the lottery system in use today. The lottery’s inception came in 1985, when all seven teams who didn’t make the playoffs got a equal chance at acquiring center Patrick Ewing of Georgetown, that years “can’t miss” prospect, with the New York Knicks ultimately winning the lottery.

After tinkering with the system over the years, the NBA arrived at its current lottery format. All fourteen teams who missed the postseason are entered in to get a shot at the number one pick.  To start the process, a set of ping-pong balls, numbered one to fourteen, are placed in a drum. With these fourteen numbers, 1,001 four number combinations are possible. Based on a team’s record, they are given a certain number of combinations with the worst team getting the majority, the second worst getting the next most, and so on and so forth. 1,000 of the 1,001 combinations are handed out to the teams; if the one set of numbers not distributed comes up, the balls are redrawn. The lottery balls are used to only select the top three picks of the draft; after the first three teams are placed, the teams picking from spots 4-14 are placed by their season winning percentage. This rule was put into place so that if one of the worst teams did not get a top three selection, they would not have to worry about dropping so far in the draft that they would miss out on a quality player who could maybe help their struggling franchise.

A lot of basketball fans like this lottery system because of the reasons it was created: it prevents teams from mailing in games, losing on purpose, and gives a level of opportunity for all non playoff teams to claim the top pick in the draft. I, myself, have never had a serious problem with the draft lottery… that is, until this year. For those of you who know me, I am one of the very few New Jersey Nets fans in this world. I have been with this team since the days of Sam Cassell, Kendal Gill, and Keith Van Horn. I’ve seen the highs of two NBA Finals appearances and the lows of, well, this ENTIRE FRICKEN SEASON! The Nets, if you haven’t heard already, are an NBA worst 4-44 on the season (as of February 3, 2010, as this article is going up, they are 5-48) and are on pace to have the worst record ever posted by an NBA team (the current record is held by the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers with a 9-73 record). Now tell me if I’m wrong, but I think it would be pretty unfair to have to suffer through the worst season ever by an NBA team just to see someone like the Detroit Pistons or Indiana Pacers end up getting basically a guaranteed superstar in John Wall. With this pessimistic view in mind, I begin to basically panic when thinking about May 18th when the Draft Lottery will be held.

While hoping for more losses every game from my team to wrap up the best chance at getting Wall on draft night, I came across a page on ESPN.com created by NBA Insider Chad Ford. On this page, Ford created a mock Draft Lottery, simulating every possible teams chance at winning the “John Wall Sweepstakes”, based on current standings and percentage odds. When playing with the fake lottery one day, dying slightly inside every time a Warrior or Kings logo showed up next to Wall’s name rather than a Nets, I decided to conduct an experiment to see the actual chance of this Freshman star coming to New Jersey next year (and then leaving for Brooklyn soon after, but that’s another story). I decided to simulate the lottery process 100 times, documenting every team that came up with the number one pick, which teams made it in the top three lottery picks, seeing who teams were picking in positions 2-4 when they missed out on Wall, and documenting drafting patterns of each team on the rest of the players in this draft class. I then took a special look at the lowly Nets to see how they would be affected by the lottery. I took into account where they picked during every single simulation and which player they ended up selecting. The lottery positions reflect the team’s records as of February 1, 2010.

Teams Odds for #1 pick Record
New Jersey Nets 25.0% 4-42
Minnesota Timberwolves 19.9% 11-38
Golden State Warriors 15.6% 13-33
Detroit Pistons 11.9% 15-31
Indiana Pacers 8.8 % 16-32
Philadelphia 76ers 6.3% 16-31
Washington Wizards 3.6% 16-30
Sacramento Kings 3.5% 16-30
Utah Jazz (via New York Knicks) 1.7% 18-29
Los Angeles Clippers 1.1% 20-27
Milwaukee Bucks 0.8% 20-25
Houston Rockets 0.7% 25-22
Memphis Grizzlies 0.6% 25-21
Oklahoma City Thunder 0.5% 26-21

* Note: The way the teams in the Western Conference are playing, there is always going to be a changing of the order of the teams with the last three picks. Currently, the teams in the 4th playoff spot in the West are only five games up on the team in 10th in the Conference. The Lakers and Nuggets seem to be the only teams who are in no danger… for now.

** Note: There are many other traded 1st round picks already, besides the one the Jazz relieved from the Knicks that goes back to the fantastic Stephon Marbury trade from earlier this decade. There are also a couple of conditional picks that could change over to another team if a certain stipulation is met. Here they all are:

– Oklahoma City receives the Phoenix Suns’ first pick.

– The Clippers get the Timberwolves pick if it is not in the first 10.

– The Timberwolves receive the Charlotte Bobcats first pick if it is not in the first 12.

-The Nets receive the Dallas Mavericks first round pick.

During my simulation of the Lottery, I only focused in on the top players in this upcoming draft class, documenting which teams they went to and where they were commonly picked. But, to give you some names of upcoming “players to watch”, especially with March Madness coming up in about a month and a half, you can watch the tourney and have some players in mind for your NBA team that can help your franchise get out of the lottery and into the playoffs. Here they are in their projected draft order if the lottery were to give teams with the worst losing percentage the top picks.

Player College Position, Year Height, Weight
John Wall Kentucky PG, FR 6’4”, 185
Evan Turner Ohio State SG, JR 6’7”, 205
Derrick Favors Georgia Tech PF, FR 6’9”, 215
Al-Farouq Aminu Wake Forest SF, SO 6’8”, 205
Ed Davis North Carolina PF, SO 6’10”, 215
Wesley Johnson Syracuse SF, JR 6’7”, 198
Cole Aldrich Kansas C, JR 6’11”, 245
Demarcus Cousins Kentucky PF, FR 6’10”, 250
Xavier Henry Kansas SG, FR 6’7”, 220
Dontas Motiejunas (None) Lithuania PF 7’0”, 220
Patrick Patterson Kentucky JR, PF 6’9”, 245
Willie Warren Oklahoma PG, SO 6’4”, 210
Hassan Whiteside Marshall PF, FR 6’11”, 225
Solomon Alabi Florida State C, SO 7’1”, 245

All of these players could contribute in some way to the teams in this lottery. Some could be good role players, coming off the bench or bringing a special trait to a team that needs one. Others could contribute from day one and maybe one day make an All Star team or two. But in this class, there is one, AND ONLY ONE PLAYER, who won’t maybe, but WILL become an absolute superstar and a dominating force in the National Basketball Association. That player is John Wall. So, without further ado, I give you the results of 100 simulations of the NBA Draft Lottery, A.K.A. “The John Wall Sweepstakes”.

Team Number Of Times Won #1 Pick More/Less times won than % odds
New Jersey Nets 32 More (25.0%)
Minnesota Timberwolves 15 Less (19.9%)
Golden State Warriors 14 Less (15.6%)
Detroit Pistons 9 Less (11.9%)
Indiana Pacers 7 Less (8.8%)
Philadelphia 76ers 2 Less (6.3%)
Washington Wizards 10 More (3.6%)
Sacramento Kings 8 More (3.5%)
Utah Jazz (via NYK) 3 More (1.7%)
Los Angeles Clippers 0 Less (1.1%)
Milwaukee Bucks 0 Less (0.8%)
Houston Rockets 0 Less (0.7%)
New Orleans Hornets 0 Less (0.6%)
Oklahoma City Thunder 0 Less (0.5%)

When breaking down these numbers, it’s clear to see that you don’t have to be at the top of the draft lottery odds order to have success in landing the top pick. The Wizards, with only a 3.6% chance, were able to select John Wall 10 times in the simulation. Guess they wouldn’t be missing Gilbert Arenas so much next year with the best point guard to come out of the draft since Chris Paul (who Wall is being compared to by scouts, with only one difference… more upside!). The Kings also had a good amount of success based on their chances of getting Wall. Honestly, imagine a backcourt of John Wall and Tyreke Evans in Sacramento for the next five years… WOW!

The T-Wolves and Warriors were just under their percentage marks but still got to choose at number one 15 and 14 times respectively. These two teams would most likely have to make a trade or two if they either landed Wall due to the overloads they would have of young, developing, and talented guards. The Warriors have four year, 24-year-old Monta Ellis, who is sixth in the league in scoring at 26.5 PPG at shooting guard and Rookie, 21-year-old point guard Stephen Curry, who is one of the top five fist year players in the league. One would have to go, most likely Curry, despite Golden State not seeing his full potential yet. Wall is a better fit at point and could get the ball to Ellis at will while creating his own shot, too. Curry could be dealt for a big man, most likely a power forward, considering Vladimir Radmanovic is currently starting and Anthony Randolph dealing with an ankle injury… oh, and also the fact that Don Nelson is completely holding him back from reaching his potential. Just don’t cry about it Anthony. 

Meanwhile, as hard as it seems to imagine Minnesota drafting another guard after last years draft when they took PG Ricky Rubio at #5, PG Johnny Flynn with the very next pick, PG Ty Lawson at #18 (who was then traded to Denver), and SG Wayne Ellington at #28. But again, no one can pass on Wall, so they would have to take him. Flynn is safe in Minnesota, though, due to the very strong campaign he’s putting as a rookie (14.0 PPG, 4.4 APG). Rubio is the likely trade candidate due to the fact that he is a very highly ranked player on a lot of scout’s lists and has been playing pro ball since he was 15 overseas. A team would have to give up a pretty nice deal to land a player of Rubio’s caliber but not as much as if he were playing in the league now due to the fact that his current contract with Regal Barcelona only gives him the option to leave for the NBA after the 2010-11 season. A team will be willing to wait for the Spaniard though and make a deal and the T-Wolves will be willing to let him go because Wall is already better than Rubio.

A quick comment on these numbers: Ask any Knicks fan who doesn’t hate the Stephon Marbury trade with 100% of their being yet when they see the three #1 picks going to the Jazz in this simulation if they can’t stand it completely yet. That’s three times they land Wall and add an incentive for LeBron James to come to New York. But hey, no future whatsoever with only six players scheduled to come back to the team, the best of which is Danilo Gallinari, is just screaming, “Hey LeBron, come WIN in New York”!

Now to the team that I decided to write this all about, the New Jersey Nets. They have already guaranteed one of the worst seasons ever recorded in NBA history and are on pace to break the 1972-73 76ers record of a 9-73 campaign. Following this Nets season has been tough as a fan. I try to get by with cracking a joke here and there, such as, “On opposite day, we’ll be champions” or by claiming a win in Knockout with my suitemates as property of the Nets to give them something to feel good about. But all of this, the humiliation, the jokes, the anguish, will be worth it if those ping pong balls just work out in our favor. With a ton of cap room to spend freely, a move from the run down Izod Center in the Meadowlands to the state of the art Prudential Center in Newark, and the number one pick in the Nets position, New Jersey looks like a fantastic place to play for such free agents like Joe Johnson, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James. Wall is the essential part of the puzzle. Devin Harris has struggled with injury troubles and some poor performance this year (although what is he supposed to do with the roster around him) and now is now is no longer “untouchable” in trade talks. If Wall goes to Jersey, free agents have an eventual superstar at both point guard and center in John and Brook Lopez at the core of a young and talented nucleolus. Not to mention, Harris is traded for a player that can be inserted into the Nets lineup and instantly contribute.

While the Nets did get more #1 overall selections than half the next closest team received, they still missed out on drafting Wall 68 times. Because I knew the Nets couldn’t draft the freshman phenom every single simulation, I not only took note of when every team won the first pick, but when they gained a top three selection in the draft. This chart outlines the total of all those picks. When a team got the first pick, they received three points. When they were awarded pick #2, they added on two points to their score. And when each team picked third, they received one point. Here are the results:

Team Total Points
New Jersey Nets 145
Minnesota Timberwolves 104
Golden State Warriors 80
Detroit Pistons 67
Indiana Pacers 65
Philadelphia 76ers 30
Washington Wizards 38
Sacramento Kings 33
Utah Jazz (via NYK) 12
Los Angeles Clippers 3
Milwaukee Bucks 6
Houston Rockets 6
New Orleans Hornets 3
Oklahoma City Thunder 5

I also singled out New Jersey specifically and documented where they picked every single time. If they did not receive a top three pick, they were automatically given the #4 selection because they have the worst winning percentage in the NBA. Here is a breakdown of where they picked after every single simulation:

Draft Position Times Nets picked there
#1 32
#2 18
#3 16
#4 34

As you can see, the Nets picked in the top three spots more than anybody in the lottery but ended up drafting in the four spot more than any other position. Now if you ask me, when you have the chance to post the worst record in basketball history, I think you should be able to not have to worry about missing out on the best prospects available in a draft class. So I took a look at whom the Nets selected every time they went to pick and came up with these results:

Player # Of times picked
John Wall 32
Evan Turner 31
Wesley Johnson 37

New Jersey only selected thee different players in their draft picks. They obviously took Wall whenever they were at #1. When they picked at #2, Turner was always their selection, choosing him over Derrick Favors. If they picked at three, they would also choose Johnson over Favors if the latter were still on the board. In fact, the Nets and T-Wolves were the only two teams that would choose Turner or Johnson over Favors. Every other team would go with the freshman from Georgia Tech. To better show he draft tendencies of these lottery teams, I marked down which players were drafted after Wall was gone in the next three picks that followed him. So here are the draft spots of every player picked between selections 2-4:

Player #2 Pick #3 Pick #4 Pick
Evan Turner 54 37 9
Derrick Favors 45 47 8
Wesley Johnson 0 9 21
Ed Davis 0 9 21
Al-Farouq Aminu 0 0 6

All right so let’s break down this table. Turner was the next pick after John Wall whenever the Nets and Timberwolves were picking at #2. Every other team would pick Favors though when they were in the two spot. New Jersey and Minnesota would also choose Johnson over Favors but they were in the minority in that, also. Teams like the Warriors and Pacers were high on Davis, but with his recent wrist injury, it’ll be interesting to see if his draft stock drops. Aminu was only picked in the top four by the Pistons and no one else. One player that will undoubtedly join this field in a top four selection will be DeMarcus Cousins, whose interest from NBA teams has been skyrocketing lately. The thing is, none of these guys have the same ceiling as Wall. Guys like Turner, Cousins, and Favors could have multiple all-star appearances in their futures, but Wall is a frontrunner to become a part of NBA royalty.

With great hype, comes great responsibility, and that is what people will hold to John Wall when he is the first overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. No matter where he goes, Washington, Detroit, Golden State, Minnesota, or New Jersey (PLEASE BE NEW JERSEY!!! O MY GOODNESS!!! PLEASE BASKETBALL GODS!!! HAVE MERCY ON THE NETS!!!), he is going to be looked upon as the savior of the franchise. We saw it happen this decade with LeBron James in Cleveland, Dwight Howard in Orlando, Greg Oden in Portland, and Kevin Durant in Seattle. And while Oden has yet to pan out due to extensive injuries (which may or may not have to do with the fact that he might secretly be 76 years old), the three other guys are definitely top 10, maybe top five, players in the league right now. This will be expected from Wall. He cannot just be an All-Star, but the LeBron version of a point guard. If people give him the two or three years they gave James, Howard, and Durant, Wall will be fine.

So to the fans, let me tell you this. Wall belongs in the aforementioned group of players whose hype has been in another world before coming to the NBA. And based on those other four names, he has about an 80% chance to reach the highest peak in basketball. And that number is a lot better than the chances a lottery team has to draft him.

Contact Information:
Greg Brzozowski
WSOE Sports
gbrzozowski@elon.edu

Women’s Basketball: Elon Phoenix vs. Western Carolina Catamounts

Be sure to check out the Elon University Phoenix Women’s Basketball team as they host the Western Carolina Catamounts tomorrow at 2:00 PM in Alumni Gym. The Phoenix, with a record of 10-15, are coming of a 77-63 victory over conference rival Davidson. The Phoenix hope to continue their winning ways against the Catamounts, who come into this game with a record of 4-20 and having lost 11 of their last 12 games. The Phoenix defeated the Catamounts 59-54 earlier this season. The game will be called by Christian Binder and Aaron Moger, and can be heard on WSOE 89.3 FM. You can also listen to the game live and read the live blog updates on the website at wsoesports.wordpress.com. Click on the link below for live updates as they happen from Alumni Gym.

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Never Have I Ever

For five years I’ve picked every NFL game played. That’s 1280 regular season games, 20 wild card games, 20 divisional games, 10 conference championship games and, thus far, 4 Super Bowls. My statistics are unclear unfortunately, I’ve done a poor job of keeping good records. What record I am sure of is this:

I am 0-4 when picking the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl XL: Seahawks (+4) over Steelers

Seattle was something like 3892-0 against the spread during the 2005-2006 season and Pittsburgh was a six-seed who shouldn’t have been favored. The refereeing was awful as well, handicapping the Seahawks throughout the game. Of the four losing picks, this one I can and will defend. The others…

Super Bowl XLI: Bears (+7) over Colts

OK, this one was stupid. But when Devin Hester returned the opening kick for a touchdown I was on Cloud Nine. Just a few seconds in and I was already up 14-0. This was all before Rex Grossman went all REX GROSSMAN though, and Indianapolis stormed back to deliver Peyton his first ring. Manning didn’t even play all that well, and to this day I believe Dominic Rhodes should have been named the MVP:

Manning 25/38 247 yards 1 TD 1 INT
Rhodes 21 carries 113 yards 1 reception 8 yards 1 TD

Rhode’s touchdown was the turning point of the game too. Down 14-10 he plunged in at the goal line with 3:08 remaining in the first half to give Indy their first lead of the game and momentum going into the locker room. Chicago never recovered, and I never have either. This pick was horrible.

Super Bowl XLII: Patriots (-12) over Giants

From January 31st, 2008:

“In conclusion I honestly think it’s a barnburner. Just an old school, classic Super Bowl whooping.

Patriots 45 Giants 17″

As if I needed another reason to hate Brady, Belichick and the New England Patriots. Look, you can’t blame me for picking an 18-0 team, but I sure was off with that score. I was so convinced that the New England offense would make it a laugher. The Giants front four had another idea, and played incredibly. I, like many analysts, was shocked by Super Bowl XLII, which proved to be one of the greatest upsets in NFL history.

Super Bowl XLIII: Steelers (-7) over Cardinals

Sooooooooooooooooooooooo close! Unbearably close! I was screaming for a pick-six in the closing seconds, praying for a last second cover. Didn’t happen. BUT, for the first time ever I at least picked the winner straight up. Unfortunately, picking NFL spreads is neither horseshoes nor hand grenades and I was wrong for a fourth year in a row.

Maybe this improvement is a sign of good things to come. Maybe this year will be the year!

Super Bowl XLIV: New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts

In Week 13 it seemed inevitable that these two teams would meet in Miami come February. The only thing that was uncertain was the name of Joe Robbie Stadium/Pro Player Park/Pro Player Stadium/Dolphins Stadium/Dolphin Stadium/Land Shark Stadium/Sun Life Stadium. The end of the season was rocky for the two number one seeds though, and seemingly everyone questioned their readiness for the post season.

Well, here they are. Neither are undefeated, neither are perfect, but one of them will be crowned Super Bowl champion and receive the 44th Vince Lombardi trophy.

The Super Bowl is exciting and sad at the same time. It is exciting because Super Sunday is where legends are born, where history is written. It is sad because it closes another chapter in our lives, it ends the greatest season of the year: football season. The Super Bowl is also the last chance for anyone to wager on football for months, so it attracts the most casual bettors to bet the game or join a grid pool. More importantly, the Super Bowl brings us phenomenal…

Prop Bets

To seasoned gamblers and/or poker players, prop bets are a way of life. To the average person though, betting the over/under on 1 minute 42 seconds for Carrie Underwood to sing the National Anthem is crazy. To me it’s free money; THE UNDER IS A LOCK.

Here are my favorite props for Super Bowl XLIV thanks to Bodog:

MVP: Pierre Garçon (10-1)

If there was an AFC Championship game MVP, Garçon would have won it with 11 catches for 151 yards, a touchdown and the heart of a lion. The MVP award for any sport or game is filled with intangibles, and there is no greater individual intangible than Garçon hoisting the Lombardi trophy while draped with the Haitian flag. Sure Peyton is much more likely to win MVP if the Colts win, but I’m never laying 10-17 where I can take a chance on a hot receiver with a lot of upside and much better odds. The same can be said for Brees. If the Saints win he’s likely a shoe-in for MVP, but he’s also listed as 2-1.

Coin Toss: Tails (-105)

Yes, I’m suggesting you lay $105 to win $100 on a 50/50 bet. So what? Tails never fails. EVER.

Total Receptions for Robert Meachem: Over 2.5 (-145)

Meachem has turned into a quality receiver whom Brees trusts, and although The numbers may say otherwise (he hasn’t recorded three or more receptions in a game since Week 16) I have a really good feeling about this one. Call it a hunch.

Total Tackles/Assists for Jonathan Vilma: Over 6.5 (-140)

In the AFC Championship game, both Calvin Pace (7) and David Harris (11) recorded seven or more total tackles against the Colts. Even Bart Scott added two tackles and he hardly played. Vilma is a beast who roams all over the field and tackles everything in sight.

Will there be a score in the first 7 min 30 seconds of the 1st quarter: Yes (-265)

This would be a bigger upset than the Giants over the Pats.

Will there be a missed PAT: Yes (+800)

This has been the year of the anti-kicker, why not end with an exclamation point. The Colts missed an extra point the last time they traveled to Miami for the Super Bowl too. The now injured Adam Vinatieri was kicking and it was raining, but that’s irrelevant!

How Many Times will CBS show Archie Manning on TV during the game: Over 4.5 (-210)

They should just get rid of the decimal point and make this 45.

How Many Times will CBS show Kim Kardashian on TV during the game: Over 2.5 (-135)

Hopefully it’s in the hundreds.

If any member of the Who smashes their guitar what does the guitar hit first: A Fan (200-1)

Please, please, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease happen.

Ok where were we?

The game itself is an interesting one. For two weeks everyone has talked about Dwight Freeney ad nauseam, and here’s my take. He’ll play, but he won’t be effective nor will the Saints pay much attention to him. Freeney is a speed guy, he needs to be fully mobile. In order to rush the passer to the best of his ability, he has to be able to spin and swim around tackles and tight ends. He won’t be able to do that with torn ligaments in his ankle.

This hurts the Colts defense, but Raheem Brock isn’t a practice squad guy by any stretch of the imagination. Brock recorded 3.5 sacks during the regular season playing mostly on non-passing downs to give Freeney a breather during the game. And, unlike a Troy Polamalu or an Ed Reed, the Indianapolis defense does not revolve around Dwight Freeney.

The second big story of Super Bowl XLIV is what this game means to the people of New Orleans. From paper bags to popping champagne, the S(ain’t)s are finally playing for it all. Under coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees this team has reached two NFC Championship games already and now has a once in a life time opportunity. Most of the casual NFL fans that attend the game will be shouting “WHO DAT” and rooting for a Mardis Gras on South Beach. Chad Ochocinco commented earlier that all he sees is, “Black n gold.”

This game means everything for NOLA, but the question at hand is whether or not emotion is enough. Because the Colts boast the third, and most important story of Super Bowl XLIV.

Peyton Manning.

He’s a machine. He’s unstoppable. He’s superhuman. He’s the GOAT. Seriously you can’t name anyone who ever played the position better than Manning is right now. There is no confusing him because he easily reads the defense then makes checks and audibles to the exact right play. All season the Saints defense (ranked 26th) has survived by forcing turnovers. The NFC Championship game is a perfect example, take away the turnovers and the Vikings destroy them. The problem is, Peyton doesn’t turn the ball over. So unless they force the Colt receivers and backs to fumble, the Saints defense is in for a long day.

I cannot in good conscious pick against someone who has played so incredibly. While I’ll be wearing my black Reggie Bush jersey and an undershirt that says, “Be a Saint,” I have to part from my rooting interests and bow to the greatness of Peyton Manning.

Colts (-5) 35 Saints 20

MVP: Peyton Manning

Rich Ryan
WSOE Sports

Super Bowl Prediction

I’ve had a rough year of NFL playoff predictions, but hey, everyone has their days. Here is my Super Bowl breakdown –

COLTS/Saints – I feel this game will come down to the quarterbacks. I have said it before and I will say it again: NEVER bet against Peyton Manning if he doesn’t give you a reason to. He systematically manhandled the best defense in the league two weeks ago against the Jets, and the Saints run a similar style of aggressive, hard-hitting defense. Even after falling behind early, Peyton was able to maintain composure (like always) and lead his team to victory. Now he enters Super Sunday, a night in which he already has claimed a championship ring. He quite literally is the heart and soul of this Indianapolis team; his offense boasts a chemistry that is unmatched by any team in the league, largely due to his ability to micro-manage the offense at the line of scrimmage and his teammates’ trust in his judgement. On the other hand, Drew Brees is nothing short of a great quarterback either. He was the most accurate passer in the league this year, and the weapons around him rival those around Manning. Frankly, the only reason Manning and Brees are held to different standards is Peyton’s ring. Like the rest of the Saints franchise, Brees has never gotten this far in the playoffs, and he typically has not been able to replicate his regular season success after week 17. However, if Brees manages to lead his team to victory, we could very well put him and Manning in the same group of elite, historic quarterbacks.

Overall, I believe the Colts are simply too complete a team to bet against. They lost games in the regular season when they didn’t necessarily want to win, while the Saints lost games that they worked hard to win. Unless Manning falls to an injury, this offense will be too potent for the aggressive Saints defense. The Saints do have some intangibles working their way though. They are playing for a ravished city that relies on them for inspiration, Brees will be looking to cement his status as an elite quarterback with a championship, and the team has an underdog status that gives them something to prove. It will be an exciting shootout, but the Colts will win 34-28.

Sean Dolan
sdolan2@elon.edu

Women’s Basketball: Elon Phoenix vs. Appalachian State Mountaineers

Be sure to check out the Elon University Phoenix Women’s Basketball team as they host the Appalachian State Mountaineers tomorrow at 2:00 PM in Alumni Gym. The Phoenix, with a record of 9-14, are coming of a 60-59 victory over conference rival Samford. The Phoenix hope to continue their winning ways against the Mountaineers, who come into this game with a record of 12-9 and on a five game winning streak. The Mountaineers defeated the Phoenix by a score of 85-66 back in January. The game will be called by Eli Kaufman and Brian Dudiak, and can be heard on WSOE 89.3 FM. You can also listen to the game live and read the live blog updates on the website at wsoesports.wordpress.com. Click on the link below for live updates as they happen from Alumni Gym.

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