Monday, March 28, 2011

A New Sheriff in Town: Andy Taylor or Barney Fife?

The past year has been a rough one for the Volunteers of Tennessee.

Thinking back to the 2010 season, I saw a program that was on the rise. It was coming off its first Elite Eight ever and had a coach that knew what he is doing and was bringing in big time recruits. Bruce Pearl was on the verge of building a powerhouse program... So we thought.

A year has passed and all those dreams are out the window for now, and that so called coach that knew what he was doing, didnt. Those big time recruits were now going to other schools.  What happened you ask? NCAA allegations happened. Bruce lied to the NCAA about some recruiting violations and brought more shame to a athletic department that was going through the same allegations as the football team, thanks to the snake that is Lane Kiffen. So at the start of the 2011 season,  Pearl's job was up in the air. The season started with a bang; 7-0 ranked 7th in the country, with wins over Villanova and Pittsburgh.  It was all down hill from there.  The Vols barely got into the Tournament as a 9 seed and got blown out by Michigan on the second day of the Tournament.  Two days later, Bruce Pearl was removed from all duties as head coach.

Now what does a program like Tennessee need?
1) A new fresh face.
3) An Andy Taylor, and not a Barney Fife!!!

Everyone knows when Andy Taylor is running the great small town of Mayberry, North Carolina, things run smoother than water off a duck's back. But when good ole' boy Barney Fife takes over, things get out of hand... and in a hurry. He means well but usually ends up creating a bigger mess than the mess he is trying to clean up. Andy, on the other hand, is as harmless as could be and always has the right heart and mind to deal with any situation. Cuonzo Martin may not be Andy Taylor, but in time he could be. Here is why..

On Monday, March 28, 2011, Cuonzo Martin was hired to be the 18th basketball coach at the University of Tennessee.  This is a little bit of information about Martin-

  • Born: September 23, 1971 in Illinois; has a wife named Roberta and 3 kids.
  • Was a standout player at Purdue University, playing in 127 games and scoring 1666 points in 4 seasons
  • Drafted in 1995 by the Atlanta Hawks and played 4 seasons in the NBA
  • In 1997, he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and had a tumor between heart and lung but a year later he was in full remission
  • Worked under Gene Kaity and Matt Painter as an a Assitant coach at Purdue
  • Named 2011 coach of the year in the Missouri Valley Conference at Missouri State.
Now, he's the head coach of a mess of a team and program. I believe he can turn it around. The video at the top of the page is his acceptance speech for the Coach of the year in the MVC. His passion and honesty for the game is exactly what Tennessee needs.  He may not be the big name, but I don't think the Vols need that right now. Look at the football program. After Kiffen abandoned them,  they hired Derrick Dooley.  He's not a big name, but he is going to build his program the right way. I believe Coach Martin will do the same.

So congratulations Coach Martin and family,  welcome to ROCKY TOP!!!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Is Your Bracket Busted?

Well, this is my first post and I really couldn't have picked a better time to start this thing than right now. So much happening in the sports world. Baseball spring training is about over and the new season is as fresh as a bottle of Febreez and my Cubs are looking GREAT... too bad it's still spring training. The NBA playoffs are right around the corner. Will Kobe and the Lakers bring another title back to the West coast? Or will the upstart Chicago Bulls and D-Rose win it for the Windy City? The NFL still cannot make up its mind... if nothing gets done we'll still have Arena Football League. I know....I can hear your screams of excitement blasting out of my computer. But it is March,  and the that can only mean one thing...Well, two if you count constant sneezing and dry eyes due to allergies from clouds of pollen.. But I'm talking about March Madness, the greatest post-season in all of sports..68 teams all have a shot at a title. Big teams proving how BIG they really are and scrappy mid majors proving they can play with the big boys. Buzzer beaters and upsets galore. My favorite time of the year is when I can smell the ink from the freshly printed off blank brackets. Like everyone else in this great nation, I too filled one out, and the first weekend went fairly well with surprises from Louisvile and Vanderbilt, but for the most part, still well intact. Third Round-  I start taking some big blows.. Notre Dame got speared by the Seminoles of Florida State and Syracuse got downed by Marquette. Not to mention Pittsburgh is our first number 1 seed to fall to those darlings of the dance, yes they're back, The Butler Bulldogs. Now we're down to the sweet 16, where it starts to mean something.  Schools hang Banners in your honor for making it this far. North Carolina is a team that nobody has been talking about and after the beatdown they put on Marquette, they should be on everyones radar.. two more number ones go down with the Dukies getting beatin single handedly by Derrick Williams of Arizona in a blow out. John Calipari's young Wildcats won an all out brawl against Ohio State (in my opinion the best game so far in the tournament). Now we're getting serious, Elite Eight. One win and you're there. The Final Four! The promise land for college basketball.  I'm writing this on a Saturday night, so we're in between days. Two games were played today and two great games they were.

Game 1:  2 seed Florida Gators Vs. 8 seed Butler Bulldogs.. This game showed me why Butler must be feared when they get to March. They have no quit. I'ts not in their  vocabulary. They could be down 20 and play like they're down 2. Florida had this game in hand with 25 points from big center Vernon Macklin, but just like a Bulldog, they dug down and got dirty. Butler took this game to overtime and with poor clock managment by the Gators, the Bulldogs are going back to the Final Four.
Game 2: 3 seed UCONN Huskies vs. 5 seed Arizona Wildcats...this game was a great matchup of 2 super stars..Derrick Williams of Arizona and Kemba Walker of Uconn.. and again it was Kemba being Kemba. With nasty crossovers and pure step-back jump shots, he led his Huskies back to the Final Four. ON SUNDAY: two more games on Sunday which will fill out the rest of the Four..
Game 3: 2 seed North Carolina Vs. 4 seed Kentucky Wildcats. Prediction...No more Ohio State. North Carolina will seize the opportunity against a young Kentucky team 73-65.
Game 4: 1 seed Kansas Jayhawks Vs. 11 seed VCU Rams.Prediction....WONDER TWIN POWERS ACTIVATE!!!!! Kansas way to much.80-70..

Well,  this is it for my first post. I would love comments. Too long? Too short? Not enough info? All comments are encouraged..and I hope your bracket isn't as busted as mine.. By the way, I had Uconn and Florida in the Finals.. atleast one made it through.. ;)

and in the words of the great Harry Carey.. "live it up, the meter's running."