Saturday, March 31, 2007

Final Forecast

Before I make my picks for today, has anyone else noticed that the website for the company that covers the Final Four ( has the worst analysis of the games themselves? Dennis Dodd and Michael Freeman have written a series of amateur articles that really add no value leading up to the game itself. On the flip-side,, while usually mocked by bloggers such as myself, has been extraordinary in their coverage, breaking down the game from every angle, as well as giving the games a historical perspective as well as projecting forward into the nba draft. Heck, even Bill Simmons' blog has been a pretty good read. (It's amazing how much better his writing has become since he stopped resenting being "just" a blogger and began to embrace his role.) I just thought I'd give some credit where it was due.

As for my picks, I have personal interests clouding my view. Whenever that happens, I retreat back to my comfort zone- gambling. (Note: I'm not really that great of a sports' bettor, but at least it's comfortable.) Assuming I had access to a sportsbook (but really Feds, there's no need to investigate that), here's where my money would lie:

Ohio State +1 vs Georgetown.
Neither of these teams have looked dominant on their way to the Final Four, as both have had to rally from 2nd half deficits in their last two games. This game is being billed as Oden vs Hibbert, but I think the backcourt is where this game will be decided; and that's where the Buckeyes have the edge. While Hibbert and Oden neutralize each other, Mike Conley Jr, Ron Lewis and Daequan Cook will be the difference makers in this one.
Ohio State 70, Georgetown 62

Florida -3 vs UCLA
If Ben Howland insists on double-teaming Joakim Noah everytime he touches the ball, this game will be over by halftime. Noah is a pass-first forward who is taller than anyone who will double him. When UCLA runs a second defender at him, the game becomes too easy for the Gators. If UCLA plays him straight up, then the game just comes down to which way the whistle blows, as Lorenzo Mata, Alfred Aboya, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute have all had troubles with fouls against big men. If UCLA plays the perfect game, they can beat Florida, but that's asking a lot for a team that's travelled across country to play what amounts to a Florida home game.
Florida 73, UCLA 64

You knew I couldn't actually pick the Bruins, right? While I'm not the most superstitious person on the planet, I'm not completely devoid of it either.

One thing is certain- win or lose- I'll be drinking heavily tonight. It's just a question of whether it's in celebration or drowning sorrows. Cheers.

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Friday, March 30, 2007

This Hospital Ain't No Holiday Express

Sorry for the lack of updates the last few days. I'm doing the hospital stuff this week, and they don't have Wi-Fi access in the rooms. I guess this place decided to spend their technology funds on monitors and diagnostic machines. Whatever.

Anyway, we should be home later this afternoon, so expect an update this evening. Word in LA is that there's a pretty big basketball game this weekend, so maybe I should write something about it sometime before tipoff.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

YouTube Tuesday - More Reasons To Mock the French

Tony Parker released his new CD, and showing the same creativity off the court that he has on the court, he named his debut CD "Tony Parker." (I thought "Honey Smacks" would have been a great title, but maybe there were copyright issues.) Here are a couple videos that have already been released in France. They are pretty standard hip hop videos, but have the added wrinkle that you can tell throughout the first video that Tony Parker just isn't quite certain how close he can get to the models without pissing off Eva Longoria.

The second video clearly defines Tony Parker as a baller posing as a hip hop artist, rather than the usual hip hop artist posing as a baller. As far as that goes, I guess I would say that Parker draws similar comparisons to Shaq in that I can't understand what either one is saying- tho with Tony it's because I don't speak French, whereas with Shaq it's because I'm rusty on my mumble-ese.

As this article points out, Tony Parker is hoping to follow the path of another French athlete turned pop star, Yannick Noah. Other than fathering Joakim Naoh, this was Yannick's gift to the people:

Watching that video, it becomes pretty apparent where Joakim got his sweet moves.

If there's any reason to root for Florida in the Final Four, it's for the opportunity to see Noah grind Billy Packer into retirement during the Championship ceremony. It would be kind of a reverse Al McGuire situation (unfortunately I couldn't find the clip of him freaking George Zidek, so this will have to do):

And yes, that is Donovan McNabb making goofy faces in the background.

Ok, that's more than enough vids for today. Not sure how I ended up turning the Lounge into an all-male revue. Sorry about that.


Monday, March 26, 2007

Places to Go, Doctors to See

I'll be out all day today. The site will be updated later tonight.

Enjoy your Monday...unless you're a Tar Heels fan, in which case you should call in sick and continue to drink heavily.

Friday, March 23, 2007

NFL Trivia Time- Booty Edition

The Oakland Raiders are one of many NFL teams that are in a state of disarray in the quarterback department. New head coach Lane Kiffen has done his part to solve the problem by signing Josh Booty, who has been out of the league for three years but has the credentials of being the brother of current USC QB John David Booty; and he also happens to be tied with me for career NFL completions. I'm guessing the Raiders' next move will be to sign LenDale White's cousin to play safety and Reggie Bush's parents to book the team's hotel accommodations.

This move was probably just done as a goodwill gesture to the Booty family, who Kiffen likely got to know well during his transactions in John David's recruitment. However, if Josh Booty makes the team and the Raiders draft JaMarcus Russell, they will have two quarterbacks who went to LSU. The person who brought this to my attention then asked if this would be the first time that a NFL team had two QBs on the roster from the same university. My initial response was that there's no way it could be, but for the life of me, I can't think of another example of this occurrence.

Fortunately, my readers are much smarter than I am. So I'll pose the question to you. What other NFL teams have had two QBs from the same college? Help me out here.

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An Open Letter to CBS

Dear CBS Directors,

I know you have a lot of sponsors who have logos that need to be presented coming out of each commercial, but this evening when USC takes on North Carolina, it may be the last opportunity to show the SC Song Girls. For all the basketball fans who are choosing to stay home and watch TV this Friday night rather than going out to a bar, night club, or strip joint, could you please reward their loyalty with a few unobstructed shots of these lovely ambassadors of the game:

Thank you kindly,

Basketball fans everywhere

P.S. Keep your cameramen ready for some nice shots of the Ducks cheerleaders too.

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Is the Pac-10 Player of the Year Ready for the NBA Afterall?

Heading into this season, it was generally assumed that Arron Afflalo would use this year to work on his jumper and solidify his status as a first round draft pick. For the first 29 games of the season, it looked like the plan was coming to fruition and Afflalo was as good as gone to the NBA. But GMs have a tendency to pay more attention to players during postseason play, and that hasn't gone so well for Afflalo. While he has still been a great leader for the team- playing solid defense and rebounding aggressively- what scouts really wanted to see from him was a reliable outside shot, and that has deserted him lately. Discounting the Weber State game, which never really had the pressure of a tournament game, here are Afflalo's numbers from the field this postseason:

vs Cal: 1-7
vs Ind: 2-11
vs Pit: 3-11

That's just 20.7% over three games. For a player that lacks the explosion and one on one moves of the other two guards he'll be competing with in the draft (ex. Nick Young), this cold streak couldn't have come at a worse time. As things currently stand, Afflalo has likely slipped to the second round of a very deep draft, where only one year of his NBA contract would be guaranteed. Would it really be worth the risk for Afflalo to leave early to be a second round pick? Big Baby Davis has already announced that he'll be taking that chance, but his situation is a little different. Davis realizes that his star is fading fast and he needs to make the leap while he's still worthy of being drafted at all.

Fortunately, Afflalo still has another game left to right the ship. If UCLA has any hopes of beating Kansas, they are going to need Afflalo to return to form. If he can give them a big game on Saturday and get the Bruins into the Final Four, then he should be able to re-emerge as a late first round pick; and he would be well advised to declare for the draft. However if his cold streak continues, then UCLA fans may get their wish of "one more year," afterall.

(As for Darren Collison, however, I think he's on his way to the NBA. He might not be completely ready for the NBA yet, but he'll be one of the top two point guards if he declares, so it's probably in his best interest to declare now while his name is hot.)

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Patriots Cheerleaders May Need Help Oiling Up

This might be old news that I just missed while I was out. It seems like the kind of thing that With Leather would have been all over. So if this is indeed outdated, I apologize.

The New England Patriots recently began their auditions for this year's cheerleading squad. An initial group of 300 has been reduced down to 55. These girls will compete with the existing squad in April to determine the final composition of the 24 girl team. Once the roster is finalized, the cheerleaders will be off to Punta Cana to shoot their 2008 calendar. Accompanying them on the April 28 to May 5 shoot will be a video crew to document the magic.

But why should the camera crew get to have all the fun? Now you can stalk and ogle the Patriots cheerleaders too! An online travel agent has put together a package so that the average horny Joe can stay at the same resort as the Patriots girls while they shoot their calendar. For the low, low rate of $690 for 5 nights with air included (from NYC), any loyal NFL fan can troll the Majestic Colonial Punta Cana in the hopes of stumbling across a cheerleader bikini photoshoot (wow, those three words look beautiful put together.) And even if you don't see the shoot itself, chances are pretty good that you'd run into a few girls working on their tans by the pool. Plus, it's an all-inclusive resort, so it won't even cost you anything extra to order Ashleigh vanGerven (pictured) a drink.

Sure, it might at first seem a little creepy and sad to fly to the Dominican Republic just to try to see a few cheerleaders in their bikinis. But I think the sadder alternative is not trying at all. So have a great trip. And send me lots of photos. And just a word of advice- when you talk to a hostess in the Dominican, make sure you say Punta Cana and not Puta Canta, or you might have some strange results.

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Who's Got Next?

If you ever wanted to play pro basketball, now would be a good time to send a few select GMs and coaches your game tapes. With the season nearing a close, teams are fighting for lottery ping pong balls, and the last thing they want to do is risk winning a few games by playing their starters. In Boston, Doc Rivers left his starters on the bench and watched as his second string players blew a 17 point, 2nd half lead to Charlotte. In Milwaukee, Andrew Bogut and Charlie Villanueva both have nagging injuries which they could play through if the team were in contention for the playoffs. However since the only thing they're contending for is Kevin Durant, the Bucks have decided to shelve both players for the remainder of the season.

Boston and Milwaukee play each other twice in April, and losing those games could have a major impact on the future of their franchise. There's no way that a coach wants to risk giving minutes to any players that could actually score a few points. So here's a golden opportunity for any intramural or rec league player that's ever dreamed of undressing in a NBA locker room. Just show up to a practice and see if you can get a 10 day contract. Heck, if David Noel and Brian Scalabrine can get double digit minutes, then why not you?

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Will Jim Boeheim Please Stop Whining Now?

When the pairings for the NCAA tournament were announced, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim appeared on ESPN as frequently as he could to air his grievances on the perceived snub his Orangemen received at the hands of the NCAA selection committee. As the weeks progressed and the N.I.T. tournament commenced, it was apparent that Boeheim still felt that his team was wronged, and that attitude trickled down to his entire team in their comments to the media. After losing in the quarterfinals to Clemson tonight in a game that was much closer than it should have been, hopefully everyone realizes that the N.I.T. is exactly where Syracuse belonged. More importantly, I hope this game is enough to shut Boeheim up... at least until the start of next season.

Why was Boeheim so upset about missing the NCAAs this year anyway? Basketball fans already saw this storyline last year when we pretended for a week that Gerry McNamara somehow symbolized all that was good about college basketball as he led Syracuse to the Big East tournament title- and then proceeded to watch the Orangemen get ousted in the first round by Texas A&M. Even if Syracuse had been invited to the tournament this year instead of a less deserving at-large team (Stanford), is there any reason to expect that Syracuse would have been able to get past the first round of the NCAA's when it couldn't even make it to the Final Four of the N.I.T.- a tournament designed for the bubble teams?

I can understand a school like Air Force being upset about not making the tournament. For a school such as Air Force, just making the big dance is a huge accomplishment in itself. But at Syracuse, the bar should be set a lot higher. Jim Boeheim is a hall of fame coach who has appeared in three NCAA championship games. Would a first round loss in this tournament really have transformed this disappointing season into a success? The University of Arizona had a season similar to that of Syracuse. I'm pretty sure that after their first round loss, none of Arizona's fans took any consolation in the fact that their team at least made the tournament. They're probably just glad it's over. Now Syracuse's season is over as well, and it's time for Jimmy to take his ball and go home...quietly.

(As an aside, if asked before the tournament started, I would have said that the N.I.T. had long since outlived its usefulness and should be discontinued. However today at both Clemson and Air Force, fans rushed the court after victories sent the home team to Madison Square Garden for the semifinals. So either college kids will get excited about virtually anything, or the N.I.T. still has some credibility afterall. Considering how happy I used to get in college about a free pizza, it's probably a little of both.)

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Can I Get an Extra Ham with Mayo?

Credit goes to the AOL FanHouse for this find. Here's footage from USC-bound OJ Mayo's final high school game. According to the AOL article, Mayo's team was ahead by a large margin, so he decided to toss the ball off the backboard to himself, dunk it, and then launch the ball into the crowd.

On one hand, I get that he's just a kid and wants to do a little celebrating. On the other hand, where the hell is his coach in all of this? Can you imagine how Bob Knight or Roy Williams would have responded to a stunt like that? Fortunately for Mayo, he's going to Tim Floyd's program so he needn't worry about any of that discipline stuff. Tho I'm guessing that whistle happy Pac-10 referee Dave Libby has a few technical fouls just waiting for "Juice Deuce."


Feels Good to Be Home Again

I have some amazing readers. I have been overwhelmed by the compassion and support that our family has received from everyone in the comments and via email. It really has been very uplifting to receive your words of encouragement. For that, my entire family thanks you.

I'm happy to report that after 11 days and nights in the hospital, our family was able to go home this weekend. Tyler has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and while the mass was situated in a very precarious position (crushing his trachea and major blood vessels) it is a very treatable form of cancer. His chemotherapy protocol is for a full two years- and there will certainly be ups and downs in that time- but given the direness of the situation two weeks ago, we'll gladly take this over the alternative.

Despite the cynicism that I exhibit on this site, I'm generally a positive person. Here are some of the peripheral benefits we've already received by virtue of his condition:

-Being stuck in the hospital without internet access, it was impossible to read Bill Simmons' live blog of the first few days of NCAA tournament.

-When Halloween rolls around, all I'll have to do is put a Charlie Villanueva jersey on Tyler and his costume will be set.

-Tyler loves going to sporting events, but he'll have to avoid large crowds while his immune system is suppressed. So this summer, we'll be the preeminent experts on west coast college baseball.

Many of you have asked if there was any way you could help out. Honestly, just knowing that so many wonderful people have Tyler in their thoughts has given us more strength than you could possibly imagine. However while I was in the pediatric intensive care unit, I saw the following groups have a very tangible impact on either our family or the families nearby:

Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation
Make-A-Wish Foundation
Michael Hoefflin Foundation
Ronald McDonald House

If you make charitable contributions throughout the year, you may wish to consider some of these organizations as worthy of your funds.

Also, I'll be donating all income from this site to those four charities. So if you click a Google ad, you'll be helping out.

Thank you again to everyone for your support. I plan to return all of your emails individually, but please understand if it takes awhile.

And finally, my next entry will actually be about sports...or cheerleaders...or both.

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

You Don't Have to Go To Your Homepage, But You Can't Stay Here

Life has taken a twist for me. I don't talk about my "real" life much in The Lounge since this site is meant to be a diversion from real life. I have a four year-old son, Tyler, and this week, he was diagnosed with cancer. He is responding well to chemotherapy, and we are all very hopeful for a full recovery. However, we have a long road ahead, and this site has become an afterthought in my mind. I'm sure I won't be updating for the next week or two, and after that, who knows...

I'm taking an optimistic approach, and at some point, I think life will resume some sense of normalcy. But that is a bit of a ways away. Until then, I'd like to thank all of my readers for indulging me the past year and a half. Tho we've never met, I consider many of you to be friends.

Wishing you all laughter, peace, and plenty of March Madness.

So long for now,

aka Insomniac


Friday, March 02, 2007

Warm Fuzzy Thoughts About Sports and Hotties

I'm writing this from the fireplace lounge of my hotel in Yosemite National Park. Having just spent the morning hiking the trail to Yosemite Falls, I've been overcome by a sense of peace and tranquility. It must be the same kind of feeling that allows Jim Nantz to think of everyone in his viewing audience as his friends. Or maybe it's just the brandy talking.

While the nature walks are nice and all, I was just as pleased to find out that my hotel room had Fox Sports, so I was able to watch UCLA clinch the Pac-10 title outright at Washington State. While Ben Howland is primarily known as a defensive coach, it's been great to watch his offense mature as the year has progressed. As a Bruins fan who had to endure the Lavin years and watch the exact same offensive set time and time again (small forward runs the baseline while ball is swung around perimeter until finally a guard tries to break down his man), it's so refreshing to see a team run multiple sets, each of which have many options. I quite enjoyed that.

Here are some other enjoyable things on the net:

With Leather has posted the first video that has ever made me want to watch soccer.

MJD presents the defendant's case in the ongoing Pacman Jones strip club saga.

After seeing this posting on The Hater Nation, it now makes sense why Carl Pavano would much rather stay home on the DL than actually pitch in the majors again.
(Update: WBRS Sports Blog has more information on the reason for Pavano's disappearance.)

The M Zone thinks that USC's streak of dominant recruiting may be coming to an end. (Tho as long as their competition in Southern California is Karl Dorrell, I think they'll be ok.)

Melissa Stark is my sleeper pick to win the sideline reporters' tournament at The Big Picture. Her first step towards victory begins now.

I haven't actually read this post at The Sports Dad, so I can't tell you if the actual text is any good. The photo of Jennifer Love Hewitt's chest however is mesmerizing.

Pacifist Viking believes that Drew Bennett should be a top priority for the Vikings to target in free agency.

I've been a little too consumed with basketball to start thinking about baseball yet (tho that will change next weekend when I go to Spring Training.) Complete Sports however has a nice primer for anyone participating in a fantasy baseball league this season.

And finally, if you haven't been to Deadspin today, this photo makes me want to buy an Urlacher jersey.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Some Quick Housekeeping in the Lounge

I have a busy day ahead of me, so this will have to be a short entry this morning. Either "I'm sorry" or "You're welcome." I guess it's all a matter of perspective.

The Bears finally came to an agreement with Lovie Smith, signing him to a 4 year, $22 million contract extension, which is quite a healthy raise from the $1.45 million he was due to make next year. To try to get a grasp on just how much money that is- if you were to take one season's credit card statements for every NFL team physician and add up the charges for HGH, your total would roughly be the equivalent of what Lovie Smith will make next season.

One of the names to have surfaced in this latest drug sting is that of the former heavyweight champion, Evander Holyfield. According to documents obtained by SI, Holyfield was allegedly using the pseudonym Evan Fields to obtain either steroids, HGH, or both. When asked about the name Evan Fields, Holyfield said, "I have no idea who that is." Of course, he also had the same response when asked about his sons, his dogs, or the image presented to him in a mirror.

Trade rumor that's too good to be true: The Titans are desperate to get rid of Pacman Jones. The Raiders are desperate to get rid of Randy Moss. Could the two teams be working out a deal to exchange disorderly players? One thing that could help facilitate the deal is that both players share the same drug dealer.

Could one devastating on court injury open the door for playing time for a former player who had a devastating off court injury? The Los Angeles Clippers are in need of a backup point guard since Shaun Livingston tore every piece of fiber in his knee Tuesday night. The Clippers might take a look at former Duke guard Jay Williams, whose NBA career came to an end years ago after a brutal car accident. So it would be, Livingston out and Williams in. That's just a rumor I heard. I don't know if it has any legs.

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