Sunday, February 28, 2010

Illini Player Ratings: Vs. Minnesota

Eff this game.  That was not okay, you can't score 14 points in a half.  Maybe this post will be a part of the healing process for me.  Or maybe it will just remind me how pissed off I am. 

Mike Davis: 5
Davis had a pretty standard game with 10 points and 12 boards.  Did not shoot the ball well, but no one did.  He also picked up an unexplained double technical with Minnesota's Joseph.  You know it is a soft T if Davis is involved.
He left his man and allowed a free dunk with 30 seconds to play.  Of course expecting Davis to not have defensive mental breakdowns is like expecting Sean Harrington to come to the game with ruffled hair. 

Demitri McCamey: 3
The Illini just cannot win with McCamey going 4-18 from the field.  It is not going to happen.  McCamey did do some good things in the game, including his 10 assists and a clutch 3-pointer.  

The downfall of the Illini was his decision making down the stretch.  He almost turned the ball over on a pass to Davis that eventually was swung to DJ for the shot that cut the lead to 59-58.  Then on the very next possession he makes the exact same drive to the other side of the lane and had his pass to Davis intercepted. Everyone on Minnesota was playing the pass and he needed to shoot it.

He missed a 3 with the Illini down 61-58 and 30 seconds to play.  I can't begrudge him the shot because he got a good look, even though it was a quick shot, he just needed to hit it.

The decision that I found completely unacceptable was D-Mac fouling Ralph Sampson with 10 seconds left after Tisdale's lay-up cut the lead to 62-60.  It was his 5th foul and he needed to let someone else make that foul.  It forced Jeff Jordan to bring the ball up in the final possession for the Illini, not having Demetri on the floor killed any chance the Illini had.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Slammin' Sam on Sports Media Links

It’s Thursday, and of course that means Slammin’ Sam’s Links.

We start with a goodbye, followed by a hello.

Goodbye LT. LaDainian Tomlinson ranks eighth all-time in rushing yards and second in career rushing touchdowns. Not to mention he’s one of my favorites. Here’s hoping for a rebirth for No. 21.

Hello to Marlon Byrd. Most view him as Milton Bradley’s replacement with the Cubs, but don’t let Byrd hear disparaging words about his former Rangers teammate.

Staying in the Windy City, at least one Blackhawks player appears bound to receive a hero’s welcome after the Olympics.

As for the man who shot the Hawks’ Patrick Kane and his teammates past Switzerland on Wednesday, props to Zach Parise.

Last, boos for Jay McGwire. Predictably, he wants to capitalize on his brother’s re-entry into the spotlight.

Thanks for spending part of your Thursday here at Free Keon.

Sam Miller/Free Keon

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Illini Player Ratings: @ Michigan

Let's start this thing.

Mike Davis: 6
Grabbed 12 boards in a game where if you stood around the basket for two minutes 7 rebounds would hit you in the face.  Both teams will be writing ESPN an apology letter today.

Davis took advantage of Michigan's lack of offensive rebounding and cherry-picked himself a couple dunks.  I hope he realizes that he can't do that against teams with actual post players.

Demetri McCamey: 7
One of the only players in the game that actually shot the ball well.    Might have had more than 4 assists if his teammates were hitting their shots.
As much of a downer as the game was, his alley-oop to Davis that clinched the game was pretty sweet.

Even with that play, the highlight of the night for D-Mac was being named to Steve Lavin's All-Big Ten team alongside Chris Kramer, Chris Kramer, Chris Kramer, and Chris Kramer's punchable face.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Say Hey to Willie Mays

Slammin’ Sam on Sports Media

Pound for pound James S. Hirsch’s “Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend” rivals Bill Simmons' The Book of Basketball, and boy, does the baseball book pack a punch.

The brand new 628-page offering (a mere 566 pgs. if you exclude the bibliography and index) maintains for the most part the mystique surrounding the greatest living ballplayer. That’s some of what allows Mays to endure in the sports fan’s consciousness. But finally, with Mays’ support, Hirsch permits some light to shine through a window.

This Week in Golf

PGA Tour – The Waste Management Phoenix Open will be held this week at the TPC of Scottsdale. The loudest hole in golf is Scottdale’s famed par-3 16th where some very raucous crowds will be cheering on a very competitive field.

Goodbye and Good Riddance

It's all over.  The Tyrus Thomas era of Chicago basketball is over.  Thanks for the memories.  Go Rockies.

The Bulls accomplished two things on Thursday when they traded Ty Thomas and John Salmons' beard for similar players with expiring contracts. 

First of all they ridded themselves of the walking, breathing bad jumpshot/poor decision-waiting-to-happen known as Larry Hughes Tyrus.
Secondly, and most importantly, the Bulls have cleared up the cap space neccesary to re-sign Ben Wallace or possibly some other big-time player in this summer's free-agent madness.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Illini Player Ratings: @ Purdue

I think I am going to start giving individual player ratings after every Illini game.  They do it in soccer, and I like it.  We'll see how it goes.

Mike Davis: 7 (out of 10)
Bruce said "I thought Mike Davis was finally Mike Davis," after the game. 
 I kind of agree, but only in the sense that his jump shot came back.  I guess that is all I am going to ask of Davis for now, because the Illini are a much better team when Davis is shooting well. 
Unfortunately, when it mattered Davis missed a bunny around the 2:00 mark off a McCamey dish that would have cut the deficit to 3. 

Amazing stat - Davis had 5 blocks in the game, in his previous 15 games (going back to the Missouri loss) he has 5 total blocks.  Do I think that Davis is a inconsistent headcase?  Yes, yes I do.

Sour Grapes

This will be my first ever 'we got screwed' post not involving Mexico.  I'm upset about a lot of things that happened in yesterday's game.
First of all the officiating.  Anytime the free throw advantage is 28 to 5 in favor of the home team, you can just assume that someone is getting screwed.
Specifically, the thing that killed the Illini was the backcourt illegal screen call on Mike Davis, followed by the blocking call against Bill Cole.

It happened with 3:00 to play and the Illini down 3 with the ball.  The screen that Davis was legal.  He slid into position and was established when Kramer (more on him in a moment) ran into him and dropped like Jason Bourne had sniped him from the nosebleed section.
Then on the ensuing Purdue possesion, Keaton Grant drove the lane and trucked Cole to draw a blocking foul.  In a game where literally every block/charge call went against the Illini, this one was the most egregious and it turned the game.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Slammin' Sam on Sports Media Links

Happy Thursday, Everyone. Thanks for not giving Slammin’ Sam on Sports Media and Free Keon up for Lent. Today’s links are a little more locally focused for a change. In between, there’s plenty of national sports stories to talk about.

We start with the Olympics, of course.

Speed skater Shani Davis’ path toward gold began in Evanston where club founder Saunders “Sam” Hicks helped Davis ply his trade on the way to Davis’ defeat of Stephen Colbert.

From Shani Davis and Lindsey Vonn, the focus now shifts to a figure skating duel tonight.

On to topic No. 2. With pitchers and catchers reporting to warm baseball locales, White Sox mouthpiece A.J. Pierzynski says the South Siders did everything they could to lure Johnny Damon. Now the baseball’s in Damon’s glove.

While one player may be moving to the Windy City, another appears to be on his way out by this afternoon's NBA trade deadline.

Finally, I couldn’t get away, even if that meant a longer blog than usual, without saying RIP with an update on star recruit Rajaan Bennett. How sad.

Sam Miller/Free Keon

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

This Week in Golf

PGA Tour – The Accenture Match Play Championship is an exciting break from the standard medal play tournaments seen most weeks on the PGA Tour. This event played in the desert mountains near Tucson, Arizona is styled after the NCCA basketball tournament, 64 of the world’s top golfers are seeded and pitted against one another in a match play bracket system. Every sports fan should fill out his own bracket even if it’s just to catch the fever for mid-March basketball. If you do follow along, though, beware that the depth of the field and true unpredictability of the game do not typically yield a star-studded championship match on Sunday.

Turning up the Heat with CBB's Nolan Richardson

He’s back. Brand new on the shelf is Nolan Richardson’s biography, “Forty Minutes of Hell.” The title refers to Richardson’s coaching style with the Arkansas Razorbacks.

I remember watching Richardson and thinking that this was someone who really knew how to turn up the heat in front of a TV microphone, as well. Not that Richardson didn’t have every right - For years, he was relegated to the other extreme, forced to keep his anger in its place – Richardson had to keep his cool, even as he smoldered inside.

D-Will and his best friend Lance Armstrong

Illinois' own Deron Williams is bigger than he has ever been. I'm not talking about size-wise, because that was his chubby freshman year.

Deron is on the national stage like never before, due to his first time selection as an NBA All-Star as well as appearing in a new Nike commercial alongside other megastars like Maria Sharapova, LaDanian Tomlinson, and Lance Armstrong.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Slammin' Sam on Sports Media Links

Good afternoon, fellow winter perseverers, (Note, if you are in a warm climate, please refrain from gloating. Thank you)

A lot of people are tired of this wintry stuff and wish it would go away. No doubt Tar Heels coach Roy Williams wishes his postgame comments would vanish too. The Heels have had a miserable season, but upon further review, there might just be bigger problems out there. I linked to the Huffington Post blog post here in case the clip is removed. Play it and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Golfer Sergio Garcia, on the other hand, is hopeful that his troubles are behind him. Remember, Phil Mickelson isn’t the only golfer out there with loads of talent, sans Tiger.

Here’s an interesting look at the ongoing issue of football concussions.

One day before the Opening Ceremonies, Bill Plaschke examines the hot button, scratch that, lightening rod that is Lindsey Vonn. If the name doesn’t ring a bell immediately, the story will.

Last, Brian Gomez, shares the story of the Team USA flag bearer.

Thanks for making Free Keon and the Slammin’ Sam on Sports Media Links Edition part of your Thursday!

Sam Miller/Free Keon

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Chicken Scratch about Golf That's Worth Reading

Slammin' Sam on Sports Media

Don’t worry. We’re not becoming a golf blog here at Free Keon. We’ll leave the reinvention stuff to Madonna.

Nonetheless, this week I do have a golf book for you to pick up. Champions Tour Co-founder Gardner Dickinson had this to say about golf: They say golf is like life, but don't believe them. Golf is more complicated than that. Published in 2009, “Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Golf Book” is where life and the dogged pursuit called golf intersect.

Another old man worries about student safety

After the Illini's 78-73 victory over Michigan State, there was ESPN's king of the cliche Dick Vitale to rain on the parade of joy as the students rushed the court.
Dick did his best Andy Rooney impression and complained that 'someone was going to get hurt', and that there was 'no reason' for the students to rush the court.  

First of all, I have watched countless games called by Dickie, many of them ACC battles, and never heard him take this stance before.  So allow me to yell DOUBLE STANDARD, and ACC BIAS at Dick. 

Now that I have that out of my system, let me really break down the idea that rushing on to the court after a win is "dangerous".

What happens when the student section rushes the court is a couple hundred kids make the treacherous journey through Mordor with the hopes of freeing themselves from the power of the ring by throwing it in a pit of fire while Sauron's army haunts their every step.

This Week in Golf

PGA Tour – The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is one of the fans’ favorite events, and this year’s field is stronger than usual since many of the players hope to return here for the U.S. Open in June.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Golf: This Week in

Due to the growing popularity of golf blogs on FreeKeon, as evidenced by Slammin Sam’s statistical report showing FreeKeon in the top 50 of golf blogs (across the entire world I assume), I thought it was time that the weekly snore-fest that is “This Week in Golf” had a little competition. As a result I would like to present to you the first of my weekly (when I remember) installments of “Golf: This Week in” which will feature exclusive coverage of the U.S. Pro Mini Golf Tour.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Slow Painful Decent

That was fun for none. 
It wasn't fun for me watching on TV , it wasn't fun for the Illini players to grind out another game against a horrible opponent, it wasn't fun for the Illini Crush who made the 4 hour drive to Iowa City just to watch crimes against basketball, it wasn't fun for Wayne Larivee who dearly misses his best friend Doug Altenberger, it wasn't fun for Brennan Cougill who missed at least three meals and four 3-pointers over the course of the game, and it wasn't fun for the rest of the Iowa players who took time out of their busy alcohol-related arrest schedule /agri-business schedule just to lose another game.

Slammin' Sam on Sports Media Links

Plenty of news to discover today, Free Keon readers. I’m certain I could double or triple my usual Slammin’ Sam on Sports Media Links Edition, but I’ll stick to the usual five.

Hop on for the ride! We’ll start with the aftermath of college football’s Signing Day. Florida reigned supreme in its recruiting efforts, and the Illini, well, that’s TBD.

And let’s not forget Rich Rodriguez and the Maize and Blue. It never hurts Illini fans to hear what misdeeds, miscues, and general pitfalls could be going on up in Ann Arbor. From the sound of things, observers closer to the action up there aren’t too sure about yesterday.

Carrying on, today’s links could have been all about Michigan. In case you missed it, the current Big Ten Player of the Year, Kalin Lucas suffered a high ankle sprain in last night’s first MSU blemish.

Giants Defensive End and catalyst Osi Umenyiora is hurting too. Except what's dogging him is his pride. He’s threatening to take his ball and go home.

Finally, on the lighter side, a collection of Who Dat parodies. May the best team win Sunday.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Sam Miller/Free Keon

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

No Home Run Controversy Here

Slammin’ Sam on Sports Media

Late last week, Tim Redding had people chattering about baseball’s most famous home run number. Out of the blue, Redding claimed that former teammate, Mike Bacsik, surrendered No. 756 to Barry Bonds on purpose. That way, Redding said, Bacsik would forever be linked to history. Bacsik claims this accusation is ridiculous.

This week, Slammin’ Sam on Sports Media looks back at baseball’s most famous home run, “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World.” The blast is the subject of Brian Biegel’s 2009 book, “Miracle Ball.”

This Week in Golf

PGA Tour – The West Coast Swing of the American tour stays in southern California this week. LA’s Northern Trust Open is played at the renowned Riviera Country Club. Some of the top players in the game will be making their season debuts here.
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