Some thoughts before the weekend.
Kevin Berger breaks down Michigan State - Butler and West Virginia - Duke over at March to March. If you want to read about basketball at the national level, this should be your destination site. Bookmark appropriately, sirs and madams.
He's too humble to brag, but Kevin texted me yesterday that, if betting were legal, he would have won $1,000 intra-game betting on the NIT Final. People who bet on NIT Finals generally also bet at Arkansas dog tracks. He's as degenerate as he is insightful.
To call Oklahoma a basketball program in shambles is an insult to shambles everywhere.
OU needs a point guard, a big man, and a compliance department. On the heels of Kelvin Sampson's serial shenanigans, Big Red Autos, Justin Chaisson's scholarship being honored, and other assorted historical malfeasance, OU can't shake their outlaw image. Which means the the NCAA is going to go after Louisiana Tech. Hard.
Well, at least OU still has their National Merit Scholars program. "Wat happen to helpin dat nigga from da hood" indeed. My understanding is that the NBA can't wait to get a stocky 5-9 point guard with tyrannosaurus rex arms, no defense, and a strong resemblance ot Bushwick Bill of Geto Boys fame. You're going to be big in Kiev, Tommy!
Born Hog Wild expects the Hawgs to be a double digit game winner in 2010. I didn't quite believe it until I went through their Spring previews position by position and now I'm sold on a 9 win season. Petrino has some talent and whatever you think of his indefensible penchant for self-advancement without regard for others, he can coach. This is the SEC. They understand that football is a mercenary enterprise. Your coach doesn't have to be a kindly or benevolent figure. If they can play any defense at all, you've got a legitimate SEC West Dark Horse.
Atomic Teeth offers The Greatest Joke Ever? It is if you're a Mizzou fan.
Will KU's Xavier Henry go pro? Dunno. But the glorious mullet displayed in this post is reason enough to click. I'd say go pro, but it's up to him whether he wants to play chicken with the NBA lockout.
Texas Tech is going to the 3-4. I like this move a lot. Half of the teams in the NFL run a 3-4 while less than a quarter of college teams do. You're now able to recruit and aim for certain types of high school players disregarded or devalued by traditional 4-3 defenses - the 6 foot, 310 pound nose tackle who mauls the running game but can't pass rush, the rangy edge rusher that can't hold the weight to be a proper DE, the ILBs who can strike, are physical, but don't run very well etc. The 3-4 encourages athlete specialization - and doing one thing really well, even if limited in other areas - is where a "lesser" program can find athletes on par with the big boys.
Notre Dame is also going 3-4. I also expect the Irish to make a concerted effort to get back into the game in Texas recruiting.
With all of this 3-4 talk, check out Roll On You Bears for their 3-4 vs. 4-3 rundown.
Speaking of recruiting, the Recruitocosm does a nice job of putting together snippets about current and future prospects. Sheroid Evans has a speed/size combo we haven't seen at safety since Michael Huff. We need to make damn sure we stave off a late push from A&M and their superior track program, as Sheroid has the potential to be a world class sprinter.
Pokelahoma chronicles the draft decline of Dez Bryant. Bryant is a classic example of a guy who has been passed through life because he can run and catch. Now that he's entering the real world of employment with employers asking tough questions about his focus, lack of personal responsibility, and inability to function as an adult rather than as the man-child people always excused and covered for, he's mystified, upset, and feeling defensive, wondering why forces are seemingly arrayed against him. He doesn't get it, obviously. NFL GMs are going to have a chore figuring out what to do with a Top 5 Talent with a Bottom 10 brain.
Better Off Red - best blog title ever? - has your spring primer on Pelini's flatland monster.