College Basketball is Frustrating
Well, it’s been three days and I’ve finally realized I probably should not give advice on anything surrounding college basketball. In my defense, I’m pretty sure nobody had a great March in terms of predictions/betting. Keeping on that subject, good win and all for the Tar Heels but I still feel obligated to give Roy Williams and UNC a good ol’ fuck you. Seriously though, never forget 2005. That having been said, that title game was probably one of the hardest, if not the hardest, to watch start to finish mostly because of the ref’s shitting the bed in the second half. Seriously though, let the boys fucking play, calling every ticky-tack foul is doing nobody any good cause neither team could make a free throw to save their lives (UNC – 57.7%, Gonzaga 65.4%). I can’t really be too mad though, I didn’t watch 90% of the games so at least I wasn’t that invested in my bracket or any particular team.
On the subject of negative college basketball news, Illinois basketball is in some deep shit. If you haven’t kept up with the riveting world of college basketball recruiting, on Wednesday, highly touted 5-star Illinois commit Jeremiah Timon requested a release from his national letter of intent (NLI). I don’t want to rub in that I called this exact scenario, but I totally did. I’ll admit, I wasn’t too into the hiring of Brad Underwood when it first came out but I’ve gradually realized that he’s got a pretty good track record, his play style is perfect for Illinois, and most importantly, anything is better than the clusterfuck John Groce turned the program into. However all my positive thoughts on the future of the program hindered on the maintaining of Illinois’ first top 20 recruiting class in what feels like forever. With Tilmon potentially leaving Illinois (there’s still a chance he comes back), the class is just a bunch of small, skinny guards. In case you don’t know basketball, you can’t win with a bunch of dudes that are 6’3″, sub-200 unless you play in a shit conference, which the Big Ten is not. People assure me he’s going to stay with the Illini but with offers on the table from powerhouses like UNC and UCLA, I’m nervous. I think I speak for most Illinois basketball fans when I say I’m pretty sick and tired of watching the team that finish seasons under 20 wins, dropping games to sub-par teams like Rutgers, Penn State, and an out of conference dumpster fire of a team year in and year out. All this mixed with no success in any postseason tournaments will drive even the most patient of fans mad. I’m a Cubs fan, and I’m even getting fed up.
Chi-town back at it again
Cubs baseball is back and defending their illustrious World Series victory, the Bulls are on a typical end of the season run that makes me wonder if they can make some noise in the playoffs (which they never do), and the Hawks have once again reclaimed their throne as kings of the hockey world, clinching the top seed in the Western Conference. Needless to say, it’s a good time to be a Chicago sports fan, aside from Football, the Bears will be garbage for at least another 3 years.
Opening day was obviously not the outcome I expected or wanted in any context, especially since I stayed up until 5am watching the game abroad. Turns out, contrary to my previous beliefs, Carlos Martinez is no scrub. 7.1 innings and 10 strikeouts later, it’s pretty evident the dude is a fucking stud who’s in contention for the Cy Young. Again, I couldn’t give two shits about the Cardinals. The only time I do any sort of digging on the Cards is when I want to REALLY rip on the team, the fans, or St. Louis. After that first game, the Cubs really stepped it up though, winning the next two (that were played as game three of the four game series was postponed) 2-1 and 6-4. Also on the bright side are Jason Heyward’s numbers which are a vast improvement from last year (three game hit streak, .333 batting average). I can’t quite figure out what the fuck is going on with Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo however, as they’re hitting a combined 3-25, with all the hits coming from the big #44. I’m confident they’ll start to show up as the season progresses and it’s just getting used to the season starting up again but we’re lucky to be even 2-1 without production from the great Bryzzo duo of the past. Overall, I can’t complain, we won the series against the hated Cardinals, relief pitching looks like its slowly improving despite the opening day hiccup, and the 100 win season is still looking do-able.
I hate myself, I really do. Every fucking year, the Bulls find some way to convince me that this year they’re the real deal and they’ve got a shot in the playoffs. Using general logic, even an average fan could realize the Bulls have close to no chance in the playoffs. The only way the Bulls go anywhere is if LeBron, Kyrie, IT4, DeMar DeRozan, and Kyle Lowry all miraculously get bent with season-ending injuries. Even then, theres so much disfunction on the team that I doubt we get past the first round. I mean, when a teams’ starting lineup is comprised of a caveman (Robin Lopez), a random lanky German dude (Paul Zipser), a streaky Spanish stretch big man with no post skills (Nikola Mirotic), a douchebag point guard (Rajon Rondo), and one player who is actually good (Jimmy Butler), there’s not a lot of potential to make deep playoff runs. Thats a pretty rag tag group but that’s what the Bulls starting lineup has been relegated to. Random fact of the day, the Bulls are the 3rd best rebounding team in the NBA despite having a dominant big man. I guess thats a positive, but remember they can’t score for shit so I don’t really think its much of an indication of anything. In other news about the Bulls that isn’t negative, Dwyane Wade may return from injury to the lineup Saturday v. the Nets. This is after he was reportedly ruled out for the rest of the season with an elbow injury. Gotta love the heart and determination of the 35 year old legend. Maybe he knows something we don’t. After all, would he really risk getting re-injured if he didn’t think the Bulls had a real shot at the championship (or at least the ECF’s)?
Yeah I know Shawzy isn’t on the Hawks anymore, but I fucking loved that guy and if you say you didn’t, you’re a lying scumbag who knows nothing about hockey and the Hawks. I guess really thats the only thing I would say the Hawks are lacking at the moment, an enforcer who isn’t afraid to make gritty plays and get his hands dirty every once in a while. Other than that, there’s really nothing negative to say about the squad at the moment. Kaner, Toews, and Artemi are firing at all cylinders once again and the Hawks are one of the most entertaining teams to watch in the NHL today. I’d also argue there should be something to be said for the die-hard fans who provide a great atmosphere at the UC night in night out for the boys. Tickets are mad expensive right now, and its truly awesome to see Chicagoans flock in droves to cheer on the Hawks. With only two games left in the regular season, it looks almost certain the Caps are going to hoist the President’s Trophy this season. However, when it comes to the playoffs, nobody is as experienced as the dynasty that is the Chicago Blackhawks. If the playoffs started today, we would be matched up against the Predators, who, like the rest of the NHL, is no match for the Blackhawks. I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I know anything about the Preds cause I don’t and I don’t know why I would want to or why I should care. Every year we take care of business in the playoffs and I expect this year to be no different. I expect another deep run in the playoffs this year as the team is healthy, has depth, and is playing some of their best hockey as of late. I really have no right to be expecting anything from a team thats provided me so much joy (and parades) during the peak years of my childhood, but I’m spoiled. Peaking at the right time is essential for a good playoff run and I think the Hawks have what it takes to take home their 4th in 7 years. #OneGoal