Saturday, August 27, 2016

2010 NBA Finals: Boston Celtics

After a let down in the 2009 NBA Playoffs, the Boston Celtics have surprised many by defeating the Orlando Magic 4-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals to earn their second trip to the NBA Finals in three seasons.

The following are profiles of the players that will try to continue Boston’s storied legacy in the NBA Finals.

#20 – Ray Allen

Guard Ray Allen joined the Celtics in 2007 after being traded by the Seattle Supersonics. Allen was a key part of the Celtics’ victory in the 2008 NBA Finals, most notably tying a Finals record with seven three-pointers in Game 6 against the Los Angeles Lakers. Allen also set a new Finals record with 22 three-pointers in the series. A threat from the field and the free throw line, this nine-time NBA All-Star will play an important role in bringing the Celtics their second title in three years.

#42 – Tony Allen

Currently in his sixth season with Boston, Tony Allen has averaged nearly 17 minutes a game in the 2010 NBA Playoffs. In three playoff series this postseason, Allen has averaged 2.0 rebounds per game, 5.9 points per game, and is shooting nearly 76% from the free throw line. Receiving valuable minutes off the bench, Allen could play a huge part in the 2010 NBA Finals.

#7 – Marquis Daniels

Signed as a free agent in September 2009, Daniels is a versatile performer, despite only appearing in 3.7 minutes per game this postseason. Daniels production in the playoffs has been a significant drop off, only averaging 1.3 points per game compared to the 5.6 points per game he averaged during the regular season. Watch for Daniels to attempt to redeem himself in the Finals.

#40 – Michael Finley

Acquired in March 2010 after leaving the San Antonio Spurs, Finley has spent the last two months coming off the bench for the Celtics. Clearly at the end of his career, Finley is looking to build on his 0.9 points per game during the playoffs in order to add another championship ring to his collection.

#11 – Glen Davis

Seeing almost 20 minutes per game this postseason, Glen “Big Baby” Davis has emerged as a force under the hoop, giving the Celtics 7.5 points per game and 4.1 rebounds per game. Big Baby’s performance could be a wild card upon which the success or failure of Boston’s championship run depends.

#5 – Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett’s performance in the 2010 NBA Playoffs has been nothing short of what we have come to expect of K.G. Garnett has posted 14.9 points per game and 8.2 rebounds per game this postseason. With a surprising resurgence this postseason, the 12-time NBA All-Star is in a fantastic position to win his second NBA Championship in three seasons.

#43 – Kendrick Perkins

Celtics’ center Kendrick Perkins has seen nearly 26 minutes per game during this postseason. Despite earning significant time, Perkins has only posted 5.6 points per game during the playoffs. However he has brought down 6.4 rebounds per game and will need to continue dominance on the offensive and defensive boards if the Celtics are to be victorious in the next round.

#34 – Paul Pierce

Long-time Boston Celtic Paul Pierce is arguably the most dangerous weapon on the Celtics’ roster. Having won the NBA Finals MVP award just two seasons ago, Pierce is averaging 19.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game this postseason. If Pierce plays well, the rest of the team will follow, and there is no reason to expect anything less than the same performance we saw in Pierce’s last NBA Finals appearance.

#9 – Rajon Rondo

As LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers were eliminated in the second round of the 2010 Playoffs, one name was repeatedly discussed as causing the downfall of the Cavs: Rajon Rondo. Rondo has averaged 16.7 points, 10.0 assists, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.1 steals per game this postseason. If Rondo’s performance against the Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals is any indicator of his performance in the upcoming Finals, Rondo will be a handful for the Celtics’ opponent.

#4 – Nate Robinson

Since joining the Celtics in February of this year, Nate Robinson posted 6.5 points in 26 games with Boston. Robinson has only appeared in 10 games this postseason, averaging 3.7 points per game in the playoffs, but has come up big when called upon, especially during the Eastern Conference Finals.

#44 – Brian Scalabrine

Scalabrine joined the Celtics in 2005 after being drafted and playing for the New Jersey Nets for the first four years of his NBA career. Scalabrine has been a non-factor for the Celtics despite having a high free throw shooting percentage. He has been injury-plagued and has not appeared in a game since April 14.

#30 – Rasheed Wallace

After joining the Celtics last summer, Wallace played in 79 games, averaging 9.0 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. This has carried over to Boston’s current playoff run where Wallace posted 9.0 points and 2.5 rebounds per game in the Eastern Conference Finals. Wallace could play a huge part in the Finals, hoping to win his second NBA Championship.

#13 – Shelden Williams

Williams joined the Celtics prior to the 2009-10 season and appeared in 54 games. Williams has appeared in six games this postseason, posting only 2.2 points per game. Williams should contribute minimally during the Finals unless an injury increases his playing time.

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Sources:
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Tags:2010 NBA Finals: Boston Celtics

2010 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Sleepers

It is officially tournament time and with the Big Dance comes all of the hoopla that makes the month of March truly special in the world of sports. One of the major attractions to watching the NCAA Tournament is to see which teams are going to defy odds and come out with a victory or two that many people didn’t see coming. Those sleeper teams and Cinderella stories are the true lifeline and the reason why the tourney has thrived and flourished for years. Here is a look at this year’s sleepers that catch some teams and many fans by surprise and will win at least one game during the tournament.

The UTEP Miners are the first sleeper on this list and are probably the biggest lock of them all to not only gain one victory but could easily win two and advance to the Sweet Sixteen. The Miners are the 12th seed in the West Region and will face the fifth seeded Butler Bulldogs in a contest where they should get the upper hand. UTEP finished the season 26-6 and won the Conference USA regular season title with a record of 15-1. Even though the Miners are 2-2 on the season against tournament teams they did post a 3-1 record when competing on a neutral site as opposed to Butler’s 1-3 record in neutral arenas.

UTEP has four major players that will need to play big (Randy Culpepper 18 points and 2.8 rebounds per game, Derrick Caracter 13.8 points and eight rebounds per game, Jeremy Williams 10.1 points and 4.7 rebounds per game and Arnett Moultire 10.1 points and 6.8 rebounds per game) in order for them to advance past Butler in round one and then again past the winner of the Vanderbilt/Murray State matchup in the second round. When filling out your brackets think hard about possibly advancing UTEP into the West Regional Semifinals against Syracuse.

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are the second team that will surprise and advance in this year’s tourney. Georgia Tech has compiled a respectable 22-12 record this season despite finishing the ACC season with a 7-9 record and in seventh place in the conference. Georgia Tech racked up just a 5-6 record versus tournament teams but are 4-2 at neutral sites this year and won three of their last four games (ACC Tournament) when playing at a neutral venue.

The Yellow Jackets need the continuance of the high quality play of fabulous freshman forward Derrick Favors (12.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game) along Gani Lawal (13.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game) and Iman Shumpert (10.1 points, four assists and 3.5 rebounds per game) if they want to defeat a tough Oklahoma State team. If Georgia Tech can continue to play at the high level which they did throughout the ACC tourney (even in the loss to Duke) then they will advance past the first round and take on the winner of the Ohio State/UC Santana Barbara matchup.

The Minnesota Golden Gophers are the third sleeper amongst the group for this year’s NCAA Tournament. Minnesota is currently 21-13 and finished the Big Ten regular season with an average 9-9 mark, but they went on a pretty impressive run during the conference tournament. The Gophers were an unimpressive 6-7 versus tournament teams but won two of their last three games against teams that are dancing. The Golden Gophers (11th seed in West Region) are 4-3 this season at a neutral site and matchup up very well with the sixth seeded Musketeers of Xavier.

Minnesota is a very balanced team that receives impact from many including Lawrence Westbrook (12.6 points per game), Blake Hoffarber (10.1 points per game), Damian Johnson (10 points per game) and sophomore big-man Ralph Sampson III, who appears to be coming into his own as a defender. If the Gophers can channel the energy and skill that they played with in every game of the Big Ten Tourney in the Big Dance then they will advance for a second round matchup with the winner of the Pittsburgh/Oakland game.

The Siena Saints are the fourth and final sleeper that will shock many, move on and advance in the tourney to be highlighted in this piece. Siena is 27-6, won both the MAAC regular season and tournament titles and knows what it takes to pull off an upset. The Saints should be used to playing the spoiler role as they have upset major conference and higher seeded opponents during consecutive years in the Big Dance (2008 as #4 seed beat #13 seed Vanderbilt and 2009 as #9 seed beat #8 seed Ohio State).

Siena has four terrific players who all contribute in major ways (Alex Franklin 16.3 points and eight rebounds per game, Edwin Ubiles 15.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, Ryan Rossiter 13.9 points and 11.1 rebounds per game and Clarence Jackson 13.6 points per game) and will need max-efforts from all if they want to extend their consecutive year upset streak in the NCAA tourney to three. They will face off against possibly the weakest fourth seed in the tournament in the form of a Robbie Hummel-less Purdue squad. Hummel’s absence and Siena’s veteran leadership will be the recipe for this upset special.

A few more teams to pay attention to that could pull off some upsets are the San Diego State Aztecs (eleventh seed in Mid-West vs sixth seed Tennesse), the Cornell Big Red (twelfth seed in East vs fifth seed Temple), Old Dominion (eleventh seed in South vs sixth seed Notre Dame) and Murray State (thirteenth seed in West vs fourth seed Vanderbilt). Any of those four teams could also pull off an exciting victory that they weren’t technically supposed to win.

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Tags:2010 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Sleepers

2010 NBA Draft: How Will John Wall Work in D.C.?

The Washington Wizards have been through their ups and downs the past five years. Starting with a second round playoff appearance against the Miami Heat, and ending with a miserable 26 win season, the franchise was desperate for better days. Last night might have been the first step toward those days. With the first overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, the Washington Wizards selected John Wall from Kentucky.

So just how good can John Wall be?

Here’s what we do know about Wall. He is only 19 years old. He is explosive driving to the hoop, and has an uncanny finishing ability for a point guard. He runs the fast break as well as any player in the country and is extremely athletic. He is lightning-quick and has a great wingspan which allowed him to be a ball hawk on the perimeter.

His season averages this past year at Kentucky were:

16.6 PPG | 6.5 APG | 4.3 RPG | 1.8 SPG

PPG (points) | APG (assists) | RPG (rebounds) | SPG (steals)

Wall also shot 46 percent from the floor, not a bad statistic, but a lot of that is from layups and dunks on the fast break.

John Wall has all the tools to become a perennial All-Star in the NBA. He will need to improve his outside shooting, and the question remains on whether or not he can run a half-court set in the Association, but time will solve that riddle for us. His athleticism and ability don’t need questioning. At 19 years old, he has plenty of years to fine tune his skills. Many will point to the stacked team around Wall as a major reason for his success, but those arguments occur constantly in sports, and you won’t find out until that player leaves his companions.

Now, how will he fit in with the Washington Wizards?

The Wizards will have to decide whether or not to keep several players, including Josh Howard, so we’ll focus on the players we do know they will have. The key will be Gilbert Arenas. He is a shoot-first point guard who is used to having the ball in his hands, but it is likely that the Wizards will want to put Wall at point guard, as he is more pure at the position. Arenas is really a two-guard in a point guard’s body.

So, does Washington move him, at 6 feet 3 inches, to the 2 slot? Can he accept not being the facilitator of the offense? One thing is for sure: when Agent Zero is hot, he is hot, and can light it up with the best of them in the league. Having someone set up the plays for him to get open shots may work out well and take pressure off his shoulders. Randy Foye and Nick Young are in the mix as well. Washington sure has a lot of guards.

Andray Blatche, who exploded after the departure of Antawn Jamison, figures to work well with Wall. He averaged close to 20 and 10 a game in the last half of the season, and his development is key to the Wizards’ inside presence. The pick and roll from Wall to Blatche is something Wizards fans certainly have validity in saying could be prolific. Blatche may do well gaining more weight this off-season to increase his presence down low.

Javale McGee, Washington’s young athletic center, is a perfect fit with Wall. He can run the fast break, he has a long wingspan and can jump out of the building. The alley-oop potential is enormous.

From a franchise perspective, Wall will energize the depressed patrons of Washington. His first game is sure to be a sell-out at Verizon Center, as Wiz fans will finally have a hope for the future. Could Wall also help lure in another big name free-agent to D.C. this summer? Rumor has it there are some big names up for grabs. However, new owner Ted Leonsis may invoke the plan he has used in turning the NHL’s Washington Capitals into a contender (despite their first-round exit this year), building a young core through the draft in hopes of contending down the road.

All these questions will be answered in due time, but the Wizards are going to have to put the time and effort into putting John Wall in a good situation. They do not want the hyped Kentucky guard to end up like Kwame Brown, their top pick in 2001. Surround him with talent, which they have, and add in the necessary role players, and who knows… If Arenas shapes up, the Wizards could find themselves back in the playoffs next year.

Sources:

“John Wall Stats, News, Photos – Kentucky Wildcats”, ESPN

Tags:2010 NBA Draft: How Will John Wall Work in D.C.?

2010 NCAA Bracket- Sweet Sixteen Predictions

The 2010 NCAA tournament will continue on Thursday. The Sweet Sixteen will have their games on March 25 through March 28. I will make my predictions and compare them to President Obama’s picks. To view my second round picks, click here.

Midwest Region

(5) Michigan State vs. (9) Northern Iowa: My Pick- Northern Iowa

(2) Ohio State vs. (6) Tennessee: My Pick- Ohio State

In the Midwest Region, my picks would have been exactly the same as Obama’s. With Georgetown and Kansas getting eliminated already, I had to completely change my picks.

West

(1) Syracuse vs. (5) Butler: My Pick- Syracuse

(2) Kansas State vs. (6) Xavier: My Pick- Kansas State

In the West, my picks are exactly the same as Obama’s.

East

(1) Kentucky vs. (12) Cornell: My Pick- Kentucky

(2) West Virginia vs. (11) Washington: My Pick- West Virginia

In the East, my picks are the same as Obama’s. I believe Cornell and Washington’s upsets have to end this round.

South

(1) Duke vs. (4) Purdue: My Pick- Duke

(3) Baylor vs. (10) Saint Mary’s: My Pick- Baylor

In the South, Obama picked Villanova over St. Mary’s and Baylor. I did think Villanova would get by St. Mary’s, but I had Baylor picked over Villanova.

Tags:2010 NCAA Bracket- Sweet Sixteen Predictions

2010 NBA Draft Lottery Tonight, Determines 2010 NBA Draft Order

The 2010 NBA Draft Lottery is tonight on ESPN. The NBA Draft Lottery will determine the final order to the 2010 NBA Draft, and could provide a bit of excitement for franchises that didn’t make the NBA Playoffs. The New Jersey Nets are certainly hoping that they can win the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, coming with it a possible elite player from this draft class. They certainly have the best chance at winning the 2010 NBA Draft Lottery, but if history has anything to say about this lottery, the worst team doesn’t always get the first pick through the lottery drawing. Could we be in for a shocking team getting that No. 1 pick? The excitement could create drama all the way up until the NBA Draft finally takes place.

The NBA Draft Lottery odds are determined based on the record of each team this past season. From there each team that didn’t make the NBA Playoffs is assigned a certain number of ping pong balls that will go into the lottery. There are 1,000 ping pong balls in total, and as the worst team in the NBA, the New Jersey Nets will gets 250 (25%) of the balls. At the end of the article we listed the 2010 NBA Draft Lottery odds, and it shows that quite a few teams could walk away with one of the top picks. One potential steal could be if the Utah Jazz ended up getting the No. 1 overall pick, because they own the rights to the New York Knicks 2010 NBA Draft pick.

Coverage of the NBA Draft Lottery will take place live on ESPN this evening, with a pre-show taking place at 4:30 p.m. PST (7:30 p.m. EST), and the official draft lottery playing out at 5 p.m. PST (8 p.m. EST). This will all lead into Game 2 of the Boston vs. Orlando series, and could provide a lot of excitement for the NBA tonight. Will there be a surprise in the 2010 NBA Draft Lottery? Or are we looking at something that will just go through the motions to determine who will be selecting in the top three choices at the 2010 NBA Draft this summer. The first three picks are the lottery choices, as the draft will fall into order of worst to best record after that point. It means that New Jersey will at worst have the fourth pick in the draft. Tune in to ESPN tonight (Tuesday, May 18th) to be one of the first time find out how this is going to go.

The 2010 NBA Draft Lottery Odds and Chances

1. New Jersey Nets – 25.0% (250)
2. Minnesota Timberwolves – 19.9% (199)
3. Sacramento Kings – 15.6% (156)
4. Golden State Warriors – 10.4% (104)
5. Washington Wizards – 10.3% (103)
6. Philadelphia 76ers – 5.3% (53)
7. Detroit Pistons – 5.3% (53)
8. Los Angeles Clippers – 2.3% (23)
9. Utah Jazz (from NY Knicks) – 2.2% (22)
10. Indiana Pacers – 1.1% (11)
11. New Orleans Hornets – 0.8% (8)
12. Memphis Grizzlies – 0.7% (7)
13. Toronto Raptors – 0.6% (6)
14. Houston Rockets 0.5% (5)

References:

NBA.com_Draft_Feature

Associated_Content_NBA_Draft_Schedule

Tags:2010 NBA Draft Lottery Tonight, Determines 2010 NBA Draft Order

2010 NCAA Bracket- 1st Round Predictions

The 2010 NCAA tournament will begin on March 18. The first round games will all be played on March 18 and 19. If you search, you will find several different predictions, including President Obama. If everybody else is going to make predictions, then I am too. Here are my predictions. Also, I will mark the upsets that I pick and mention anywhere I differ from Obama.

Midwest Region

(1) Kansas vs. (16) Lehigh: My Pick- Kansas

(2) Ohio State vs. (15) UCSB: My Pick-Ohio State

(3) Georgetown vs. (14) Ohio: My Pick- Georgetown

(4) Maryland vs. (13) Houston: My Pick- Maryland

(5) Michigan State vs. (12) New Mexico State: My Pick- Michigan State

(6) Tennessee vs. (11) San Diego State: My Pick- Tennessee

(7) Oklahoma State vs. (10) Georgia Tech: My Pick- Georgia Tech

(8) UNLV vs. (9) Northern Iowa: My Pick- Northern Iowa

In the Midwest Region, my picks are exactly the same as Obama’s. My only upset picks in the Midwest are Georgia Tech and Northern Iowa.

West

(1) Syracuse vs. (16) Vermont : My Pick- Syracuse

(2) Kansas State vs. (15) North Texas: My Pick- Kansas State

(3) Pittsburgh vs. (14) Oakland: My Pick- Pittsburgh

(4) Vanderbilt vs. (13) Murray State: My Pick- Vanderbilt

(5) Butler vs. (12) UTEP: My Pick- Butler

(6) Xavier vs. (11) Minnesota: My Pick- Minnesota

(7) BYU vs. (10) Florida: My Pick- BYU

(8) Gonzaga vs. (9) Florida State: My Pick- Florida State

In the West, I differed from Obama on Minnesota and Vanderbilt. My only upset picks in the West are Minnesota and Florida State.

East

(1) Kentucky vs. (16) East Tennessee State: My Pick- Kentucky

(2) West Virginia vs. (15) Morgan State: My Pick- West Virginia

(3) New Mexico vs. (14) Montana: My Pick- New Mexico

(4) Wisconsin vs. (13) Wofford: My Pick- Wisconsin

(5) Temple vs. (12) Cornell: My Pick- Temple

(6) Marquette vs. (11) Washington: My Pick- Washington

(7) Clemson vs. (10) Missouri: My Pick- Missouri

(8) Texas vs. (9) Wake Forest: My Pick- Texas

In the East, I differed from Obama on Temple and Washington. My upset picks in the East are Washington and Missouri.

South

(1) Duke vs. (16) Arkansas-Pine Bluff: My Pick- Duke

(2) Villanova vs. (15) Robert Morris: My Pick- Villanova

(3) Baylor vs. (14) Sam Houston State: My Pick- Baylor

(4) Purdue vs. (13) Siena: My Pick- Purdue

(5) Texas A&M vs. (12) Utah State: My Pick- Texas A&M

(6) Notre Dame vs. (11) Old Dominion: My Pick-

(7) Richmond vs. (10) Saint Mary’s: My Pick- Saint Mary’s (upset)

(8) California vs. (9) Louisville: My Pick- Louisville

In the South, I only differed from Obama on Purdue. My upset picks in the South are Saint Mary’s and Louisville.

Tags:2010 NCAA Bracket- 1st Round Predictions

2010 NCAA Bowl Schedule Increases to 35 Bowl Games

The 2010 NCAA bowl schedule is out, and two new bowls have been added. The 2010-2011 NCAA bowl schedule includes 35 bowl games now, increasing the number of college football teams that can play in a bowl game to 70. For those that already felt there were too many college football bowl games, this will not be a very nice improvement to the post season schedule for NCAA football. For football fans that love seeing as many bowl games as possible, this will extend the amount of coverage that ESPN gets to have in the coming season. The change in the NCAA bowl schedule will last from the 2010-11 season through the 2013-14 season.

There will be two new bowl games in the next few seasons that help push the total to 35 games. Those two bowl games are to be called the Dallas Football Classic and the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in New York. They are intriguing additions, allowing two of the biggest football markets to have another bowl game during the college football post season. It will also give New York a chance to show off Yankee Stadium, as that is where the New Era Pinstripe Bowl will be played. The 2010 schedule has the New Era Pinstripe Bowl on December 30. The participants will be the No. 3 school from the Big East and the No. 6 school from the Big 12. These teams obviously exclude those that might be in the BCS games.

It’s also interesting to note that the NCAA actually turned down the chance to have two additional bowl games, one in Florida (Cure Bowl) and one in Los Angeles (Christmas Bowl). It’s nice to know that they do have a line that they draw somewhere in regards to how many teams will get the chance to play in the NCAA post season. It still doesn’t answer the question of how to improve attendance for bowl games where two teams that never made the Top 25 during the regular season are playing against each other. They did just make it a bit tougher for those who want to try and predict the outcome of all the NCAA bowl games each year.

Reference:

NCAA_Bowl_Announcement

Tags:2010 NCAA Bowl Schedule Increases to 35 Bowl Games

2010 NFL Draft Analysis: Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys are typically looking to make a splash in whatever arena they compete, and the draft is no different. After opening up an expensive new palace in 2009, the Cowboys were looking to start things out right with a Super Bowl berth. Unfortunately, things did not quite go the ‘Boys way, and they were forced to head into the off-season with a number of personnel questions unanswered. The draft is a time of renewal, but it can also be a time of poor choices, as highly-touted prospects can sometimes fail to transition to the professional game. With that in mind, here are a few thoughts on the 2010 NFL draft class of the Dallas Cowboys.

First round

The Cowboys had the 24th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, and they selected talented wide receiver Dez Bryant from Oklahoma State. Many draft experts were unsure where Bryant would be drafted. The challenge with a player like Bryant is that he has immense talent, but has also had some issues off the field. However, the Cowboys are the type of team that is typically unafraid to take on a personality challenge. In addition, the Cowboys could use a big target for Tony Romo to throw to throughout the season. Assuming he can avoid distractions, Dez may turn out to be the steal of the draft.

Second round

In the second round, Dallas attempted to shore up their defense by taking Penn State linebacker Sean Lee. On paper, Lee is a talented and instinctive player that has the potential to make an impact in the NFL. Concerns about Lee center on his size, in that he is a bit small for an inside linebacker. Also, Lee missed the entire 2008 season with an injury, so durability may be a concern in the future.

Fourth round

Dallas picked a cornerback in the fourth round, going with Akwasi Owusu-Ansah from Indiana (PA). Owusu-Ansah seems to have the physical tools to compete and a lot of natural ability. However, he will need some polish in terms of his understanding of NFL plays and strategies. Sometimes physical ability is not enough to make it at the next level.

Sixth round

The sixth round pick for the Cowboys was an offensive lineman. Dallas picked Sam Young from Notre Dame, which means that they will get a quality lineman from a large, pro-style university. Whether Young has the skills and ability to compete at the next level is yet to be determined. However, this is probably a safe pick as Young may have the football acumen to develop into an impact player. The Cowboys also took cornerback Jamar Wall from Texas Tech in the sixth round. Wall was the only draft prospect from Tech that was taken in the 2010 Draft.

Seventh round

Finally, Dallas selected Sean Lissemore, a defensive tackle from William & Mary. This player is probably a project and may end up on the practice squad or not make the team at all. Lissemore has decent size, but he will probably need to have a great training camp if he is going to make the team.

Tags:2010 NFL Draft Analysis: Dallas Cowboys

2010 NCAA AP All-America Teams Named, John Wall and Evan Turner First Team Selections

The 2010 All-America teams were announced Monday. The 2010 NCAA AP All-America team comprises the best players in college basketball according to The Associated Press, and the top 15 players were voted into the team by AP writers. Making the 2010 first team was Ohio State’s Evan Turner, Kentucky’s John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, Syracuse’s Wes Johnson, and Villanova’s Wes Johnson. Reynolds was the only senior to make the first team, with Wall and Cousins representing the freshmen contingent. Johnson and Turner are both juniors at their respective universities. Overall it was Evan Turner who received the most first team votes from the Associated Press.

According to the Associated Press, James Anderson of Oklahoma State led the second team in votes and was joined by Sherron Collins of Kansas, Greivis Vasquez of Maryland, Jon Scheyer of Duke and Da’Sean Butler of West Virginia. The third team was Greg Monroe of Georgetown, Cole Aldrich of Kansas, Damion James of Texas, Luke Harangody of Notre Dame and Darington Hobson of New Mexico. These are considered to be the 15 best players in college basketball during the past season, and they all received the highest number of votes from the contingent of Associated Press writers that helped determine the winners of the award.

What may be very noticeable, is that only two of the top 15 college players are still playing in the 2010 NCAA Tournament, with Jon Scheyer of Duke and Da’Sean Butler of West Virginia representing two of the four teams in the 2010 Final Four. Most of these players could be chosen high in the 2010 NBA Draft should they turn pro, with John Wall and Evan Turner expected to be the top two players chosen overall. For now though, all 15 can enjoy their new titles as the best that college basketball had to offer this year, and the newest members of the NCAA All-America teams.

2010 All-America First Team

Evan Turner — Ohio State
John Wall — Kentucky
Wes Johnson — Syracuse
Scottie Reynolds — Villanova
DeMarcus Cousins — Kentucky

2010 All-America Second Team

James Anderson — Oklahoma State
Sherron Collins — Kansas
Greivis Vasquez — Maryland
Jon Scheyer — Duke
Da’Sean Butler — West Virginia.

2010 All-America Third Team

Greg Monroe — Georgetown
Cole Aldrich — Kansas
Damion James — Texas
Luke Harangody — Notre Dame
Darington Hobson — New Mexico

References:

2010_NBA_Draft_Order

2010_Final_Four_Teams_Set

2010_All_America_Teams_Announced

Tags:2010 NCAA AP All-America Teams Named, John Wall and Evan Turner First Team Selections

2010 NFC South Division Predictions; NFL Picks

The NFC South is another division where I do not see the standings changing from last year, but the win/loss records will shift slightly. The Falcons and Panthers are a couple of moves away from a playoff berth, but until some major moves are made, no one in the division has a shot at the Saints.

New Orleans Saints 12-4
The Saints were able to retain the majority of their Championship team and are primed for another deep playoff run. The NFC South is getting better, but no match for the Saints in 2010. Getting Sharper back at corner was as big of a move as drafting CB Patrick Robinson out of Florida State who could start immediately. The offense is almost all back and ready to put up similar numbers, if not better with Brees only getting better. Their record could be better than 12-4, but with the division getting stronger I am counting on a loss to Carolina and Atlanta on the road along with a couple of games outside of the division.

Atlanta Falcons 9-7
I see the Falcons as a very similar team to the 2009 version with a couple of moves on defense. Although the defense is improved with Dunta Robinson in the secondary and rookie Sean Witherspoon at linebacker, Michael Jenkins has not broken out as a go to receiver and defenses are able to focus on Roddy White making life difficult on Matt Ryan. With Turner not able to catch passes out of the backfield, the Falcons are limited without a second go-to receiver. I like the Falcons to repeat their 9-7 record from 2009.

Carolina Panthers 7-9
With Moore or Clausen at quarterback the Panthers are an improved team. Already with the best running back tandem in football, the Panthers now have several solid options are wide receiver instead of only Steve Smith. I expect Jarrett to have a breakout year and rookie Brandon LaFell should see some early playing time. The loss of Peppers will hurt the Panthers, but their defense remains capable of keeping them in games. The Panthers are a consistent quarterback away from the playoffs, lets see if one of these young guns can lead them there. Moore is the starter unless he struggles over the first few weeks, then let Clausen go to work.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-13
A decent offseason for the Bucs, but not nearly enough to get them out of the whole they are in. The Buccaneers will have another awful season with unproven talent at almost every position. Gerald McCoy will play a big part in turning around the defense, but not many other bright spots exist.

See NFC West Predictions Here

See NFC East Predictions Here

See NFC North Predictions Here

See AFC South Predictions Here

See AFC North Predictions Here

See AFC East Predictions Here

See AFC West Predictions Here

Tags:2010 NFC South Division Predictions; NFL Picks

2010 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament: West Region Preview & Prediction - Second Round (March 20)

(13) Murray State Racers v. (5) Butler Bulldogs

The Murray State Racers upset the Vanderbilt Commodores 66-65 and the Butler Bulldogs defeated Texas – El Paso Miners 77-59. In my preview, I predicted Butler would win, but failed to predict Vanderbilt’s loss.
Murray State outplayed Vanderbilt for much of the game, as reflected in the half-time score of 36-32 in favor of Murray State. With 12 seconds left, Jermaine Beal of Vanderbilt tied the score at 64 and then put Vandy ahead by one, 65-64, but Danero Thomas scored two-points with two seconds left to put the Racers ahead 66-65.

Texas – El Paso outplayed Butler in the first half, as reflected by the score 33-27 in UTEP’s favor. It seemed the Miners would continue to dominate the game, until Butler took command of the second half with 15 minutes left to play. The Bulldogs outscored the Miners 50-26 in the second half, to win 77-59.

I expect a similar game to that played between UTEP and Butler, with Butler winning.

(7) Brigham Young Cougars v. (2) Kansas State Wildcats

The Brigham Young Cougars defeated the Florida Gators 99-92 in double overtime and the Kansas State Wildcats defeated North Texas State Mean Green82-62. In my preview, I correctly predicted the outcomes of these games.

BYU outscored Florida 35-33 in the first half, but the Gators outscored the Cougars 42-40 in the second, ending the game tied at 75. At the end of overtime, the teams remained tied at 81, but at the end of the second overtime, BYU prevailed 98-92.

With 15:55 left to play in the first half, North Texas State briefly enjoyed an 8-7 lead, until Kansas State went ahead for good. The first half ended in the Wildcats favor, 41-25. Although the Mean Green of NTSU scored 37 points in the second half to KSU’s 41, they could not prevail over the second seed team.

I predict Kansas State will win.

References:

ESPN, Florida 92 – BYU 99, ESPN Men’s Basketball Website

ESPN, Murray State 66 – Vanderbilt 65, ESPN Men’s Basketball Website

ESPN, North Texas 62 – Kansas State 82, ESPN Men’s Basketball Website

ESPN, UTEP 59 – Butler 77, ESPN Men’s Basketball Website

Adam Hornbuckle, 2010 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament: West Region Preview and Prediction – First Round, Associated Content Website

Tags:2010 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament: West Region Preview & Prediction - Second Round (March 20)

2010 NCAA Tournament Preview: Marquette Golden Eagles

Marquette needed to make some noise in the 2010 Big East tournament in order to make the NCAA tournament. The Golden Eagles have done more than enough to secure a berth in the Big Dance.

Marquette’s run in the 2010 Big East tournament ended at the hands of Georgetown on Friday night. The Golden Eagles made it to the tournament semi-finals by defeating St. John’s and Villanova in two hard-fought basketball games. The victory against #10 Villanova earned Marquette an at-large berth in the 2010 NCAA tournament. Marquette finished the Big East conference schedule with an 11-7 record and the squad enters the NCAA tournament with an overall record of 22-11.

Outside of a victory against Xavier, Marquette didn’t do anything noteworthy until Big East play began. During in-conference play, the Golden Eagles defeated Georgetown and Louisville. Marquette was a bubble team entering the Big East tournament because the team’s other conference victories were against the bottom half of the Big East. That is, until the Golden Eagles knocked off Villanova at Madison Square Garden.

Senior forward Lazar Hayward leads Marquette in scoring, averaging 18.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Hayward is also a serious three-point threat, making about 35 percent of his attempts beyond the arc. Junior Jimmy Butler averages about 15 points and 6.5 rebounds a game and sophomore guard Darius Johnson-Odom, a 48 percent three point shooter, averages 13 points a game for Marquette. Don’t expect a ton out of the Marquette bench, however, as this isn’t one of the deeper teams in the Big East conference. In plenty of in-conference games, the bench of the Golden Eagles contributed less than ten points as a whole.

Marquette has played very solid basketball since the end of January, winning eleven of its past 14 games. While only half of those victories can be considered solid wins, it’s always a plus for a team to enter the 2010 NCAA tournament with a bit of momentum. Some of that momentum was taken away by the 80-57 thrashing the team received at the hands of Georgetown in the Big East semi-finals.

Unfortunately, that’s just the way things have gone for Marquette in the 2009-10 college basketball season. The Golden Eagles have been unable to put together any deep run when playing against the best teams in the Big East. Marquette will make the 2010 NCAA tournament but the team will be a high double-digit seed. The Golden Eagles can beat an undersized 6-8 seed in the tournament but a well-rounded team like Georgetown or Pittsburgh will be a much bigger challenge for Marquette.

All stats courtesy of ESPN

Tags:2010 NCAA Tournament Preview: Marquette Golden Eagles

2010 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament: East Region Preview & Prediction - Second Round (March 20)

(9) Wake Forest Demon Deacons v. (1) Kentucky Wildcats

In the first round the Kentucky Wildcats defeated the East Tennessee State Buccaneers 100-71, and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons upset the Texas Longhorns by the score of 81-80. In my preview of these games, I predicted Kentucky would beat East Tennessee and Wake Forest would lose to Texas. However, Wake Forest won by one point, off a two point jump shot by Ishmael Smith in the last two seconds of overtime.

In the second round, don’t expect Wake Forest to play as close game against Kentucky as it did against Texas. Without a doubt, Kentucky is the better team, with four scorers averaging in double figures, compared to Wake Forest with two. On paper, however, Wake’s Al-Farouq Aminu, with 15.8 points and 10.8 rebound per game, matches up against Kentucky’s DeMarcus Cousins with 15 points and 10 rebounds per game. Similarly Ishmael Smith, of Wake Forest, and John Wall, of Kentucky, slightly match-up on paper, as Smith averages 13.5 points a game, 4.9 rebounds, and 6 assists, whereas Wall scores 16.9, rebounds 4.2, and makes 6.5 assist. The Deacons, however, do not have the depth in its starting five to match the Wildcat’s Patrick Peterson and Eric Bledsoe, each who average more than 11 points a game.

I predict Kentucky will win this game.

(11) Washington Huskies v. (3) New Mexico Lobos

In the first round the Washington Huskies upset the Marquette Golden Eagles 80-78, and the New Mexico Lobos defeated the Montana Grizzlies 62-57. In my preview of these games, I predicted both Washington and New Mexico would win. Washington made it the second round by defeating a much better team than the New Mexico Lobos. On paper, the Lobos are better than the Huskies, with four scorers averaging in double figures, compared to two for Washington. For New Mexico, Darington Hopson scores an average of 16, Roman Martinez 14, Dairese Gary 12.8, and Phillip McDonald 10.6, and for Washington, Qunicy Pondexter scores an average of 19.7 and Isaiah Thomas 17.1.

Despite the advantage that New Mexico may have over Washington, I predict Washington wins this game.

References:

ESPN, East Tennessee 71 – Kentucky 100, ESPN Men’s Basketball Website

ESPN, Montana 57 – New Mexico 62, ESPN Men’s Basketball Website

ESPN, Wake Forest 81 – Texas 80, ESPN Men’s Basketball Website

ESPN, Washington 80 – Marquette 78, ESPN Men’s Basketball Website

Adam Hornbuckle, 2010 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament: East Region Preview and Prediction – First Round, Associated Content Website

Tags:2010 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament: East Region Preview & Prediction - Second Round (March 20)

2010 NCAA Tournament Preview: Cornell Big Red

The Cornell Big Red could get used to this NCAA tournament thing. Now if the team can only win a game during March Madness.

The Cornell Big Red became the first team to clinch an official bid in the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive year. Cornell finished the regular season first in the Ivy League with a 13-1 conference record. The Big Red enter the 2010 NCAA tournament with an overall record of 27-4.

During the 2008-09 regular season, Cornell was the only team from the Ivy League to finish with an above .500 record. Both Princeton and Harvard ended the 09-10 season above the .500 mark but it was lowly Penn (6-21) that gave Cornell its only in-conference defeat back in mid-February.

Cornell’s 2009-10 out-of-conference schedule was more impressive than last season’s. While the Big Red did not defeat a ranked team, Cornell was victorious over notable teams such as Alabama, Drexel, St. John’s and Davidson. The team’s most impressive performance came in early January when Cornell traveled to Kansas. Playing in arguably the harshest road environment in college basketball, Cornell held its own throughout the contest and even took the lead into halftime against then number one Kansas. The Jayhawks eventually fought off the Big Red and prevailed 71-66.

There are plenty of familiar faces for Cornell entering the 2010 NCAA tournament. Forward Ryan Wittman leads all scorers once again for Cornell. The senior averages 17.5 points per contest. He also shoots 42 percent from three point land. Senior center Jeff Foote (12.3 points, 8.2 rebounds a game) and senior guard Louis Dale (11.9 points a game, averaging over 17 points in Cornell’s past three contests) also make their return to the NCAA tournament. These young man will undoubtedly not be intimidated by the bright lights of the NCAA tournament. They’ve been here before.

Senior leadership and momentum are incredibly important for any team playing in the NCAA tournament. Cornell enters March Madness with both. The Big Red has been victorious in the team’s last seven contests and they’ve won 15 of their past 16 games. Cornell clinched the Ivy League with three double-digits victories, two of which were on the road (all three games were against sub-.500 teams).

The song remains the same when it comes to weaknesses for the Big Red. Back in November, Cornell gave Syracuse a good fight on the road during the first half. Depth and the inability to stop an offensive run/onslaught brought on Cornell’s demise in that game. While Cornell does have one more year’s worth of experience, this team still doesn’t go seven or eight deep.

Due to Cornell’s impressive overall record and their showing in Kansas, the Big Red should be above a 12 seed in the 2010 NCAA tournament. If the Big Red are given a match-up against a ball-control offense that doesn’t run up and down the court, an upset could be in the making. Cornell has shown that it can play with the big boys. For how long, however, is still unknown.

Stats courtesy of ESPN

Tags:2010 NCAA Tournament Preview: Cornell Big Red

2010 NCAA Tournament Preview: Butler Bulldogs

Butler is back in the NCAA tournament. The Bulldogs will be looking to make the Final Four in 2010.

The Butler Bulldogs, already assured of a spot in the 2010 NCAA tournament, defeated Wright State 70-45 in the Horizon League tournament championship game. The victory extended Butler’s winning streak to 20 games and ensured Butler would enter the 2010 NCAA tournament undefeated in conference play. The Bulldogs finished the non-NCAA tournament portion of the college basketball season with an overall record of 28-4.

Butler may not play in a major conference but the team certainly doesn’t play a cupcake non-conference schedule. During the 2009-10 college basketball regular season, Butler lost to Minnesota and defeated UCLA, Ohio State and Xavier. The Bulldogs haven’t lost since December 22, a 67-57 defeat at the hands of UAB.

College basketball fans will recognize plenty of faces playing for Butler in the 2010 NCAA tournament. 6-9 sophomore forward Gordon Haywood leads the Bulldogs in scoring (15.4 points) and rebounds (8.5), sophomore guard Shelvin Mack scores about 14 points per game and is a 37 percent three point shooter. One player to watch out for coming off the bench is junior forward Zach Hahn. Hahn is a dangerous three point shooter (43 percent from beyond the arc) and an incredibly reliable free throw shooter, something every team needs in the NCAA tournament. If Hahn gets hot, the Butler starters could get a breather while the Bulldogs continue to put points on the scoreboard.

The Bulldogs don’t score a lot of points (70 per game) nor is the team proficient at rebounding the basketball. A team like a Siena, for example, could give Butler a huge scare in the 2010 NCAA tournament. One thing Butler is very good at is controlling the tempo of a basketball game. Even when Butler plays down to the level of its opponent (see the Loyola (IL) game back in January), the team finds a way to come out on top. Going 20-0 in the Horizon League is a more difficult task than you may first think. Five teams in the conference finished the regular season with at least 20 overall victories.

Butler has the talent to make it to the Sweet 16. I just can’t see this basketball team winning six consecutive games against the best teams in the country. The NCAA tournament has not been kind to the Butler Bulldogs in the last couple of years. While Butler is good for a couple of wins in the 2010 NCAA tournament, the Bulldogs will need an easy bracket in order to advance to the Elite Eight this year.

All stats courtesy of ESPN

Tags:2010 NCAA Tournament Preview: Butler Bulldogs

2010 NFL Draft Order as of Week 16

The 2010 NFL Draft Order isn’t set with one week to play during the regular season. Here is how the 2010 NFL Draft Order would stack up if it were held today. The team with the first overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft Order would be the St. Louis Rams.

1. St. Louis (1-14)
The Rams are the worst team by just one game entering the final week of the season. Why would the Rams even bother to increase their record and hurt their 2010 NFL Draft order when they need to address so many needs. Ndamukong Suh of Nebraska is expected to go first to the Rams unless they trade away the pick.
Ndamukong Suh is being called a sure thing and the best defensive player in the country by many NFL analysts.

2) Detroit (2-13)
The Lions need a lot of help. They won’t draft a quarterback unless they are planning on trading the pick since they secured a QB last year. They could move down in the 2010 NFL Draft order with another win but it’s unlikely. Look for the Lions to go defense.

3) Kansas City (3-12)
The Chiefs are awful but playing better since letting go of Larry Johnson. Jamal Charles has filled the void nicely so Kansas City will most likely go defense, too. The Chiefs could move up or down in the draft depending on how they finish the season on Sunday.

4) Tampa Bay (3-12)
The Bucs are in need of a lot of help. Depending on where they finish they might have a shot at landing a quarterback like Jimmy Clausen of Notre Dame. Washington might be the team to worry about if Clausen is still around or the Redkins somehow move up.

5) Washington (4-11)
The Redskins will have a new coach and a new look so figuring out what they’ll want is kind of hard to predict. The Skins could move up or down quite a bit in the 2010 NFL Draft order depending on what happens in the final week of the season. Could the Skins go after Jimmy Clausen or will they stay content with Jason Campbell?

6) Cleveland (4-11)
The Browns aren’t good. In fact, they’re just as terrible as many of the other bottom feeders in the NFL. Cleveland needs a lot of help and it didn’t hurt they won a few games late in the season to lose good position in the 2010 NFL Draft Order. Cleveland is a 4-11 team that needs a major overhaul and a definitive quarterback solution. Look for a trade with Brady Quinn to go down well before the draft.

7) Seattle (5-10)
The Seahawks aren’t that far removed from being a very tough team. They’ll need a few good additions to get back to where they were a few years ago. Drafting 7th in the 2010 NFL Draft order could help Seattle land some top notch talent to make that happen.

8) Buffalo (5-10)
The Bills just haven’t got over the hump with what they have. Expect the Bills to retool a lot of the 2009 team. Buffalo could have used a few more losses to land some better players in the 2010 NFL draft.

9) Oakland (5-10)
The Raiders are showing so much promise they’re drafting lower than expected 7-8 weeks ago. That changes the outlook of who and what position they will be looking for. Defense wins titles so don’t be surprised if the Raiders to get a big time stopper to add to the mix.

10) Denver
The Broncos will draft 10th thanks to the Jay Cutler trade if the Bears stay in this position. The Bears could make that pick a bit lower in the 2010 NFL Draft order with a win during the regular season finale.

The rest of the league is all jumbled up with a bunch of teams hovering around the .500 mark. The 2010 NFL Draft Order will be decided for the middle of the pack on the final week of the regular season.
Indianapolis is 14-1 so it appears the Colts might be headed for the last pick in the draft. New Orleans and San Diego will also be near the end of the 2010 NFL Draft Order. The final regular season week will decide the fates for many teams in the 2010 NFL Draft Order.

Tags:2010 NFL Draft Order as of Week 16

2010 NFL Free Agency Preview

There are two significant events that occur during any NFL offseason before training camps begin; the NFL draft and NFL free agency. 2010 NFL free agency will begin in a few weeks and there is plenty of intrigue as the league enters an uncapped regular season. Here is a brief preview of 2010 NFL free agency, including a list of some available players.

2010 NFL Free Agency Preview: Quarterbacks

Chad Pennington

Pennington’s best days are long, long behind him as the 34 year old now has the arm strength of a weak Bernie Kosar. Pennington would like one more chance to be a starter in the NFL but it’s also been reported that he would be willing to return to either Miami or New York (Jets) in a backup roll. Pennington may not be an elite quarterback heading into 2010 NFL free agency but there are a couple of teams that could do much worse than Pennington (Minnesota without Hollywood Brett Favre, Cleveland Browns).

Matt Moore

Let’s not kid ourselves. Moore should be named the starting quarterback in Carolina once 2010 NFL free agency comes to an end. If the Panthers drop the ball, however, Moore should receive a chance to start for a few different teams.

Jason Campbell

ESPN and other sources are reporting that Campbell will remain in Washington for one more season in a lame duck quarterback roll.

2010 NFL Free Agency Preview: Running Backs

Chester Taylor

The Minnesota Vikings would love to re-sign Taylor during 2010 NFL free agency as Taylor makes for quite the successful backup to Adrian Peterson. Taylor would like to prove he is the exception to the 30 year old running back rule but it’s more likely he will remain in a duel roll with Minnesota or another team such as the Bears.

Ronnie Brown

Brown is expected to make a full recovery (foot injury) and he appears to be willing to test the NFL free agent market if he does not receive what he feels to be a proper offer from the Miami Dolphins. Brown definitely has a few good seasons remaining in the tank and it wouldn’t shock me if a team in need of a running back threw good money at Brown.

2010 NFL Free Agency Preview: Wide Receivers

Brandon Marshall

Marshall may be the most enigmatic player entering 2010 NFL free agency. Marshall has gone back and forth regarding his desire to remain in Denver and it’s been speculated that the Broncos are ready to trade Marshall and get rid of one of the biggest headaches in the NFL. There’s no denying Marshall’s ability on the field, however, and trade rumors have been aplenty (Marshall to Jets, Marshall to Cleveland for Brady Quinn, Marshall to Redskins, etc.).

Terrell Owens

NFL free agency was made for T.O. and vice versa. Ochocinco wants to see Owens come to Cincinnati and, well, the Bengals could do worse. Personally, I’d like to see Owens in Cleveland. Hey, why not?

Derrick Mason

The Ravens are expected to re-sign Mason, possibly before 2010 NFL free agency begins. If the two sides cannot come to an agreement, though, Mason will undoubtedly receive offers from any team that needs a veteran wideout.

2010 NFL Free Agency Preview: Defensive line

Julius Peppers

The prize of 2010 NFL free agency. Peppers wants to get paid and he wants to win a ring. The Patriots and Eagles are reportedly very interested in the top defensive lineman in NFL free agency this offseason. Peppers is only 30 years old and will remain a game changing pass rusher for at least a few more seasons.

Adewale Ogunleye

O-gun will be 100 percent come preseason (broken fibula) and most NFL experts/guys with blogs assume that he is headed to free agency. It is possible that the Bears will attempt to re-sign the 32 year old but Ogunleye will probably ask for more money/years than the Bears would be willing to give.

Kyle Vanden Bosch

Vanden Bosch has made it very clear that he will not retire if the Titans choose to let the 31 year old enter NFL free agency. Whlie Vanden Bosch is not the player of old, he would fit in great with a team that already has pieces to a formidable defensive line. Enter the NFC East (Cowboys and Giants).

2010 NFL Free Agency Preview: Linebackers

Karlos Dansby

Future New York Giants linebacker Karlos Dansby will receive an offer from the Cardinals, one that probably won’t be to his liking. The Giants cut defensive captain Antonio Pierce and are expected to replace him with Dansby.

DeMeco Ryans

Yet another linebacker the New York Giants may pursue if the Houston Texans don’t lock him up before March 5. Ryans is a cliché NFL free agency player in that he’d “like to remain in Houston but he wants a long term deal with cash.” In other words, Ryans wants to get paid. Houston would be foolish to let Ryans go but crazier things have occurred in the past.

D’Qwell Jackson

The most underrated linebacker in the NFL is a restricted free agent and thus is expected to make a return to Cleveland. Jackson has been looking to sign a big deal with the Browns for over a year, however, and he may throw out a Josh Cribbs threat and sit rather than play for head coach Eric Mangini if the price is not right.

2010 NFL Free Agency Preview: Defensive Backs

Leigh Bodden

Bodden has made it clear that he wants money and lots of it more than he wants to return to New England. Bodden shined outside of Cleveland (who wouldn’t?) but the Patriots just aren’t a team that will give a Leigh Bodden the multi-year high paying contract Bodden wants. This is good news for other NFL teams as NFL free agency approaches. The 28 year old cornerback is a top two cover man on any defense.

Dunta Robinson

The Texans are not expected to put a franchise tag on Robinson, allowing him to enter NFL free agency free and clear if the team does not re-sign him. It is rumored that the Redskins will pursue Robinson if the Texans don’t bring him back. Robinson will be seeing dollar signs regardless of where he goes as he is without question the best pass defender in 2010 NFL free agency.

Want a full list of 2010 NFL free agents? Go here. For more, follow NYGExaminer on Twitter.

Tags:2010 NFL Free Agency Preview

2010 NFC West Preview

The NFC West is a wide open division this season, and the 2010 NFC West preview has to take into account how the four teams have tried to evolve over the past few seasons. It appears that the run of division titles is over for the Arizona Cardinals, much like the run of the Seattle Seahawks came to an end a few seasons back. That leaves the NFC West ripe for a takeover by the San Francisco 49ers, but has the franchise done enough to put a great team on the field for head coach Mike Singletary? On the opposite side of the spectrum are the St. Louis Rams, who still don’t look like they are ready to compete for more than a couple wins in the 2010 NFL season.

2010 NFC West Preview

Sam Bradford was the No. 1 selection in the 2010 NFL Draft, and is looking pretty good in the preseason for the St. Louis Rams. He could very well be the quarterback of the future in the NFC West, but he is also someone that will take a few years before he is ready to compete on a weekly basis. Until then, this Rams team looks like it could be flashy on offense, but could also be even weaker on defense. Stephen Jackson is the best running back in the NFC West, giving the Rams a very nice weapon, but they won’t be very successful in the 2010 season.

The Seattle Seahawks have just nine wins total over the past two seasons, and that really brought an end to their dominance in the division. Seattle has a new head coach in Pete Carroll, who will look to bring some of his success from the college level into the pros. He also has a healthy Matt Hasselbeck to work with, so that is a huge bonus for this team. Expect the Seahawks defense to surprise football fans this season, but they could also struggle to put some points on the board this season. They again will only go as far as Hasselbeck can take them, but this team needs to stay healthy to have a chance at the division.

The Arizona Cardinals are about to venture into new territory without Kurt Warner, and that brings quite a few questions for the 2010 season. Matt Leinart and Derek Anderson are still competing to try and take the starting quarterback slot, but the offensive weapons have decreased over in Arizona, and they will rely even more on the defense to keep them close in 2010. It won’t be easy, and the Cardinals also face a tougher schedule than everyone else in the division because of where they finished the 2009 regular season in the standings.

The San Francisco 49ers are the team to watch in the NFC West this season, and they will really be leaning hard on head coach Mike Singletary to get more out of his players than expected. Running back Frank Gore, quarterback Alex Smith, and wide receiver Michael Crabtree will all have to put up impressive seasons for the 49ers to compete with the rest of the NFC, and though they are the early favorites in the West, they aren’t getting put on par with the elite that the NFC has to offer. Expect the 49ers to head towards double digits in wins for the first time in a long time.

2010 NFC West Predictions

1. San Francisco 49ers (12-4)
2. Seattle Seahawks (9-7)
3. Arizona Cardinals (6-10)
4. St. Louis Rams (5-11)

Reference:

NFL_Main_Website

Tags:2010 NFC West Preview

2010 NFL Draft: Round Three Coverage and Live Results of 2010 NFL Draft

2010 NFL Draft round three results will be presented here with live coverage. The live 2010 NFL Draft round three results will be updated here as soon as they take place. There were quite a few moves with third round picks already, so there are a number of teams that have several choices they can select in the third round today. Expect some of the 2010 NFL Draft round three results to catch the experts off guard.

Before we get started on presenting the live round three 2010 NFL Draft results, feel free to take a look at some of our earlier coverage during the draft:

Round_Two_Draft_Blog

Round_Two_Draft_Results

Round_Two_Draft_Order

Round_One_Draft_Results

Round_One_Draft_Blog

2010 NFL Draft Third Round Results

1(65) St. Louis Rams — Jerome Murphy CB South Florida
2(66) Detroit Lions — Amari Spievey CB Iowa
3(67) Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Myron Lewis CB Vanderbilt
4(68) Kansas City Chiefs — Jon Asamoah OG Illinois
5(69) Oakland Raiders — Edwin Veldheer OT Hillsdale
6(70) Baltimore Ravens — Ed Dickson TE Oregon
7(71) Green Bay Packers — Morgan Burnett S Georgia Tech
8(72) Buffalo Bills — Alex Carrington DE Arkansas State
9(73) Miami Dolphins — John Jerry OT Mississippi
10(74) Jacksonville Jaguars — D’Anthony Smith DT Louisiana Tech
11(75) Chicago Bears — Major Wright S Florida
12(76) NY Giants — Chad Jones S LSU
13(77) Tennessee Titans — Damian Williams WR USC
14(78) Carolina Panthers — Brandon LaFell WR LSU
15(79) San Diego Chargers — Donald Butler LB Washington
16(80) Denver Broncos — J.D. Walton C Baylor
17(81) Houston Texans — Earl Mitchell DT Arizona
18(82) Pittsburgh Steelers — Emanuel Sanders WR SMU
19(83) Atlanta Falcons — Corey Peters DT Kentucky
20(84) Cincinnati Bengals — Jordan Shipley WR Texas
21(85) Cleveland Browns — Colt McCoy QB Texas
22(86) Green Bay Packers — Daniel Te’o-Nesheim DE Washington
23(87) Denver Broncos — Eric Decker WR Minnesota
24(88) Arizona Cardinals — Andre Roberts WR Citadel
25(89) Carolina Panthers — Armanti Edwards WR Appalachian State
26(90) New England Patriots — Taylor Price WR Ohio
27(91) San Diego Chargers — Navorro Bowman OLB Penn State
28(92) Cleveland Browns — Shawn Lauvao OG Arizona State
29(93) Kansas City Chiefs — Tony Moeaki TE Iowa
30(94) Indianapolis Colts — Kevin Thomas CB USC
31(95) New Orleans Saints — Jimmy Graham TE Miami
32(96) Cincinnati Bengals (Compensatory Pick) — Brandon Ghee CB Wake Forest
33(97) Tennessee Titans (Compensatory Pick) — Rennie Curran OLB Georgia
34(98) Atlanta Falcons (Compensatory Pick) — Mike Johnson OG Alabama

Ref: Live Draft Coverage

Tags:2010 NFL Draft: Round Three Coverage and Live Results of 2010 NFL Draft

2010 NFL Draft QB Rankings: Who is the Top Quarterback?

The 2010 NFL Draft is still a ways away in April 2010 but that hasn’t stopped tons of Internet fans and analysts from ranking their top players.

Many teams such as the St. Louis Rams and Cleveland Browns among others will be looking for quarterbacks in the 2010 NFL Draft and the QB rankings on their boards are sure to be different at this time.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about the top quarterbacks entering the 2010 NFL Draft but the draft should be deep with top QB talent when it’s all said and done, although it lacks a true franchise QB at this point.

2010 NFL Draft QB Rankings: Who is the Top Quarterback?

Here is a my short list of top QB picks or the 2010 NFL Draft.

1. Sam Bradford, Oklahoma-

I’ve been tough on Bradford in the past but he deserves to be at the top thus far of a weak QB class. He is a great decision maker at QB and he ranks as one of the best passers Oklahoma’s ever seen.

He is very accurate and has a good build for a QB with underrated toughness. The concern is injury trouble and also a lack of size and physical maturity plus his arm strength is good but not great.

Still, Bradford is a top-ranked QB because of his accuracy and the implosion of Oklahoma while he was out this year shows he’s not just a system quarterback going into the 2010 NFL Draft.

2. Colt McCoy. Texas-

He doesn’t have the perfect size or arm strength but he’s a great athlete at QB and has won more games than any top QB in FBS history in college. McCoy is a top-ranked 2010 NFL Draft QB because he gets it done in big games and has single-handedly carried the Texas offense in many games over the past two years to two huge seasons.

3. Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan-

There is concern over whether or not LeFevour will translate well to playing more under center from an all-out spread for the most part at CMU but he is a record-setting QB from the MAC, a conference that has churned out some good NFL QB’s and top draft picks at quarterback.

LeFevour is a former high school running back who switched to QB at Central and lit up the MAC both running and throwing. Another QB with a good but not great arm and above-average athleticism. He is also very accurate and smart.

4. Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame-

Clausen came out early at QB for the 2010 NFL Draft. While he didn’t quite live up to his hype from high school as a quarterback at Notre Dame he put up big stats his senior year. Clausen has a quick release and has good technique at QB but his problems are a tendency for his deep ball to sail on him as well as a lack of physical maturity and a tendency to panic a bit when faced with pressure are issues.

5. Tim Tebow, Florida-

He has a lot to prove still at QB in a pro-style offense but Tim Tebow could be a 2nd round NFL draft pick in 2010 with a good combine showing.

He has a solid arm and his size is a plus despite some people knocking him because of his ability tor run people over. Tebow will obviously be more judicious about when to run and when not to run in the NFL as a starting QB. He didn’t have a lot of weapons on the outside in 2010 and if he goes to a team with some good WR’s on the outside he can be a solid starter at worst in the NFL in the coming years at QB.

Tags:2010 NFL Draft QB Rankings: Who is the Top Quarterback?

2010 NFL Draft Preview: Derrick Morgan

Derrick Morgan is the 6’4 275lb junior defensive end out of Georgia Tech. Scout.com ranks Derrick as the best defensive end prospect in the 2010 NFL draft, the ninth best prospect in the 2010 NFL draft and a five-star prospect.

Derrick Morgan’s Strength

1) Derrick Morgan has “good combination of size and speed,” according to NFL.com

2) NFL.com reports Morgan “shows great range in run pursuit.”

3) “Has great pass rushing instincts,” according to NFL.com.

4) Derrick Morgan is a junior. When you are ranked at the top at your position is a right time to try the NFL draft.

Derrick Morgan’s Weaknesses

1) Derrick Morgan “elected not to participate in the bench press drill,” reported by Rob Rang.

2) NFL.com reports “Morgan lacks some power with his initial punch and at the point of attack.”

3) “He doesn’t appear to have the overall athleticism to project him as an outside backer in a 3-4 scheme,” according to NFL.com.

4) He may lack the experience of a senior coming out early. However, he is ranked number one at his position. He was an All-American. So it is not that much of a weakness.

Derrick Morgan will be drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars

Derrick Morgan was very productive as a junior at Georgia Tech, the Jacksonville Jaguars defensive line was not productive. Yes, the Jaguars have signed a free agent to help. However, Derrick Morgan would add a young, quality defensive end on Jacksonville’s roster and help rebuild the team’s defense. A Georgia Tech star could also attract more fans to see the Jacksonville team as well. The Oakland Raiders would also consider Derrick Morgan. If Morgan is available after Oakland and Jacksonville teams like Miami and Tennessee might be interested as well. If he should slide any farther more teams would be interested due to his draft value. Derrick Morgan is a solid high first round draft pick in the 2010 NFL draft.

Sources:

Scout.com for prospect rankings and stats

CBS sports.com for Rob Rang, The Sports Xchange, NFL Draftscout.com article

NFL.com

Tags:2010 NFL Draft Preview: Derrick Morgan

2010 NFL Draft Analysis: Denver Broncos

The Denver Broncos had some busy days during the 2010 NFL Draft, as they had nine picks over seven rounds. The NFL Draft can be a time of renewal and opportunity, but there are many mistakes that can be made along the way. Many players are considered good “prospects,” but there is really no guarantee that they will succeed in the professional ranks. Plenty of analysts and “experts” weigh in on this complex event, but eventually the teams have to take the field and see if players will live up to the hype. With that in mind, here are a few thoughts on the 2010 NFL Draft class of the Denver Broncos.

First round

Denver had two picks in the first round, which is always a great opportunity for any team. With their first pick, they selected Demaryius Thomas, a speedy receiver from Georgia Tech. With the departure of Brandon Marshall, the Broncos needed a big play threat. With the 25th pick in the first round, the Broncos took Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. This is an intriguing pick since many experts were unsure about Tebow’s readiness for the NFL. This may turn about to be a savvy move, but it could also turn out to be a draft “bust.”

Second round

In the second round, the Broncos took Zane Beadles, an offensive lineman from Utah. Expert are unsure if he has the ability to play outside, but he may be an effective guard due to his strength and drive. Denver is like many teams that can always use offensive line help in order to protect their quarterback.

Third round

The Broncos took another offensive lineman in the third round, selecting J.D. Walton from Baylor. Walton is another player that may not be the best athlete, but he has a strong work ethic and core strength. J.D. may not be a starter right away, but he may develop into an effective lineman in a few seasons. The Broncos had another pick in the third round, and they took another wide receiver. This time it was Eric Decker from Minnesota. He does not have great athleticism, but he is tough and may be a solid possession receiver.

Fifth round

In the fifth round, the Broncos may have drafted great value in Perrish Cox, a cornerback from Oklahoma State. Many analysts had Cox projected in the second or third round, but Perrish had some off-the-field issues that caused him to drop. If Cox can stay on track, he may be an impact player on the defense.

Sixth round

As teams get into the later rounds, they start to make some safer picks or take “projects.” The Broncos took Eric Olsen, an offensive lineman from Notre Dame. Since Olsen is from a large program, he may be an effective pro. However, he does have limited physical abilities, and he may not make the team.

Seventh round

Finally, the Broncos made two picks in the seventh round. Their first selection was Syd’Quan Thompson, a cornerback from California. Thompson does not have blazing speed, but he is tough and he may become a special teams asset. Next, the Broncos took Jammie Kirlew, a defensive end from Indiana. Kirlew is not a great talent, but he has the type of drive that teams love to have on the roster.

Tags:2010 NFL Draft Analysis: Denver Broncos

2010 NFL Mock Draft: 1st Round, Picks 21-32

Here is my version of the 2010 NFL Draft from picks 21-32. If you want to know about picks 1-20, then check out my profile or the bottom of this article for links pertaining to picks 1-20 in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

21 Cincinnati Bengals – Jermaine Gresham, TE University of Oklahoma
The Cincinnati Bengals appear focused to improve their non-existent passing offense from 2009. After adding Antonio Bryant, the Bengals may look to give Carson Palmer a game-changing tight end. The 2010 NFL Draft appears pretty weak for tight ends, so the Bengals may want to act swiftly on drafting a tight end early.

Honorable Mentions – Earl Thomas, Taylor Mays

22. New England Patriots – Earl Thomas, DB University of Texas
The Bengals and Patriots have the same two players on the top of my mock draft. Whoever the Bengals take, the Patriots will select the other. Luckily for the Patriots, I think that Earl Thomas would be at the top of their draft board at this time. Earl Thomas has the versatility that the Patriots would love for their defense. He can play any position in the defensive backfield.

Honorable Mentions – Jermaine Gresham, Jared Odrick, Brandon Graham, Sergio Kindle, C.J. Spiller

23. Green Bay Packers – Kyle Wilson, CB Boise State University
After getting scorched by veteran quarterbacks in 2009 and their two main cornerbacks on the wrong side of 30, the Green Bay Packers will be looking to restructure the defensive backfield. Kyle Wilson is a high character individual and one of the strongest Cornerbacks in the 2010 NFL Draft. He could be valuable in the Packers bump and run schemes and become a starter in the future.

If the Green Bay Packers are looking into Kareem Jackson in the second round, then expect the Green Bay Packers to go for an offensive lineman, primarily tackle.

Honorable Mentions – Any OT, Mike Iupati, C.J. Spiller, Earl Thomas, Devin McCourty

24. Philadelphia Eagles – Sergio Kindle, LB/DE University of Texas
The Eagles need to add some talent at outside linebacker, and Sergio Kindle would be a great pick at 24. He has the athleticism to become an immediate factor as a pass rush specialist and has the versatility to play defensive end or linebacker in a 4-3 defense.

Honorable Mentions – Brandon Graham, Jason Pierre-Paul, Jerry Hughes, Earl Thomas, Carlos Dunlap

25. Baltimore Ravens – Damian Williams, WR University of Southern California
After acquiring Anquan Boldin and keeping Derrick Mason for another season, the Baltimore Ravens will continue to look into helping Joe Flacco at the skill positions. Damian Williams would give the Ravens another receiver with yards after catch potential.

Honorable Mentions – Demaryius Thomas, Arrelious Benn, Earl Thomas, Kyle Wilson

26. Arizona Cardinals – Everson Griffin, DE University of Southern California
With the retirement of Bertrand Berry, the loss of Karlos Dansby, and the loss of Antrell Rolle, the Arizona Cardinals need to restructure their defense. Everson Griffin would give them a defensive player with the versatility to play DE or OLB. Judging from recent USC prospects like Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews, the Cardinals could have a steal here at the twenty-sixth selection of the 2010 NFL Draft.

Honorable Mentions – Daryl Washington, Jerry Hughes, Sergio Kindle

27. Dallas Cowboys – Bruce Campbell, OT University of Maryland
Since the Dallas Cowboys can’t draft a coaching staff, they will likely look into adding depth into their trenches. Bruce Campbell has been going up draft boards, but his limited production and experience in college makes me think that unless the Oakland Raiders take him at 8th, he will be a late first or early second round pick. I think the Cowboys would be willing to take on his potential at pick 27.

Honorable Mentions – Anthony Davis, Maurkice Pouncey, Earl Thomas

28. San Diego Chargers – Terrance Cody, DT University of Alabama
I will admit this is a bit of a stretch, but the San Diego Chargers were a completely different defense without Jamal Williams at the nose tackle. The Chargers went from one of the elite run defenses to one of the worst when Williams got injured, and Williams was recently released. Terrance Cody would give them a huge body in their 3-4 scheme.

If the Chargers go this route, they can probably trade down in the draft and acquire more picks. Expect them to get a power running back to compliment Darren Sproles in the second or third round.

Honorable Mentions – Trade Down, Ryan Mathews, Jahvid Best

29. New York Jets – Devin McCourty, CB University of Rutgers
The New York Jets could be looking to add depth into the secondary after injuries plagued them throughout the AFC Championship.

Honorable Mentions – Earl Thomas, Kyle Wilson

30. Minnesota Vikings – Brian Price, DT University of California
With Pat Williams lingering on retirement, Brian Price is just too good to pass up at #30 for the Minnesota Vikings.

Honorable Mentions – Carlos Dunlap, Maurkice Pouncey, Kyle Wilson, Earl Thomas, Everson Griffin

31. Indianapolis Colts – Maurkice Pouncey, C University of Florida
With Jeff Saturday aging and the release of Ryan Lilja, the Indianapolis Colts would love the opportunity to draft one of the best offensive linemen in college football. Maurkice Pouncey has the ability to serve as a reserve guard in his first few NFL seasons while taking over for Jeff Saturday once he retires. Pouncey could use the extra time to learn a traditional NFL offensive blocking scheme after playing in the shotgun option at Florida.

Honorable Mentions – Daryl Washington, Jerry Hughes

32. New Orleans Saitns – Daryl Washington, LB Texas Christian University
The defending Super Bowl champions could be in the need for exterior defense upon the release of Scott Fujita. It is the perfect opportunity for Gregg Williams to add a pass rush specialist to his linebacker core. Daryl Washington is often overshadowed by teammate Jerry Hughes, but he does have more experience at the linebacker position.

Honorable Mentions – Jerry Hughes, Carlos Dunlap, Everson Griffin

2010 NFL Mock Draft, Round 1 Picks 1-10
2010 NFL Mock Draft, Round 1 Picks 11-20

Tags:2010 NFL Mock Draft: 1st Round, Picks 21-32

2010 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Announced

The Nobel Peace Prize is an award millions of people around the world dream of winning at some point or another. Many of those individuals who have won the Peace Prize are far from traditional characters, and this year’s winner is no different. The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Liu Xiaobo this morning, much to the despair of the Chinese government. Liu, who is currently serving an 11-year jail sentence in a Chinese prison for political subversion, was announced the winner because of his calls for peaceful political change rather than radicalism.

His win is one that has caused a stir around the world. The Chinese government banned the broadcast of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony this morning, citing that it would harm relations with Norway. The government of Norway, after the release of this statement regarding the censorship, said that it was a petty thing for the government of China to do.

Liu is the first Nobel Prize winner to receive his award behind bars, and this too has caused a bit of a flurry of excitement. Up until now, winners have only been under house arrest when they’ve won the award.

The Prize committee stated that Liu’s peaceful approach to political change at such rallies as the Tiananamen Square protests in 1989 were commendable and pushed for peaceful change rather than hostile tactics. The Prize committee also stated that Liu’s refusal to back down from the government regarding his message even after it was stated that it would cause harm to relations with Norway also helped make the decision to award him the Prize. Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, took the opportunity to call to the people to press for her husband’s release.

Spokesman for the Chinese government Ma Zhaoxu stated that Liu was a criminal and, by awarding him the Nobel Prize, the committee was degrading what the Prize stood for. Officials in Norway, however, stand by their decision to award Liu the Nobel Peace Prize and state that it is now the responsibility of China to change their ways and offer more universal human rights to their citizens. The reaction around the world to the selection is mixed: The choice to award the Prize to Liu isn’t necessarily safe, as the Chinese government has such a strong opinion about the award, but it isn’t altogether risky either.

In the case of the selection process, it is clear that Liu deserves the award in that he has worked his whole life toward peaceful change. His jail sentence, however, is another story. While he sits in prison on what some might say is a bogus charge, he is in fact considered a criminal by the country of China. The awarding of the Prize does offer a chance that international pressure may secure his early release, but it is still too early to tell if the Chinese government will buckle under the pressure. I believe that the overwhelming outcry of western nations to release Liu points to their support of the Prize committee’s selection.

Works Cited

http://ift.tt/2bICGWx

http://ift.tt/2bOH9Vo

http://ift.tt/2bICk2v

Tags:2010 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Announced

2010 Pennsylvania Governor's Race: GOP's Tom Corbett vs. Democrat Dan Onorato

While the focus is on Senate and House elections this November, but many states’ elections for governor are important because congressional redistricting is at hand. Pennsylvania’s governor’s seat is one of the most notable in the nation. After Tom Ridge served, he directed Homeland Security, while incumbent Gov. Ed Rendell gets to serve the Commonwealth and do Eagles postgame shows.

Yet Rendell will have to limit himself to Eagles talk soon because he’s term-limited. In his wake, Republican Tom Corbett and Democrat Dan Onorato are facing off for the job. Despite Rendell holding the seat for Democrats in the last eight years, the Republicans are favored to take it back this time.

Candidates for Pennsylvania’s Governorship (six year term)

Candidate: Tom Corbett

Party: Republican

Political experience: Corbett has been the attorney general of Pennsylvania since 2004. According to his website, Corbett has gotten national recognition for fighting internet predators, fraud against seniors, gang violence and abuse of power. He claims to have recovered more than half a billion dollars for Pennsylvania taxpayers in six years after going against Big Oil, pharmaceutical companies and lenders.

Before, Corbett was an assistant U.S. attorney for Pennsylvania’s Western District, in the early years of the Reagan administration, and he was appointed as a U.S. attorney in the same district by President George H. W. Bush. Once he left the job in 1993, he aided future Gov. Ridge and filled in as state attorney general in place of imprisoned Ernie Preate from 1995 to 1997.

Professional experience: Corbett was in the Pennsylvania National Guard 28th Division from 1971 to 1984. He got his law degree in 1975 from St. Mary’s University School of Law, then went into private practice after serving as an assistant U.S. attorney. When he left the office in 1997, he formed the law firm of Thomas Corbett and Associates until he was elected back to the attorney general’s office.

Key issues: Corbett’s campaign website lists the economy, government reform, education, the environment, transportation, health care and agriculture as his major issues. He urges to oppose tax increases, reduce regulatory barriers on business, cut the size and cost of government, encourage clean energy, improve federal transportation funding and adopt tort reform.

Endorsements: Corbett has support from former governors Tom Ridge, Dick Thornburgh and Mark Schweiker, along with Sen. Rick Santorum. He is also endorsed by the Pennsylvania State Lodge Fraternity of Police, the PEG PAC and the Pennsylvania Automotive Association.

Chances of winning the seat: According to Rasmussen Reports, Corbett is ahead by 10 points as of Sept. 16, with 49 percent of the vote. Reuters also had Corbett up by 15 points as of Aug. 31. Rasmussen claims that Corbett has polled from 45 to 52 percent since February, so he has been staying steady for months. If he doesn’t stumble in the next two months, he is expected to have a convincing victory.

Candidate: Dan Onorato

Party: Democrat

Political experience: Onorato has been the chief executive of Allegheny County, Pa., since 2003. He has worked to implement fiscal responsibility to Pennsylvania’s second largest county, and has consolidated 10 political offices to save money. According to his website, Onorato has made Allegheny County the only one in the region to hold the line on property taxes for seven years.

Onorato’s political career began in 1991 with an upset victory for a seat in the Pittsburgh City Council. He served two terms then moved on to become Allegheny County controller in 1999, where he recovered taxpayer money from abusive corporations. In 2003, he pulled off another upset victory to win the chief executive seat.

Professional experience: Onorato received a degree in accounting from Penn State, and he was a CPA before going to the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He worked in the private sector until he became concerned about Pittsburgh’s economic and political direction, and he formed his grassroots campaign for the city council.

Key issues: Onorato touts his experience in Allegheny County as proof that he can spark Pennsylvania’s economy by creating well-paying jobs in the private sector. He plans to reduce the size of the state senate and house, enact term limits, create green-collar jobs, maintain the line on property taxes in spite of health care costs and invest in infrastructure that creates jobs.

Endorsements: The Teamsters, Pennsylvania State Education Association, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Steelworkers have given their support to Onorato. He also has the backing of several elected officials in southwest, southeast and central Pennsylvania.

Chances of winning the seat: Onorato has been playing from behind for months, and he is still double digits behind. The most recent Rasmussen Report survey did have him closing the gap from 13 to 10 points, so he can still claim that a comeback is on the horizon. Onorato has defied the odds before with upset victories that propelled his career. Yet it will take a near perfect last few months, and some luck, for him to surprise everyone again.

Key differences: Onorato is focused on job creation in stimulating the economy, while Corbett stresses reduced tax burdens. The two both want to reduce government and the cost of health care, but Corbett also includes tort reform in his health care plan.

Last results: In 2006, incumbent Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell easily won re-election, with more than 60 percent of the vote against Republican candidate — and former Steelers legend — Lynn Swann. Rendell first won office by defeating Republican Mike Fisher by nine points after Republican Tom Ridge served two terms.

Demographics: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Pennsylvania is 85.2 percent white, 10.9 percent African American, and 5.1 percent Hispanic.

Tags:2010 Pennsylvania Governor’s Race: GOP’s Tom Corbett vs. Democrat Dan Onorato

2010 NHL Hockey Awards -- Nominees and Picks

Hockey’s big night will be held in Las Vegas again, and all the stars are expected to show up. Below are the nominees, and some of the stars to watch.

The big award of the night is the Hart Memorial Trophy for the player judged to be most valuable to his team by the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association . This year’s finalists are Alex Ovechkin (Washington Capitals), Sidney Crosby (Pittsburg Penguins), and Henrik Sedin (Vancouver Canucks). Newly made captain this year, two-time defending champ Ovechkin led the Capitals to the President’s Cup this year. Crosby had a good year, and did win the gold medal with Team Canada in the Olympics this year, but the defending Stanley Cup champions finished fourth in their conference. There are some who believe that Sedin played on a weaker team than both Ovechkin and Crosby and, thus, was more valuable overall to his team.

The Vezina Trophy nominees for best goalie, as voted by the NHL general managers, are Martin Brodeur (New Jersey Devils), Ilya Bryzgalov (Phoenix Coyotes), and Ryan Miller (Buffalo Sabres). Although the award should be judged only on what happened in the NHL, Miller was awesome in this year’s Olympics for Team USA, and might get a few votes based on that. If Miller doesn’t get the sentimental vote, Bryzgalov will probably take the trophy.

Nominees selected by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association for the James Norris Memorial Trophy for best defenseman include Mike Green (Washington Capitals), Drew Doughty (Los Angeles Kings), and Duncan Keith (Chicago Blackhawks). Though some think Green plays a little too offensively, leading all defensemen in points, assists and goals, he also had a plus 39 rating, and should probably take the Norris this year.

Up for the gentleman’s award, the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for the player who displays good sportsmanship and conduct, are Pavel Datsyuk (Red Wings), Brad Richards (Dallas Stars), and Martin St. Louis (Tampa Bay Lightning). Datsyuk has won this before, and probably will take it again.

Coach of the Year nominees for the Jack Adams Award, which is selected by the NHL Broadcasters’ Association, are Joe Sacco (Colorado Avalanche), Dave Tippett (Phoenix Coyotes), and Barry Trotz (Nashville Predators). The winner will probably be Tippett, who overcame a lot of obstacles, including constant rumors that his team was going to be sold, to take his team to the playoffs for the first time in eight years.

Nominees for the Masterton Trophy, which is given to a player who has shown great perseverance and sportsmanship are Kurtis Foster (Tampa Bay Lightning), Jed Ortmeyer (San Jose Sharks), and Jose Theodore (Washington Capitals). Foster and Ortmeyer had to overcome severe physical ailments. Theodore lost an infant son to respiratory complications before the season started, but was still able to win 30 games for the Capitals.

Nominees for the Frank J. Selke Trophy for outstanding defensive forward are Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit Red Wings), Ryan Kesler (Vancouver Canucks), and Jordan Staal (Pittsburgh Penguins). Datsyuk has won this award before, but Staal has a better plus-minus rating of 19.

Lastly, the Calder Memorial Trophy nominees for outstanding rookie are Matt Duchene (Colorado Avalanche), Jimmy Howard (Detroit Red Wings), and Tyler Myers (Buffalo Sabres). The award should probably go to Howard, who had an outstanding year and was key in helping the Red Wings get back to the playoffs again this year.

Tags:2010 NHL Hockey Awards – Nominees and Picks

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