Monday, March 19, 2007

If it's Monday, it must be a catch all post...

It was a busy weekend, to say the very least.

1. The Wolverines gave Tommy Amaker the ziggy. About a year too late, in my mind. Amaker was a very nice guy, was the right person at the time to help remove the stench of the Ed Martin scandal, but the Wolverines need a coach that can take them to the next level. I'm not going to speculate who that might be, as plenty of others are already. We are hearing the names of damn near every successful mid major coach, let alone some well known power conference coaches.

"What more do you want? So I wasn't the next Coach K. At least I wasn't the next Brian Ellerbee!"

Basketball has become an afterthought overshadowed by the juggernaut that is Michigan football. Is the Michigan hoops job a top 20 gig? No. It could be, and it once was, but a near decade of neglect leaves Michigan in a weird place. They play in a power conference, but have acted like a mid major.

Michigan has decaying facilities, a gun shy administration, and the big dollar alumni donors are still embarrassed by the aftereffects of the Fab Five, the sketchy Tractor Traylor years, and the in over his head at a community college Brian Ellerbee era. Even more embarrassing is that Michigan has been left recruiting the leftovers of Tom Izzo, let alone having to choose from what is left after other big time conferences have picked the state clean.

One would think you were talking about Oakland University or Detroit Mercy, rather than the University of Michigan. The administration and alumni should be ashamed to allow that to happen to a once proud program.

All things considered, I'm guessing Michigan goes after a younger, less expensive, mid major hot shot. Brian at the MGoBlog rounds up the usual suspects, both mid major and power conference.

2. The overachieving Spartans finally ran out of gas in the last 5 minutes of their 2nd round NCAA tournament loss. We all saw the end coming on selection Sunday, when the Spartans got a 9 seed. An opening round win meant facing a loaded North Carolina 1 seed, a virtual home game for the 'heels, in the round of 32.

The Spartans had been playing on borrowed time since the last couple of weeks of the Big 10 season. In those final few minutes of what was a close North Carolina game, that borrowed time caught up with the Spartans, in running out of both healthy bodies and gas.

The 2006-07 Spartans are one team that has nothing to be ashamed of. A rebuilding team that was pegged for the NIT as their best case scenario, they maxed out every bit of their potential, and then some. Tom Izzo coached his ass off, and with Drew Neitzel and crew coming back, they are set up to have an absolute monster of a team next season.

I can't think of another coach I'd want leading my program. If Tom Izzo isn't the best college coach out there, he'd be included in the very small group of coaches you'd be picking from.

3. The Pistons play the Mavericks without Chauncey Billups, and despite a close loss, come out looking like a title contender. Personally, I find it hard to take much from regular season games. That's why I wasn't all fired up about the admittedly great Mavs - Suns game that was the buzz of the internets last week. No matter how good the regular season game, it's still just one of 82.

It's not just about who's the better team, intangibles play a big part as to who wins and loses in the NBA. Those intangibles were working against the Pistons on Sunday. That being the Billups injury, and a short turnaround coming off of a successful, but very long, west coast trip.

The tired and shorthanded Pistons did go toe to toe with the best of the west. You would hope that bodes well for their playoff run, in that it shows the Pistons are a deeper team than last year.

Say what you will about Flip Murray, as badly as he played earlier this season, he has exceeded our admittedly low expectations in place of Billups. Carlos Delfino is finally a fixture in the rotation, and Jason Maxiel shows he belongs in the NBA. If there is a bright spot in Lindsey Hunter's suspension, it's that those 10 games off will leave him that much fresher for the postseason.

We'll just have to wait and see if that deeper bench makes a difference once the playoffs start.

4. The Red Wings were thumped by the Canucks, while continuing to wait for the force of nature that is Todd Bertuzzi to lace 'em up. That wait may be just about over. For the Wings, it is all about the postseason. I could care less about where they finish in the regular season. As nice as winning the central division, and having a top seed in the playoffs would be, as we have seen in the past, it doesn't mean jack shit in the NHL playoffs.

Considering they will be the playoffs, going into them, all I want is the Wings to be healthy. That's it. I don't care about anything other than being at full strength.

Currently, that's not the case, with the Wings locker room looking more like a MASH unit as of late. That's slowly changing, with Bertuzzi on track to return to the ice during the coming home stand. Henrik Zetterburg on the other hand.. In Hank's case, lets just say that no news is good news in that no news means no bad news. And God forbid if something happens to Dominic Hasek...

5. The Tigers continue to have a very uneventful spring, with the only bad news being their Rule V pickup, Edwardo Campusano, tweaking his elbow. Hearing that, pitchers on the roster bubble, Zach Minor and Chad Durbin, rejoice. Nothing much of note happened in Tigertown, save for the news about one of the candidates to be this season's LOOGY, Campusano, feeling something wrong in his elbow. Save for that setback, it's been business as usual for the Tigers.

The Tigers have a winning spring record, the pitching looks damn good, Magglio Ordonez's hair is still something out of the 60's, Gary Sheffield can't keep himself from talking about everything and anything, and Jim Leyland has already set the starting rotation. Like I said, business as usual...

The only been one truly bad thing in camp. He who will not be named, otherwise known as The Black Hole of Suck, is still in the hunt to be the 25th man on the roster. If that's the worst of the Tigers' problems, it should be a damn good year.

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