Quick links:
 Latest Team Rankings
 Free Rivals Alerts
 Member Services
ShopMobileRadio RSSRivals.com Yahoo! Sports

April 23, 2012

Ketch's 10 Thoughts From The Weekend

No.1: Scattershooting on the world of Longhorn football…

… Much has been made of the projections for the Longhorn running game for this season, but I'm of the opinion that there will be a lot of snaps to go around for everyone. As a team in 2011, the Longhorns rushed the ball 589 times in 13 games, which equates to an average of more than 45 carries per game from the 72 snaps per game the offense took.

One thing that's important to remember with this discussion is the projected volume of run plays that the Longhorn offense will likely run in 2012. Consider these numbers from the only four seasons in the Mack Brown era that featured offenses that ran the ball at least 60% of the time:

2011: 947 offensive plays/72.9 per game/589 rushes (62.2%)/358 passes (37.8%)
2005: 941 offensive plays/72.4 per game/605 rushes (64.3%)/336 passes (35.7%)
2004: 890 offensive plays/74.2 per game/615 rushes (69.1%)/275 passes (30.9%)
2003: 916 offensive plays/76.3 per game/587 rushes (64.1%)/329 passes (35.9%)

We know that this Longhorn offense, even with an improved David Ash, figures to focus on a running game that features perhaps the most talented collection of backfield talent in the Mack era. The best parallels to make from previous seasons are the 2003 and 2004 teams, as they also featured uneven quarterback play from a young starter that was still in the early evolution as a player.

Let's do two things to help us find our possible projected numbers. First, let's also acknowledge that Ash is somewhere between the 2003-04 versions of Young in terms of his development as a passer and merge the 2003-04 numbers to give us an idea of what kind of run/pass split we might be looking at in 2012 with an offense directed by a quarterback still learning his craft.

2003-04: 1,806 offensive plays/75.3 per game/1,202 rushes (66.6%)/604 passes (33.4%)

If we use those splits for the 2012 season, here's what the numbers would look like over 13 games:

2012: 979 offensive plays/75.3 per game/652 rushes (66.6%)/327 passes (33.4%)

Over the course of a 13-game schedule, those 652 rushes translate to 50.2 per game. Before we go anywhere else with this discussion, let's just acknowledge for the record that this is a huge number of carries. Even if we kept the percentage of carries at last season's 62.2% mark, we're still talking about 610 carries over the course of the season.

Ash averaged 5.6 rushes per game last season, which is probably a fair number to project for this season as well, but we'll bump his run touches up a bit to 6.0 carries per game for the sake of keeping some of this math simple. In the context of a Bryan Harsin-offense, we know that the receivers are going to account for three or four carries per game. Therefore, we're just going to go ahead and chalk up 10 of those carries per game to quarterbacks and receivers, which leaves us with about 40 more to spread around to the running backs on a game-by-game basis.

We know D.J. Monroe will average about 3.5 carries per game and not much more … we know that, right? Meanwhile, I have a hard time believing that Johnathan Gray is going to receive fewer than a half-dozen carries per game … he's just too good … so I'm going to give him the same 7.3 rushes per game that Fozzy Whittaker averaged last season before he went down with an injury.

Ash/WRs (10.0) + Monroe (3.5) + Gray (7.3) =20.8 rushes.

That still leaves with just under 30 carries per game to divide between Joe Bergeron and Malcolm Brown, who averaged a shade over 23 combined carries per game in 2011, with Brown averaging 17.2 carries per game and Bergeron averaging 6.5. It's probably safe to assume that the numbers will be divided up pretty evenly this season because both guys are going to play a lot. If we simply split the 30 remaining carries per game between the two of them, then your game breakdowns would look something like this:

Brown (15) + Bergeron (15) + Gray (7.3) + Monroe (3.5) + Ash/WR (9 or 10) = a pretty fair ball park idea of what we're looking at this season. If those numbers (15 per game) are true and we apply a 5.0 YPC for both Brown/Bergeron, each player would be within 25 yards of 1,000 for the season.

Bottom line? There's more than enough carries to go around for this current stable of backs because this offense figures to feature its strength, which is currently the running game. In the meantime, none of these players should have to worry about their bodies breaking down before a chance at a pro career because of overuse.

It's pretty much science.

… Stat of the weekend that I'll bet a nickel you didn't know: Junior Ashton Dorsey is a co-leader among all returning Big 12 defensive tackles (along with TCU's David Johnson) with seven tackles for loss last season. You can make a strong case that based on returning production, Dorsey should be the first defensive tackle named to the pre-season all-Big 12 team in July.

… It's scary to think about how good the combo of Alex Okafor and Jackson Jeffcoat is for the Longhorns at defensive end when you consider that only two other returning defensive ends in the Big 12 cracked the double digit mark in tackles for loss (Jeffcoat finished 21 last year, while Okafor had 14). Their 35 combined tackles for loss are 26 more than Oklahoma's top two returning ends and at least 15 more than any other returning duo in the conference. The combined 15 sacks by the Texas pair is more than any team in the conference has with all of its defensive ends combined, with TCU's Stanley Maponga (nine sacks) ranking as the Big 12' only returning player with more sacks than either. Only four players in the Big 12 return with more than a half-dozen sacks attached to their resume from a season ago and the Longhorns have two of them.

No. 2: Did someone say defense and Big 12 in the same sentence?

Last week, I ranked all of the offensive position groups within the Big 12, which means it is time to take a look at the defensive side of the ball.

Note: Names in bold indicate that the player started at least four games in 2011.

Defensive tackles

1. Oklahoma: Casey Walker (17 tackles, 3 TFL,1 sack), Stacy McGee (22 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks), Jamarkus McFarland (21 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks) and Torrea Peterson (3 tackles, 1 TFL)
2. Texas: Ashton Dorsey (24 tackles, 7 TFL, 1 sack), Chris Whaley (5 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack), Desmond Jackson (10 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 sacks), Brandon Moore and Malcom Brown
3. TCU: David Johnson (28 tackles, 7 TFL, 3 sacks), Chuck Hunter (17 tackles, 2 TFL, 0.5 sacks), Jon Lewis (16 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack) and Ray Burns (7 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack)
4. Oklahoma State: Anthony Rogers (21 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 sack) , Davidell Collins (7 tackles, 2 TFL), Christian Littlehead (16 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack) and James Castleman
5. West Virginia: Jorge Wright (38 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks), Shaq Rowell (8 tackles) and Imarje Albury
6. Kansas State: Vai Lutui (34 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 sack), John Sua (4 tackles), Javonta Boyd (three tackles) and Darryl Blackmon
7. Texas Tech: Kerry Hyder (42 tackles, 5 TFL, 1.5 sacks), Dennell-Wesley (21 tackles, 2 TFL), Chris Perry (10 tackles, 2 TFL) and Delvon Simmons (13 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1 sack)
8. Baylor: Nick Johnson (8 tackles, 1.5 TFL), Kaeron Johnson (5 tackles), Beau Blackshear and Trevor Clemons-Valdez
9. Iowa State: Jake McDonough (35 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 2 sacks), Cleyon Laing (12 tackles, 0.5 TFL), Walker Woods (5 tackles) and Brandon Jenson (3 tackles)
10. Kansas: Randall Dent (5 tackles and 1 TFL), Pat Lewandowski (3 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack), Shane Smith (4 tackles), John Williams (4 tackles) and Kevin Young (3 tackles)

Thoughts: I'm giving the Sooners the edge in the top spot because you have to respect the better numbers and starting experience at this point, but I wouldn't trade the guys that Texas currently has for any other group in the conference because of their upside. Outside of No. 1 and No. 2, the rest of the league has some questions at this position. Almost everyone returns a starter that was pretty good last season ( but not quite close to elite) and a bunch of unknowns. Well, almost everyone but Baylor, Iowa State and Kansas. Those three teams have MAJOR questions in the middle.

Defensive ends

1. Texas: Alex Okafor (58 tackles, 14 TFL, 7 sacks), Jackson Jeffcoat (71 tackles, 21 TFL, 8 sacks), Reggie Wilson (9 tackles) and Cedric Reed
2. Kansas State: Adam Davis (34 tackles, 8 TFL, 4 sacks), Meshak Williams (28 tackles, 10 TFL, 7 sacks), Eyan Mueller (3 tackles)and Laton Dowling
3. TCU: Stanley Maponga (55 tackles, 13.5 TFL, 9 sacks), Ross Forest (32 tackles, 6 TFL, 1.5 sacks), Jon Koontz (16 tackles, 4 TFL) and Clifton Murphy
4. Oklahoma: David King (31 tackles, 2 sacks, 4 TFL), R.J. Washington (16 tackles, 5 sacks, 5 TFL) and Chuka Ndulue
5. Baylor: Gary Mason (26 tackles, 8 TFL, 2.5 sacks), Terrance Lloyd (36 tackles, 7 TFL, 2.5 sacks), Tevin Elliott (27 tackles, 8 TFL< 3 sacks) and Chris McAllister (10 tackles, 1.5 TFL)
6. Oklahoma State: Cooper Bassett (17 tackles, 4 TFL, 1 sack), Ryan Robinson (21 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack), Nigel Nicholas (10 TFL, 2 sacks) and Tyler Johnson (29 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 sack)
7. Texas Tech: Leon Mackey (28 tackles, 3 TFL), Dartwan Bush (28 tackles, 5 TFL, 2 sacks), Aundray Barr (3 tackles, 1 TFL) ad Jackson Richards (17 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 sack)
8. Iowa State: David Irving (5 tackles), Roosevelt Maggitt, Willie Scott (34 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 1 sack) and Devin Lemke
9. Kansas: Toben Opurum (29 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 2 sacks), Keba Agostinho (18 tackles, 1 sack), Ben Goodman and Josh Richardson
10. West Virginia: Will Clarke (34 tackles, 5 TFL, 2 sacks), J.B. Lagerman (4 tackles), Trevor Demko (three tackles) and Kyle Rose

Thoughts: The Longhorns lapped the conference at this position, period. Kansas State, TCU and Oklahoma and Baylor all have cases that can be made when discussing No. 2 through No. 5 on the list, but the presence of Meshak Williams pushed me to give the edge to the Wildcats over the Horned Frogs. The bottom half of the teams in the conference have major question marks at defensive end coming into the season.

Linebackers

1. Kansas State: Arthur Brown (101 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 2 sacks), Tre Walker (52 tackles, 3 TFL, 0.5 sacks), Jarell Childs (11 tackles, 1 TFL) and Blake Slaughter
2. Oklahoma: Tom Wort (71 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks), Corey Nelson (59 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks), and Joseph Ibiloye (18 tackles, 1 TFL)
3. Oklahoma State: Shaun Lewis (61 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 2 INT), Caleb Lavey (74 tackles, 5 TFL, 1 sack, 1 INT), Alex Elkins (90 tackles, 5 TFL, 1 sack, 1 INT) and Joe Mitchell (32 tackles, 1 TFL)
4. Texas: Jordan Hicks (65 tackles, 4 TFL, 1 sack), Steve Edmond (16 tackles, 2 TFL), DeMarco Cobbs (4 tackles, 1 TFL) and Tevin Jackson (4 tackles)
5. Iowa State: A.J. Klein (116 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 INT), Jake Knott (115 tackles, 4 TFL, 2 INT) and C.J. Morgan (17 tackles, 2 TFL)
6. TCU: Kenny Cain (72 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack, 1 INT), Derrick Gildon (21 tackles, 0 TFL), Danny Heiss (1 tackle) and Joel Hasley (9 tackles)
7. West Virginia: Terence Garvin (72 tackles, 6.6 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 2 INT), Jared Barber (23 tackles, 2 TFL), Doug Rigg (30 tackles, 4 TFL, 1 sack)), Jewane Snow (42 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack), Josh Francis (9 tackles) and Donovan Miles (10 tackles)
8. Texas Tech: Blake Dees (32 tackles, 4 TFL), Danel Cobb (70 tackles, 7.5 TFL), Cqulin Hubert (38 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 1 sack)and Sam Equayoen (30 tackles, 1 TFL)
9. Kansas: Tunde Bakare (37 tackles, 1 TFL), Darius Willis (44 tackles, 5 TFL and 1 sack) and Huldon Tharp (17 tackles)
10. Baylor: Eddie Lackey, Bryce Hager, Brody Trahan (13 tackles) and Rodney Chadwick (68 tackles, 2.5 TFL)

Thoughts: There are some good linebackers in this league. I gave the Wildcats the No. 1 spot because Brown is the best linebacker in the league and the number one difference maker at the position. He's worth that much in my mind. A strong case can be made for both OU and OSU being No. 1. I have to admit that I don't know a ton about West Virginia's Garvin, so that group might be slightly underrated, but with respect to the teams ranked ahead of them, it's a really strong group of players. It's not great, but it's strong.

Defensive backs

1. Texas: Carrington Byndom (58 tackles, 8 TFL, 2 INT, 17 break-ups), Quandre Diggs (51 tackles, 4 TFL, 4 INT, 19 break-ups), Kenny Vaccaro (82 tackles, 8 TFL, 2 sacks, 2 INT, 10 break-ups), Adrian Phillips (43 tackles, 4 TFL, 1 sack, 2 INT) and Mykkele Thompson (13 tackles)
2. Oklahoma State: Justin Gilbert (59 tackles, 5 INT, 10 break-ups), Brodrick Brown (68 tackles, 4 TFL, 5 INT and 15 break-ups), Daytawion Lowe (97 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 INT) and Lavocheya Cooper (6 tackles)
3. Oklahoma: Demontre Hurst (55 tackles, 4 TFL, 1 INT, 11 break-ups), Aaron Colvin (84 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 0 INT), Tony Jefferson (74 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 4 INT and Javon Harris (47 tackles, 1 TFL, 3 INT)
4. Kansas State: Nigel Malone (58 tackles, 7 INT, 17 break-ups), Allen Chapman (50 tackles, 1 INT), Ty Zimmerman (58 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 INT) and Thomas Ferguson (6 tackles)
5. Baylor: KJ Morton (75 tackles, 4 INT, 1.5 TFL), Mike Hicks (105 tackles, 3 INT, 2.5 TFL), Joe Williams (43 tackles, 12 break-ups, 1 INT, 1.5 TFL), Ahmad Dixon (89 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 1 INT) and Sam Holl (113 tackles, 3 INT, 2.5 TFL) and Tyler Stephenson
6. TCU: Jason Verrett (58 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1 INT), Kevin White (18 tackles, 2.5 TFL), Sam Carter (8 tackles), Elisha Olabode (15 tackles) and Jonathan Anderson (49 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT)
7. West Virginia: Pat Miller (66 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 0 INT), Broderick Jenkins (27 tackles, 2 TFL, 0 INT), Darwin Cook (85 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 FF) and Travis Bell (10 tackles)
8. Texas Tech: Tre Porter (24 tackles, 1 INT), Derrick Mayes (20 tackles, 1 TFL), Terrance Bullitt (56 tackles, 9.5 TFL), Cody Davis (93 tackles, 3 TFL) and D.J. Johnson (83 tackles, 2 INT)
9. Iowa State: Jeremy Reeves (70 tackles, 2 INT), Jansen Watson (12 tackles), Durrell Givens (31 tackles), Jacques Washington (90 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT), Deon Broomfield (23 tackles)and Jared Brackens (7 tackles)
10. Kansas: Greg Brown (27 tackles), Tyler Patmon (23 tackles), Bradley McDougald (44 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack), Lubbock Smith (17 tackles)and Ray Mitchell (7 tackles)

Thoughts: You can absolutely make a case that the Longhorns have the two best cornerbacks in the conference and the number one safety as well. Oklahoma State is the only other team in the conference with two players that return from last season with double-digit numbers in pass break-ups, but the Longhorns' trio of Bryndom, Diggs and Vaccaro teamed up for 191 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, eight interceptions and 46 breakups. No school in the conference can match that type of all-around production, although the corners at Oklahoma State are really, really good. On paper, this is a league that should have some good defensive backfield groups.

No. 3: The Good, Bad and the That Can't Happen from the Disch…

The Good: After dropping the first game of the first series in somewhat embarrassing fashion, the Longhorns responded with back-to-back wins on Saturday and Sunday to give them the series win. Shaking off that Friday loss and playing two straight quality games is another sign that this team continues to evolve and mature as the season goes along. With the heavyweights in Big 12 play approaching, the resolve the Horns showed this weekend will serve them well. The Mark Peyton/Erich Weiss duo combined to get on base 10 times in the final two games of the series and this team is tough to beat when those two are creating at the plate. Meanwhile, Parker French was nearly flawless on Saturday on the mound, while the bullpen on Sunday was filthy good, allowing two hits, no walks and no runs in eight innings of work.

The Bad: Dillon Peters crashed into the side of the mountain in his first Sunday start in conference play, lasting one inning after giving up two runs on two hits and three walks. Yikes. Meanwhile, Nathan Thornhill wasn't great by any stretch on Friday, giving up three runs on eight hits and two walks in four innings. As far as the offense is concerned, the line-up cranked out six extra-base hits in three games against one of the dregs of college baseball (163 RPI).

That's can't Happen: On a weekend when Baylor swept Texas A&M and moved its record in conference play to 18-0, the Longhorns couldn't afford to drop a home game against a team like the Jayhawks and not only did they lose on Friday night, but they were down 7-0 going to the bottom of the eighth inning. Barring the Longhorns running the table, the Big 12 race is almost certainly over.

No. 4: T-minus three days and some change…

I have to admit that I'm pretty torn about what the Cowboys should do with the No. 14 pick. On one hand, the Cowboys aren't one player away from winning a super bowl, so anything that helps them acquire more premium picks (top 100 picks) and youth is a good thing. On the other hand, if the Cowboys stay put and remain where they currently reside, there are a host of defensive players that could potentially help every layer of the defense.

I said it last week, but I'm perfectly fine with a number of possible options in that spot. If they stay there and just draft a quality football player, it feels pretty Jerry-proof.

The problem is that the last time I remember thinking this exact same thing, it was 2006 when the Cowboys drafted Bobby Carpenter at the No. 18 spot in the first round. They followed that pick up with Anthony Fasano. And that one with Jason Hatcher.

So, right when I'm getting spooked and thinking volume is the way to go, I'm reminded of almost every volume draft Jerry Jones has ever conducted. Perhaps it's just the 16 years of futility that are getting to me, but has Jerry ever been able to turn his Monty Hall routine into a winning play?

It doesn't feel like it.

Also, it's scary how everyone is assuming that Alabama safety Mark Barron is the no-doubt selection for the Cowboys if they stay put. Of the 17 mock drafts I've linked below, 16 of them gave the Cowboys taking Barron.

Yes, for the second week in a row, I'm your Mock Draft Headquarters.

Lance Zierlein (4/22 on theSidelineview.com ? updated Mock posted later tonight with the listed picks)

Cowboys (No.14): Alabama safety Mark Barron
Texans (No.26): USC defensive end Nick Perry

Adam Caplan (4/21 on theSidelineview.com)

Cowboys (No.14): Alabama safety Mark Barron
Texans (No.26): LSU wide receiver Rueben Randle

NFL.com Mocks from Chad Reuter (4/20), Steve Wyche (4/16), Charley Casserly (4/13), Charles Davis (4/11)

Cowboys (No.14): Alabama safety Mark Barron (unanimous)
Texans (No.26): Stanford offensive tackle Jonathan Martin (Reuter/Davis), Georgia tech WR Stephen Hill (Wyche) and LSU wide receiver Rueben Randle (Casserly)

Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com (4/16)

Cowboys (No.14): Alabama safety Mark Barron
Texans (No.26): Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright

Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com (4/16)

Cowboys (No.14): Alabama safety Mark Barron
Texans (No.26): Stanford offensive tackle Jonathan Martin

USA Today Mocks from Jarrett Bell, Jim Corbett, Nate Davis and Wes Bunting of the National Football Post

Cowboys (No.14): Alabama safety Mark Barron (unanimous)
Texans (No.26): Stanford offensive tackle Jonathan Martin (Bell/Bunting), Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright (Corbett) and Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill (Davis)

Mel Kiper (4/18 - ESPN Premium)

Cowboys (No.14): Alabama safety Mark Barron
Cowboys (No.45): Clemson linebacker Andre Branch
Cowboys (No.81): Presbyterian cornerback Justin Bethel
Texans (No.26): Ole Miss tackle Bobby Massie
Texans (No.58): South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery
Texans (No.76): Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner

Todd McShay 5.0 (ESPN Premium)

Cowboys (No.14): Memphis DT Dontari Poe
Texans (No.26): Georgia Tech WR Stephen Hill

SI's Peter King (4/20)

Cowboys (No.14): Alabama safety Mark Barron
Texans (No.26): LSU wide receiver Rueben Randle

SI's Don Banks (4/18)

Cowboys (No.14): Alabama safety Mark Barron
Texans (No.26): LSU wide receiver Rueben Randle

WalterFootball.com (4/22)

Cowboys (No.14): Alabama safety Mark Barron
Cowboys (No.45): Oklahoma linebacker Ronnel Lewis
Cowboys (No.81): LSU cornerback Ron Brooks
Cowboys (No.113): Oklahoma wide receiver Ryan Broyles
Cowboys (No.135): Baylor center Philip Blake
Texans (No.26): Illinois linebacker Whitney Mercilus
Texans (No.58): Illinois wide receiver A.J. Jenkins
Texans (No.76): Florida State tackle Zerbie Sanders
Texans (No.99): Oklahoma cornerback Jamell Fleming

No. 5: MLB randomness…

… If you know of a Red Sox fan in the office, you might consider giving them a hug today because they could very well be on the verge of jumping off the roof. If you missed what happened Saturday when the Red Sox jumped out to a 9-0 lead going to the top of the sixth inning, only to give it all up in what turned to be one of the most embarrassing regular-season losses I've ever seen, just know that this was written about the team BEFORE Saturday's game . Honestly, this one will end up with a nickname when it's all said and done.

… Philip Humber will not have the last perfect game of 2012. Book it. The Pirates, Padres and Phillies all look like they have one in them.

… Of course, Cliff Lee is on the DL after injuring himself in the 10th inning of a dominant performance. Of course.

… I can safely say that it's still a real pleasure to listen to Dick Enberg call a baseball game.

… Albert Watch: .246/.300/.354 (0 HR)

… How is it possible for the Cubs to be 4-12 terrible?

… The Texas Rangers are one scary baseball team.

Signed, the rest of us.

… Someone is going to pay Josh Hamilton $75-100 million over five years next year in free agency, you better believe that. Hell, I'm hoping the Phillies get involved when the dust settles, considering that he has the same number of home runs right now (7) as my beloved Phillies.

No. 6: Thoughts from The Association …

a. Playoff primer: KD ready to make a statement

b. Confession time: I've lost confidence in the Thunder's ability to win a championship in the final month of the season. This team doesn't look like it has "it" going into the post-season. I hope I'm wrong because I'm a Thunder homer, but this team looks shaky to these eyes.

c. I don't know what the NBA should do with Ron Artest, but a few regular-season games isn't enough. That was a crime that was committed on national television.

d. You can say whatever you want about regular-season basketball games not meaning much, but there sure seemed to be some special meaning and message sending in San Antonio's beat-down of the Lakers on Friday night. After taking one upside the head last week, the Spurs dismembered the Lakers from top to bottom twice this week, with the Friday night beating arriving on a night when the both teams were complete with all of their pieces. It was impressive to say the least. Bottom line: this team looks primed for May.

e. I have to be honest when I say that I'm more than ok without having to watch another Dwight Howard performance this season. He's pretty played out.

f. Go Bobcats, go!

g. Games to DVR this week:

Tuesday: Miami at Boston (TNT)
Tuesday: Phoenix at Utah (TNT)
Wednesday: LA Clippers at NY Knicks (ESPN)
Wednesday: San Antonio at Phoenix (ESPN)
Wednesday: Denver at Oklahoma City (NBA pass)
Thursday: L.A. Lakers at Sacramento (NBA pass)

h. If the season ended today, the first round match-ups would look like this (with my predictions):

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Chicago vs. No. 8 Philadelphia (Bulls in five)
No. 4 Boston vs. No. 5 Atlanta (Celtics in seven)

No. 2 Miami vs. No. 7 NY Knicks (Heat in five)
No. 3 Indiana vs. No. 6 Orlando (Pacers in five)

Western Conference

No. 1 San Antonio vs. No. 8 Utah (Spurs in five)
No. 4 LA Clippers vs. No. 5 Memphis (Grizz in six)

No. 2 Oklahoma City vs. No. 7 Dallas (Thunder in five)
No. 3 LA Lakers vs. No. 6 Denver (Lakers in six)

i. Awards season…

MVP

1. LeBron James (27.1 ppg/.531 FG%/.363 3PT%/.768 FT%/7.9 RPG/6.3 APG/46-18 record)
2. Kevin Durant (27.8 ppg/.502 FG%/.378 3PT%/.856 FT%/8.0 RPG/3.5 APG/46-18 record)
3. Chris Paul (19.3 ppg/.478 FG%/.369 3PT%/.857 FT%/3.5 RPG/9.0 APG/39-24 record)
4. Steve Nash(12.5 ppg/.534% FG%/.399% 3PT%/.890% FT%/3.0 RPG/10.8 APG/33-31 record)
5. Tony Parker (18.6 ppg/.478 FG%/.237 3PT%/.801 FT%/2.8 RPG/7.7 APG/47-16 record)

Rookie of the Year

1. Kyrie Irving (18.6 ppg/.465 FG%/.401% 3PT%/.878 FT%/3.9 RPG/5.6 APG)
2. Kenneth Faried (10.0 ppg/.584 FG%/.000% 3PT%/.693 FT%/7.6 RPG/0.7 APG)
3. Klay Thompson (12.3 ppg/.444 FG%/.428% 3PT%/.871 FT%/2.4 RPG/2.0 APG)

Coach of the Year

1. Gregg Popovich
2. Tim Thibodeau
3. Frank Vogel

No. 7: They said what?…

A look at my 10 favorite Tweets from the last week.

1. @TomPenders
Anyone , including Bo Ryan is a control freak if they do that to a young man. It's flat out awful that some guy would hurt plyrs!

2. @NotoriousPAT_
Nas made Jay-Z look worse than Lebron's hairline on the track "Ether"

3. @KegsnEggs
"So how do you guys think I did?" - Bo Ryan via phone to Wisconsin officials who are on their second bottle of Johnnie Walker

4. @EWeitzman
So Antonio Cromartie turned down a reality show with his 10 kids from 8 mothers. Glad to hear he finally said no to somebody.

5. @lindsapple: ENOUGH with the fake hologram tweets, people. We've killed that joke. Perhaps in 15 years it can come back as a hologram.

6. @ClayTravisBGID
Ten minutes ago Terrence Jones posted this on his Facebook page: "descisions.... descisions...."

What percentage of Kentucky fans will think he spelled decisions correctly? I'm going 40%. You?

7. @jrlovejoy74: Bo Ryan sounds like that dude whose chick walked out on him and he won't give her back the key to her crib

8. @LONG_DRIVE
Halladay to ump: "Clean that plate, bi**h."

9. @bomani_jones
i can't imagine being elbowed in the headn and doing anything tougher than calling a timeout.

@bomani_jones
i remember the time in 7th grade i saw a dude get kicked in the face. hard, too. that was real unfortunate.

10.@TVsAndyDaly
My wife believes Mel Gibson has a brain tumor. Her ability to find the most positive explanation for things is heart-warming.

No. 8: Pop goes the culture because the culture goes pop.…

… TV series trailer of the weekend: Boardwalk Empire Season Three welcomes us to 1923.

… Movie trailer of the weekend: Savages. Oliver Stone + Bencio Del Toro + Salma Hayek + John Travolta = potential

… WTF Headline of the Weekend: Suge Knight: Maybe Tupac isn't dead

… WTF Headline of the Weekend II: Milledgeville Police Handcuff 6-Year-Old Girl for Misbehaving at School

… DECLARATION: Mel Gibson is certifiably crazy

… DECLARATION II: If Rihanna is going to make a fortune off the buzz she's creating for dating a girl, then I'm going to demand she date hotter girls.

… Ummmmm: Brooklyn Decker has a girl crush… yummy.

… One last hottie: I don't know who Jennifer Nicole Lee is, but she's pretty amazing.

No. 9 -The List: Queen

Confession time. Before giving myself the challenge of going through the Queen catalog this week, I'm not sure that I can say I'd ever listened to a full Queen album from stem to stern. Oh, I've heard plenty of Queen music and I've certainly listened to greatest hits albums, but I don't know that I've ever hung out with anyone that was into Queen enough that they decided to throw on the entire Jazz album and I know I hadn't volunteered for such duty until this week.

In an effort to give Queen their just do, I've listened to just about everything they've done (at least with Freddie Mercury in the group) from start to finish. From Queen to Queen II to A Night at the Opera to Jazz to The Game and even a few more beyond that, I went all-in this week to capture the glory of the group.

All I can say is, "Wow…" From the early stages of their work when half of their albums were full of fantasies full or ogres fighting each other to their eventual cross-over into the world of pop music, I feel like I've been through a musical ringer that is a something of a cross between Fear and Loathing Las Vegas, A Clockwork Orange and Dungeons and Dragons.

I'm prepared. Let's see the list.

9. Spread Your Wings
8. The Great Pretender
7. Under Pressure
6. Fat Bottomed Girls
5. Somebody to Love
4. Get Down, Make Love
3. Another One Bites the Dust
2. We Will Rock You/We Are he Champions
1. Bohemian Rhapsody

Coming up next week: Marvin Gaye

Previous Lists: 2-Pac, Biggie Smalls, Boyz II Men, Jeff Buckley, Cartoon themes, Eva Cassidy,Phil Collins, Sam Cooke, Joe Ely, Guns N' Roses, Hall and Oats, HBO Shows, Whitney Houston, Kool and the Gang, Metallica, George Michael, Mo-Town, Bill Murray, Scarface, Sexiest Women of All-Time, Gary Stewart , George Strait, TV Themes

No. 10 - And finally…

You didn't think I was going to make to through these 10 thoughts without mentioning UFC 145, did you?

Hey, I've been waiting for Jones/Evans just like the rest of you and after watching five rounds of the two best light heavyweights in the world and arguably 2 of the top 5 pound-for-pound fighters in the world, all I have to is this…

D.O.M.I.N.A.T.I.O.N.

What Jones did to Evans over the course of the fight was awe-inspiring, as he made the opposition look less like a world-class fighter and a lot more like a dude that picked a fight with the wrong dude at the wrong bar and is just hoping for someone to step in before he gets put to sleep. Jones just had too much reach and too many weapons that he could go to. By the end of the fight, the only way Evans could win was risking a knockout by going for a one-shot knockout … and Jones made him concede the effort.

This was supposed to be a grudge match between bitter rivals, but Jones took Evans' competitive soul. It was a message to every single guy that steps into the ring with Jones moving forward. I'm telling you, it was incredibly impressive.

What we're left with is a fighter that is so dominantly in control of his division right now that the only way we're going to see him lose any time soon is if someone hits the lottery with a big, single shot. Obviously, that can happen in MMA in the blink of an eye, but nobody is getting into the ring right now with Jones and dictating terms otherwise.

It feels like we're watching history unfold each night out with this guy.


Texas NEWS

[More]

Latest Headlines:


 

Rivals.com is your source for: College Football | Football Recruiting | College Basketball | Basketball Recruiting | College Baseball | High School | College Merchandise
Site-specific editorial/photos © Orangebloods.com. All rights reserved. This website is an officially and independently operated source of news and information not affiliated with any school or team.
About | Advertise with Us | Contact | Privacy Policy | About our Ads | Terms of Service | Copyright/IP policy | Yahoo! Sports - NBC Sports Network

Statistical information ©2014 STATS LLC All Rights Reserved.