Now let me welcome everybody to the wild, wild west, a state that's untouchable like Elliot Ness
The track hits your eardrum like a slug to your chest, pack a vest for your jimmy in the city of sex.
By the way, that means I'm in Los Angeles for work. Which also means I couldn't attend nor watch the Gopher game last night, but it looks like the Gophers went with their standard operating procedure of sucking for the majority of the game and falling behind to a far inferior opponent, and then turning it on in the second half to cruise to a win that looks a lot easier than it really was. That's all well and good, but if they are still doing that crap once the Big Ten season gets underway it's going to get ugly in a hurry. Maybe Nolen can fix all that, maybe not. We're going to find out.
- No real exciting meals to report. Well, actually I had one of the best burgers in the history of burgerdom last night at a place in Hollywood called Lucky Devils. Kobe Beef burger (medium) with lettuce, onions, and some kind of home made secret sauce. Outstanding. And the rosemary garlic fries were out of this world. Although I think Elk, who I am out here with, made the best call of the night (besides the restaurant) going with the Diablo burger, which was a spicy version of what I had. I had a chance to try their hot sauce and it was really, really good. I should have ordered that.
Later in the evening we hit up an establishment called the Pig and Whistle for a couple after-dinner drinks and ended up having one with a Michael Jackson impersonator - unless it was really him and the whole "death" thing was a sham. Stranger things have happened. Or not really, I guess. That would be pretty strange. In any case it was a bit of an unusual occurrence. But now I'm in the room with nothing but a few Coors Light silos to keep me company, so let's see what things are going on.
- Jesse Crain to the White Sox, huh? And Guerrier to the Dodgers, but that doesn't interest me nearly as much since Crain is going to the most hated rival in the world. They pretty clearly overpaid, but Crain showed just enough in the second half of last year when he started using that slider all the time where I'm pretty nervous to be facing him in the division. Will he give up tap measure home runs? Of course. But the first time they bring him in to face the Twins in the 8th and he shuts them down 1-2-3 I'm going to die a little inside.
- And speaking of free agents, this Cliff Lee to the Phillies thing is really unfair. I know the Giants won the series this year with a combination of insane pitching and Buster Posey and that's it, but the Phillies actually have an offense. Howard is going to hit 40 bombs, Victorino has developed into one hell of a hitter, and Utley and Rollins are great hitters for their positions, even if they were a bit off last year. I know Werth is gone, but it doesn't really matter who plays left or center or third or whoever the hell their catcher is. And their only going to have score 2-3 runs a game to win most of the time, and they won't even need a bullpen because Halladay and Lee are just going to pitch complete games every time out anyway. Halladay, Lee, and Oswalt are all in the top 14 in active complete game leaders, and that includes ancients like Tim Wakefield and Jamie Moyer. Actually, Halladay is 33, and amongst pitchers 33 or younger they rank 1, 5, and 6. Ridiculous and basically just unfair. The over/under for their season wins is going to be like 110.
- Oh, and if the Twins trade for Joe freaking Blanton and his Nick Blackburn-like career 1.34 WHIP I'm going to drive down there and maim somebody. Why make a trade for a fifth starter when he's worse than whoever you call up from triple A? Come on geniuses, don't be stupid.
- Of course, this is not my first time in Los Angeles for work. Prior to this I was introduced to the weirdness of everybody in the city trying to get a movie produced, and before that I was lucky enough to become good friends with Larry David and learned a little about women. L.A. is weird, but I always have a good time. Plus, I was in a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode that time with my good friend Larry. You can actually see my bald spot in the scene. I'm famous.
- Interesting week in college hoops so far. Three teams who I don't think anybody was super sure what to make of (Louisville, Tennessee, and UNLV) all went on big runs early, picked up huge wins (Louisville over UNLV, Tennessee over Pitt, and UNLV over Wisconsin and Va Tech), got themselves highly ranked (Tenn #7, UNLV #20 , L'Ville #20) and then all crashed and burned this week. Louisville got beat at home by Drexel, Tennessee got beat at home by Oakland, and UNLV by Santa Barbara. But no real worries, because they're all still better than Gonzaga who is an absolute nightmare right now. They're going to end up scrambling to even sniff an at-large bid.
- In case you're wondering what's going with the world's worst shooting guard, Scottie Reynolds was picked 13th in the first round of the NBDL draft by Tulsa, who then immediately shipped him off in a trade to get of his stink. Since play began he ranks 19th in scoring (behind guys like Pat Ewing Jr. and Roderick Wilmont), and 19th in assists (behind guys like Curtis Stinson and Luke Jackson). Nicely done.
- Speaking of the NBDL draft, other picks of interest:
First Round: Alan Anderson (Mich State like 100 years ago), Robert Vaden (UAB), Magnum Rolle (LA Tech - love this guy).
Third Round: Lawrence Westbrook (averaging 7 pts, 2 rebs, 2 asts per game with Maine)
Fourth Round: Derek Raivio (Gonzaga, the living clone of the Professor)
Fifth Round: Daniel Horton (Michigan, this guy sucked)
And that's it. Every year I think there's going to be a bunch of funny in this draft, and every year it turns out I've only heard of a handful of guys. And I know way too much about college ball to not know who this many guys are. So where are these guys coming from? Some secret basketball concentration camp? This is bullshit.
- John Shurna tonight: 28 pts, 4 rebs, 2 assists, 3 steals, 3 blocks, 1 turnover. That's 64 fantasy points, baby. And guess whose got 'em?
- Shelden Williams is still in the NBA? What the hell? The guy's offensive game rivals Miles Tarver and his defensive game is what I imagine Blake Hoffarber would look like if he was taller and blacker.
- You ever just sit around wondering who the top scoring Big Ten college basketball players would be in a Bi g Ten fantasy league (pt = 1pt, reb = 2 pt, assist = 3 pt, block or steal = 4 pt, turnover = -2 pts)? Well wonder no more. The top ten in our league:
1. Jon Leuer, Wisconsin
2. Darius Morris, Michigan
3. Trevor Mbakwe, Minnesota
4. Jordan Taylor, Wisconsin
5. Blake Hoffarber, Minnesota
6. Draymond Green, Michigan State
7. Jared Sullinger, Ohio State
8. JaJuan Johnson, Purdue
9. Demetri McCamey, Illinois
10. E'Twaun Moore, Purdue
It's worth noting I have none of those people, and also - not coincidentally - I'm the only team that's 0-2 thus far. Also props to Snacks, Bogart, Snake, Dawger, Elk, Grandslam, and Optimator. I sent an email one random morning asking if anybody wanted to do fantasy Big 10 hoops, and by that afternoon we were in round 3 of the draft. Nice work, gentleman.
- By the way, yes, that's Blake Hoffarber at #5. He's having a hell of a year. 14.8 points per game (13th in the B10), 4.9 assists (3rd. THIRD!!), 3.5 rebounds (39th), and 1.7 steals (5th, and wow) all while shooting 40% from three (leading the conference in both makes and attempts) and turning it over just 1.6 times per game despite being the defacto main ball handler. Actually, he's been efficient enough on offense to rank #63 in kenpom.com's offensive efficiency ranking, which may not sound that great but keep in mind there are 340-some teams and this ranking includes all those dudes from smaller conferences who dominate. In terms of Big Ten players, he ranks behind just Jon Diebler, John Shurna, Jordan Hulls of Indiana, and Jordan Taylor. Combine fantasy points, which shows he's putting up numbers, and efficiency rating, which shows he's, well, efficient, and you could make a case for him to be behind just Taylor as the most valuable player in the Big Ten this year. I can't believe I just typed that sentence. I'm now going to pull my fingers off with bolt cutters. Which I just happen to have here in the hotel room.