Archive for March, 2012

North Carolina’s mass exodus – step away from the ledge

March 30, 2012

It’s tough for me to generate any real amount of sympathy for my North Carolina-loving friends.

Yes, I have friends.

Anyway, it seems that some members of Tar Heel nation are, well, blue at the early departures of Kendall Marshall, Harrison Barnes and John Henson for the NBA.

Some are questioning Barnes’ heart, Henson’s toughness and Marshall’s character while others are railing against a system that’s bad for college basketball.

Or, if a truth serum were in play, bad for Carolina.

The truth is on the other side of the spectrum.

What could be better than to have FOUR Tar Heels drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft this summer? You can’t buy better exposure for your school and your program.

Kids want to play in the league. Period.

They tend to notice when schools send guys there.

OK, a title would have been nice, but still – if you recruit top-tier players, some of them are not going to hang around for four years.

Even at Carolina.

Let’s assume that James Michael McAdoo stays around for his sophomore season. With him and the fifth-rated recruiting class (which I think the exodus may make a little better), the Tar Heels will still be favored for a top-three finish in the ACC.

I realize that having Carolina blue blood pumping through your veins means that the standard is set a little higher. And I know that this season, one filled with expectations, left much to be desired.

But imagine a world like the one I live in as a Clemson fan – a world where you get one McDonald’s All-American a decade if you’re lucky.

In short, the sun will still rise in Chapel Hill the day after Midnight Madness this fall, when your new group of heroes wearing the most recognizable colors in college basketball will take the floor.

And the sky, and to some degree, the world will still be a nice shade of Carolina blue.

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Some fathers and sons go to baseball games – we have lightsaber battles

March 23, 2012

Not too long ago, my son (Ethan Capps) mentioned that he found a blog post about himself while searching on Google.

I guess we should stop for a minute and note the apparent science behind the fact that – without any suggestion from me – he had the idea to Google himself. It’s a feat that surely belongs in a science journal.

Anyway, he requested more blogs about him. Apparently, reading about what his dad thinks about sports is, well, rather less than thrilling.

So this one is about the boy.

Sometimes, I feel like I’m missing out a little in terms of having the traditional, sports-heavy father/son relationship with him.

But what we do share is an almost-daily lightsaber duel.

He has an extensive collection of weaponry, including what I estimate to be about 10 official, light-up, honest-to-goodness Star Wars lightsabers.

I wield the red one, favored by Darth Vader, while he uses the blue one – which I believe was inspired by Obi Wan Kenobi.

So, we wander around the house, swinging feverishly at each other with plastic swords. He occasionally cuts off my arm or leg – then gives it back to me by pointing his finger and saying “robotic arm” or “robotic leg.”

We cite movie lines, making up a few things along the way. One interesting thing to note is the fact that, not only am I apparently some kind of Sith Lord, but I’m a “chinny-chin-chin Sith Lord,” which is a reference to my goatee (which is my chinny-chin-chin, so I’m told).

He wins these battles, usually somewhere near 8 p.m. (bath time) by various methods. Usually, he runs me through, giving me a version of the speech Obi Wan gave Anakin in Episode III as he stands over me.

But sometimes, he convinces me to reject the Dark Side of the Force and become a Jedi.

We’ve been calling them “Friendship Endings.”

Reminds me of Mortal Kombat.

So, while I’m not coaching third base at a Little League game, I am fighting for control of a galaxy far, far away…

Tim Tebow – Jets’ savior?

March 22, 2012

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My apologies for the sensational headline, but it’s a valid question.

The New York Jets sent a fourth and a sixth-round pick to the Broncos for the rights to the most polarizing man in sports today, one Tim Tebow.

My take? The trade for the Jets will either be the move that puts the Jets over the hump and into the Super Bowl or the move that ends Rex Ryan’s tenure as coach of the team.

Early lean? I like it. The Jets’ biggest offensive issue last year was punching the ball into the end zone inside the 10. Tebow will fix that right away. My guess is, with the help of new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, the Jets will create a Tebow package for short yardage and goal line plays with a very wildcat-like look. NFL defenses to date have had trouble stopping Tebow in these sets, since he has the ideal skill set for these situations.

Where it could (and might) go horribly wrong for Ryan is if Mark Sanchez struggles and fans start chanting for Tebow to play full-time. While I think the jury’s still out on Tebow’s ability to be a successful starting quarterback in the league on a consistent basis, New York fans are not known for their patience in such matters.

Either way, it’s sure to be interesting.

Quick hitters – Thursday, March 15

March 15, 2012

This is either going to be the best bracket I’ve ever done – or the worst.

Upset specials

Belmont over Georgetown – I made the mistake of watching the Hoyas play a couple of times. It’s been hard to take them seriously ever since. And this Belmont team is deep and talented.

Ohio over Michigan – At first glance, this looks crazy. But take a team that defends the three very well and takes care of the ball (Ohio) and match them up with a perimeter-happy team that relies on defense to create easy scoring opportunities (Michigan) and it sudden makes more sense.

Xavier over Duke – A bold pick, to be sure. But I love Xavier’s guard play – and aside from that UNC comeback – I don’t trust this Duke team in a high-pressure spot.

Murray State over Marquette – I like Murray State in what should be a fun, down-to-the-wire game.

Belmont in the Elite Eight – I don’t trust Kansas in a game with any team that pushes the pace and stretches the floor. The Jayhawks are great, until you get into that bench.

And the winner is…

Missouri. I love the Tigers’ experience, toughness, free-throw shooting and swagger. They’ll be a tough out, and I like the path they have to the Final Four.

Of course, if you base any of your picks on this drivel, you’re crazy…

Quick hitters – Wednesday, March 14

March 14, 2012

I’m going to start writing here more.

Honest.

Anyway, let’s get busy:

Peyton Manning is going to Denver. Makes too much sense for him not too. Dallas Clark will wind up there as well.

The Magic should trade Dwight Howard before Thursday’s deadline. There’s no way he’s signing an extension.

If the first two games of the NCAA Tournament are any indication, we’re in for a heck of a ride. Iona blew a 25-point lead against BYU and Mississippi Valley State coughed up a 16-point cushion in the last five minutes against BYU. I’m 0-2 in those games, which thankfully don’t count on my brackets.

Speaking of that, I wonder if the fact that – out of 32 first-round games – I was only sure about 13 of them means that I over-analyze these games? I watch about 100 games a year, so I tend to see the possibilities in a lot of teams. Perhaps if I just picked the toughest mascots I would have a better winning percentage in these bracket challenges.

In case you’re wondering, I have won money in three tournament pools in my 20-plus years of playing. The first was in high school, even though I had Michigan beating Carolina in the title game. I had the entire Final Four right and something like 14 of the Sweet 16. The next was in college, where I actually cut a deal with the guy running second to split the pot no matter who won the title game. That was a good move, since UCLA beat Arkansas. Technically, I finished second. But the money spent the same. The last was a few years back, when Kansas lost to Carmelo Anthony and Syracuse in the title game. Took second that year too.

As a Redskin fan, I’m hopeful that the megadeal for the second overall pick works out. As a journalist, I’m skeptical that it will.