Archive for Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin or Tyler Hansbrough?…

Posted in College Basketball, NBA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2009 by sportsguru09

Who will be a better NBA player, Blake Griffin the OU Sooner or Tyler Hansbrough the Baby Blue Tar Heel? My answer is Griffin. And let me preface this post: my position is not a result of my hatred for Hansbrough and the Tar Heels. The Duke-Carolina rivalry aside, Griffin is much more athletic and an overall bigger powerhouse. Hansbrough is a real “creative” post player and finds ways, ugly or not, to get the ball in the hoop. As much as I hate to say it, Psycho T does it quite frequently, thus taking over the ACC All-Time Scoring Record previously held by my boy J.J. Redick. But honestly, can you see Hansbrough throwing up that trash in the NBA? The likes of Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O’ Neal, and others will stuff it and probably throw it 12 rows deep and turn it into a souvenir.

Courtesy of yardbarker.com

Courtesy of yardbarker.com

Griffin, however, can actually go coast-to-coast, with speed, and smash the ball through the hole overtop of multiple defenders. Both are great college players, but how does that translate into the NBA? Let’s compare the two by NBA potential in the skilled categories:

Strength – Advantage Griffin…Griffin is an absolute monster underneath the basket and has a great presence that keeps opponents out of the lane when they drive and is able to do whatever he wants on the Offensive end. If you watch him play, the whole game revolves around him. Why? Because no one else can physically stop him. Hansbrough is also a tough guy but does not seem as dominant in the post. He’s a scorer but doesn’t tend to throw people around in the paint.

Speed – Advantage Griffin…Hansbrough, though great in the post, struggles to outrun anyone down the court. He has great court presence and vision, but fails to physically beat defenders out on the break. Griffin, as we’ve seen at multiple times throughout the year, has stolen the ball underneath his own basket and left everyone in the dust on the way back down the court only to throw down a ridiculous dunk while defenders sit back and watch.

Dunking – Advantage Griffin…See above…Griffin is a man-child all by himself. In overall dunking ability, able to jump higher, Griffin is a great lob-catcher and more talented in the alley-oop department than Psycho T. Hansbrough is not nearly as explosive or fun to watch. Put the two in a dunk contest and Griffin wins hands down.

Post Play – Advantage Hansbrough…I definitely give the nod to Tyler here. Somehow, someway, Hansbrough finds ways to score against multiple defenders in the paint. Trust me, I know. I’m a Duke fan…he’s done it four years in a row, in Durham gosh dang it. It’s ugly, but it works. Griffin tends to be a better one-on-one player and because he’s a more skilled ball handler, tends not to go down and sit in the paint. However, because Hansbrough finds home underneath the basket, I’d take him over Griffin if you need a great post scorer. Yes, Tar Heel fans, I am applauding Hansbrough’s ability…though it sure isn’t pretty.

Ball Handling/DribblingAdvantage Griffin…This definitely goes to Griffin. Without a doubt, Griffin would dribble around Hansbrough. Not to take anything away from Psycho T, but Griffin goes between the legs and around the back much better and on a more frequent basis to school defenders soon before posterizing them.

Defense – Advantage HansbroughIn the defensive block, Hansbrough has better court sense and the ability to take a charge. As dominant as Griffin is on the boards, he is all risk or all reward in trying to block shots. When’s the last time you saw him take a charge? When an opponent drives the lane, Hansbrough steps up and usually takes one for the team, risking his body to get a turnover and the ball back.

Rebounding – Advantage Griffin…Has anyone seen Griffin’s stats this year? I can’t even count the number of double-doubles that Griffin has had this year. Simply put, when you average over 20 points and close to 15 rebounds over the course of a season, you deserve Player of the Year honors. When the ball is up for grabs, count on Griffin to use his brute force to get the ball wrapped up securely in his arms for whatever NBA team is lucky enough to draft him.

One on One Ability – This is a wash, but are great in finding ways to score, no matter who’s guarding them.

Overall, Griffin has more talent and will likely find it easier to get playing time and make an immediate impact in the NBA. Hansbrough will likely be a 7th or 8th man and be a role player until he finds his way onto a team that needs a talented Small Forward. Both will be taken high in the NBA Draft, but look for Griffin, assuming he stays healthy, to be a better talent in the professional arena.

Want a look at Blake Griffin’s athleticism? Check out the video….see for yourself…

Courtesy of YouTube

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Saturday’s Elite 8 Predictions and Thoughts…

Posted in College Basketball with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2009 by sportsguru09

After last night’s chalk results, the NCAA Tournament is on to the Elite 8. Tonight, we’ll see Villanova-Pitt and Missouri-UConn. Below is my analysis on each game and my prediction as to who will make it to Detroit and represent in the Final Four….

Villanova vs. Pittsburgh

In the late night matchup, Pitt faces off against another Run ‘n Gun type squad and will have their hands full with Jay Wright’s Villanova Wildcats. If they think they’re going to cakewalk to the Final Four as everyone once thought they would, think again. Pitt hasn’t impressed me yet so tonight they better show me something, especially Lavance Fields. Show the nation that you can lead your team and not rely on DeJuan Blair and Sam Young each time down the floor. Pitt’s tournament journey has been far from easy so far as each one of their games has been relatively close and down to the wire. Shoot, Pitt even struggled to knock out East Tennessee State. Tonight should be no different though. I think they’ll do just enough, once again, to take down the ‘Cats and move on to Detroit.

Though Villanova is hot right now, I think their “gas” finally runs out later this evening.

Courtesy of rushthecourt.net

Courtesy of rushthecourt.net

After watching them dismantle my Dukies the other night, I have been more than impressed by what Scottie Reynolds and Dante Cunningham have done on both ends of the floor. Nova’s hawk style defense has been shutting opponents down from 3-point land and has made it tough for anyone to establish a balanced offense. However, they haven’t seen size like Pittsburgh and I think that because Nova has a smaller team, they will get largely out-rebounded and be hurt by second chance points. Look for the ‘Cats to shut down Lavance Fields but not be able to contain DeJuan Blair and/or Sam Young. One of them is bound to go off tonight. It won’t be of any surprise to see Blair or Young put up a monster double-double. Though I do give the guard play advantage to Villanova, I just don’t think it will be enough. I see the ‘Cats racking up fouls inside the paint and giving Pitt the opportunity to cash in at the free throw line. It will be competitively close on the scoreboard the entire game, but Pitt pulls it out in the end. Congrats Jamie Dixon….see you in the Motor City.

Prediction: Pittsburgh 78, Villanova 73

Missouri vs. Connecticut

UConn-Missouri…intriguing. No one knows a lot about the Missouri Tigers but they have been the dark horse in this stage in the tournament, without a doubt. Where did they come from? Who cares, they’re lights out. UConn, however, has done its job and taken care of business each round with Thabeet leading the charge and A.J. Price following close behind…like everyone thought they would. Tonight, UConn will match up against Mizzou’s pressure defense and fast-break offense and will hope to slow the game down enough to take over and move on. I think this game stays close for a while but UConn pulls away in the second half when the Tigers finally struggle to shoot it….

Look for Thabeet, assuming he stays out of foul trouble, to have a big night against the Tigers’ less-than-big-men down in the paint. Thabeet should take full advantage of size differential and he’ll likely get four or five dunks/layups being so close to the basket.

Courtesy of usatoday.com

Courtesy of usatoday.com

On the other end, Mizzou will have to rely on the three point shot…look for them to be hesitant to drive to the hoop because of UConn’s monster in the middle. I give Missouri a chance here, but just a little one. They might surprise everyone by leading at half time but look for UConn to continue to go inside and if Mizzou doubles down, UConn will take advantage of open looks from behind the arc. If I had to guess, Thabeet will likely go for 22 points and 11 rebounds, doing it all for the Huskies. Huskies roll late and Jim Calhoun gets another ticket to the Final Four…

Prediction: Connecticut 82, Missouri 71

Final Four and Championship Predictions…

Posted in College Basketball with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2009 by sportsguru09

My 2009 NCAA Tournament Final Four Seeding
1 – Louisville, 2 – Oklahoma, 3 – Duke, 4 – Memphis

Down to 4 in Detroit. In the East vs. South matchup, Duke matches up with Oklahoma. Again, Duke faces a tough challenge in size vs. speed. ouBlake Griffin, against the Dukies, will likely have 25 points and 20 rebounds. Duke has no inside presence to even contend with Oklahoma’s All-American. Duke’s only chance in this game is to absolutely shoot the lights out and somewhat contain Griffin and make any other Sooner beat them. And as much as I love Duke, I just can’t honestly take them here. Oklahoma has a lot of guard firepower and Blake Griffin will be just too much to handle. I like the Sooners here, 86-78.

Across the bracket, the other Final Four game in my bracket pits Memphis (who yes, I still believe is overrated though I have them here) against Pitino’s Cardinals. The outcome of this game will rest mostly on coaching and experience. loisuvilleThough the actual roster for Louisville doesn’t have the recent Final Four experience like some of Memphis’ players from last year, I really like Pitino in March. He’s one of the greatest coaches of all time and he’s simply basketball saavy. The best part? All of his guys buy into his system. Led by Terence Williams, Earl Clark, and an up-paced offense, I like Louisville to win a scorcher here. Calipari’s Tigers just won’t know what hit them and their luck will run out in the Final Four, proving that they’re not necessarily one of the nation’s elite. They simply took care of business in a weak conference. Louisville outplays the Tigers, 76-71.

2009 Championship Game in Detroit
Louisville vs. Oklahoma

Now, the finale. Louisville vs. Oklahoma in another bruiser in Detroit. Off the bat, I’m going to have to give the edge to Pitino. These types of games are where he thrives the most. He also gets his players to step up in the spotlight (refer to the Big East Championship last week). They are arguably the hottest team in the country, have been lighting it up from 3-point land, and have just run teams out of the gym on the fast break. Oklahoma will do a lot to stay competitive in this game but I think Pitino will have something up his sleeve to contain and/or stop Blake Griffin from scoring and beating them by himself. Coaching experience and conditioning wins this game…

Finally, let’s break down who has the edge in the rest of the matchup categories:

Scoring: Advantage Louisville

Defensive Pressure: Advantage Louisville

Strength and Size: Advantage Oklahoma

Basketball Smarts: Advantage Louisville

Rebounding: Advantage Oklahoma

Your 2009 NCAA Tournament Champion? The LOUISVILLE CARDINALS…81-73…. CONGRATS RICK PITINO!

South Region Breakdown and Analysis…

Posted in College Basketball with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2009 by sportsguru09

2009 NCAA Tournament South Region Bracket Seeding
1 – North Carolina, 2 – Oklahoma, 3 – Syracuse, 4 – Gonzaga
5 – Illinois, 6 – Arizona State, 7 – Clemson, 8 – LSU
9 – Butler, 10 – Michigan, 11 – Temple, 12 – W. Kentucky,
13 – Akron, 14 – Stephen F. Austin, 15 – Morgan State,
16 – Radford (LET’S GO! BEAT NORTH CAROLINA!!!!)

On the night of March 19th, these teams will begin their journey on their way to a potential National Championship run in Detroit on April 6th. Compared to the other regions in the tournament and the opportunity for the #1 seed (in this case, North Carolina) to make it to the Final Four, I rank the South Region as the 4th toughest bracket (the easiest) out of the field.

Egh, you mean I have to talk about North Carolina now? Dang it. I guess if I have to, I will…I just won’t like doing it. Depending on Ty Lawson’s foot, UNC should have a relatively easy cakewalk (which of course makes me upset) to the Elite 8 until they run into a stacked Oklahoma Sooner team led by potential NBA All-Star Blake Griffin. oku-logo1 Without Lawson in the first round, I think UNC will struggle out of the blocks against Radford. Obviously, if UNC were to lose as a #1 seed against Radford (who, by the way, leads the country in STDs instead of scoring….well, ironically they could technically lead the nation in scoring…if you get my drift), I would be in all my glory. I wouldn’t care about what happened the rest of the tournament. Unfortunately, this only has a miracle’s chance of actually happening. The NCAA tourney committee says “Your Welcome” North Carolina. In the LSU-Butler matchup, this game comes down to size vs. shooting. If Butler plays it’s up and down the court game and shoots well from the floor, they will be able to overcome LSU’s size and pull out the victory. However, whoever wins this coin flip will likely get beaten up on my Carolina in the second round, assuming they have Ty Lawson back and healthy.

An always exciting matchup is the 5-12 game out of any region. In this case, it is no different. UPSET ALERT! UPSET ALERT! UPSET ALERT!Western Kentucky is willing and ready to play spoiler against Illinois. As the 12 seed, they are automatically considered dangerous. I like them a lot here. Go Toppers! wku-logoThey will likely play a very talented team from Gonzaga. However, in the Round of 32, I like Western Kentucky to pull another upset and knock out the ‘Zags, who are usually a tournament letdown. They usually have talent, but can’t hack it when tournament pressure arrives. Go Toppers once again! At the bottom of the South regional, I like Arizona State, Syracuse, and Oklahoma to take care of business with no problems. However, in the 7-10 matchup, I think Clemson will struggle with consistency (like usual as they are typically overrated) and lose to a red-hot, developing Michigan Wolverine squad. In the next round, I look for Oklahoma to again take care of Michigan with Blake Griffin absolutely dominating the glass on both ends of the floor and producing all kinds of numbers. I expect Syracuse to continue to play well, led by Jonny Flynn, and beat AZ State, but then succumb to size and fatigue against Oklahoma in the Sweet 16.

Back up at the top of the bracket, UNC will again play its game at run the Toppers ragged in the Sweet 16 and set up an intriguing matchup with Oklahoma in the Elite 8. At first glance, you would think that the Sooners don’t have enough firepower against the Heels, but you forget that Blake Griffin will likely be guarding Tyler Hansbrough. Advantage – Griffin. In a high-scoring battle, I like the Sooners to make the trip to Detroit and try to prove to the country that they belong among the nation’s elite. This bracket will not have as many upsets but will provide excitement with high-scoring affairs and fast-paced offenses. It will also feature two of the nation’s top players in Blake Griffin and Tyler Hansbrough. Try and keep up…..

Ok folks, get out your brackets…

2009 SOUTH REGION PREDICTIONS

Sleeper teams to win at least one game: Western Kentucky and Michigan

Most intriguing team to watch: Syracuse (can they recover from a brutal Big East tournament?)

Biggest regional upset: Western Kentucky to beat Gonzaga in the 2nd round after upsetting Illinois in the Round of 64

1st Round Winners: UNC, Butler, Western Kentucky, Gonzaga, Arizona State, Syracuse, Michigan, and Oklahoma

2nd Round Winners: UNC, Oklahoma, Western Kentucky, and Syracuse

South Region Sweet 16 Winners: UNC and Oklahoma

South Region Elite 8 Winner: Oklahoma Sooners

OUT OF THE SOUTH REGION, Oklahoma WILL REPRESENT THE FIELD IN DETROIT AT THE FINAL FOUR

Analysis and breakdown of the East Region coming soon….