Friday, March 24, 2006

The Coach K Myth

Let me start off by saying Mike Krzyzewski is a very good coach. He's an excellent recruiter and perhaps no other coach in the country prepares his team better. His Duke teams expect to be great and for the most part they play the role well. However, in recent years Coach K has continually been outcoached in March. Year after year Duke has lost leads and failed to execute down the stretch dashing their championship aspirations in the process. Tubby Smith, Jim Calhoun (twice), Mike Davis and now John Brady of LSU have gone toe to toe with Coach K and come out victorious. John Brady?

In Duke's latest March loss to LSU senior JJ Reddick was completely ineffective and while some will blame Krzyzewski for relying too much on the nation's best shooter, my take is quite different. First it's important to note that Duke had one it's weakest supporting casts in years. Dockery gave them nothing on the offensive end and even failed to make an impact with his trademark defense. Nelson is an absolute bum who missed several wide open shots including an embarrasing brick of a wide open layup. McRoberts and Paulus showed flashes but, ultimately made too many freshman mistakes. Shelden Williams was dominant at times but as usual late in the game Duke went away from it's inside game.

Duke lost this game because they allowed LSU to impose their will and dictate the terms of the game. LSU's advantage was it's size and athleticism, so the Tigers crashed the boards and defensively hounded Duke's non-athletic perimeter players. Coach K's inability to counteract the LSU defense and free up his best offensive player was his team's downfall. Couple that with the fact Duke was prevented from going inside to Williams late and the outcome was inevitable. Great coaches are able to devise a gameplan that will exploit the other team's weaknesses and play to their own strengths. Great coaches are also able to counter and adjust to the opposing teams offensive and defensive schemes. When it counts, Coach Krzyzewski has too often been unable to do either.

Other thoughts on the game:

"Big Baby" will not be a factor at the next level. He's mobile for a big man in college. He will get used like Paris Hilton's birth control at the next level.

JJ Reddick will have a solid NBA career (no all-star appearances) as a shooting specialist. No one in the NBA save maybe Ron Artest plays defense like he saw last night, not to mention no team will assign their defensive specialist to him.

Shelden Williams has an akward post game but he has a knack for blocking shots and his post game is effective. Think of Boozer with less offense and more better defense.

Josh McRoberts needs more polish but, I see a potential star. (at least in college)
Paulus needs to figure out how to score consistently. His decision making will get better.

LSU will not make the the Elite 8. They were the perfect opponent for Duke (long and athletic) but, they're not really a "better" team than the Blue Devils.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

You Have Too Many Clothes On

One of the oldest Vegas (not just Vegas, but it's damn near mandatory in Sin City) rituals for horny men is the trip to the strip club. We do this to escape from the banality of our everyday lives and to get our egos stroked. Why do we need our egos stroked? Well if you asked that question you must be a woman. Men don't need constant assurance or flattery but, an occasional, "You knocked it out stud," said with a straight face would certainly allow us to sleep better at night. We spend 99% of our waking lives putting women on a pedestal the least they could do is assure us they're still somewhat attracted to us every other year. But, I digress. Now that you know why we go to the strip club, let me explain the imperfect experiences we have. (Yes, we mostly just like watching naked women)

Last week I went to the strip club with two highschool buddies of mine. One stayed in the corner all night on the phone with his wife. Marriage will do that to you. (The faux annonymity of the internet will do that as well, if you want the real scoop on him email me.) Now while our boy made love to his cellphone me and my other friend enjoyed "special" service in another "room". By special I mean more expensive and by "room" I mean a roped off couch to the side of the main room. In this vaunted "naughty" place we received the privilege of a mandatory $100 bar tab and overpriced lap dances.

Now I will admit the lapdances were enjoyable and the women were beautiful and sexy etc. However, after the dances they proceeded to talk our ears off for the next hour and a half. They talked about everything from the abusive relationship of a close friend to the fact that their parent's didn't know they were strippers. Shocker! When my girlfriend comes home from work and talks my ear off about her day I understand. I may not always like it but it comes with the package. I get it. But, when you're in a place called Paradise, it shouldn't consist of scantily clad women boring you to death with details of their sinful life. At various points during the night I wanted to scream out, "Jezebel! Shut up and take off your clothes.!" I know that's disgusting behavior but liquor and fake breasts do strange things to weak minded individuals (men).

Anyway after prying ourselves away from the "conversation" we searched for our friend who by this time was outside so he could get better recption. (Guess he doesn't have verizon.) As we piled in the cab I stared at the club and thought, "If only Paradise was fully nude and came with a mute button."

And now?

I'm still recovering from March Madness in Vegas. Down on Blackjack and Basketball, about even on Poker thanks to high hand bonuses. (Quads 3 times in 24 hours) Handicapping college basketball is an exercise in futility these days. George Mason screwed me twice. Even the Detroit Pistons let me down failing to cover against the Chris Pauls. We only made it inside one club, an after hours spot where strippers go to get drunk and hook up with other strippers. It was a nice scene but, me and my friends were mere observers to the debauchery taking place around us.

I did finally get to a Las Vegas strip club and it was an enjoyable experience despite the hefty price tag... on drinks. Lapdances were a standard $20 a song. The women were mostly very attractive and I even managed to short a stripper $30 bucks... at least until my credit card statement comes in. Next time you're in Sin City check out aptly named Paradise. Just don't mention my name, especially not a Brazilian beauty named Simone? I'm not good with names.

Today's blog is part of a well disciplined schedule of daily writing that I am determined to keep up with until at least tomorrow. I know what you're thinking, you'll see my name in bright lights in no time!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Oscar Watch

It took me a few days to recover from the shock of Three Six Mafia winning an Oscar. I'm still not exactly sure what it symbolizes. The fact that the world didn't end is fairly encouraging. Bottom line it was a great song, from a great movie and the other two nominations were underwhelming. By the way, Dolly Parton is scary looking. George Bush jr. in a world devoid of the 22nd amendment scary. I'm gettin chills just writing about it.

The big "shock" of the night was Crash trumping Brokeback Mountain. I saw both movies. I thought they were both well directed, extremely well acted and extremely well written. Brokeback dragged at times, the story is fairly, mostly two simple country boys doing simple country things aside from the occasional pillow biting. Crash was much more in your face and more provocative. Also more dramatic imo.

As for the ceremony itself. Ben Stiller was hilarious. Jon Stewart was not. The orchestra had an itchy trigger finger and rudely snubbed Paul Haggis' writing partner who didn't get to say a few words about his win for Best Screenplay. I didn't even catch his name. As a writer it was not exactly an encouraging reflection of what the industry thinks of your ilk. Typical I'm sure.

At some point I guess I should see Walk the Line. I'm just not into country music. Then again I'm not into gay cowboys either and I saw Brokeback, but that was mostly my girlfriend's idea. I swear!

Not that there's anything wrong with that!

Thursday, March 02, 2006


I won $*,*** yesterday playing poker. (I like to keep some things private from IRS, greedy family members, baby's mamas etc.) So would you think I would be in a good mood, right? Well I was until I was hit with a notice that my three unpaid parking tickets were still due... I was going to get it but, I procrastinated and now it's apparently too late to protest despite the fact that two of the them were completely bogus... Oh well, there goes a good portion of my winning. Maybe if I throw myself on the mercy of the underpaid, clerk who moonlights as a traffic adjuication judge, he'll cut me some black. I meant slack but, I think the former sounds better.

It snowed again today in the NYC area... It's March... Not sure there's anything else to say on that.

I've realized that I just don't function well in cold weather. I absolutely hate it. With that said I'm not too great in hot weather either. And temperate weather is so boring. Needless to say I'm destined to be fairly non-functional for the remainder of my life. But you know what? I'm okay with that and the sooner you become okay with that the better it will be for the both of us. And you know who I'm talking to. Yeah, you, and you, not so much you but, you and you definitely.

March Madness is upon us along with my annual trip to Vegas. Definitely one of my more enjoyable times of the year. Drunkeness, wild parties, fine dining, poker, and an unsanely amount of basketball games. So many games, so many bets, so little time. I'm not a degenerate gambler although I occasionally play one in real life. There's just something to be said for a room full of drunken sports idiots rabidly cheering on Norhtern Iowa State as they futiley attempt to cover the 200 point spread against Duke's non-scholarship backups. It's an experience mere words cannont do justice although I imagine a shot of Tequila would help.

Almost quitting time, of course some say I quit a long time ago. They're probably right, the bastards!