Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 9:07 AM
In today's edition of Jim Sez for Thursday, February 23rd, we'll examine a handful of topics and tell you what's right and what's wrong - at least according to the way we see it!
First, this key reminder as we inch closer and closer to "March Madness" with the NCAA Tournament set to begin on Tuesday, March 13th while the NBA gets ready for its All-Star Game in Orlando this weekend and don't forget we will have our annual Jim Sez NBA Report Card Grades for the first half of the 2011-12 season later this week here, so don't miss out:
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are red-hot these days and they'll get you wall-to-wall College Basketball and NBA Winners each and every day when you check in with us either right here online or else at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. Note that the check-in times are after 1 p.m. ET for all the Monday-through-Friday weeknight action and after 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays/Sundays/Holidays. Memo to one and all: Stop messing around with all these round-ball selections and let America's #1 Handicapper point you in the right direction.
WHAT'S RIGHT, WHAT'S WRONG
Topic: The Los Angeles Lakers have become the "Peyton Place" of the pro hoops world:
What's Right: The Lakers were smart to sort out their many differences/problems with a post-game players only meeting following Monday night's 103-92 easy-chair win against the Portland Trail Blazers. Heaven knows there are a slew of issues enveloping this Lakers team not the least of which is the constant trade rumor that has F/C Pau Gasol getting shipped either here or there - and it's become quite obvious that Gasol has not forgiven or forgotten the fact that the Lakers had traded him in a package deal that was going to bring back point guard Chris Paul just prior to the start of this season.
What's Wrong: The Lakers - veterans or not - have to grow up a little here as they've sputtered their way through much of the first half of this lockout-delayed NBA season. Enough about first-year head coach Mike Brown and his defense-first posture as Kobe Bryant and Company have to be able to handle the fact that Phil Jackson isn't their sideline guru anymore and it's high time LA's "second-best" team gets it collective act together and realizes there is a new sheriff in town and Brown's the boss, like it or not!
Topic: Should strength-of-scheduling be a major determining factor in who gets what seeds in next month's NCAA Tournament?
What's Right: Ladies and gents, there are no ands, ifs or buts about it that if Team A plays a tougher schedule than Team B than - all other things being equal - Team A deserves the high seed and that will come into play plenty when the NCAA Tourney Committee folks are locked in their rooms heading into Sunday, March 11th. One thing that quickly pops into our mind here is that Syracuse deserves a higher #1 seed than Kentucky purely based on the fact the Orange played in a tougher Big East Conference - go ahead and tell us what Kentucky road wins were "significant" and we'll counter than quicker than an Anthony Davis blocked shot. Also, strength of sked should be the major tie-breaker - if you will - between someone getting, let's say, the last of the #3 seeds or the first of the #4 seeds which is highly significant based on the potential Elite 8 matchups.
What's Wrong: No doubt you have heard the argument that's raged for years and years that "we beat who's on our schedule" but the problem here is the weaker leagues should not get better/higher seeds in the NCAA Tournament when they haven't beaten the quality of teams in the more elite leagues. And that gets us back to one of the oldest things in the book and that's making sure your team's out-of-conference schedule is demanding (see the Michigan State's and Gonzaga's of the hoops world). Shouldn't these teams, for example, get rewarded with higher NCAA Tourney seeds if they played strong non-league foes? We say it every year in this space and yet precious few college round-ball teams make a change in their respective schedules - and right here we're pointing the finger at Virginia Tech's Seth Greenberg who year in and year out bellyaches when his club doesn't get an NCAA Tournament invitation but what's he doing about his club's non-ACC agenda?
Topic: Los Angeles Dodgers OF Matt Kemp says he doesn't want the 2011 NL MVP award should it be stripped from Milwaukee OF Ryan Braun.
What's Right: Kudos to the classy Kemp for not lobbying for the award even though some folks believe he should get handed the hardware if Braun loses his appeal of his 50-game suspension for reportedly testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. The Dodgers' mega-star claimed getting the award now - some four-plus months after it was awarded to Braun - would be like getting it "by default" although you can be sure many other players would have felt otherwise if Braun did happen to "cheat" the system.
What's Wrong: Okay, so Braun is appealing the ruling even though in-the-know folks claim he tested higher on this drug bit than anyone in MLB history and so we realize he can't come out and say he doesn't deserve last year's MVP for the than-Central Division-winning Brewers but how about someone on Milwaukee at least coming out to state that Kemp should get the MVP if Braun's proven to be found guilty of using a performance enhancer. Let's show some backbone, Brewers!
NOTE: Get our College Basketball Weekend Previews in the next issue of Jim Sez.