Head-to-Head: NBA All-Star Game, Daytona 500 and College Hoops
by Jordan Adams and Drew Mangione - 02/14/2007
Each week two of Doc's Sports gambling aficionados will give their alternating perspectives on the key games and interesting issues in the game at both the college and professional levels. You may not agree, they may not agree, but it should be interesting!
Here are this week's topics:
East vs. West, NBA All-Star Game (8 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 18)
Drew: This is the pinnacle of All-Star competition in our four major sports. As a teenager, I taped every game. Every pass I saw was bounced off of my garage and every ankle-busting highlight crippled imaginary defenders between me and the basket. I'd like to think my decreased passion for this spectacle comes from my age: I'm older, slower and my dreams have faded. I fear it's because the total weekend package has degraded. Still, I continue to honestly fret over whether the glut of frontcourt players in the West will beat the guard-laden East, where I place my allegiance.
Prediction: East 119, West 114
Jordan: Just as the league slogan suggests, I love this game! Minus all the pre-Sunday propaganda, this game is the best among the four major All-Star exhibitions. There is just enough defense in the second half to give it credibility, but more flash and excitement to put on a show that is truly entertaining. But please, the one thing that must go is fan voting. Considering this game is for fun, why not try and replicate a better version of what the NHL did: USA vs. the World.
Prediction: West 121, East 110
What are your thoughts about the current state of the dunk contest?
Drew: This weekend once stood like the Colossus of Rhodes upon the pillars of athletics and entertainment. But like the earthquake of 224 BC, blind adherence to the media's standards of winning and exorbitant salaries have shaken this wonder of the world to the sea floor. Other sports dreamed of this-baseball started the HR derby, hockey the skills contests-but now there's no motivation. Why should the stars participate in NBA All-Star weekend? They have enough money. Pride? Well, if you truly care about winning the dunk contest, then those brilliant pundits say you're not thinking about winning a championship. Who loses? The fans.
Prediction: The judges put on a better show than the contestants.
Jordan: As far as enjoyment, it's solid. But the originality is as dead as hip-hop. No longer will J.R. Rider's East Bay Funk Dunk or the year Vince Carter took the show over with his 360-degree windmill wow us. And as far as the 80s when MJ and Nique ruled: never again. While we're discussing this event, what's up with the rule that only players three years in the league or less can compete? That is straight up nonsense. Why not put the best there.
Prediction: Gerald Green has stupid hops, and he takes this in a landslide.
Daytona 500 (3:15 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 18)
Drew: Round and round they go, when they stop, you'll know why this blows. How pathetic is a sport when its biggest event kicks off the season and the most memorable moments are when people die? We might as well go back to Coliseum death matches among enslaved gladiators-or better yet, worthless political pundits-and save on the fossil fuel emissions. Drive fast. Turn right. Drive fast. Turn right.
Prediction: Someone wins. Someone crashes. People get wasted.
Jordan: Please tell me I'm not the only person who can't stand all this coverage. It's one thing to have segments on Sportscenter, but now they have a show every weekday for an hour long. And on top of that Around the Horn and PTI are gone. I'll take a piece from George Carlin's skit 'Not a Sport': "NASCAR is driving really fast around in a circle. It is not a sport. I could take my car and do that in an empty parking lot."
Prediction: Some clown will cause an accident, trying to implement that technique called bump drafting. For some reason I see Matt Kenseth's name in my mind, so I'll roll with him.
Southern Illinois at Butler (4 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 17)
Drew: This battle of tournament darlings is proof that college basketball is the best of the college sports. It's competitive and the schools without history are truly memorable. The Butler guard tandem A.J. Graves and Mike Green are winning games and the athletic play of the Salukis has become a constant. I'm not sure who will win-Southern Illinois is in a better conference, but Butler has two big wins over ranked opponents. What I can say, for certain, is this will be entertaining.
Prediction: Salukis 67, Bulldogs 63
Jordan: The Salukis are defensive minded but have the skill players on offense. Butler showed they aren't as dominant as everyone was hyping them against Wright State, and this game will either make them or break them for a legit high seed come March. I love the duo of Jamal Tatum and Tony Young. Can they do more than just dominate at home? We'll see, but at legendary Hinkle Fieldhouse it won't come easy.
Prediction: Southern Illinois 62, Butler 60
UCLA at Arizona (1 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 17)
Drew: UCLA is the better team. Arizona has the better starting five. At home, last time around, the Bruins held off the Wildcats by four. In that game, Arizona's greatest weakness was exploited-its lack of depth. But wise coaches make wise moves. Lute Olson tinkered with his starting five, putting one on the bench. First he started junior guard Daniel Dillon, but then he turned to freshman forward Jordan Hill, who has responded. Now they have the appearance of depth and the cats are clawing to hold onto their tournament position.
Prediction: Wildcats 81, Bruins 74
Jordan: It's all about revenge for the Wildcats. They came up huge with a victory in Eugene, splitting the series with the Ducks. Before they attempt to redeem themselves against the Bruins, they look to do exactly that at home vs. USC. I say they take care of the Trojans at home and will come into this weekend's tilt on fire. UCLA will have its trouble in Tucson and it's true, Chase Budinger is the great white hope!
Prediction: Arizona 70, UCLA 64
Jordan and Drew will be going Head-to-Head every week. If you have any comments or questions for them, or any topics that you'd like discussed, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.