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Friday, April 22, 2011

The Flashback Fridays For 4/22/11 (Special Good Friday Edition): Bone Thugs n Harmony- Tha Crossroads (1995)

The fitting song that represents this so real of a day for me. Your Flashback choice this week, as it was last year, on Good Friday, it's "Tha Crossroads" from the Bone.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

TWD Music Video Of The Week For 4/17/10: Bruno Mars- The Lazy Song (2010/2011)

All Bruno everything now, despite a lot of weird things in this vid. The Whole Delivery's song of the week, it's Bruno with the catchy "The Lazy Song."

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sunday Soulful For 4/11/11 (Late): Jon B- They Don't Know (1997)

This dude was just smooth, simple as that. Enjoying the lateness that is the SS this week.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sports Thread Special For 4/4/11: 2011 Final Two Title Game



It’s been a long, arduous five month excursion, rampant with unpredictability, vulnerability and excitement. But this winding road has finally led us to the zenith of the college basketball season players, coaches, universities, analysts and hoop heads have anticipated: the National Championship game.

Undoubtedly March has lived up to it’s trademark moniker of madness. With the nation bereft of any truly dominant superpowers and top seeds Ohio St. Duke, Kansas and Pittsburgh showing glaring defects the lack of inexpugnable programs translated into mass parity and insanity.

This year’s national title matchup between perennial power UConn Huskies and the giant killer Butler Bulldogs ratifies just how competitive the college basketball landscape has become and is emblematic of how much the talent disparity among power conferences and mid-majors has dissipated. For the first time in NCAA Tournament history no 1 or 2 seeds owned a Final Four slot. The UConn Huskies didn’t receive a single vote in the Preseason Top 25 and Butler resides in the obscure Horizon League with no lauded 5-star recruits.

Yes, this year’s parquet bout for the ultimate collegiate hoop prize may be comprised of two unlikely contestants, but that doesn’t negate the fact it should be an exciting, dramatic game. So who will emerge from this battle of Huskies and Bulldogs which canine will walk home chomping on the prestigious championship bone?
#8 Butler Bulldogs Southeast Region Champions
Game Statistics
Player GP
MIN
PPG
RPG
APG
SPG
BPG
TPG
FG%
FT%
3P%

Matt Howard
36 30.9 16.7 7.8 1.5 1.1 0.6 1.7 .484 .788 .409
Shelvin Mack
37 32.0 16.1 4.4 3.5 0.8 0.1 2.4 .412 .773 .353
Andrew Smith
37 23.8 8.6 5.5 0.6 0.7 0.4 0.8 .610 .676 .000
Shawn Vanzant
37 28.4 8.2 3.2 1.7 0.7 0.1 1.0 .451 .736 .417
Khyle Marshall
37 15.4 5.9 3.9 0.3 0.4 0.2 0.6 .517 .541 .000
Ronald Nored
35 26.5 5.1 3.1 2.4 1.1 0.0 2.1 .397 .639 .286
Zach Hahn
36 17.0 5.1 1.2 1.2 0.4 0.0 0.9 .324 .857 .329
Chase Stigall
37 16.2 3.8 1.7 0.7 0.4 0.1 0.5 .333 .500 .319
Chrishawn Hopkins
20 6.1 1.6 0.5 0.4 0.1 0.1 0.7 .375 .727 .500
Garrett Butcher
29 7.4 1.6 1.3 0.2 0.1 0.0 0.2 .422 1.000 .333
Grant Leiendecker
15 2.3 1.2 0.3 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.3 .364 1.000 .400
Erik Fromm
26 3.4 0.8 0.5 0.0 0.2 0.0 0.0 .172 1.000 .176
Alex Anglin
18 4.3 0.7 0.7 0.1 0.0 0.1 0.2 .500 .667 .500
Emerson Kampen
15 1.9 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 .000 .000 .000
Totals 37 -- 72 35 12 6 2 11 .441 .729 .355

After losing 2010 Horizon League Player of the Year and NBA Lottery pick Gordon Heyward, as well as integral senior contributors Willie Veasley and Austin Jukes many rock cognoscenti thought Butler would endure a sizeable decline despite a #15 preseason Coaches Poll ranking.

Despite Matt Howard, Shelvin Mack, Ronald Nored and Shawn Vanzant returning Butler opened the season with a slothful 4-4 start, including a regurgitative overtime loss to Evansville. They faltered badly in late January, dropping four of five games in the Horizon League with a 14-9 overall record and only 6-5 in conference. It was uncertain whether last season’s national runner-up would even make the field of 68.

Yet, brilliantly perspicacious 35-year old tangerine tactician Brad Stevens (who looks like a 16 year-old neurology professor) righted the ship, restoring the Bulldogs rapacious bite and intensity. Butler ran off a 9 game win streak in route to bagging the Horizon League regular season and tournament championships.

The Bulldogs eeked past Old Dominion in the opening round before pulling off the colossal cracking of the Southeast‘s top seed Pittsburgh, jacknifing #4 Wisconsin and a tight, improbable triumph over #2 Florida en route to reaching a second straight Final Four. On Saturday in the ‘Mid-Major’ national title Butler pulled out a tough frenetically methodical 70-62 victory over the flabbergasting VCU Rams.

To truly grasp the enormousness of this how remarkable Butler’s accomplishment is think about this. Butler is the first mid-major since Jerry Tarkenian’s 1990-91 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels to make consecutive Final Four reservations. Butler is also only the third national-runner up in the modern era to play in back to back National Championship games, joining the 1993 Michigan “Fab Five” Wolverines and 1991 Duke Blue Devils. The Bulldogs are also only the third 8 seed to vie for the national title.

It’s about time the nation stops undervaluing the small Indiana school and start acknowledging their excellence and Stevens as one of the country’s elite coaches.

#3 Connecticut Huskies West Region Champions
Game Statistics
Player GP
MIN
PPG
RPG
APG
SPG
BPG
TPG
FG%
FT%
3P%

Kemba Walker
40 37.7 23.7 5.4 4.6 1.9 0.2 2.3 .432 .818 .336
Jeremy Lamb
40 27.7 11.1 4.4 1.6 0.9 0.6 1.3 .486 .800 .366
Alex Oriakhi
40 29.2 9.6 8.7 0.4 0.4 1.6 1.1 .500 .628 .000
Shabazz Napier
40 23.7 7.9 2.4 3.1 1.6 0.1 1.8 .375 .766 .331
Roscoe Smith
40 25.5 6.5 5.2 0.5 0.5 1.2 0.9 .387 .787 .305
Jamal Coombs-McDaniel
40 16.8 5.8 2.7 0.6 0.3 0.2 0.8 .418 .800 .289
Charles Okwandu
40 15.5 2.9 2.7 0.6 0.3 1.3 0.9 .473 .524 .000
Niels Giffey
40 9.5 2.2 1.3 0.5 0.2 0.1 0.7 .405 .789 .333
Donnell Beverly
38 8.6 1.7 1.3 1.2 0.3 0.1 0.7 .365 .750 .467
Tyler Olander
38 9.7 1.5 1.8 0.4 0.1 0.2 0.6 .375 .667 .000
Enosch Wolf
7 3.7 1.0 0.9 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.7 .600 .500 .000
Benjamin Stewart
4 1.0 0.5 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 .500 .000 .000
Kyle Bailey
6 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 .000 .000 .000
Totals 40 -- 73 39 13 6 5 11 .436 .761 .333

After an extremely disappointing season last year marred by spasmodic play and underachievement the UConn Huskies entered the 2010-11 campaign with few expectations. So few in fact that UConn didn’t even receive a single vote in the Associated Press or ESPN/Coaches Top 25 polls.

However, head coach Jim Calhoun’s precocious freshman and sophomore laden team stormed of out the gate in stunning fashion topping the Michigan St. Spartans and Kentucky Wildcats en route to stunningly winning the Maui Invitational. UConn skyrocketed to no. 9 in the polls and seemed like a legitimate national contender.
Unfortunately for UConn the Huskies slogged mightily down the stretch of their murderous Big East slate. UConn dropped 5 of their last 7 conference games and it appeared their ambitious hopes after a blistering start to the season would soon fizzle out.

That’s when it happened. UConn caught fire in the Big East Tournament. The Huskies astonishingly ran off an unprecedented five wins in five days to claim the Big East Tournament title. UConn stacked victories over Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Louisville, each ranked. Junior Kemba Walker balled resplendently, cooking opponents like red beans and rice to the tune of 30 points a night.

UConn entered the Big Dance with tremendous confidence, emanating with an unassailable braswadda (swagger and bravado which is twice as potent as mere swagger) that hasn’t dissipated at all. The Huskies bulldogged Bucknell in the second round, dispatched of Big East rival Cincinnati, a very good no. 2 seed San Diego St, youthful and talented Arizona in the Sweet 16 and narrowly eeked by Kentucky in the National Semi-Final.

Long-time pill pedagogue and Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun, whose squads are 5-1 in Final Four play, is once the cusp of magnificence. With a win tonight he could join John Wooden, Adolph Rupp, Bob Knight and Mike Krzyzewski as the only coaches in NCAA men’s basketball history to amass 3 NCAA Championships.

Keys to the Game

1.Half- court execution

Butler

The Bulldogs love to play in a controlled environment with the score in the mid 60’s to high 60’s. The optimal game for Butler is a deliberate, half-court pace. They want to work the clock down, prudently moving the ball surveying and enfeebling the defense.

On the interior it starts with 2011 and 2-time Horizon League Player of the Year Matt Howard. In addition to possessing a nice catalog of spin moves and up and under layups the 3-time Academic All-American and this year’s National Men’s Basketball Athlete of the Year has also edified his game with the ability to bust pick mid range jumpers as well as pick and pop triples. Howard’s offensive skills and ability to lure Alex Oriakhi away from the lane creating driving lanes against UConn’s no. 3 ranked defense in the nation will be important.

On the perimeter point guard Ronald Nored will need to orchestrate the offense along with Shelvin Mack. Nored is of an inconsequential scoring threat, but he’s a good passer who plays within himself and makes intelligent decisions. Mack will have the rock in his hands frequently and be called upon to score and distribute.

Shawn Vanzant is a slashing guard who loves to get to the cup. He’s an erratic three-point shooter but he has a very nice step back jumper the consistently hits mid-range jumpers. Lefty Zach Hahn is a prototypical sulfur slinger. His three triples against VCU was a massive part of the Bulldogs conquest of the Rams. He’ll need to drops some bombs from treyland again tonight.

Also watch how Butler defends one of the Huskies signature plays of running down screens along the baseline on both sides of the floor for Walker and Lamb. UConn also runs another variation implementing crossing screens. Both plays are very effective at freeing up both Walker and Lamb because it puts the defenses in a quagmire about that can be exploited if Butler doesn’t communicate well.

UConn

The incontrovertible epicenter of UConn’s offense is obviously Kemba Walker. Butler will devote a substantial amount of attention to first-team All-American. Walker’s insatiable bucketholic skills as well as his astute propensity to dispense hot plates is obligatory for UConn to thrive in the half court.

First year phenom Jeremy Lamb, considered by many scouts to have the most potential of every player in the tourney is an incredibly intuitive and has great body control. He possesses an expansive catalog with the ability to drain treyballs, generate his shot off the bounce, shoot off screens and stroke the strings with soft floaters. Lamb’s endless 7ft orangutan wingspan enables him to be a presence on the defensive boards, as well as challenge shots and finish around the tin over taller defenders offensively. He’ll need to score around his tourney average of 17 points a night to alleviate the load on Walker.

Shabazz Napier has become immensely significant as the season has progressed. The freshman conductor’s ball handling, judicious playmaking ability and speed enable Walker to play off the ball and concentrate on scoring if UConn’s offense gets to ponderous.

Freshman Roscoe Smith is just a hard-nosed, Brooklyn Zoo, gutter player (in a good sense) who loves to mug and thug ya. His offensive arsenal is limited beyond 17ft, but he’s a live body who aggressively charges at the boards, plays tough get in your grill defense and plays with contagious zeal.
Jamal Coombs-Mcdaniel is an erratic shooter but he can be a sparkplug with occasional baskets and solid defense.

Alex Oriakhi isn’t doesn’t possess a litany of back to the basket moves but he finishes very well and strong at the rim. He’s also capable of knocking down 15 footers. It’s imperative he plays sublimely against the cagey Howard, not getting gamed into unnecessary fouls and can come out and defend Howard outside on pick and rolls.

The Huskies are also a very good and unselfish passing team. 16 of their 23 field goals in their win over Kentucky Saturday came off assists.

2. Transition Opportunities

Butler

Butler definitely won’t be winning any 100 yard dashes anytime soon. However, as evidenced against VCU the Bulldogs do like to occasionally run. With UConn’s stingy, pill jacking, marauding smothering half-court defense holding adversaries to a frigid 37 percent shooting from the floor in the dance Butler will need to get some easy points in the open court to avoid too may offensive lulls against a set and waiting Husky defense.

Look for Mack, Nored and Vanzant to selectively push periodically for some quick shot opportunities and for Howard to try to outrun UConn’s post players for some layups. With Butler’s susceptibility to giveaways against hounding pressure it behooves them to get some easy scores.

UConn

The Huskies are much more of a hybrid team offensively than Butler. UConn is a conflate, equally comfortable splashing and dashing in an up tempo game or running an exacting offense bashing and crashing in a slow down game. Butler plays stifling, synchronous defense that perpetually makes alert, timely defensive rotations and rarely allows uninhibited drives to the rack.

Look for Walker and Napier to try to get as many run outs as possible, particularly off misses before Butler has the chance to set their defense. Butler won’t allow it to degenerate into a feverish track meet but Walker’s disgusting and paralyzing Jimmie Johnson speed along with Lamb and Smith’s ability to score in the open court can allow the Huskies to make it a little faster than Butler desires.

3. Bring the pain in the lane

Butler

Butler isn’t renowned for board gobbling. In they ranked 177th in the country in rebounding. However, the undersized Bulldogs used their insuppressible tenacity to outboard the bigger Old Dominion, Wisconsin and Florida and they smashed smaller VCU like hashbrowns on Sunday on the offensive glass scoring 18 second chance points.
Howard is a habitual hustler who has a knack for always being in the right place for opportune putbacks. He just gets in with outstanding verve. Andrew Smith 6’11 frame is also good at getting refreshers for Butler and Khyle Marshall is a great offensive rebounder. He yanked 7 offensive caroms against Florida and 4 against VCU Saturday. Ronald Nored though only 6’1 is also a very good, vigorous rebounder for his size.

UConn

UConn has been pummeling teams on the glass all year. They rank 11th in the nation in rebounding. Everyone from 6’9 Oriakhi to 6’1 Walker bashes and crashes the boards tenaciously. Oriakhi averages over 9 rebounds a game, 4 coming on offensively.
The Huskies have a decided size advantage over Butler and they will look to take full advantage with their physicality, athleticism doggedness. Okwandu and Olander are supplementary players who get little burn but both hit the boards well and keep balls alive.

4. Mack attack

Butler

Shelvin Mack is averaging 22 points a game on 41 percent shooting from distance in the tourney. He fried VCU like onion rings for 26 points drilling 5 of 6 triples. He’s a future pro and throat slitting cap peeler who thrives on late game situations. He can manufacture his shot on the bounce, launch deep from treyland or blow by defenders. Mack will have to score 20 or more tonight for Butler to win their first National Championship.

UConn

The Huskies will probably throw Lamb and Napier on Mack to conserve Walker’s energy. Walker may pick up Mack in occasional stretches and perhaps the end of the game but Lamb will probably check the rack raiding shooting guard most of the night. It’s imminent UConn knows where Mack is at all times and doesn’t concede many unattended shots to let him get cooking.

5. Kemba continues his brilliance

Butler

The Bulldogs entire defensive scheme will be predicated on limiting Walker. The daunting defensive assignment will go to Nored. The junior guard is only averaging a paltry 2 points a game in the Big Dance but his defensive contributions are unquantifiable.

Nored is a maddening defensive stalwart. He’s like a ghetto cockroach. Nored always pops up at inopportune times and never goes away. Nored’s quick, active hands, strength and lateral quickness enable him to John Gotti guard bodies redirecting them. Call him solitary confinement cause Nored puts players in the hole. It’ll be hard for Nored to stay in front of Walker but he’ll need to contest all shots. It will also take an excellent, collaborative defensive effort from Butler to minimize Walker’s impact.

UConn

Kemba Walker the “Hardwood Stalker” has been fricasseeing the opposition all season. He’s underwent a seismic amelioration shedding his impetuous, at times self-destructive tendencies to become a prudent liaison equally adept at ripping the net or allocating gift baskets for his teammates to score. Walker is one of only 3 players in tourney history to average 25 points 7 assists and 5 rebounds a game.
If the game is close look for Kemba to make a gargantuanly gross, scintillating play to help the Huskies win.

Prediction

It will be a close, hard fought, entertaining game full of resolute play, but in the end Kemba Walker indomitable intestinal gulliness and UConn’s size advantage will complete their magical run with a third National Championship for Jim Calhoun in this dog fight to determine the grand champ.

Remember MLK's Assassination Day

43 years ago, here's my poem I performed 3 years ago titled "The Past Unselfish Soul For Today's Selfish Hoes."

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday Soulful For 4/3/11: Avant- 4 Minutes (2006)

A desperate race to his love ends up in a finish that makes this video truly perfect for this wonderfully emotional song. Your Sunday Soulful for tonight, it is Avant with the tearjerker that is literally "4 Minutes."

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