Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Bullshit of NFL Draft Scouting

It's NFL Draft season. If you are a fan of a bad team, this may be the best time of the year. As a Bears fan, I understand this better than most. But no matter who you cheer for, it is, without a doubt, the dumbest time of the year. There is so much bullshit being said, very confidently I might add, that some of it may seem believable at first glance. That is why I am here to help you cut through the shit to get to the actual truth.

This is one that happens again and again when discussing quarterbacks, but I have even heard it with running backs. If somebody doesn't play much in college, they must have not been that good to begin with. At first glance, it makes sense, but if you actually look into the situation, it's pretty clear that there are certain situations where this is patently false. A great example for running backs was Alvin Kamara. Kamara is an incredible talent, but Butch Jones got comfortable with playing top prospect Jalen Hurd who was good but simply never got better as he progressed through college. Hence, it took some time before Kamara got his shot, but when he was on the field, he was incredible, and it doesn't matter that he didn't get a ton of playing time, because it didn't hurt his development, in fact, it really just kept him fresher for the NFL.

My boy, Mitch Trubisky, is a great example at quarterback. Last year, he was ripped into because he had very few starts at quarterback in college, and Bill Parcells came up with a evaluation 30 YEARS AGO that said that you needed lots of starts to be successful. They never came up with any reason that his inexperience affected his play. Well, wait, they came up with one reason, but that was just putting another layer of bullshit on their evaluation.

Clutch and winning seem to go together as areas where you can just throw something out and have it stick without actually watching a single play of football. Great quarterbacks win. If you don't win, you're not a winner, and if you're not a winner you can't be clutch. People looked at some close losses and deemed Mitch Trubisky not clutch. They failed to see how well he actually threw the ball in close games, just that his team didn't win. It was not a clutch problem; it was a North Carolina doesn't have enough talent to beat far superior teams problem. Eight wins isn't going to wow anyone, but after Trubisky left, they dropped to three wins.

This year, people are bringing up the fact that Josh Allen didn't win much in college. And herein lies the problem. Josh Allen didn't win because he isn't an accurate quarterback, but when Josh Allen sucks in the NFL, they will point to an unimpressive win-loss record instead of realizing that he was never good at throwing the football. The former is a symptom, the latter is the disease. Focus on the disease.

Now, don't get me wrong, being tall has advantages over being short. It's easier to see down the field, and you're less likely to have a pass batted down if you have a higher release point. Those are real things. But being short has advantages too. Longer limbs means that it is mechanically more difficult to have clean releases. There is a reason that we don't see any super tall quarterbacks succeed, but nobody has ever claimed that a guy is too tall to play quarterback, because this is the United States so if some of a good thing is good, then a lot of a good thing must be great.

Obviously, this is the one that Baker Mayfield is struggling with. He's only 6'0" so that means he's too short to be a quarterback. Yeah, he's as tall as Drew Brees and taller than Russell Wilson, two guys who have had moderate success (and Super Bowl wins) in the NFL, but Mayfield's too short. And those issues I mentioned for shorter quarterbacks are not things that Mayfield struggled with in college. Will it be tougher in the NFL? Definitely, but that's true of EVERY SINGLE PLAYER EVER. Don't assume issues without any evidence.

Negative Plays
A great running back gains yards. Therefore, a running back who loses yards on a relative high percentage of his carries cannot be a great running back. Even I almost fell for this one as I do think a running back that consistently gets some yards is better than a home run hitter who often gives you negative plays. Luckily the Move The Sticks podcast opened my eyes when it came to Saquon Barkley. I mean, after watching him against Iowa the last couple years, my opinion was never going to tank on the man, but it may have made me a bit more skeptical. The problem with this argument is that Penn State runs a heavy run-pass option offense. If the quarterback is reading the defense correctly, it should be incredibly rare that you would lose yards on the option, so the problem was more that Trace McSorley was trying to force the ball to Barkley instead of taking what the defense gives him. Barkley was stuck trying to make something out of nothing, and yeah, you're going to have some negative plays when that happens. Negative plays are bad, but that's not a real issue. A guy being indecisive in the backfield is an issue, which is something that I do not see in Barkley's game.

Decrease in Production
So a guy has a great sophomore year and his stats drop off as a junior. Wait, let's go with great junior year, could go out for the draft, but loves his college experience, wants to get a degree, and stays for his senior season and his numbers drop off. Let's say, oh, just for a totally hypothetical, that he is a cornerback for a prominent midwestern institution, had eight interceptions, won the Thorpe award for best defensive back, but then fell off to three interceptions during his senior season. Just a random hypothetical. Anyway, his drop in production was more for the fact that nobody threw the ball anywhere near his side of the field which should be more evidence for how great of a player he actually was.

Anyway, Desmond King, I mean, random player from Midwestern school, somehow fell to the fifth round, and then had an incredible rookie season where everybody was shocked that he was such an impact player. Anyway, my anger will never cease that the Bears didn't go for Desmond King before the Chargers selected him, because anyone who watched him instead of just believing a bunch of bullshit, knew that the guy was a football player who was always in the right spot at the right time.

Anyway, that's all the time we have for today. I am sure there are a lot of other bullshit reasons that people use to justify disliking a player, so feel free to send them my way, and I can continue this for a part two.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The 45 Most Important Players to the Chicago Bulls Dynasty - #12 Scott Williams

Scott Williams
Scott Williams was a McDonalds All-American coming out of high school and decided to take his talents across the country as he moved away from California to attend the University of North Carolina. He had a good, although not great collegiate career, as he averaged double-digit points during his final three years while being a good rebounder. It was pretty amazing for Williams to do as well as he did in college as during his sophomore year, his parents died when his father committed a murder-suicide at their home in California.

Williams went undrafted in 1990, but the Bulls signed as a free agent shortly after the draft. This is where Williams' luck started to change. As a North Carolina graduate, Michael Jordan immediately took a liking to him. It also helped that the Bulls only draft pick that year, Toni Kukoc, chose not to sign with the team despite repeated attempts by Bulls management.

Even though Williams never set the world on fire, his contributions increased every year he was with the Bulls. During his rookie season, he was the last guy off the bench throughout the regular season. But when the playoffs hit, the Bulls liked his energy so much that he ended up taking Stacey King's minutes in the NBA Finals and getting significant playing time in all of the wins over the Lakers. In fact, the Bulls went 12-0 when Williams saw playing time during the 1991 playoffs.

In 1991-92, Williams continued his trend of making a bigger impact when it counts the most. Throughout the season, he had two games where he scored double-digit points, but in the playoffs, he managed three such games. He was the second-to-last person off the bench during the regular season, but he was the first big man off the bench for the playoffs as the Bulls relied on his energy and versatility to play both the power forward and center positions.

For the Bulls final title of their first threepeat, Williams had solidified himself as an essential part of the team. He was the first guy off the bench in both the regular season and in the playoffs. Although Williams didn't light up the box score, he provided good defense and rebounding and was a key in solidifying the bench unit of that final championship season.

Before we get to his post-Bulls career, how about you take a seat, listen to some funky beats and watch Scott Williams highlights for four minutes (Spoiler alert: Williams puts on some weight)?

He would last one more year with the Bulls, and let's just say he wasn't thrilled with how he was treated by the team.

So, yeah, he chose to get out of town and join up with the Philadelphia 76ers as a free agent. He would then play for Milwaukee which led to my favorite nugget when researching Williams. He was involved in a trade along with a current NBA player when, in 2001, the Milwaukee Bucks traded him and a 2004 first round pick to the Denver Nuggets for Aleksandar Radojevic and Kevin Willis. That future first rounder would be used to select Josh Smith who is kind of current since he played a few games for the New Orleans Pelicans earlier this season. Williams would also play for Phoenix, Dallas, and Cleveland before retiring in 2005. After retiring, he has spent his time bouncing between basketball coaching and announcing.

And if you needed any evidence that YouTube is the absolute best, here is Scott Williams allegedly seducing some ladies at a Suns game.

I love the internet.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Grading Each Iowa Wrestler's Performance at the NCAA Tournament

The NCAA  Tournament concluded this wrestling season which is one of my most manic-depressive moments of the year. It is such a high to have about 20 hours of wrestling to watch over three days and then have nothing for eight months. But at least we ended on a high note as the Hawkeyes performed incredibly well at the tournament, and although a few guys didn't quite live up to expectations, there was really only one dud of a performance. Let's grade each wrestler, from worst to best performance this past weekend.

10. Paul Glynn - 133 - Incomplete
Paul Glynn did not qualify for the NCAA Tournament so not a lot to say about his performance.

9. Joey Gunther - 174 - D
Gunther had two matches in the NCAA Tournament, and he went 0-2. That's...less than ideal. His first match was against 13 seed, Jacobe Smith. That's a fairly good draw as an unseeded guy, but Gunther did not take advantage and ended up giving up a major decision. Smith did end up becoming an All-American with an eighth place finish, so it is slightly more acceptable. He then lost a closer match to Josef Johnson, but Gunther again got no offense going. He showed up, but that was about it.

8. Brandon Sorensen - 149 - B-
Sorensen finishes this low despite having the third best finish of any Iowa wrestler where he took fifth place at 149. Still, anything short of making the NCAA Finals was going to be a disappointment for Sorensen, and unfortunately for him, those dreams ended early. After a nice 11-6 win over Jared Prince from Navy, Sorensen took on Ronald Perry from Lock Haven. Perry stalled throughout the match but nailed his one shot for a takedown late in the third and Sorensen wasn't able to answer. Although losing to the 15 seed is a tough pill to swallow, Perry did make it all the way to the NCAA Finals. After that, Sorensen caught fire and took a major decision over DeLuca from Rutgers, a decision over Deakin from Northwestern, and major decisions from both Hayes (Ohio State) and Lewallen (Oklahoma State). On Saturday morning, he took on Matt Kolodzik from Princeton and again failed to get to his offense and lost a close decision. That sent him to the fifth place match where he shut out Grant Leeth of Missouri 4-0. Overall, it wasn't a bad performance, but it just left you wanting more, as I'm sure Sorensen himself expected more of himself. Still, he goes out a 4-time All-American at Iowa, which is one hell of an accomplishment, and he will definitely be missed.

7. Vince Turk - 141 - B
Turk came into the tournament unseeded and had the extra disadvantage of having a pigtail match before he even made it into the bracket of 32. He ended up getting a major decision in his first match. His second match pitted him against 16th seeded Cole Weaver, a guy Turk had lost to at the Midlands this season. It looked like more of the same as Weaver was ahead late in the match, but with less than ten seconds left Turk, not only got the takedown but took him to his back for a two-count and won 4-3 in a match that had me jumping up and down and terrifying my dog. Unfortunately, that set up a match with #1 seed, Bryce Meredith. Although Turk got close on a couple shots, Meredith's defense was too much and Turk fell 5-2. He would then win a 3-2 decision over Limmex before losing a 3-2 decision to Chad Red of Nebraska. That was disheartening as Turk beat Red two weeks earlier at the Big Ten Tournament, but Red was wrestling very well at the tournament and ended up taking seventh place and becoming an All-American. Overall, the progress Turk made from the beginning of the year until the end was truly amazing, and his relentless offense with absolutely no defense was always fun to watch.

6. Mitch Bowman - 184 - B+
Bowman had a similar tournament to Turk. He was able to take out the 15th seeded wrestler at 184 in Missouri's Canten Marriott with a pretty damn impressive 10-2 major decision. Unfortunately, he was on the wrong side of a major decision when he faced second-seeded Myles Martin. But Bowman bounced back with a 4-3 win over Eastern Michigan before running into seventh seeded Taylor Venz. Venz proved too much for Bowman and too much for most, as Venz ended up taking fourth place at 184. Bowman came in unranked and lost to the guys who took second and fourth place. He got bonus points over a ranked guy, you really can't ask much more from the guy than that.

5. Cash Wilcke - 197 - B+
I'm going to sound like a broken record at this point. Good first match, got matched up against the guy who would go on to make the Finals and lost. Then, he went on a tear on the backside of the bracket, getting a pin and then winning in overtime to again make it into the Round of 12, the blood round, for the second consecutive year. That is where he got matched up against top-seeded Kollin Moore; Wilcke again came short of his quest to become an All-American.

I would just like to point out that Iowa only had one loss to a wrestler that did not become an All-American, and that was Gunther's loss to Josef Johnson. In fact, here are the placements of all of their losses.

UR, 8, 8, 7, 5, 4, 4, 4, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 1

That is INSANE. Over half of Iowa's losses at the tournament happened to guys that finished in the top three at their weight.

4. Alex Marinelli - 165 - A-
Four through two were the toughest guys to rank as you could basically place them anywhere. Marinelli came out and wrestled better than he has all year, and this is a guy who was undefeated going into the Big Ten Tournament. He just came out determined and pushed his will on people. He started with two straight pins before running into the 4-seed, Chad Walsh of Rider. It was a battle from start to finish, but Marinelli gritted out a 7-6 win. He then took on two-time National Champion, Isaiah Martinez, and Marinelli did not have enough for IMAR. That started an unfortunate run of three straight losses which dropped him to sixth place. One was to Evan Wick, who was wrestling out of his mind and ended up in third, and the other was to David McFadden, in a match that was close but ended in a flash pin that seemed a little questionable to me. But let's not overlook the fact that Marinelli went in and attacked for every minute he was out there. It was fun to watch and he is definitely a national title contender for the 2019 season.

3. Sam Stoll - Heavyweight - A-
Stoll started off hot with a pin in his first match. After that, it looked like he would move on past Youssef Hermida of Maryland as he had the lead late in the match before giving up a six-point move and losing 7-2. That sent him to the consolation bracket where he didn't panic; he just started crushing dudes. He held Andrew Dunn of Virginia Tech scoreless in a 7-0 win. He followed that up with a pin over Purdue's Shawn Streck. That put him in the blood round against Nathan Butler of Stanford where he dominated in a 15-3 major decision. After that, he had Penn State's Nick Nevills who had beaten Stoll twice earlier this season. It went to overtime where Stoll got a big takedown to Nevills back for a four-point move and a 5-1 victory. After that, he took on Jacob Kasper. Stoll looked good early but got caught in a headlock and pinned. That sent him to the fifth place match where he ended his season in the best way possible, with a pin over Hofstra's Michael Hughes in the first period. Stoll got the slight edge for that victory over Nevills as that was probably the best non-Spencer Lee win of Iowa's tournament.

2. Michael Kemerer - 157 - A
Kemerer came out and showed why he was considered one of the top two guys at this weight class the entire year with pins in each of his first two matches. Of course, due to seeding stupidity, he was matched up against Jason Nolf in the quarterfinals, which was at least one, if not two rounds before that match should have taken place. Nolf did end up getting the decision as Kemerer couldn't find a way to generate offense against the Penn State stud. He went to the consolation side of the bracket and immediately drew second-seeded Joey Lavallee of Missouri. He won a convincing 5-2 decision. Then he took on the fourth-ranked Josh Shields and did the same thing to him, this time winning 6-2. Then he took on fifth ranked Alec Pantaleo, and he beat him 6-1. It was Kemerer doing exactly what you would expect on his way to the third place match. Unfortunately, Kemerer suffered a shoulder injury in the third place match and had to injury default. I'm not going to fault him for that. He lost to Jason Nolf, who everybody loses to. Outside of that, he showed why he is a top guy at this weight class, and he did it while clearly not being at 100%. Getting past Nolf is going to be tough, but I certainly wouldn't count Kemerer out.

1. Spencer Lee - 125 - A++
I have to give Spencer Lee a made up grade, because what he did was so unfathomably dominant that an A+ simply wouldn't do the trick. In my most ideal scenario for Lee, I would have had him dominating his first two opponents, pulling a major decision against Piccininni, getting a one-point win over Tomasello, and doing the same in the finals against Suriano. That was the best case scenario in my mind. That would have been an amazing tournament. Instead, he went out and did this:

1st Round: 18-0 Technical Fall in 1:41 over Alonzo Allen of Chattanooga
2nd Round: 18-0 Technical Fall in 3:59 over Luke Welch of Purdue
Quarterfinals: Fall in 3:58 over Nick Piccininni of Oklahoma State
Semifinals: Fall in 6:02 over Nathan Tomasello of Ohio State
Finals: 5-1 Decision over Nick Suriano of Rutgers

When it was all said and done, he outscored his opponents 60-4 and scored 27 team points by himself. If Spencer Lee was a team, he would have tied for 20th place on his own.

Before the tournament started, I was super high on Spencer Lee. I thought he had a very good chance of becoming the greatest wrestler of the Tom Brands era. Now? He's got a shot to be the greatest wrestler to ever wear an Iowa singlet. That's not hyperbole; he's that damn good. 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The 45 Most Important Players to the Chicago Bulls Dynasty - #13 Will Perdue

Will Perdue
William Edward Perdue III was drafted 11th overall in the 1988 NBA Draft after a five-year career at Vanderbilt which saw him average a double-double during his senior season and was names the SEC Player of the Year.

Although Perdue was drafted as the Bulls center of the future, he never quite lived up to those expectations. He was never able to pass up Bill Cartwright on the depth chart, and when Cartwright left, Luc Longley stepped up to take over the role. Still, Perdue filled his backup role admirably, even if Michael Jordan hated him.

And Michael Jordan REALLY hated Will Perdue. Jordan used to fire the ball into Perdue as hard as he could since he knew Perdue didn't have the best hands. when the ball would bounce away, it would give Jordan an opportunity to openly chastise Perdue for messing up. This was tame considering that one time when Perdue set a hard screen on Jordan during practice, Jordan hit him with two punches while cussing up a storm. Even Phil Jackson wasn't a big fan as he refused to give Perdue more minutes since he thought he was too soft on defense.

But despite some high level people thinking quite lowly of him, Perdue hung around and contributed to the Bulls second team. Knowing there were better scoring options, Perdue filled his role and nearly had as many double-digit rebounding games (seven) as he did double-digit scoring games (eight) during the 1990-91 season. He got consistent playing time during the Bulls first championship run, but his standout performance was in the series-clinching game against the New York Knicks where he put up 16 points and ten rebounds off the bench.

That second Bulls Championship year was very similar, including a 16 point, ten rebound performance in the opening game of the playoffs against the Miami Heat. His minutes fell off slightly as Scott Williams emerged as the number one big man off the bench, but Perdue still filled his role as a contributor. In 1992-93, his role during the regular season stayed the same, although he played in just one game in the NBA Finals that year as they found Williams and Stacey King better suited to play against the Suns high-paced attack.

Perdue hung onto the Bulls roster for both the 1993-94 and 1994-95 seasons, but was traded to the San Antonio Spurs before the next threepeat, although he was able to get a fourth ring in 1999. He ended up signing on with the Bulls for another year after that for a cool $5.3 million, which was more than he made in six seasons during his previous sting with the team.

Since there are no real stories of what Will Perdue is up to these days. Let's watch Will Perdue throw it down a couple times.

The Prince of Vanderbilt, throwing it down like a straight up G.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The 45 Most Important Players to the Chicago Bulls Dynasty - #14 Bill Wennington

Bill Wennington
William Percy Wennington was drafted 16th overall in the 1985 NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks. He spent the majority of his first five years sitting on the bench as he was never able to make an impact in Dallas. The Mavericks traded him to the Sacramento Kings before the 1990-91 season where Wennington received his most playing time, even starting 23 games for the Kings. Still, this was not enough to impress NBA teams as he would spend the following two seasons playing in Italy.

Before the beginning of the 1993-94 season, Wennington would sign on with the Bulls. Not exactly an ideal time to be joining the Bulls as they just had some guy named Michael Jordan retire to play baseball. Even though he was still a backup, Wennington would see his greatest success playing in Chicago.

Because of that, the Bulls kept him around for six seasons, as he saw three eras of Bulls teams during his time, the between Jordans, the second threepeat, and the first year of the awful rebuild.

During the three championship years, he would be the primary backup for Luc Longley, although he would start 47 games during this stretch in place of the oft-injured Australian. Although he played in nearly every game of the 1996 and 1998 NBA Playoffs, he missed the entire 1997 playoffs after re-injuring a tendon in his left foot. His most impressive playoff performance was in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Indiana Pacers. In 15 minutes, he put up 8 points, 3 rebounds, and 6 fouls, as he just had a grand ol' time blasting fools during limited playing time.

Despite the good times, it was also a tough time financially for Wennington. Things became so bleak that Wennington got a part-time job at McDonalds (McDonalds took this commercial down for copyright infringement, meaning I will be boycotting McDonalds until they put the commercial back up or stop making diarrhea inducing food, one or the other).

After retiring, he now spends his time doing radio broadcasts and media for the Chicago Bulls. He also spent his time challenging Baby Bulls players to a game of PIG.

It was probably not a great sign that the second overall pick got dominated by the retired Wennington. To be fair, Wennington was also a Hall of Famer as in 2015, he was inducted into the (Canadian) Basketball Hall of Fame.

I could not find any information on whether he kept his job at McDonalds.

Monday, March 12, 2018

2018 NCAA Wrestling Tournament Predictions

It's the most wonderful time of the year when it comes to watching daytime sporting events during the work week. While most will be watching the first round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament, I will be huddled next to as many screens as possible playing WatchESPN feeds of the NCAA Wrestling Tournament. In my hopes to get other people amped for wrestling, I'm going to preview each Iowa wrestler's chances and predict the All-Americans at each weight class.

125 - Spencer Lee - #3 Seed
As an Iowa fan, 125 is the most interesting weight class as it is Iowa's best chance at a national champion this year. Spencer Lee came in as the most blue chip of blue chip prospects that Iowa could hope for, and he has more than lived up to that hype as a true freshman. Lee has just two losses on the year, one to Ronnie Bresser, a good but not great wrestler, who beat Lee early on in the season, and a loss to Nathan Tomasello, a man who has already been a national champion, but also someone who Lee has beaten this year. Lee has gotten better as the year has gone on, and he's definitely peaking at the right time. He's earned a three seed in the tournament. In his first three matches, I don't just expect to win, I expect him to get bonus points in each of those matches, the toughest of which will be Nick Piccinnini who he only beat by decision earlier this year, but with his improved gas tank, yeah, let's move that up to a Major. The semifinals is going to be his toughest match, the rubber match against Nathan Tomasello, who will also definitely be there. Whoever wins that match will go onto win in the Finals. So can Lee pull it off? I'm an unabashed Hawkeye Homer, so yeah, Lee pulls it off, and caps off an incredible freshman season with a national title.

1. Spencer Lee
2. Darian Cruz
3. Nathan Tomasello
4. Sean Fausz
5. Sebastian Rivera
6. Nick Suriano
7. Taylor LaMont
8. Ronnie Bresser

133 - No Qualifier
Iowa did not qualify anyone at this weight class, which is unfortunate, as that will end Iowa's streak of having someone in the finals at this weight class for the last five consecutive years. Even sadder is that the #1 ranked guy at this weight class, Seth Gross, spent a year at Iowa before some legal troubles sparked his transfer to South Dakota State. Still, I'm going to pick an upset in the finals, because Stevan Micic from Michigan has been wrestling out of his mind late in the season, and I just can't see anybody stopping that momentum from rolling to a national title.

1. Stevan Micic
2. Seth Gross
3. Kaid Brock
4. Austin DeSanto
5. Scott Parker
6. John Erneste
7. Luke Pletcher
8. Josh Terao

141 - Vince Turk - Unseeded
Vince Turk may be the most fascinating wrestler on the Iowa team. He had a lot of hype going into last season before tearing his ACL right at the beginning of the season. This year, there was less hype, but he won out in some tough wrestle-offs to take the starting spot. I had hopes that he could make a positive impact on the lineup. Then he went out and wrestled like crap. Carter Happel nearly took the starting spot, but then Turk got another chance and he just started letting loose. He was uber-aggressive, and he was causing fits for people. His defense seemed nearly non-existent, but he was going for so much offense that decisions were going in his favor, and the matches were all exciting as hell. His only losses at the Big Ten Tournament were to Joey McKenna and Nick Lee, the fourth and eighth ranked wrestlers at 141. I really like Turk, but this weight class is STACKED. The depth is the best of any weight class, and although I think Turk gets some wins, I can't quite see him making it to All-American status.

1. Yianni Diakomihalis
2. Bryce Meredith
3. Dean Heil
4. Joey McKenna
5. Jaydin Eierman
6. Kevin Jack
7. Michael Carr
8. Mason Smith

149 - Brandon Sorensen - #2 Seed
Sorensen is Iowa's highest seeded wrestler, but he does not have the best chances of winning a National Championship, due to the existence of Zain Retherford, an absolute monster who will be closing in on his third national title this year. Sorensen is great, but Retherford is transcendent, and although Sorensen should make the finals, he has never beaten Retherford, and I just can't see that changing on Saturday night.

1. Zain Retherford
2. Brandon Sorensen
3. Ryan Deakin
4. Grant Leeth
5. Justin Oliver
6. Troy Heilmann
7. Ke-Shawn Hayes
8. Jason Tsirtsis

157 - Michael Kemerer - #6 Seed
Let's just get this out of the way: Michael Kemerer got totally screwed on seeding. That is not just Iowa homerism in me either, as everyone seems to agree. Yes, he got caught and pinned against Micah Jordan in the semifinals. That's bad, but that also only made Jordan 1-1 against him. Kemerer then forfeited out of the tournament, which the NCAA seeding committee definitely punished this year. Still, Jason Nolf, whose resume this year is nearly identical to Kemerer's, injury defaulted a round earlier than Kemerer and managed the #3 seed. Somehow, Kemerer fell to sixth despite having a convincing win over the #4 seed, Josh Shields earlier this year. It does not make sense, and it means that Kemerer will have to go up against Jason Nolf in the quarterfinals. Nolf was hurt earlier this year but is at least close to back to normal as he was fairly impressive in his two wins in the Big Ten Tournament. It should never happen that whoever wins a quarterfinal matchup is the favorite to win the whole thing, but here we are, and if these guys are near 100%, the winner is going to go on to win the National Title. I want to pick Kemerer so bad, but until I see someone actually beat Jason Nolf, I can't pick against him. I don't see Kemerer losing to anybody else in this tournament.

1. Jason Nolf
2. Hayden Hidlay
3. Michael Kemerer
4. Alec Pantaleo
5. Josh Shields
6. Micah Jordan
7. Joseph Lavallee
8. Andrew Crone

165 - Alex Marinelli - #5 Seed
Well, where Kemerer got screwed on seeding, Marinelli seemed to get a fairly generous draw. He should be able to handle his first two opponents with limited worries before facing Chad Walsh of Rider. Although Walsh has an impressive 24-1 record, it was done against fairly weak opposition. His best win is against #9 seed, Chance Marsteller, who also beat Walsh once. I think Marinelli can get that one, although I can't see him getting by Martinez in the semifinals. At that point, his NCAA Tournament would be at least as good as his sixth place finish at the Big Tens, so I think Hawkeyes fans should be pleased with Marinelli's performance.

1. Isaiah Martinez
2. Logan Massa
3. Vincenzo Joseph
4. David McFadden
5. Alex Marinelli
6. Chance Marsteller
7. Anthony Valencia
8. Richie Lewis

174 - Joey Gunther - Unseeded
Gunther had a solid year bumping up to 174 this season, but it's tough to see him making much of an impact. I could see him getting a couple wins, but nothing more than that as I don't think he will be near competing for All-American status. This weight class is fascinating as it has three undefeated wrestlers in Zahid Valencia, Mark Hall, and Daniel Lewis. I think those top two guys are clearly better than the rest, but Daniel Lewis may surprise me. He's been a bonus point machine, but it has been against a weak schedule so it's tough to say how good he is at 174. I'm not buying what he's selling though.

1. Zahid Valencia
2. Mark Hall
3. Bo Jordan
4. Daniel Lewis
5. Myles Amine
6. Jaeden Bernstein
7. Ethan Ramos
8. Taylor Lujan

184 - Mitch Bowman - Unseeded
Bowman is a solid wrestler for the Hawkeyes, but there is ntohing about him that really stands out. Sometimes, he's relentless; other times, he gets stuck on the mat with no hope of getting up. Sometimes he'll be ultra aggressive; other times, he will barely go for a shot. Even when he's on, it's not the most impressive thing in the world. If he gets a couple wins, it will be a nice tournament for him, but he probably has the best chance of not scoring any team points for the Hawkeyes, so no, I do not see him becoming an All-American. At the top of the bracket, you've got Bo Nickal. Abounader could give him some troubles, but Bo Nickal is really freaking good, so I've got to pick him at this weight class.

1. Bo Nickal
2. Myles Martin
3. Pete Renda
4. Dominic Abounader
5. Emory Parker
6. Maxwell Dean
7. Ryan Preisch
8. Drew Foster

197 - Cash Wilcke - #14 Seed
Cash Wilcke made it to the Round of 12 last year, and although I love Cash Wilcke, I kind of saw that as his ceiling again this year. Many probably thought I was pretty dumb when he was undefeated and ranked fifth in the nation. I would have been so happy to be dumb about that, but instead, I was correct, and he basically fell apart during the second half of the season. He can be competitive against all but the very best in this division, but it is going to take him squeaking out a whole lot of wins for him to make it to All-American status. I predict the same result as last year, where he makes the Round of 12, just barely falling short of AA. Oh, and this weight class is a total clusterfuck, and I have no idea what is going to happen. Random predictions below.

1. Kollin Moore
2. Jared Haught
3. Ben Darmstadt
4. Michael Machiavello
5. Nate Rotert
6. Preston Weigel
7. William Miklus
8. Shakur Rasheed

Heavyweight - Sam Stoll - #5 Seed
Sam Stoll is right where he should be in the seeds. If he wrestles like he should, he will cruise into the quarterfinals against Duke's Jacob Kasper. I don't love Stoll's chances in that match, but I wouldn't count him out either. Even if he does win that match, he's not getting by America's greatest living athlete, Kyle Snyder, so don't expect to see him wrestling Saturday night. But for the first time, Stoll is actually healthy at the NCAA Tournament, and I think he does enough to become an All-American. It's going to be Snyder and Coon in the finals, and although they have split their first two matches this year, there is no way I am going to pick against Snyder. 

1. Kyle Snyder
2. Adam Coon
3. Jacob Kasper
4. Sam Stoll
5. Tanner Hall
6. Derek White
7. Nick Nevills
8. Michael Boykin

And that wraps up my selections for the tournament. Iowa is definitely not winning a team title this year, but with Lee, Sorensen, and Kemerer, they have three guys who have the potential to be competing on Saturday night. And seriously, take a break from college basketball and at least tune in on Saturday night, it really is one of the most fun sporting events of the year.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The 45 Most Important Players to the Chicago Bulls Dynasty - #15 Jason Caffey

Jason Caffey
Jason Caffey was taken 20th overall in the 1995 NBA Draft. A Power Forward out of Alabama was exactly what Michael Jordan needed to help him carry this team over the top and start winning NBA Championships again.

In that first year, he had to scrape and claw for minutes as he played in less than 60 games and averaged less than ten minutes per game as a backup power forward, competing with second-year pro, Dickey Simpkins for a majority of the year. His best performance was a game early in the year against the Cavaliers where he put up 13 points and 8 rebounds. Unfortunately for Caffey, the Bulls brought on total piece of crap, John Salley, late in the year, and Caffey was bumped completely from the rotation and would not make the active roster for the playoffs.

In 1996-97, Caffey took his game to another level and started 19 games for the Bulls (including the last 13 of the regular season), played in 75, and more than doubled his per game minutes from his rookie season. He put up a career high 23 points against the Clippers and put up his first three double-doubles.

Although the Bulls again added an extra big man late in the season with Bison Dele, Caffey still started five games as they experimented with bringing Dennis Rodman off the bench. He even put up a double-double in the second round against the Atlanta Hawks. But Caffey did see his minutes take a sharp downturn after that round as he failed to see more than nine minutes in the Eastern Conference or NBA Finals.

Caffey would again put up solid bench numbers for the Bulls in the 1997-98 season but was unexpectedly traded at the deadline in 1998 for David Vaughn and two second round picks. It was a mystery to the players, but it seemed to work out for everyone involved. The Bulls would go on to win their third NBA Championship in a row before the team disassembled after the 1998 season.

And it especially worked out for Jason Caffey, because he got PAID. After joining the Warriors, they signed him to a seven-year, $35 million contract. He didn't even have to play the last two years of that deal as he got bought out by the Milwaukee Bucks.

Although $35 million will pay for a lot, for Caffey, it wasn't quite enough, as he was sued for child support, which isn't too surprising since he had ten children with eight different women.

Now I'm not sure if what I am about to show you is real, was ever real, or could be real in the future, but I want to believe it's real, because Caffey was so hard up for money that he appeared on Dr. Phil, so I really want this attempt to start his own reality show to be true. This was done in 2009, and I see no evidence of an actual pilot ever being made, but this trailer is LIT.

Please let this be from Jason Caffey, and please let this show still come out, using nothing to edit except for a shiny copy of Windows XP and graphics from PowerPoint. I have discovered a lot of great things throughout this series, but this is my new favorite.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Sam Darnold - 2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report

The final quarterback I wanted to take a look at before the draft is the one that many consider the best one in the entire draft, University of Southern California's Sam Darnold. Darnold's buzz really began a little over a year ago with a memorable Rose Bowl victory over Penn State where the teams combined for over 100 points. Before the 2017 season began, Darnold was seen as the guy for a quarterback needy team, and he may have still held onto that spot, although there is quite a debate going right now. I decided to take a gander myself by watching his games against Notre Dame, Texas, UCLA, and Stanford.

The first thing I really liked from Darnold was his anticipation on throws.

Here, he throws the ball before the receiver has made his break and hits him just inside the sidelines where he can make the catch before heading out of bounds.

Darnold also shows good vision down field, even when getting pressured.

Here, it looks like he is going to do a full bail out to his right, but he realizes that the rush has slowed and he has some space. He gets his eyes back down field, finds a receiver, and delivers a beautiful ball down the middle of the field. 

An issue that you see repeatedly is how he immediately looks to bail out of the pocket when he feels any sort of pressure.

On the play above, he could have taken one step to his left and been free and clear to throw a ball anywhere in the field of play. Instead, he took 20 steps to his right and was forced to throw the ball away to avoid a worse outcome.

An issue that people have been bringing up a lot are turnovers. Both fumbles and interceptions were an issue for him in college. I feel like the former can be repaired, but his interception issues are very real. He would often miss high on passes which often will lead to interceptions. Other times, he would attempt to force a ball in, and sometimes it looked great, but when it failed, it did not look nearly as great.

One thing you do have to give the guy credit for is his leadership. He keeps his cool no matter what the situation is. It was the thing that got him national attention a year ago in the Rose Bowl against Penn State, and it continued this season. USC was down to Texas 17-14 with less than a minute remaining, and he just started throwing dimes. First, he threw a great pass to get his team in range to tie the game.

And he continued making great throws in overtime.

When the pressure is on, Darnold does not let it get to him.

You see that confidence throughout Darnold's game. He is unafraid to make make any pass no matter how tight the window.

Here, he shows incredible touch to put it right over the defenders in a place where his receiver can make the easy catch towards the back of the endzone.

Confidence is great and all, but occasionally confidence kills.

He again tries to lay the ball up for his receiver, but this time the double coverage is too much as Darnold underthrows the pass and the Stanford defender is able to make the interception.

Honestly, I just couldn't get excited about Sam Darnold.

There were some nice throws, some poor decisions, and yet despite never wowing me, it is pretty impressive how well USC did with him at quarterback.

It took me four games, but I finally found out who he was: Brett Favre, without a cannon for an arm. He isn't always accurate, scrambles better than his athleticism would make you believe is possible, and will make throws that make you scream, both good and bad. But without that cannon of an arm to fit into ultra tight windows, I'm not sure how exciting of a prospect you have at that point. In the wild west of the NFL, a gunslinger with a BB gun doesn't seem like much of a gunslinger at all.

The good news is that if quarterback doesn't work out, he could definitely have a future at the fullback position.

2018 Scouting Reports
Josh Rosen - Quarterback - UCLA
Josh Allen - Quarterback - Wyoming
Mason Rudolph - Quarterback - Oklahoma State

Lamar Jackson - Quarterback - Louisville

Baker Mayfield - Quarterback - Oklahoma