The Calm Before the Storm


It’s coming. What may seem like just another quiet, relaxed Friday afternoon is about to become an amalgam of events the type of which we rarely see. Luckily I was able to catch up on Lost this week so I could clear some space on my DVR. So where do we begin?

Kobe vs. T-Mac of course, tonight at 10:30 ET. Now naturally, ESPN will not be showing you this matchup because they couldn’t resist the opportunity to show us the magnificent beauty of a Clippers v. Kings game. Priceless. This game is interesting because it’s been quite some time since McGrady has been healthy in one of these duels, and the chance for Kobe to start another scoring streak is too much to ignore. Remember when all the talk was about Kobe v. T-Mac, who’s better? Don’t hear that much anymore. Among all the recent breakouts of young stars in recent years like the 2003 Draft Class, Arenas, Dwight Howard, and our fascination with Oden and Durant, coupled with a number of injuries, T-Mac has flown under just about everybody’s radar, even taking a back seat to Yao. Not too mention we get to see Kobe do his thang against one of the best defender in the league in Battier. Tivoed.

Then Saturday afternoon is my 14-team mixed league keeper draft. My keepers this year are Jose Reyes, Lance Berkman and Vlad Guerrero. Not too shabby. Who doesn’t love a good competitive draft, just sitting around drinking and talkin smack. I’ll let you know how it goes afterwards since I can’t give up my sleepers yet. No Tivo, possibility of Youtubeness.

Saturday evening is the beastly Final Four slate. Florida v. UCLA isn’t very sexy, but it could be a decently competitive game. It’s still funny how many people hate Florida this year when they loved them last year. I’ve hated Florida all along. America is far too obsessed with the underdog bandwagon. I’ll take the villains thank you very much. Except Florida, or Duke. It’s often more fun to root for the “Bad guys,” especially since the people going against you are followers who know nothing about their team and are too stubborn/stupid to mold a legitimate argument, like the modern Red Sox/Suns fan. Tivoed.

Little Bball warmup at 3 ET thanks to ESPN, who will be giving us Cavs v. Bulls. This could either be a 8.5 out of 10 on the entertainment scale or an unwatchable mess. Remember, Deng just dropped a career high 38 last week. Tivoed based on quality.

Then Ohio St. v. Georgetown. The battle of the bigs or whatever you choose to call it. Can you think of the last time we’ve had to legitimate quality centers going at it in College? It’s been awhile. My pick stays with the Buckeyes since I still feel like Oden is about to put all those flashes of brilliance from the last couple weeks together into one spectacular game, and Conley Jr. has just about become my favorite college player to watch since Rip Hamilton. Just watching the guy dribble is hypnotizing. And I haven’t even mentioned resident Robert Horry-dagger thrower Ron Lewis. That man has some serious cajones. Georgetown needs to feed it to Hibbert often and early for them to stay in this game. His dropstep is a thing of beauty, especially because he clutches the ball just slightly above his head to make it nearly impossible to properly defend. Tivoed.

Sunday brings us Baseball’s opening day, Mets v. Cards being the highlight, kicking off a week of games that will be the only ones anybody cares about until late July. Looking forward to seeing what Dice-K does, and of course seeing my Yanks run through the Devil Rays on Monday. Snap and I will explain why Basketball dominates Baseball later…not that Baseball isn’t great mind you. Tivoed.

That night, Wrestlemania XXIII. Stop acting like you don’t care. Yeah its a soap opera but don’t tell me you weren’t enthralled by the WWF (yeah I said it…F) back in middle school and didn’t order at least one SummerSlam. Those were the days, when NWO was rolling through the WCW and Stone Cold was pouring beer all over McMahon and the Rock. Did I mention Stone Cold is a guest referee in the Battle of the Billionaires between McMahon (represented by Umaga) and Bobby Lashley representing Donald Trump. Donald-friggin-Trump! Also, Shawn Michaels (in my top 3 all-time) takes on John Cena for the WWE belt and Batista v. Undertaker for the World Championship (there’s so many belt’s now it’s ridiculous, I have no idea how to explain them anymore). No matter what you think of it now, if you have ever enjoyed sittin back and watchin piledriver, Wrestlemania is worth the 50 bucks. Tivoed.

And finally, the NCAA Final on Monday. Good Lord. Pacing will be a virtue this week. Don’t drink too much tonight or you’ll be spent long before it’s all over. We’ll be around with comments and the occasional running diary all weekend. Good afternoon, and Good Luck.

P.S. I’m a little frustrated with Rick Reilly’s ignorant comment in his SI backpage column about Greg Oden this week. He said to Oden “If you get drafted by Portland, you’ll see your teamates in Orang Jumpsuits.” Hey, Ricky, it’s over. No more jailblazer jokes, ok? We suffered through enough of that crap on ESPN for years, but now it’s all on the upswing and that junk is in the past. Get a new whipping boy. Hell, at least use the Bengals for relevancy’s sake.