Saturday, January 30, 2010

Obama is a Hoya Fan!

For those of you not watching, Obama and Biden are courtside right now for the Georgetown-Duke game at the Verizon Center. I can't find any photos of him from today's game yet, so had to settle for this one.

Highlight of the game so far? Well, aside from the Hoyas being up 13 at the half and shooting 77% thus far, Biden mouthing "Call timeout" over Barack in the direction of the Duke bench with the Hoyas on a run and Krzyzewski trying to let the Dookies 'play it out'.

The Sports Bog was all over Barack's potential appearance yesterday, but nothing was confirmed until the leader of the free world actually walked in the doors.

Is Maryland jealous? I'm pretty sure they'd trade Obama's rooting interest for this potential beatdown of the Dookies.

(Image courtesy of

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Confessions of a Half-Hearted Wizards Fan

So Gilbert Arenas has been suspended for the remainder of the 2009-2010 NBA season. Who cares?

I might have had a different response had this news dropped between the year 2005 and October 27, 2009 which was the last time I was hopeful about the Wizards as a playoff caliber team. Man did they look good that day. Teamwork, ball movement, defense, scoring depth, consistency and, most importantly, a dominant Alpha Dog: Agent Zero looked like he was back!

In the modern NBA, if you don't have that, you have nothing. I've painstakingly constructed this Rico Fantastic-style chart* of NBA squads over the last 20 years who have won it all without a top-5 player:

Team Season
Pistons 2003-2004

*Chart not scientific.

I thought Gilbert could be that top-5 guy the Wizards never had. Due to some freakish psychosis, Gil has always been at his best when he is pissed, which he's found reason to be throughout his career. He was knocking on that top-5 door before his injury; I was certain as of October that he would emerge from his latest bout of adversity ready to knock that door down for good. I took his media silence to mean quiet determination.

He seemed pissed at the world, didn't he? Am I alone on this? I was ready to witness (pardon the term) his final leap from shoot-first All-Star to transcendent team player: the guy who made everyone around him better, unafraid to put away the slow-bleeders with a 3-point dagger, game winning steal, or to sink those 4th quarter foul shots courtesy of the NBA's star-treatment system. If for no other reason than to show us wrong.

The days when hope reigned. *sigh*

That same freakish psychosis I hoped would mature him into the best instead manifested itself as immaturity that has made him, frankly, the worst. The worst teammate, the worst defensive player in the league, the worst franchise player in a league riddled with terrible ones, and now the worst contract. Instead of taking advantage of the deepest roster and best coach he has ever had, he let his weakest of his teammates bring out his dark side. Even before the guns it was clear this season that I'd be wrong. The gun incident confirmed it; this suspension is just another drop in the bucket.

Without that hope, I can't bring myself to care about the Wizards anymore. It's the nature of the NBA. Any other sport there is always hope for next year. Without LeBron or Kobe or Wade or Duncan there is none in basketball. With the Caps currently bludgeoning the league into submission, I've got enough to occupy my fan energy, anyways. I'm drooling like a Pavlovian dog at the latest Redskins off-season hire previous negativity notwithstanding. I'm busy. So someone wake me when the Wizards luck into the next NBA Superstar. Until then...yawn.

"Making History", Starring the Washington Capitals

I sure as hell hope I don't jinx the Caps with this post...

That being said, at a 3.81 goals per game rate through 52 games, this Caps offense is the best to grace the NHL in 14 years (and 13 seasons). The last team to light the lamp that often was the 1995-1996 version of the Pittsburgh Penguins at 4.4 goals per game.*

Anyway, aside from the '05-'06 Senators squad (3.80), no team since '95-96 has even come close to the Caps' offensive potency this season. Take a look:

The two mains things I take from this data tear me apart. Our Caps team is making history, but is that really a good thing? The last team to lead the league in goals during the regular season and win the Stanley Cup was the 1991-1992 Pittsburgh Penguins.

Yes, the above data ignores all things Defense/Goaltending/Ovechkin. But what it blatantly points out is that this year's Capitals are making (at least recent) history. While it's important to put regular season ouput in perspective of the larger goal, I also don't like to take great things for granted. We are truly watching something special.

And by the way, 7-0-0 since the Ovechkin-Downie turning point.

*Interestingly enough, both Colorado (3.98) and Detroit (3.96) averaged more goals per game in '95-'96 than this version of the Caps. Down year for goalies, huh?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Plotty: State of the Terps 5 Games Before Duke

Former DCLS writer "Plotty", self-proclaimed Jay Gibbons supporter and meatball sub enthusiast, checks in with us today on Maryland basketball.

“Ahhhh yes, the fun has officially started in College Park with a huge conference win against FSU. Can we just agree to skip to the part where the Terps are squarely on the bubble before losing at Virginia in the final game again? (Joey Flyntz)” –  D.C. Sports Bog Atlantic 11 Local Poll 1/11/2010

Given their penchant for inconsistency, you’d be forgiven for not paying the 2010 Terrapins iteration an early season hosanna. When the perennial also-ran Tribe of William and Mary blows you out at home, on the heels of three predictable non-conference losses, seizure-leg (h/t city of Atlanta, Georgia) is not just premature, it’s moronic until you put up a W against a team worth salt.

On the one hand, it’s completely foolhardy that the off-season alone would translate into wins in the early go-round; just ask Jordan Williams if squaring-up Nova’s Isiah Armwood in the freshman’s fifth collegiate game is a more difficult assignment than checking run-of-the-mill Connecticut prep-schoolers. It wasn’t inconceivable that Maryland would take early-season lumps; the question on the mind of fans, indeed many in the country, concerned whether these lumps would precipitate a predictable stretch of sub-par play, or had Vasquez-Hayes-Milbourne experienced three years of mediocrity too many.

For what it’s worth, four games into conference, Gary Williams & Co. have forged an identity befitting a legitimate ACC contender. No, not every outcome will be as lopsided as North Carolina State. And while every conference game is usually a battle, Clemson, UNC, and UVA should present even stiffer competition than NCST. With half the season under his belt, Jordan Williams is averaging an ACC second-best 7.9 RPG among freshman, and is the best fifth-option Gary could hope for as far as freshman bigs come; against one of the ACCs best in Tracy Smith, Williams played 27 high-intensity, physical rebounding, zero-turnover minutes, to go along with nine points and nine boards. And while the aforementioned senior trio has continued to impress, the key to success for a run at the Atlantic Coast crown lies in the continued progress of combo guards Sean Mosley, Cliff Tucker, and Adrian Bowie. While Greivis is the unquestioned pulse and first offensive option, Mosley may be the teams’ best stalwart defender, to say nothing of his shooting prowess. As the sixth-man in the rotation, the 6’6’’ Cliff Tucker has been spelling both Hayes and Vasquez and shooting lights-out of late, connecting on 4 of 6 field goals against the Wolfpack and showing tremendous basket-to-basket finesse. As a ball-handler/slasher, Bowie may not (and doesn’t need to) be in the immediate plans to contribute, but when he too has a zero turnover performance (and only two in the last four games), he’s a great weapon in Gary’s arsenal.

For the first time since the championship season, I am pleased with the Terps play just past the mid-season point. Pleased, and for the first time in forever hopeful that the teams best play is in front of them. #11 in the country? No. The Terps have five games in-between traveling to Durham, and performances like NCST against better ACC competitors should provide a better view what this team intends on playing for come March. Hopefully, not just entry into the Big Dance, but the title of the ACCs best.