Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Celebrity Infidelity

I'm tired of hearing about celebrity sex scandals, especially Tiger Woods and Jesse James. They act like they had psychological problems, so they checked into "sex rehab." Yeah, like that's going to fix anything. There is a problem, but it's something they control. It's not some subconscious phenomenon that's out of their hands. The real problem is easy to see: marriage.

These two men cheated because they wanted to have sex with more than one woman for the rest of their lives. That's normal. That's not a psychological problem. The problem is they shouldn't have gotten married. But they did and wanted to maintain the lifestyle of a single man. So there is a solution to the problem. If you want to maintain the single life, don't get married. End of problem.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sweet Sixteen Preview

How does your bracket look? Thought so. Let's move forward.


Butler vs. Syracuse

Syracuse looked as good as anyone in the first two rounds. With Kansas ousted in the second round, the Orange have become the favorite to reach the title game from this half of the bracket. Butler is a solid team, but to win this game they might need to hit 15 or more three-pointers. Shelvin Mack has hit nine in the first two games, so anything is possible. I think Syracuse's zone defense and transition offense will be too much to handle.

Xavier vs. Kansas St.

Kansas State has a team built for the NCAA tournament. Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente comprise one of the best backcourt duos in the nation. They have breezed by their first two opponents and look headed to an Elite Eight match-up with Syracuse. Xavier's only shot is that Jordan Crawford blows up for 30, which could happen. But I think the higher seeds will advance.

Players to Watch

Andy Rautins for Syracuse was on fire from beyond the arc against Gonzaga. With Arinze Onuaku still out, expect Rautins to lead the Orange past the Bulldogs.

Jacob Pullen of Kansas State is a big-time performer who has scored 49 points in the first two rounds. Xavier can't guard him, so I expect huge numbers.

Scariest-looking person left:

Kansas State coach Frank Martin


Washington vs. West Virginia

This is the Washington team picked to win the Pac-10. Quincy Pondexter and Isaiah Thomas have carried the Huskies to the Sweet Sixteen and are definitely the best double-digit seed left. West Virginia suffered a season-ending foot injury to guard Darryl Bryant. That shouldn't affect the Mountaineers too much since they have Joe Mazzulla back at the point. This game could come down to which player is more clutch: Pondexter or West Va.'s Da'Sean Butler.

Cornell vs. Kentucky

The Big Red have played great so far. They're probably the best Ivy League team ever and are the best three-point shooting team in the nation. That being said, they don't have the athleticism to keep up with Kentucky. Zero chance of winning. Zero.

Players to Watch

Kevin Jones of West Virginia has stepped up in the team's first two games, averaging 15 points per game. He will be important on offense and will be called upon to contain Pondexter.

Darius Miller of Kentucky will be a key for the Wildcats' success for the rest of this tournament. Miller had a career-high 20 points and was a major factor in pulling away from Wake Forest in their second-round game. If he is knocking down shots, Kentucky will not be beaten.


Tennessee vs. Ohio State

The Vols took care of business in the first two rounds but didn't look that great. Melvin Goins stepped up with 15 points in the three-point win over San Diego State, and their length and athleticism was too much for Ohio. Ohio State looked vulnerable when teams keyed in on Evan Turner. With Tennessee's size, other players will have to score.

Northern Iowa vs. Michigan State

Even with the Achilles injury to guard Kalin Lucas, I think Michigan State has enough firepower with Raymar Morgan, Durrell Summers and Maryland-slayer Korie Lucious to get past the Panthers. Northern Iowa's Ali Farokhmanesh has hit two game-winning shots, but I think the magic stops here.

Players to Watch

Jon Diebler for Ohio State will be a major factor. Georgia Tech was able to hang in the game with Deibler struggling. But when he got hot, his four three-pointers really opened the lead. He will be important in stretching Tennessee's defense to open lanes for Turner and David Lighty.

Jordan Eglseder is the 7-foot center for Northern Iowa. If the Panthers are to advance, he will have to dominate the undersized Spartans on the interior.


Saint Mary's vs. Baylor

Baylor looked shaky in both games but has the talent to reach a Final Four. LaceDarius Dunn and Tweety Carter kept the Bears alive. But to advance, Ekpe Udoh has to do a much better job of guarding Omar Samhan than Villanova and Richmond. Also, Mickey McConnell of Saint Mary's should have to call his next bank shot for it to count.

Purdue vs. Duke

The Blue Devils were given the easiest route of the 1-seeds but still have to play the games. They destroyed UAPB and California but are in for a dog fight with Purdue. Chris Kramer on Jon Scheyer will be a great match-up to watch. The Boilermakers have proven the critics wrong. I stuck with them up to this point but Duke has looked very impressive.

Players to Watch

Omar Samhan for Saint Mary's has been the most dominant player in the tournament so far. McConnell and Dellavedova kept feeding The Sandman in the post, and he turned that into 61 points. To advance, expect the same approach from the Gaels.

JaJuan Johnson of Purdue could be the key to hanging tough against Duke. The versatile center must take advantage of Zoubek on the inside. This would turn the game into more of a grind, which puts a lot of pressure on Duke's three S's (Smith, Scheyer, Singler) to hit shots from the outside.


West Region

Kansas State over Syracuse

East Region

Kentucky over West Virginia

Midwest Region

Tennessee over Michigan State

South Region

Duke over Saint Mary's

Sunday, March 14, 2010

NCAA Tournament Predictions

The Madness has arrived. Let's do this.


Kansas is the clear tournament favorite as the overall No. 1 seed, so I'm not going to pick against them. The Jayhawks are the least vulnerable of the top seeds because of so much talent, experience and depth. In the regional final, I think they will go up against the Georgetown Hoyas. With Monroe, Freeman and Wright, they reached the Big East title game, losing only because of another game winner by West Virginia's Da'Sean Butler.


On Kansas' half, a possible second-round match-up with Northern Iowa could be really tough. They dominated the MVC, which is perennially one of the best non-power conferences. They have an inside presence with Jordan Eglseder and excellent guard play.

In the bottom half, the Tennessee Volunteers are the most dangerous outside of the top seeds. They are incredibly inconsistent but as good as anyone when Wayne Chism plays well. UT is the only team to beat the top two teams in the nation and are certainly capable of doing it again.

Burning Question: Can Evan Turner carry Ohio State to the Final Four?

Winner: Kansas


Even with the two losses down the stretch and minor injury of Onuaku, Syracuse is clearly the best team in this region. The Orange have the most talent and are the most difficult to prepare for since they play a 2-3 zone defense. In the other half, Kansas State has exactly what it takes to make the Elite Eight. They have two exceptional guards in Pullen and Clemente and a fiery coach in Frank Martin.


In the top half, the fourth-seeded Vanderbilt Commodores have the team capable of defeating Syracuse's zone. With Jermaine "Dolla'" Beal and John Jenkins shooting well from beyond the arc, Vandy can be a dangerous team. Also, the Gonzaga Bulldogs will give the Orange a challenge. With veteran guards Matt Bouldin and Steven Gray and freshman forward Elias Harris, the Zags could find themselves in the Sweet Sixteen.

In Kansas State's half, the Xavier Musketeers are a team to watch out for. You may remember forward Jordan Crawford dunking on LeBron James. He's also scoring about 20 points per game and is difficult to defend.

Burning Question: Will Syracuse's slide at the end of the season continue?

Winner: Syracuse


The Kentucky Wildcats are the most talented team in the nation. They win even if they aren't playing well. John Wall will be the No. 1 pick in the next NBA Draft and has set himself apart through his play-making abilities in clutch situations. Also, DeMarcus Cousins is going to be tough to match-up with for almost every team the Wildcats will come across. The West Virginia Mountaineers are the best team in the bottom half. They proved that this weekend by taking home the Big East tournament championship. Butler's heroics and the versatile Devin Ebanks will make this team a tough out.


Texas is one of the most enigmatic teams, starting 17-0 and ending up as an eight seed. They have the depth and size to push Kentucky in a possible second-round game. Also, if a four seed can be a sleeper, Wisconsin's style of play could throw some teams off. They slow things down and shorten the game, and that could force Kentucky to hit shots from the outside to advance.

Marquette is a team capable of making a run. They've played great competition throughout the year in the best conference. Lazar Hayward is an underrated player who is averaging 18 points and almost eight rebounds per game. He can light it up at any point.

Burning Question:
Will the youth of Kentucky hold up in another single-elimination scenario?

Winner: Kentucky


The Duke Blue Devils have the experience and the easiest draw of the top seeds. I expect Scheyer, Smith and Singler to carry them to the regional final. Villanova has struggled, losing five of seven. But they made the Final Four last year and still have Scottie Reynolds. I'll take their guards in March every time.


Louisville could be a tough out for Duke in the second round. They have great upside with Edgar Sosa and Samardo Samuels but are on/off. In a one-game situation, coach Rick Pitino could rally his team to a major upset. Siena also has a great draw. They have a tournament win in the recent past and face a Purdue team who has struggled without Robbie Hummel. In the bottom half, Notre Dame has a decent shot to advancing a couple rounds. They learned how to play without Luke Harangody and have greatly improved at the end of the season.

Burning Question: Can Duke capitalize on the favorable bracket they lucked into?

Winner: Villanova

Final Four

No.1 Kansas over No.1 Syracuse.
No.1 Kentucky over No.2 Villanova

Championship: Kansas versus Kentucky

National Champion: Kansas

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Championship Week

NCAA conference tournaments are already underway. Tickets are being punched for the Big Dance, and bubbles are bursting (like UConn's earlier today). Here are my picks for the six power conferences.


Even with the loss at Maryland costing them the outright regular season title, Duke has had a lot of success in this tournament. They have won eight of the last 11 and are easily the best team in the conference. Maryland's Greivis Vasquez was named the conference's player of the year, and it wouldn't surprise me to see these two teams in the final. But without the home-court advantage, I don't see the Terrapins repeating that success.

Winner: Duke

Big East

The B-East tournament will definitely have the most games with quality opponents, but I don't think that will allow for much drama (especially like the 6-OT game between UConn and Syracuse last year). It will be won by one of the top three of Syracuse, Villanova and West Virginia. Guard play is important in March, which gives Villanova a good shot against 'Cuse in the semis. But the Orange trounced the Wildcats by 18. They could definitely do it, but 'Nova has to get hot from beyond the arc to beat the zone. I'm not counting on that happening. I'm looking for Bob Huggins' Mountaineers to beat the Orange in the championship with Da'Sean Butler being the tournament's best player.

Winner: West Virginia

Big Ten

This tournament was up for grabs between three teams just a couple weeks ago. Then Purdue's Robbie Hummel went down with a knee injury. The way I see it, the title will go to either Michigan State or Ohio State. The Spartans are last year's NCAA runner-up but they're not consistently good. Plus the Buckeyes have the nation's top player, Evan Turner. Kentucky's John Wall will be drafted No. 1, but Turner will win the Wooden Award as the nation's best. He is leading the conference in scoring and rebounding and is second in steals and assists. Also, he is sixth in field-goal percentage, which means he's not taking half his team's shots to get that total like South Carolina's Devan Downey. Oh, and Turner recovered from a broken back earlier this season. I'm not choosing against a guy with that type of heart.

Winner: Ohio State

Big 12

I'll make this brief.

Winner: Kansas


Does anyone really care?

Winner: California


Kentucky is the favorite, but the most dangerous team has already beaten the Wildcats. Enter the Tennessee Volunteers. The two will most likely meet in a semi-final bout on Saturday. The winner will take home the crown on Sunday. Kentucky has looked vulnerable when not hitting shots from the outside. UT's length and athletic ability could disrupt the inexperienced 'Cats. Here's one vote for Bruce Pearl as coach of the year, in the conference and the nation. Losing the team's best player Tyler Smith could have sent the Vols into a tailspin. Pearl kept them together, though, and winning a conference title would be nothing short of amazing.

Winner: Tennessee

These are my picks. But March is my favorite month for a reason. Anything can happen in college basketball. And I expect this March to be no exception.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Academy Awards Preview

The 82nd Academy Awards are here to honor the finest in film for 2009. And I hope they actually do.


I will start by taking on the easiest category. This is the biggest lock of the night. I feel bad for the other nominees in this category for having no chance. Christoph Waltz as Col. Hans Landa in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds is the best performance from the past year. Bet on it.

Winner: Christoph Waltz


This category also seems to be a lock, with Mo'Nique sweeping all the major awards leading up to tonight. Though I hate rewarding someone who has done nothing of merit up to this point in her career (Reminder: She was in Phat Girlz), no one else nominated really blew me away.

Winner: Mo'Nique


This is the deepest category of the night, but it seems as though the fifth time will be the charm for Jeff Bridges. Crazy Heart was not a great movie and not his best performance, but he's done enough to earn this as essentially a lifetime achievement award.

Winner: The Dude


If there was one potentially frustrating category for me, here it is. If Sandra Bullock wins, she will be the first to ever win a Razzie (Worst Actress for All About Steve) and an Oscar in the same year. It proves she is barely trying to do good work. And her performance in "The Blind Side" is perhaps the most overrated from the past decade. It once again shows how shallow the talent pool for female actors is in Hollywood. There is no way Meryl Streep should not win. She's one of the two best actresses in the world (Along with Kate Winslet) and is far superior to anything Bullock will ever do.

Winner: Meryl Streep


Tarantino got robbed at the Golden Globes. His take on WWII is easily the best and most original screenplay. I hope the Academy shows him some love here, since the top awards seem to be a two-horse race.

I mentioned he got robbed. This was done by Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner, who will win for best adaptation. For some reason there is only one writing category at the Globes. The Hollywood Foreign Press should fix that.

Winner (Best Original Screenplay): Quentin Tarantino
Winner (Best Adapted Screenplay): Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner


These two categories are closely contested. Though most of the momentum is with The Hurt Locker and its director Kathryn Bigelow, I think these awards should go to Avatar and James Cameron. He worked on it for four years, and created new technology that changed the possibilities of 3-D filmmaking. He created a new world and new language. And the movie shattered his own Box Office record (Titanic) by taking in over $2.5 billion. Though gross revenue shouldn't give movies like Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel any Oscar buzz, this is on a completely different level. Though I think The Hurt Locker and Bigelow will win, I would vote for Cameron and Avatar.

Footnote: It's an embarrassment that The Blind Side was nominated for Best Picture.


The Best Animated Feature category deserves multiple awards this year. Up will win, but Fantastic Mr. Fox, Coraline and The Princess and the Frog could easily win in other years.


How was Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story not nominated for Best Documentary Feature?


I'm curious to see Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin host. Though I doubt they are the best choice, both are great performers. But Steve Martin hasn't been funny since the '80s.

Hugh Jackman did an amazing job as last year's host. Hopefully, they will do the same tonight.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Movie Review: Shutter Island

An effective film is supposed to communicate ideas and evoke emotions. The latest Scorsese/DiCaprio collaboration focuses on the latter and is easily the best film released in 2010 so far.

Those who know me well are aware that I rarely watch horror movies. However, I made an exception for this since it is not the typical slasher flick but a horror film with depth. And that depth comes from the strength of the cast.

Leo is one of the five best actors going, so of course he kills it. The most perfectly cast role is Ben Kingsley as Dr. Cawley, whose eerie charm is a major asset to the film's suspense. But the biggest surprise for me was Mark Ruffalo's performance as Leo's partner Chuck. I dismissed his ability after watching the dreadful "13 Going on 30," but he made up for it by proving me wrong here.

One thing that made this a truly great horror film is its effective use of setting. Most in this genre use the stereotypical rainy night to set the tone. This film offers a secluded island consisting of poorly lit fortresses, rough terrain and bad weather.

The purpose of this film is not to make the audience jump. Although it does have a couple of those moments, it also makes you think. And I guarantee it will keep you guessing til the end.

Grade: A-

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Gay Pop Star Will Top Hot 100

From the first time I heard it, I thought Adam Lambert's "Whataya Want From Me" would reach No. 1 on the Billboard's Hot 100 chart.

My predictions are occasionally wrong, but that hasn't been the case with pop music. I felt the same way about three songs released by new acts in the last six months: "Down" by Jay Sean feat. Lil Wayne, "Fireflies" by Owl City and "Tik Tok" by Ke$ha. They all reached No. 1.

Adam Lambert has an advantage over those acts. He gained popularity by finishing runner-up on the ratings juggernaut known as "American Idol." Give the title to Kris Allen, but my money's on Lambert to have the better career. (For sports fans: I also predicted Kevin Durant would be better than Greg Oden in the NBA, even though Oden was drafted first. Count it.)

Also, if Lambert manages to obtain a No. 1 hit on his first album, that gives some credibility to an openly gay male singer in today's pop culture. I am interested to see if he can do anything to help make America more accepting of gays/lesbians or if he will turn them off even more like he did at the AMA's. Either way, I think he will have a chance to make an impact since "Whataya Want From Me" is climbing the charts. It is now No. 28 on the Hot 100 and has only been receiving airplay in Nashville for a few weeks.

It won't be easy to reach the top. The Black Eyed Peas took over this past week with "Imma Be," which will be difficult to dethrone. They controlled the No. 1 position for 26 consecutive weeks in 2009 with "Boom Boom Pow" and "I Gotta Feeling." Even with the Peas at the top, though, I'm staying out on my limb about Lambert reaching No. 1.

Hopefully, he will, and I can keep my streak of predicting No. 1 hits intact.