Tuesday, June 28, 2011

South Carolina Repeats As NCAA Champion

"Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character." -John Wooden.

The South Carolina Gamecocks won their second consecutive national title in baseball Tuesday night, besting the Florida Gators 5-2.

The win marked two NCAA records--16 straight wins in NCAA Tournament play and 11 straight in the College World Series.

They definitely received lucky breaks along the way, with Virginia and Florida making game-changing throwing errors that led to winning runs. But great teams put themselves in those situations. And when you have amazing defensive plays, coming from second baseman Scott Wingo (CWS Most Outstanding Player) or left fielder Jake Williams gunning Florida's Cody Dent down at the plate to extend the game, that's what wins championships. Playmakers doing the job in pressure-filled situations.

Winning in baseball is a mindset. Florida had many chances (leaving 17 runners on base in the final two games) but they didn't capitalize. The Gamecocks did.

And when you have a pitching staff that allows only 10 runs (not all earned) in five games, you're always in the game. That's what led to the title last year. And that's what got them back this year.

Yet another tale of SEC dominance in collegiate sports.

Terrell Owens: Not Done Yet

Wide Receiver Terrell Owens had surgery to repair a torn ACL this offseason. TO is now 37 years old and many analysts/writers have been speculating on a possible retirement.

But I don't think that's going to happen.

TO is not one of those stars whose going to hang up his cleats on anyone else's terms. He may have zero impact, but he's not leaving until he absolutely can't play any longer.

This is the same athlete who came back from a fractured fibula and sprained ankle in December only to start in the Super Bowl weeks later while playing for the Philadelphia Eagles. His performance: 9 receptions for 122 yards. MVP caliber if his team had been on the winning side. The Eagles fell to the New England Patriots by three.

TO is older now, so it obviously won't be as easy to come back. But he will. The six-time Pro Bowl selection is second in NFL history receiving yards and third in touchdowns. Plus, he had 72 catches for 983 yards just last season while playing in Cincinnati.

I don't know who he'll play for in 2011 or how productive he will be, but we haven't seen the last of TO in the League.

Get your popcorn ready. It's gonna be a show.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Movie Review: Green Lantern

Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively are incredibly good looking.

That is the extent of the pros of this movie.

Like myself, I'm sure most of you are unfamiliar with this particular comic book superhero. His mission is to win the battle of the power of will (green) versus the power of evil (yellow). Try to contain your laughter.

The negatives: writing, acting, direction. Basically the entire film-making process.

If you enjoy pointless action flicks, then I imagine you will like this. If not, don't even bother. Pathetic.

Grade: D

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Rory McIroy Dominates US Open: Don't Call It a Comeback

Rory McIlroy had a four-stroke lead going into the final round of The Masters in April and still held the lead at the start of the back nine. Then, everything fell apart. The 22-year-old from Northern Ireland shot a final round 80 and ended up finishing 10 strokes behind.

For most it would take years to recover from that kind of collapse, if ever. McIlroy showed that talent prevails. This weekend, he erased all doubt of whether or not it would affect his play. He set 36-hole and 54-hole course records and carried an even bigger lead into the final round at eight strokes. He completed the wire-to-wire win by that amount, earning his first Major title at -16.

He didn't fold this time. Shot after shot was spot on, and he never took his foot off the pedal.

I wasn't sure how he was going to come back. I thought his confidence would have dissipated. And I couldn't be happier to be proven wrong (Especially after seeing the picture of home downing a bottle of Jager).

Golf's next true superstar is here. And with Tiger Woods on the decline, the sport desperately needs him.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dirk Nowitzki Took His Talents To South Beach, Left As MVP

The Dallas Mavericks blew a 2-0 series lead to the Miami Heat in the 2006 NBA Finals, something that has haunted the team's seven-foot superstar ever since.

Five years later, an even more formidable Miami Heat team stood in his way, with two of the three best basketball players on the planet in LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

And he outplayed them both.

Miami was the better team in the first five games of the series. The reason Dallas was able to hang on was pure toughness in the 4th quarter, with Dirk averaging more than 10 points per game in the final period. And after starting 1 for 12 from the field in Game 6, he depleted whatever fight the Heat had left by hitting his impossible shots down the stretch.

Charles Barkley and countless other NBA analysts have called Nowitzki "unguardable." But the term didn't really resonate until this postseason. He led the Mavericks to a 16-5 record against the Blazers, Lakers, Thunder and Heat. Let that number sink in for a second. 16-5.

Even with all the stars on the court Sunday night, there was no question who the best player was in the playoffs: Dirk Nowitzki.

Now that he adds an NBA championship and Finals MVP to a regular season MVP and 11-straight 50-win seasons, where does that put him on the list of all-time greats? Jeff Van Gundy proclaimed Dirk one of the 10 best even before Dallas won the conference title.

Doesn't sound so crazy now, does it?

Also, congratulations to Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, the best in professional sports and one of my favorite public figures.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Movie Review: The Hangover Part II

I delayed posting my thoughts on one of the summer's most anticipated sequels because I didn't want to alter anyone's mindset going in.

Two years ago, I strutted out of the theater with ICEE in hand after seeing one of the funniest movies ever made. I didn't expect this one to top or even equal the first, but it didn't even come close.

The film's producers rushed this in order to take advantage of the hype created in 2009. Mission accomplished. It's made over $338 million worldwide just 2 weeks after its release. That's an amazing total for a comedy that takes place in Thailand with few action sequences and no superheroes.

But this was a pathetic attempt on the filmmaking front. The same premise was used, almost bit by bit, and it just wasn't that funny. What made the first one so classic was all the great one-liners throughout. Each line hit. The comedy never stopped, especially after repeating many of those lines to this day. In Part II, there is about 25% of the humor the first one had, and that's a generous estimate.

I can't blame the actors. The failure of this movie comes mostly from the writing. Completely uninspired. But Zach Galifianakis delivered as always. The couple lines I really laughed at obviously came from him. Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms weren't great, but that's because of the garbage material they were given.

Because of Galifianakis and an awesome monkey, I will not give this the grade it probably deserves. But it isn't one the worst comedies I've ever seen, it just should have been so much better.

Grade: C-

Check out the first one on Blu-ray:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tennessee Athletic Director Mike Hamilton steps Down

It's about time the UT AD stepped down.

Hamilton wasn't all bad. He raised a lot of money for the school and upgraded the sports facilities.

However, he basically embarrassed one of the winningest Division-I football coaches, Phillip Fulmer, the way he forced him out to make way for...Lane Kiffin, his fatal flaw.

Plus, he led the department while all of the men's basketball infractions took place. Even if he wasn't aware, it's his job to know what's going on.

Add that to another failed baseball coach and very little success from the major men's sports, and he should be gone.

Good riddance.