Tag Archives: basketball

2012-13 SEC Football Outlook

Aaron Murray and the Georgia Bulldogs are facing high expectations in Athens this season.

As the 2012 season kicks off, many analysts seem to think Alabama will pick up right where they left off, and why not,  right?  While Eddie Lacy takes over for first round draft pick Trent Richardson, the question surrounding the Tide is this: Can McCarron lead, again,  and not try to do too much?  Bama faces a couple of tough road conference games in which it will be tough to come out with the W, though with Nick Satan, err, Saban, is definitely more than capable of making it happen.

The Dawgs bring back Senior signal caller Aaron Murray who looks to put up Heisman Trophy Winning numbers in an offense featuring three skilled and experienced wide receivers in Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Conley, and Tavarres King.  The Dawg’s defense, whom was ranked fifth nationally,  returns nine starters to Todd Grantham’s relatively new 3-4 scheme in Athens.  Look for a vaunting defense to keep points off of the board while Murray is putting them up.

LSU turns to QB Zach Mettenberger after the departure of Jordan Jefferson.  If Mettenberger can live up to the hype, the offense should be better than last season as they also bring back a four-headed monster backfield with Spencer Ware, Michael Ford, Alfred Blue, and Kenny Hilliard who together combined for more than 2,300 yards and an astounding 30 TDs.  They have the talent to run the table, the question is whether the Tigers will step up or not.

Missouri and Texas A&M make their conference debuts coming from the defensive lacking Big 12.  Look for them to have somewhat successful years in their rookie seasons and spoil SEC contender’s hopes.  Keep an eye on Mizzou QB James Franklin as he has the tools to become a big-name-QB for the SEC with his arm as well as his legs.

Will Muschamp starts off season two in Gainesville after a disappointing first year.  Though Florida always has a talent filled roster, don’t look for them to impress too many people this season as they have yet to even name a starting QB, and seem to be  irrelevant in the SEC title race.  This could be a big year for the Gators and Muschamp as fans are getting restless and don’t want to accept mediocrity.

Arkansas returns top two of the SEC’s top players in RB Knile Davis and QB Tyler Wilson.  Wilson, you may remember last year, broke several of former Arkansas’ QB Ryan Mallett’s records and showed the Hogs offense can be a force to be reckoned with.  Look for their offense to carry the load and put up many points to carry the Razorbacks team through the season.

East West
Georgia 7-1 LSU 7-1
South Carolina 5-3 Alabama 6-2
Missouri 4-4 Arkansas 5-3
Tennessee 4-4 Texas A&M 5-3
Florida 4-4 Auburn 3-5
Vanderbilt 2-6 Mississippi St 2-6
Kentucky 1-7 Ole Miss 1-7

National Title hopes could be on the line 11/3 when Nick Saban and the Tide roll into LSU to face the Mad Hatter.

Games to Watch:

Sept. 15: Alabama @ Arkansas

Oct. 20: Alabama @ Tennessee

Oct. 20:  LSU @ Texas A&M

Oct. 27: Florida @ Georgia

Nov. 3: Alabama @ LSU

Nov. 10: Arkansas @  South Carolina

Nov. 23: LSU @ Arkansas

Nov. 24: Missouri @  Texas A&M

Nov. 24: Auburn @ Alabama

Championship: Georgia v LSU

Ninja Sports Preseason All-SEC Team 2012

Offense Defense Special Teams
WR Cobi Hamilton, ARK DE Sam Montgomery, LSU K Caleb Sturgis, Fla
WR Ryan Swope, Texas A&M DE Barkevious Mingo, LSU P Brad Wing, LSU
TE Philip Lutzenkirchen, AUB DT Jesse Williams, ALA KR Dustin Harris, Texas A&M
T D.J. Fluker, ALA DT John Jenkins, UGA
T Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M LB Jarvis Jones, UGA
G Chance Warmack, ALA LB Alonzo Highsmith, ARK
G Alex Hurst, LSU LB DeVonte Holloman SC
C Barrett Jones, ALA CB Johnthan Banks, MS ST
QB Tyler Wilson, ARK CB D.J. Swearingwer, SC
RB Marcus Lattimore, SC S Robert Lester, ALA
RB Knile Davis, ARK S Eric Reid, LSU

SEC Offensive Player of the Year: Aaron Murray, QB UGA

SEC Defensive Player of the Year: Eric Reid, S LSU

Check out our other conference outlooks:

Pac-12 Preview
Big 12 Preview
Big East Preview
ACC Preview
Big 10 Preview

 

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2012-13 Big East Football Preview

ACC Preview

West Virginia has departed and the other Big East teams couldn’t be happier. The Mountaineers would have been the clear favorite to take the conference had they remained.

Louisville returns 2011 Freshman All-American QB Teddy Bridgewater as well as Sophomore WR’s DeVante Parker and Eli Rogers who both showed tremendous ability last season; Parker with his size (6’3 205) and Rogers with his blazing speed. Taking some pressure off of the passing game will be Junior RB Dominique Brown, who Coach Charlie Strong claims is one of the “best in the country” when it comes down to falling forward and gaining positive yards. Look for Louisville (the lone Big East team in the AP Top 25) to take care of business, not only this year, but for a few more to come as Coach Strong continues to recruit extremely well and fill UL’s roster with talent from all over the country.

South Florida returns Senior QB B.J. Daniels who has had quite a hard time staying healthy during his career in Tampa. Accompanying Daniels is TE Evan Landi, who has WR athleticism and could be utilized much like Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez for the New England Patriots. With an above average defense lead by Redshirt Junior LB Devekeyan “DeDe” Lattimore, look for Coach Holtz’s Bulls to make the run at the Big East title if they can beat Louisville, or get some help from other Big East schools to potentially knock Louisville out of the hunt.

The loss of Zach Collaros in Cincinnati puts a question mark at the QB position. The Bearcats will turn to an unproven Junior in Munchie Legaux (6’5 205), who along with RB George Winn look to play spoiler to many Big East foes. With the slip up of Louisville or South Florida, the Cats have an outside chance at the Big East title.

Pittsburgh and stud RB Ray Graham look to continue the high powered rushing attack they displayed most of last season until Graham was injured. Before the injury, Graham averaged an impressive 119.8 yards per game at 5.8 yards per carry, and was among the top five RBs statistics wise. Like Daniels’ situation, if Graham stays healthy, Pitt’s offense could be in for a big year on the ground. Senior QB Tino Sunseri looks to rebound after a 10 TD-11 INT year, and who better to have returning than his favorite target WR Devin Street. The first two games will be a rough start for the Panthers as they open up September 1st versus Youngstown State, then play again five days later in Cincinnati for an early Big East match up.

Louisville 6-1
South Florida 6-1
Cincinnati 5-2
Pittsburgh 4-3
Connecticut 3-4
Temple 3-4
Syracuse 1-6
Rutgers 0-7

Ray Graham leads Pitt down to Florida to face USF on December 1st

Games to Watch:

Sept. 6: Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati

Oct. 13: Louisville @ Pittsburgh

Oct. 26: Cincinnati @ Louisville

Nov. 3: Connecticut @ USF

Nov. 9: Pittsburgh @ Connecticut

Nov. 23: USF @ Cincinnati

Dec. 1: Pittsburgh @ USF

Dec. 1: Cincinnati @ Connecticut

Champion:

Louisville

Ninja Sports Preseason All-Big East Team 2012

Offense Defense Special Teams
WR Alec Lemon, SYR DE Trevardo Williams, UCONN K Ross Krautman, SYR
WR Devin Street, PITT DE Ryne Giddins, USF P Pat O’Donnell, CIN
TE Ryan Griffin, UCONN DT Aaron Donald, PITT KR Matt Brown, TEM
T Justin Pugh, SYR DT Jesse Joseph, UCONN
T Mark Popek, USF LB DeDe Lattimore, USF
G Jake Smith, UL LB Khaseem Greene, RU
G Chris Jacobson, PITT LB Preston Brown, UL
C Mario Benavides, UL CB Kayvon Webster, USF
QB Teddy Bridgewater, UL CB Logan Ryan, RU
RB Ray Graham, PITT S Drew Frey, CIN
RB Matt Brown, TEM S Jarred Holley, PITT

Big East Offensive Player of the Year: Ray Graham, RB PITT

Big East Defensive Player of the Year: Logan Ryan, CB RU

Be sure to check out our other conference previews

ACC Preview

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2012-13 ACC Football Preview

acc football preview 2012 2013 florida state miami clemson virginia tech virginia north carolina

Clemson looks to repeat as ACC champions with the return of Tajh Boyd and the deadly Sammy Watkins. Though Watkins is suspended the first two games, neither of them are ACC games. Upon his return look for him to strive for a career day versus Florida State. He will be hungry to become even better than he was last season, and what a better team to do it against than FSU, who many see as the ACC favorite.

Keep an eye on Al Golden in his second year with the Miami (FL) Hurricanes as there has been a resurgence in the atmosphere down in Coral Gables. Though NCAA sanctions are looming over the Canes, it hasn’t stopped Golden from getting quality recruits, who along with the talented veterans, continue to impress the likes of the Ninja as well as analysts and coaches across the country.

Logan Thomas returns to lead the Hokies offense after an impressive 2011 season. The loss of two record setting wide outs (Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale) looks to be crucial but if Thomas can get just a little bit of help from promising senior receiver Marcus Davis the Hokies will once again take the Coastal side handily.

This is a big year for Jimbo Fischer and Florida State as it is the “do or die” season for Jimbo’s first recruiting class. With such a talented roster across the board, look for a National Championship run, but it is likely their title hopes will diminish with Clemson dominating the Atlantic side of the conference.

Atlantic Coastal
Clemson 7-1 Virginia Tech 7-1
Florida State 5-3 Virginia 6-2
NC State 3-5 Miami (FL) 6-2
Boston College 2-6 Georgia Tech 5-3
Wake Forest 2-6 North Carolina 4-4
Maryland 1-7 Duke 0-8

Games to Watch:

Sept. 3: Georgia Tech @ Virginia Tech

Sept. 22: Clemson @ Florida State

Sept. 22: Miami @ Georgia Tech

Oct. 20: Florida State @ Miami

Oct. 20: Virginia Tech @ Clemson

Nov. 8: Florida State @ Virginia Tech

Nov. 24: Virginia Tech @ Virginia

Championship:

Clemson vs. Virginia Tech

Ninja Sports Preseason All-ACC Team 2012

Offense Defense Special Teams
WR Sammy Watkins, CLEM DE Brandon Jenkins, FSU K Dustin Hopkins, FSU
WR Allen Hurns, MIA DE Malliciah Goodman, CLEM P Dalton Botts, MIA
TE Matt Furstenburg, MD DT Joe Vellano, MD KR Sammy Watkins, CLEM
T Morgan Moses, VA DT Nikita Whitlock, WF
T James Hurst, UNC LB Bruce Taylor, VT
G RJ Mattes, NCST LB Steve Greer, VA
G Brad Linder, MIA LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, BC
C Dalton Freeman, CLEM CB David Amerson, NCST
QB Logan Thomas, VT CB Kyle Fuller, VT
RB Giovanni Bernard, UNC S Vaughn Telemaque, MIA
RB Orwin Smith, GT S Lamarcus Joyner, FSU

ACC Offensive Player of the Year: Logan Thomas, QB VT

ACC Defensive Player of the Year: David Amerson, CB NCST

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Predictions: Busts and Badasses

ryan kalil makes bold superbowl prediction carolina panthers
As many of you Ninjas may have already seen, Panthers Center Ryan Kalil took out an ad in today’s Charlotte Observer. In this full page ad, Kalil guaranteed Panthers fans a Lombardi Trophy this season. There have been many bold predictions throughout the history of sports, and it remains to be seen where Kalil’s Superbowl prediction will rank. Often times, a prediction will fall flat on it’s face. In some cases though, athletes or coaches can back up a bold prediction with acts of badassery.

The Best:

5. Rasheed Wallace, Detroit Pistons, 2004 Easteren Conference Finals

The prediction: “We will win game 2.”
Success: ‘Sheed had enough power within the locker room to make the prediction work. His teammates backed him up and they went on to beat the Lakers in the NBA finals.

4. Plaxico Burress, New York Giants, 2007 Super Bowl

The prediction: Burress predicted that his 10-6 Giants will win 23-17.
Success: Plaxico caught the game winner in the Super Bowl XLII, helping his team along to a 17-14 victory.

3. Jim Fassel, New York Giants, 2000, Week 12

The prediction: “I am raising the stakes right now. If this is a poker game, I am shoving my chips right in the middle of the table…..Anybody who wants out, can get out. This team is going to the playoffs. Okay? This team is going to the playoffs.”

Success: The Giants, 7-4 at the time of the prediction, ended up making it all the way to the Super Bowl before losing to the Ravens.

2. Mark Messier, New York Rangers, 1994 Stanley Cup Finals

The prediction: Messier promised that his Rangers would beat the New Jersey Devils in game 6. The Rangers were behind 3-2.
Success: This was an intentional move to motivate his team. Messier answered on the first question he was asked the day before game 6, that they were going to win the game. Most importantly, Messier delivered on his prediction with a hat trick. The Rangers won their first title in 54 years, and Messier did this all before predictions were in style.

1. Joe Namath, New York Jets, 1967 Super Bowl

The prediction: “The Guarantee” as many call it, was straight to the point and simple. Joe Namath went down in history when he guaranteed his Jets would beat the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.
Success: After a victory over the heavily favored Colts, Namath became an instant celebrity, and some speculate that this game and prediction is what brought the AFL and NFL together.

We can’t forget Babe Ruth calling his shot in the list above. Badass predictions are cool, but let’s be honest, we all enjoy a good bust.

The Worst:

5. Vince Young, Philadelphia Eagles, 2011 Preseason

The prediction: Vince Young gave his Eagles a ‘dream team’ label after the the Eagles signed a few highly touted free agents and implemented a new defensive scheme.
Failure: After a 1-3 start, Quarterback Mike Vick explained, “I think the “Dream Team” — that word is dead now. You can’t talk “Dream Team” anymore. Maybe it put pressure on some players, maybe it didn’t.”

4. Sam Cassel, Milwaukee Bucks, April 17th 2002

The prediction: PG Sam Cassel promised that his Bucks would would be the Pistons on the night of April 17th.
Failure: The Bucks did not show up that night, losing by 34. Horrid.

3. Rex Ryan, New York Jets, 2011 Preseason

The prediction: Rex Ryan predicted for the third straight year that his Jets would win the Super Bowl.
Failure: I understand establishing to your team that the Super Bowl is the clear goal at the beginning of the season, but failing on his prediction three years in a row just makes Rex look like a clown.

2. Lon Kruger, Atlanta Hawks, 2002 Preseason

The prediction: The Hawks head coach promised season ticket holders a $125 refund if the Hawks failed to make the playoffs.
Failure: Although Kruger was excited about the team’s attainment of Glenn Robinson, there is no excuse for publicly announcing a refund of any sort. His promise, along with a terrible record, lead to his termination midway through the season.

1. Ryan Leaf, San Diego Chargers, 1998 NFL Draft

The prediction: More like a quote… “I’m looking forward to a 15-year career, a couple of trips to the Super Bowl and a parade through downtown San Diego.”
Failure: With a career passer rating around 50, many consider Leaf the biggest bust in NFL history. The sheer boldness of his statement gives Leaf the top spot in this Ninja’s worst predictions list.

To follow a current prediction in progress, refer to Matt Kemp who mentioned the possibility of a 50-50 season.

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Dream Team: ’92 vs. ’12

Editor note: Take this article with some imagination. This is game that will never happen. Check our match-ups and score predication and see if you agree!

Since the end of the NBA season, building anticipation, along with the formation of a superstar-filled Team USA Basketball roster, has lead to numerous arguments regarding whether or not this year’s Olympic team could beat the Dream Team of 1992. Both of these teams are star studded and full of talent, the Dream Team with 11/12 hall of famers, and three players who most would put in their top 5, Jordan, Magic, and Bird. This year’s dream team isn’t lacking talent either, Bryant, Durant, and James are most likely each hall of famers in their own right, and each may end up as popular choices in top 5 discussions upon retirement. One of the most exciting aspects of this game would be the battle waged between the pair of “Big 3s”.

The Dream Team takes this game. The main keys are their superior technique, size, and especially, their low post play. The ‘12 team has no star center, and since they are smaller ( Avg: 78.75 in, 220.5 lbs to the Dream Team’s 80.1 in, 223 lbs) they will be turned into a perimeter team. The undersized ‘12 team forced to the perimeter, has Kobe in his decline, and LeBron still lacking at his 3-point shot. Coach K would have to turn to other options such as Durant and Carmelo to do most of the scoring.

The ’92 team has a 6’9, versatile passer in Magic Johnson. Even with his best years behind him, Magic was still as deadly a passer as ever, and could still play good defense. Chris Paul and Deron Williams are great athletes, but how could they deal with Magic’s superior size and strength? Size would be a lot for the ‘12 team to deal with at pretty much every position on the floor.

There are two likely scenarios, and either way it would not be promising for the ‘12 team.

Coach K could sit Tyson Chandler, and have their best defender, James, play the 5, which he has done before and done well. However, this is almost laughable as it would leave Karl Malone to offensively attack Andre Iguodala or Kevin Love. I apologize to Love or Iguodala fans, but Karl Malone at this time is still “the Mailman” and neither one of those guys possesses anything in their defensive arsenal that gives me any reason to believe that they could stop him.

Coach K could simply leave LeBron at the 4 and Melo at the 3. This leaves Tyson Chandler to play the 5. At the 5, he would be covering two of the greatest centers of all time, and they are both in their prime. The match-up between the tandem of Patrick Ewing and David Robinson vs. Tyson Chandler is extremely unbalanced. Ewing was an 11 time all-star and was named to the Greatest 50 Players of All Time. David “The Admiral” Robinson is a man who once scored 71 points in a game, one of only four ever to record a quadruple-double in the NBA, and he was named to the NBA all-defensive team 8 times. This is all against Tyson Chandler…you make up your mind on that one.

If you still are not sold that the ‘92 team would win, let me remind you about Michael Jordan. The ‘92 team is captained by the greatest champion/winner/clutch performer of all time, and the person who many would rank as the #1 basketball player to ever live. It may not seem so on the surface, but MJ presents match-up problems all over the place against the ‘12 team. Two options to guard him, a slowly declining Bryant or an inexperienced Durant, would likely take turns watching him score. Put LeBron on him, and that would free up big men such as Malone way too much.

Jordan in ’92 was literally at his peak, and had just won an NBA championship. Even if this game ended up being close and competitive, do you really think “his airness” himself, the man who had more determination and will to win than any player in NBA history, would let his team lose in a win or go home situation? Jordan, a 9 time first team all-defensive selection and a prolific scorer, would rise to the occasion. He would rise up like in 1993 when he averaged 43 ppg in the Finals. Jordan wouldn’t let this team lose, I can almost guarantee it.

Prediction : ’92 Dream Team wins by 8

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