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Hyped on General Sports

Kentucky Derby Watch Lists Starting to Take Shape

We’re now two months away from the 2013 Kentucky Derby, and the watch lists are already coming in.

That said, now is a good time to get options to bet on kentucky derby online, as the parade of Kentucky Derby preps is officially underway.

Vyjack made the first big splash of the season with a big win in Saturday’s Gotham Stakes .

Vyjack has been among the top contenders listed for the Derby this preseason, and Saturday’s race ensured that would remain the case.

Here’s a look at what the Kentucky Derby website lists as its Top 10 contenders heading into March, although this list could change as soon as this weekend when Verrazano headlines the field at the Tampa Bay Derby.

Goldenscents is also expected to run this weekend in the San Felipe Stakes, which could shake things up.

Let the games begin!

1. Ive Struck a Nerve

Matthew Bryan, J. Keith Desormeaux

2. Vyjack

Pick Six Racing (David Wilkenfeld), Rudy Rodriguez

3. Orb

Stuart Janney III & Phipps Stable (Ogden Mills ‚ÄúDinny‚ÄĚ Phipps), Claude R. “Shug” McGaughey III

4. Shanghai Bobby

Starlight Racing, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael B. Tabor & Derrick Smith, Todd Pletcher

5. Goldencents

W.C. Racing, Dave Kenney & RAP Racing, Doug O’Neill

6. West Hills Giant

Long Island Racing Stables, Sunrise Stables, Bentivegna, John Terranova II

7. Code West

Gary & Mary West, Bob Baffert

8. Oxbow
Calumet Farm, D. Wayne Lukas

9. Speak Logistics
Hardway Stables, Inc., Eddie Plesa Jr.

10. Itsmyluckyday
Trilogy Stable & Laurie Plesa, Eddie Plesa Jr.

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Matros Already Looking for No. 4

The third time was a charm for Matt Matros.

Matros defied the odds last week, winning the 1,604-player, $1,500 no-limit hold ‘em Event 16.

It was his third World Series of poker bracelet in as many years, becoming one of the most formidable forces in US poker.

To put it in perspective, in the history of the World Series of poker, only 160 have won multiple bracelets. And only 57 have won three.

Now his goal is to become the 33rd player to win four or more.

“It’s almost ironic that I have three, because I very deliberately do not chase bracelets at WSOP,” Matros told ESPN.com. “I very much play where the edge is, which means a ton of players and little shot at the bracelet. The fields I won in are big. You don’t expect wins in them. I’m never going to set goals for bracelets because it’s too hard to win them. My only goal is to make money and I set that goal in a reasonable way. My secondary goal is to be known as a good player, but I think I achieved that with the first bracelet. I didn’t have much else to prove, so it’s really shocking that I won two more.‚ÄĚ

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Hey Look, the Indiana Pacers are the 3rd Best Team in the Eastern Conference

Just a year ago the Indiana Pacers were a rudderless team led by an inconsistent coach. Their rotations were deplorable and they had too many wing scorers and not enough ball-handlers. Danny Granger was their only go-to guy and they lacked any sort of defensive intensity.

It’s amazing how much can change in just a few short months! Ineffective head coach Jim O’Brien was replaced by the¬†young and¬†pliable (and I use that word in the best possible way)¬†Frank Vogel¬†at a bit past the All Star break last year. Under his more flexible system, the Pacers¬†turned around just enough to sneak into the playoffs as an low seed. Their new-found defensive intensity and Vogel’s¬†effective use of¬†his players’ strengths gave the Chicago Bulls all the could handle in the first¬†round of¬†the¬†playoffs.

Team president Larry Bird caught lots of flak for the Pacers’ draft misses and the general mediocrity of the team during the past five years, but his patience has paid off with a team that is poised to make waves in the NBA this¬†season.

The Pacers’ roster from top¬†to bottom¬†is deep and talented enough to play with anyone.¬†Let’s take a quick walk through the key players on their¬†roster.

-Granger, although his shooting percentage is often fairly poor, is scoring 18.3 points per game and is good in the clutch.

-Newly-named All-Star reserve Roy Hibbert¬†has developed into¬†one of the better centers in the league.¬†He has a nice array of post moves and he’s bulked up in order to pound down low with the bigger post players. He’s even¬†started wearing a Rip Hamilton-esque mask to protect his face, which indicates to me that he is ready to bash with the best of them.

-Darren Collison is a bit of a streaky shooter at point guard, but he’s been much better in his second year with the team and is¬†good at penetrating and then dishing.

-George Hill was a monster acquisition for the Pacers¬†in the off-season. He’s a “tweener” at guard and can¬†slash to the basket to create his own shots¬†and plays tough¬†defense.¬†Although he’s been out for a few games with an injury, some of the Pacers’ early success this season can be traced to his stellar play off the bench.

-Paul George has come on magnificently in his second year in the league. His break-out game against the Dallas Mavericks last week showed that he has the potential to be a truly special player. George’s development will make it easier for the Pacers to part with Danny Granger if they strike on a good mid-season trade.

-Lance Stephenson is another second year man who has shown flashes of excellence. He has the athleticism, the ability to create his own shots and the passing acumen to be a spectacular shooting guard.  

-David West has been a great addition at power forward. He does all the right things as a savvy veteran and can pour in points if needed.

-Tyler Hansbrough is an effort guy who will create a spark off the bench and get to the line due to his dirty work around the rim.

With these pieces in place, the Pacers have transformed themselves into the third best team in the Eastern Conference. The Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls are still better than the Pacers, but I seriously doubt that either team wants to play the young, deep and hungry Pacers.

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The Big Dance…ACC

ACC Edition—Are they IN….or OUT?

Put it in Stone…

¬∑ UNC ‚Äď The depth is showing by their two easy wins since losing defensive stopper Dexter Strickland. As Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston provide a more potent outside touch from the shooting guard spot and James Michael McAdoo continues to improve, this is a scary team to match up with in March and April.
¬∑ Duke ‚Äď This Blue Devil team does what Coach K teams always do. They win the games they should and they shoot the 3-pointer as good as anyone. They have quality wins and barring a late season slide should be a 1 or 2 seed come the NCAA tournament. If the brackets fall their way and Mason Plumlee gives them the production he did against Maryland, Coach K could be heading back to the Final Four.
¬∑ Florida State ‚Äď This might be controversial but I am basing this on a projection for this Seminole team through the rest of the year. They endured 6 early season losses but they are now playing as good as any team in America. They are the only team that can boast beating UNC (by 33) and Duke (in Cameron) within 8 days of each other. They are contenders for the ACC Championship and with the physical defense they play will be a nightmare matchup in the Big Dance which could propel them one step farther than the Elite Eight appearance from a year ago.

Unless they fall apart, they should be in…


¬∑ Virginia ‚Äď The style is boring for the enthusiasts that love the breakneck pace of the UNC‚Äôs of the world, but for Tony Bennett, it‚Äôs like listening to the smooth jazz sounds of his namesake (the other Tony Bennett). UVA is a tough minded bunch let by Mike Scott, who in my opinion is overlooked in the discussion of top players in the ACC, which will not back down from anyone. They are like playing an Ivy League team with Division I talent. They proved in Cameron Indoor Stadium that they are a team to be reckoned with and as long as they win 10 games in the conference they should be in.

Could play their way in…

¬∑ NC State ‚Äď I loved the hire of Mark Gottfried for the Wolfpack. He brought instant credibility to the program. The biggest hurdle for the Wolfpack is their best win to date is over a Texas team that in essence isn‚Äôt that good. They need to win the games over the weaker part of the conference and spring at least 1 upset of Duke, UNC, or FSU. 11 conference wins is a must to feel comfortable on Selection Sunday.

Outside looking in…


¬∑ Maryland ‚Äď Talented but very young. The future is bright but just not enough experience to make their way into the NCAA tournament this year. NIT will be great experience for the Terps.
¬∑ Clemson ‚Äď Only win that really matters is the win over FSU, so the goal for the Tigers needs to be keeping their record above .500 so they can qualify for the NIT.

Sleeper Team…


Miami ‚Äď The Hurricanes have played half the year without their best low-post player, Reggie Johnson. This is a team that is filled with guys that can put the ball in the basket. Coach Larranaga has been improving this team as the year has gone along and now that they are healthy they could be pretty dangerous. Durand Scott is very athletic and along with the shooting of Dequan Jones, Malcolm Grant, and Shane Larkin, they could make a run through the rest of the regular season and into the ACC tournament. If the selection committee takes into account the games missed by Johnson and Jones, then the Canes will be right in the mix.

Follow me on twitter @Coach_JC9

Joshua Caudill
jkcaudill@gmail.com

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A _______ National Championship

BCS Championship

Things were a little unclear on the podium Monday night.

EDITOR‚ÄôS NOTE: We‚Äôve left the names in our beat reporter‚Äôs recap of tonight‚Äôs ‚ÄúNational Championship‚ÄĚ blank, because us curmudgeon editors feel it’s not a championship game as defined by every other major professional and collegiate team sport in North America. Until there‚Äôs a playoff, we say [blank] the national championship. Congratulations _______!

NEW ORLEANS ‚ÄĒ The revenge was sweet. The shutout was even sweeter.

In a repeat clash of the No. 1 and 2 teams in the country (as determine by computers and coaches, rather than players and a playoff), _______ beat ___ 21-0 in one of the most dominant defensive showings we‚Äôve seen in a ‚Äúnational championship.‚ÄĚ

The win avenged a Nov. 5 loss in a game labeled the ‚ÄúGame of the Century,‚ÄĚ despite the fact it was touchdown-less, defensive struggle that ended 9-6 in overtime.

If the November meeting was the Game of the Century, it’s uncertain what Monday’s game should have been called, being the No. 1 team in the country mustered just 92 total yards and five first downs.

Not that _______ dominated offensively, settling for 23, 34, 41, 35 and 44 yards before breaking free for a 34-yard touchdown run late to cap its second title in three years.

In the end, all that mattered was that _______ had captured its ninth ‚Äúnational championship‚ÄĚ in the program‚Äôs storied history.

What if the champs wore another color, like blue?

Well Deserved

This year’s title was certainly _______’s most deserving title victory.

Sure, it lost to that same conference foe some four games earlier, but that didn’t mean any of the other four one-loss teams from non-___ conferences deserved a shot at the title.

After all, the ___ Conference has won a half dozen of these things, and there’s no evidence the computer rankings favor big-money schools that play in weighted conferences benefitting from the success of past seasons. And it’s not like these teams never leave their own 100,000-seat stadiums or refuse to play anyone substantial in the non-conference season.

Why give a Boise State a chance to foil your Mardi Gras party when you can preparty against powerhouses like Kent State, North Texas, or even Georgia Southern, which, for the record, lost to Division I-AA NATIONAL CHAMPION North Dakota State 35-7 in the 16-team I-AA playoffs.

What, you can’t believe the top division has a bowl series when all lower-level divisions have a legitimate playoff system in place?

What the naysayers fail to point out is that Division I-A is much more positive than the extremely negative lower divisions when it comes to its postseason system.

Thanks to our current Bowl System and the BcS, 35 teams were able to finish the 2011-12 postseason with a victory, which brings plenty of closure to another great postseason in the Division I ranks.

"It's all about these student-athletes."

See, it‚Äôs not about the money or the names on the bowls (Gildan, Famous Idaho Potatos, R+L Carriers, Beef ‚ÄėO‚Äô Brady‚Äôs, S.D. County Credit Union, MAACO, Sheraton, AdvoCare V100, Little Caesars, Belk, Northrop Grumman, Bridgepoint Education, Champs Sports, Valero Alamo, Bell Helicopter, New Era, Frank American Mortgage, Insight, Meineke Care Care, Hyundai, Auto Zone, Kraft, Chick-fil-A, TicketCity, Outback, Capital One, Taxslayer.com, Vizio, Tostitos, Allstate, Discover, AT&T, BBVA, GoDaddy.com and Allstate, again).

Nope, Division I football is all about the student-athlete and the ____ they represent. And that’s the way it should be, [blank]ers.

So What’s the Solution?

After this reading this, you’re probably thinking: “OK Mr. Know it All, what’s the solution then.” Rather than rant any more here, I’ll just link to last season’s post on this topic, and the need for an eight-team playoff.

We welcome your comments on the BCS vs. playoff scenario below …

 

 

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Fans First. You Second.

Between CP3, Pujols, LeBron, Dwight Howard, and an array of others, athletes in general are starting to make me very angry.

Yesterday might have been one of the craziest days in sports history.

First you have Pujols deciding to spurn the Cardinals and take his talents to Long Beach with a 250 million dollar contract. Then CJ Wilson decides to join Pujols with a 75 million dollar contract. CP3 has his wish granted and gets traded to the Lakers for Gasol and Odom. David Stern, pushed by Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, then vetoes the trade and Paul goes back to New Orleans, for now, causing huge uproar among the sports world.

These guys are ruining sports.

LeBron started the trend. LeBron spurned his city, and put a dagger through the heart of a city that’s already been through so much misery. And, he did it on National Television. He made it seem ok to other athletes that you can do whatever you want as long as you’re doing it for yourself and your family and not for the people who pay you each and every night.

The good thing about LeBron is, no matter how many championships (if any) the guy wins, he will still be the most hated figure in the history of sports and his legacy will be tarnished by the decision and all of the hoopla that surrounded it. He got and will continue to get what he deserves.

The trend seemed to be on halt for a while until yesterday when Pujols took the money and ran out of St. Louis. Having won two championships and an MVP for the Cardinals, Pujols was certainly more successful than LeBron, but made the decision to take the money. St. Louis has a much better situation than Los Angeles. They’ve won championships. They have a good pitching staff and great young hitters. They offered him a 10 year deal just as LA and Miami did. Yet they couldn’t give him the obscene amount of money that LA did. St. Louis fans don’t feel as spurned simply because Albert did his part in STL, but they can still realize that Pujols is just as greedy as the rest of them and went for the money.

Then we have Chris Paul. Chris Paul stated “my heart is in New Orleans”. Really? Is that why you wanted so badly to get out of there as soon as possible? Well, CP3 got his wish and was all set up to join Kobe until big Dan Gilbert got involved. Paul was reportedly “fuming” and is planning on suing the NBA for vetoing the trade to the Lakers. Sounds like he really had his heart in NOLA, right?

Finally, we have the report out of ESPN that Dwight Howard is going to demand a trade from the Magic to the New Jersey Nets to play with Deron Williams.

This has become an alarming trend in sports. I don’t know if it’s the era we live in, or how these young men were raised, but athletes are becoming greedy and incessantly narcissistic jerks who want nothing more than the glory of championships, the money to pay for their kids Lamborgini, and to play with their narcissistic friends. ¬†Nothing is for the fans, for their lesser talented teammates, or for the owners who pay for that Lambo. I don’t know where this mentality has come from, because it certainly hasn’t been seen in sports before.

Athletes are becoming straight up a-holes. They are starting to lose the whole understanding that sports originate with the fans. When there are no fans, there is no revenue, and there is no Lamborgini. When you spurn 75% of the fans in the United States, you really feel accomplished? You feel loved? The problem is these guys have no shame. They love themselves so much that they have no idea how much others love or hate them. They don’t think about anyone but LeBron, CP3, or Pujols. When LeBron says he’s sorry, he doesn’t mean it, he just wants everyone to love him as much as he does. CP3 lies about loving NOLA and then goes on a tirade to show how much he hates playing there? These guys are so ingenuine in all that they say that soon enough, we won’t be able to believe anything they say at all.

This trend has to stop. These SuperFriend teams have to go and go ASAP. David Stern, Dan Gilbert, and the rest of the NBA has to put their foot down and shut down their operations until this problem is fixed. Why should David Stern or the fans of the Milwaukee Bucks have to listen to these Grade A pricks dictate what the NBA will look like, and that small markets should no longer be a factor?

Luckily for baseball and football, this won’t happen, as their are too many variables to go around, but it doesn’t change the fact of the matter that for the superstar players, they can dictate where they go and still show no loyalty to the fans who show them love each and every night of the season.

I’ve heard far too often that there is no such thing as “loyalty” in sports. That sports, like anything else, is a business.

B.S.

Have you heard of any other “business” in which you get paid an obscene amount of money to play a game that you love?¬†Sports is not a business. Sports are games. Games that help clear the minds of the fans who deal with real “business”.Once these players start realizing that without the fans they don’t get paid, maybe they’ll start to show some loyalty.

One day, this trend has to stop. Someone is going to stand up for Cleveland. For Milwaukee. For St. Louis. For Indiana. For New Orleans (who quite honestly doesn’t belong on this list but thanks to CP3 now somehow does). I don’t know who that person is, but they will be a hero. They will show that maybe these sports aren’t about me. Maybe I should give thanks to the people who help pay for my kids education. Who pay for my 15 million dollar mansion in Bath Township, Ohio. Who pay for all of the unnecessary things that I can purchase, thanks to them.

This modern day “Superman”, no Dwight Howard I’m not talking about you, you’re only self-proclaimed, will have changed sports back to the way it should be.

Putting the fans first, and being thankful for the tremendous opportunity you’ve been given to do something you love and earning a great amount of money doing it.

Fans first.

 

 

 

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UCLA Football: We want Chris Petersen

With Rick Neuheisel out as head honcho of the UCLA football squad, names have been popping up left and right to fill the vacancy. Jon Gruden, Mike Martz, Butch Jones, Bob Stoops, Kevin Sumlin and Chuck Norris have all been mentioned as potential candidates.

Of course, the sentiment around the Bruin blogosphere is this:

Yes, that’s Boise State’s Chris Petersen in UCLA swag in some version of Rick Neuheisel’s infamous ad¬†telling USC to move over.

The UCLA blogosphere is hoping and wishing.

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The NBA is back. Happy holidays, fans


Kobe Bryant wants you ... to watch the NBA again

The NBA. Coming soon, December 25.

A deal has been reached and 66 games have been saved. NBA bloggers (including yours truly) can return to blogging about how J.R. Smith is a lazy fool and if Andrew Bynum can be a superstar. No longer do we have to mention the word “lockout” in a blog post (unless the context goes like, “Ha! Lockout? Never again”). No more BRI splits, no more 15-hour-long meetings in which we have to keep refreshing tweets of those in the know of the talks. None of that, for at least another few years.

Sixty-six games are coming our way, meaning the tender, juicy meat of the NBA season is going to be during a time where there’s no football to distract us from the second-best sport on the planet (to these eyes, at least). Sixty-six games that arena workers can find themselves employed in, and 66 games of questioning the notion that LeBron James is “the guy.”

The story lines, the drama, all of it. It’s back.

It couldn’t have started at a better time, either: Christmas day tends to be a huge day for the NBA, as it gets a ton of viewership with football stepping aside for once during its season.

We can worry about the implications of the deal later. Eventually, we’ll discuss the system issues implemented in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement and we’ll also begin to speculate and rumorize (is that a word?) about player movement, from free agency to blockbuster trades.

But for now, NBA fans, let’s just soak in the joy of having one of the most exciting sports re-enter our lives.

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Pac-12 Football: UCLA backs its way into Pac-12 Championship game without even playing

Mike Chalensky sacks U$C QB Reggie Perry in 1991. Via UCLA Athletics Facebook page

Carlos Sandoval is attending the University of California–Los Angeles and, sometimes, blogs about his thoughts on UCLA football and basketball. Please follow him on Twitter.

The game UCLA Bruins’ fanatics were dreading and anticipating¬†is now not as important as everyone thought.

With losses by Pac-12 South foes Arizona State and Utah to California and Colorado, respectively, and with USC’s ineligibility to play in any form of a postseason, the Bruins are Pac-12 South champs.

Well, technically.

Of course, we all know that the real¬†Pac-12 South champ winner will be the team that emerges victorious in tomorrow night’s game between the Trojans and Bruins, a heated cross-town rivalry which pits friends against friends, family members against family members, and the smart from the not-so-smart.

Because despite USC’s ineligibility, it isn’t as if people will walk away from this thinking UCLA earned the right to play against either Oregon or Stanford. In all honesty, the Bruins’ horrifying play on the road has convinced many that this team isn’t as good as their 6-5 record (5-3 in conference play) indicates. Sure, a 5-1 home record is pretty awesome, but when you compare that, side-by-side, with a 1-4 road record, a win against USC at the Coliseum would, at best, validate their somewhat-successful season or, at worst, make the entire season a failure and doom their chances against whichever team they might play.

Beyond that, there are bigger implications. If UCLA happens to lose to USC (like they’re “supposed” to), they’ll finish regular season play at 6-6 and are at a huge risk of losing their bowl eligibility if they lose to either Oregon or Stanford in the Pac-12 title game.

Of course, the other side of the coin (and the more optimistic side, albeit unlikely one) will see UCLA win the Pac-12 title game and play in the Rose Bowl game this New Year’s day. Not only would that cap off the best season under Rick Neuheisel’s tenure, but it may also save his job (to the dismay of many UCLA nuts; let’s remember that Philadelphia sports fans are the Los Angeles sports fans of the East Coast).

A ton is at stake tomorrow night when UCLA steps onto the field at the Coliseum to play U$C. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

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Black Friday Deals for Sports Fans

Yankees Garden Gnome - Black Friday Deals for Sports Fans

Would you love, or hate a Yankees garden gnome?

So this is a sports blog and all, but I know the bloggers and sports fans who visit BallHyped.com also geek out on tech gadgets and Black Friday deals this time of year.

I know I’m already filling out my gift list of gadgets as we speak, preparing for the holiday season, so I thought I’d share with you my favorite Black Friday deals for sports fans:

Best Buy

Best Buy has a handful of great tablet deals for sports fans who want to stream live events, ESPN SportsCenter, etc., while on the go.

Some of the best all-around deals include a Best Buy exclusive on the Asus Transformer 10.1-inch tablet for $249.99 and the Dell Streak 7″ Tablet for just $149.99.

Best Buy also has blowout deals on movies, video games, digital cameras and camcorder and iPods and MP3 players, so you can watch, listen and record all of your favorite sports moments (and then Hype them up on your blog!)

NFL Shop

NFL fans can get 10% off plus free shipping at NFLShop.com through today. So hurry up and get that Tebow jersey today!

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble has some great deals on sports books as you would expect. For Black Friday, they’re also offering 50% off their Top 50 bestselling books.

They’re also offering 50% off electronics and 50% off DVDs and CDs.

Amazon.com

Amazon has some of the most random gifts that I love, and will be getting for some of my sports buddies.

As for the more traditional items, such as books, check out the new book, 100 Yards of Glory: The Greatest Moments in NFL History. This great, beautifully illustrated look back at the greatest moments in professional football history was written by Joe Garner and Bob Costas with a forward by Joe Montana. We picked up a few copies of this book and will be giving them out to BallHyped members for contests and awards over the next couple months.

Amazon also has countless Black Friday dealsa s you would expect, including the Go Pong 8-Foot portable folding beer pong table and the new Kindle Fire ($199) — which shouldn’t be used in combination by the way.

If you did want a tech gadget to go with your Go Pong beer pong table, there’s always the Intova CP9 compact waterproof digital camera, which is a great gift for the beer pongers, boaters, fishermen and surfers in your crew.

As for those random gifts for the sports nuts on your holiday list, nothing says die-hard like an NFL-team specific Mr. Potato Head, NFL teamand NCAA team pillow pets, and, of course, NFL team
and MLB team garden gnomes.

What are the best Black Friday deals you’ve been eying this year? Share yours in the comments section below:

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