SPORTS w/The Jock 2/9/11

by Tom Weppel
We’re a week away from the All-Star weekend, which this year will be held out in Los Angeles. So far, it seems two of the teams hogging most of the headlines are the two teams that Lebron James affected when he made his wild ‘Decision’ this past offseason.
Down South, the Miami Heat seem to be doing alright, thank you. After beating the Indiana Pacers in Miami on Tuesday night, the Heat hold a 38-14 record, sitting at the top of the Southeast Division. They carry a seven-game winning streak going into the weekend.
Without question, all the juice is coming from Lebron and Dwyane Wade. The two superstars have dominated play for the Heat. Third-wheel Chris Bosh has also played a significant part on the floor as well, but its Wade and James who are the main cogs for the Heat.
If things keep going like this, look for the Heat to carry a top seed into the playoffs.
Meanwhile, Lebron’s former team in Cleveland is in awful shape. The Cavaliers lost their 26th consecutive contest, setting an NBA record in the modern era. It seems the Cavs simply can’t change their losing ways. Head Coach Byron Scott hasn’t been able to get things going in Cleveland. Obviously, they miss having James in the lineup, and it doesn’t look as if it’ll get any better for the remainder of the season.
While the mess continues in Cleveland, the drama and soap opera hasn’t stopped revolving around Denver Nuggets F Carmelo Anthony, who has been directly involved in trade discussions and rumors all season long. A number of teams have expressed their interest in Anthony, including the Nets, Knicks, Pistons, and others. Even the Lakers have been thrown into the discussions, although they deny having interest.
So much interest and attention has surrounded Carmelo simply because a) he is the last ‘major’ marquee player available for teams to acquire, and b) there are plenty of teams out there that would love to have his services. The Nets had a strong interest, but the deal fell through. The Knicks looked good, but not everyone was ready to be involved.
So, we’ll see where Carmelo lands. While he’s been in demand, I don’t know if the return will match the billing…
While all the talk and interest has gone on surrounding these matters, most fans have failed to realize the San Antonio Spurs are once again putting together a fantastic season, carrying a stellar 44-8 record into their game on Friday night against the Sixers. Only six team have gone this far with so few losses after so many games…each team has gone on to win the NBA Championship.
And so we’ll see how things shake out with the Spurs…

Having pushed through a month of Conference play, it is interesting what is happening in the power shift among teams.
Without question, the strength seems to be in the Big East. This past week alone, the league had Pitt, Notre Dame, Connecticut, Villanova, Georgetown, Syracuse, and Louisville ranked 15th or HIGHER! Cincinnati and West Virginia have also played well so far.
The only problem in a situation like that is that, with so many teams being so good, the teams will end up beating each other up thru conference play. They then end up with records that aren’t looking as good as others from around the country, plus, it also has their team beat up as they go to play teams from other conferences.
So it will be interesting to see how all these schools perform next month, heading into tournament time.
While the Big East has flexed its muscles so far this season, the Atlantic Coast Conference is without question experiencing a down year. Only Duke has been consistently in the Top 25 this season. UNC and Florida State have done alright…good enough to probably get into the NCAA field…and then after that, many traditionalists are scratching their head wondering what has gone wrong this season for their beloved ACC. It is quite possible only three or four teams will make the tournament field from that Conference…
Of course, you can essentially say the conferences in college basketball are a little screwed up, anyway! A team from Colorado (U. of Denver) is in the Sun Belt, while New Jersey Tech is in the Great West! Go figure…