Wichita State is Huge for the AAC

The American Athletic Conference has been a pretty solid football league over its first short history. It has produced a Houston team that won the 2015 Peach Bowl against Florida State and was ranked as high as 6th last season. Memphis, Temple, Navy, and South Florida have all been ranked in the past two seasons, with Cincinnati and Tulsa knocking on the door. In a period where the Power Five Conferences have dominated Division-I football, the AAC has made its fair share of noise.

As far as basketball? Not so much. Yes, UConn won the 2014 National Title as a member of the AAC and knocked off schools such as Villanova, Iowa State, Michigan State, Florida, and Kentucky in the process. That UConn team is an outlier, unfortunately.

Cincinnati and SMU have been the two consistently good teams over the last four years, and neither of them even have a Sweet 16 to show for it. Temple has made the tournament once as a member of the AAC. A power house last decade, Memphis has also only made the tournament once as a member of the American. For basketball, the AAC is top heavy and needs all the help it can get.

Enter the Shockers of Wichita State. 6 straight NCAA Tournaments. 2013 Final Four. 34-0 record heading into the 2014 NCAA Tournament. 2015 Sweet 16, knocking off 2-seeded and in state rival Kansas to get there. Ranked in the top 20 for defensive efficiency in each of the past 5 years. Ranked in the top 20 for both offense and defense in 3 out of the past 4 years.

How is that for help?

Boasting stars like Fred VanVleet, Ron Baker, and Shaq Morris, Wichita State has star power. That means something in a league that has lacked it aside from the UConn team VV Shaqthat cut down the nets. The league still has a top-heavy issue, but getting better schools like Wichita still helps. They also won’t hurt the football brand, as they do not field a team.
Welcome Wichita State with open arms. With UConn reportedly in talks with the the Big East in recent months, this can only help to keep them in the AAC. If they were to leave, it would be surprising if Cincinnati wasn’t soon to follow. The AAC needs to keep these teams and keep adding more competitive teams from smaller conferences.

If the AAC wants to be more than a 2-3 bid team for the NCAA Tournament, they need more teams that can provide resume building wins for the middling teams like Temple, Memphis, and Houston. Look for teams like Wichita that have been shorted with their seeding in the past due to playing in a weak conference. Think Valparaiso, Middle Tennessee, VCU. These are the type of teams that the AAC can realistically get and should be targeting. Wichita State is a start. A huge start. This shouldn’t be an end game, but a start to making this conference as competitive in basketball as it is in football.

Josh Brown’s Medical Redshirt Means Everything

If we’re trying to put that 16-16 season behind us, this is a pretty good start. Lacking a real go-to guy and true leadership in the 2016-17 campaign, Josh Brown returning is a welcoming sight for sore eyes. Cue Josh in a gold clock riding into the Liacouras Center on a stallion like Jaime Lannister.

Daniel Dingle, Mark Williams, and Jake Robbins are all gone now. Did these three have their positives? Sure, but them leaving will open up more playing time for some of the younger guys. Let’s just be honest here: they can’t suck anymore than this crew did. Yes, Dingle was about the only guy that could penetrate last year, and he even stroked it from three pretty well at 38.5%. Other than that, these three didn’t have much to offer.Brown Block.gif

It’s time for the new guys to step up and become contributors. Who better to lead them than Josh Brown? Brown is the heart and soul of this team. In the 2015-16 season, Brown Assist Rate sat at 15.7%, good for 198th in the country. I understand that doesn’t sound all that impressive, but take into account there are 351 teams each with about 12 guys on the roster – you can do the math. With premier shooters like Shizz Alston, Alani Moore, and Obi Enechionyia back next year (Obi will be back, let’s be real), they will finally have a guy that can get them open looks. Lacking that true point guard last year, we saw the Owls settle for contested three after contested three. We can expect an increase in some shooting percentages next year with some more open looks and less settling from Temple.

Add in All-Conference Rookie and bright spot from 16-17′ in Quinton Rose and the potential return of Trey Lowe and all of a sudden this roster is looking pretty solid. If Ernest can take that next step and be more than just a rebounding machine – 44th in offensive rebound percentage and 228th in defensive – then we won’t have to constantly rely on a small line-up and our shooters always being on. Throw in those four 4-star recruits I mentioned earlier and Fran’s new willingness to give minutes to freshman, and all of a sudden Temple has depth out of nowhere. Depth was something Temple sorely lacked last year due to the injuries to Brown and Lowe, which was apparent by the fact that Shizz, Dingle, and Obi all played over 80% of the teams minutes for the entire season – each of them ranking in the top 300 in percentage of minutes played in the country last year. This depth can hopefully take away some of the tired legs we saw at the end of last season.

What else does Brown add other than his ability to distribute the rock to our shooters? Brown is a lockdown perimeter defender and has been since he stepped on the court his freshman year. Temple ranked 168th in defensive efficiency last season. A school that often relies on its defensive due to its lack of big men, better defensive is a must for the Owls; Brown can only help in this area. Another area that Brown can help? Defensive rebounding. When you think of a guard like Josh Brown, you probably don’t think of his rebounding ability. With the lack of a true, proven big man, Temple needs all the help it can get on the boards. In 2015-16 Brown’s defensive rebounding percentage sat at 13.5% for the season, and he ranked 25th out of all players in the AAC in conference play in this category. Sitting at 1.1% on offensive rebounds, it’s clear that Brown looks to attack the boards when he can on defense. With not the strongest Temple D, limiting 2nd chance opportunities is a must. Temple ranked 294th in allowing offensive rebounding to opponents last year, so they can use all the help they can get.

What did Temple miss the most last year with Brown out? His ability to come through late in games. Temple was 1-5 in games decided by 3 points or less last season. Brown has made some pretty big shots in his career. Most notably? This winner on the road against a ranked UConn team that gave the Owls back-to-back wins on the road against ranked opponents.Brown Winner.gif

Welcome back, Josh Brown.

76ers in Full Tank Mode as Season Comes to an End

Csnphilly.com – Saric has been placed on a 24-minute guideline, designed to get him through the final five games of the season. He suffered left heel soreness and the Sixers capped his minutes, which had reached 31.7 per game during March.

Sam Hinkie is ALIVE (sort of)! The Tank is back and in semi-full force! All is well with Sixers basketball as the season comes to the end and I love it! (My new boss told me exclamation points are important!!)

Coming off a blistering 6-11 record in the month of March the Colangelo’s took a page out of the GOAT’s playbook and placed a minute’s restriction for the remainder of the season on the soon to be Rookie of the Year. During that stretch “The Homie” has single handedly carried the Sixers to wins over the Bulls, Celtics, and Lakers. Dario needed to be stopped before he won another game. Side note, the Colangelo’s could not run the risk of T.J. McConnell getting hurt during celebrations.

https://twitter.com/CSNPhilly/status/846905739104796673

T.J. needs to be on the court in order for this team to lose.

The Sixers currently sit in 5th place for the lottery with only 5 games remaining against the 3 teams (Nets, Bucks, and Knicks) they have a winning record against this season. The Sixers can finish as high as 4th in the lottery or as low as 9th. This is the last Tank we NEED! WE CANNOT WIN ANOTHER GAME THIS SEASON! AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE HAVE THE LAKERS PICK FALL TO 4TH IN THE LOTTERY! GIVE ME MONK AT 4 AND FOX/SMITH AT 5!

P.S.


Btw I love that the Magic want “The Homie” back! He is ours, you can’t have him back! You will never forget the name Sam Hinkie again!

Our Boss, Who Just “Hired” Me, Is In Fact an Idiot

Standing at a gaunt 6-foot, 4-inches, Kyle Pagan just looks out of place on this planet. Once you get to know him, that inference becomes a fact. Let’s take a look into Pagan’s oversized, confusing life.

Too tall for his own good, there is a good chance that Pagan does not get the required amount of oxygen to reach his brain, which sits inside his misshaped skull, which further sits atop his unfit frame. This is not meant to be slanderous: it’s just the way it is.

Here are some of my favorite Kyle Pagan stories:

The Most Clueless Bookie of All-Time: During his senior year – the first time, not the victory lap – of college, the lanky goon chose to try his hand at being a bookie. With the Super Bowl coming up, Kyle gleefully took prop bet after prop bet, thinking he would make away from the big game with a hefty profit in his pocket to use on size-17 shoes, XXL sweaters, and knee braces.PAGAN 5

With Super Bowl XLIX fast approaching, my friends and I saw a tweet from Sportsbook.ag stating that they had frozen all bets on the length of the National Anthem due to heavy money coming in on the over. Seeing this tweet, four of our friends immediately contacted Pagan stating that we would like the max bet on the over for the National Anthem. Not expecting a thing, again because he is an idiot, Kyle accepted the bets. About an hour later, we all watched with joy as the time went well over, and the overgrown Demogorgan was in the hole before the game even began.

 

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The Non-Existent Vertical: Despite his obnoxiously large frame, his waste of height is apparent. Posting his first points in a D3 Basketball Game, Kyle also let the world into the fact that he has no vertical. Blaming it on bad knees as opposed to lack of athleticism, Kyle can only reach as high up on the net as I can, and he begins a good 7 inches closer to the rim than I do.

Excessive Use of Exclamation Points!: If there were a world power rankings of who likes exclamation points, Pagan would be first! Kyle will use exclamation points even when they do not apply to the sentence before it! It is a gift and a curse!

The Demogorgan: While Kyle is useless for a lot of things, we actually found something he could use his wasted height for. With Halloween 2016 coming up, our friend group planned to dress as the cast of Stranger Things. Needing a large, able bodied human to play the role of the Demogorgan, we knew we had our man. All he had to do was wear the costume. He didn’t even have to speak. Pagan chose not to attend, instead dressing as the Most Interesting Man in the world, despite truly being the opposite of this.

The Jean Hat: Before I even knew Kyle, he had a close obsession with a denim hat. He apparently wore it out all the time. The hat’s whereabouts are currently unknown.Pagan 2

 

Now this doofus is my boss. After about a 2-week hiatus, I am here to save the day for K-Lot Chronicles. I am excited to work for Kyle Pagan.

Joel Embiid Will “Very Likely” Need Surgery

That meniscus is way to torn you need cut it!

Sixers have the worst medical staff in the league you need to cut it! 

Sorry, trying to make light of a shitty situation using O.T. Genesis

According to Marc “With a C” Stein it is “very likely” Joel Embiid will need surgery.

Sources told ESPN.com that Embiid and the Sixers have been exploring treatment options after he suffered a partially torn meniscus and bone bruise in his left knee Jan. 20 against Portland.

A recovery timetable won’t be established, sources said, until after the procedure.

This is shitty. Fans are going to be spending our summers getting little information on his recovery. The occasional instagram of a working out Embiid will surface charging up false hope. The Sixers will tell us Embiid will be held out to start the season. There will be a minute restriction when he comes back. Lastly, there’s a chance he injures something else. It’s Groundhog Day starring Joel Embiid’s lower appendage. 

Not that one you dirtball.

Doing my due diligence on WebMD to see what a normal meniscus tear surgery timetable can be. The bold part is deflating so read with caution.

Your surgeon may recommend that you do not move your knee more than absolutely necessary (immobilization) for 2 weeks after surgery. This may be followed by 2 weeks of limited motion before you are able to resume daily activities. Physical therapy should begin right after surgery. But heavy stresses, such as running and squats, should be postponed for some months. You must follow your doctor’s rehabilitation (rehab) plan for optimum healing. Afterwards, you may still continue to have pain and require more physical therapy or, sometimes, additional surgery.


Sixers Roundball Roundup

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Future Rookie of the Year, Dario Saric, gave an interview to The Ringer’s Ben Detrick. It is full of broken English and discusses his nickname, “The Homie”, and how he won’t be able to attend his best friend on the team, TJ McConnell’s, wedding.

It also details his all but lock for Rookie of the Year. Look at these numbers he’s put up since the All Star Game.

Since the All-Star break, Saric has averaged 19.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 4.2 assists an outing. Basically, he’s been racking up Blake Griffin or Paul Millsap numbers.

“Man too bad that guy will never come over.”-Every Hinkie naysayer.

For real though if our third best player on the Sixers is averaging Blake Griffin/Paul Millsap numbers, both All-Stars, call D.A. Seth Williams to get the boys in blue ready because it’s about to get rowdy on Broad Street…oh wait.

In the story, Detrick described Saric’s mobility in a way that I won’t be able to ever look at him scamper down the court the same ever again.

And, while mobile, Saric runs like a nightclub bouncer who just noticed his car being towed down the block.

I mean if he wasn’t playing basketball could you not see Dario outside of Time, Rumor, or the deep underlinings of a South Philly Cheerleaders.

Richaun Holmes:

Let’s switch gears and focus our attention on Nerlens Noel’s replacement, Richaun Holmes. 

Holmes has been a bright spot along with Dario. 

Since the Nerlens Noel trade 

Holmes’ line:

13.4 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.1 steals while also shooting .625 from the field. 

Nerlens’ line:

is 9.0 ppg, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks while shooting .589 from the field. 

At the moment it looks like the trade is pretty equal. Only thing is Nerlens is going to garner $12-$14 million next year while Holmes will gather a little over $1 million in his rookie deal. Another win for Sam Hinkie turning water into wine. On a serious note that was very Belicheckian of Hinkie. He knew he wouldn’t be able to keep Nerlens, Okafor, and Embiid down the line so he drafted a less expensive player with upside. 

PS-For my flat earth readers I think Holmes is strangely bordering that line with his explanation on this yawning question asked by Christian Crosby. 

The same video graced us with this picture of a young Holmes that I will forever tweet when he does something good. 

“When that tax return comes in.”

Let’s Talk About the Anti-Fran Dunphy, #FireFran Crew…And Why They Are Wrong

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You can trace #FireFran hashtags back to late 2015.

The Temple Men’s Basketball team did not have an ideal season this year finishing 16-16 and a first round exit to East Carolina. The young team had a few bright spots though in the play of sophomore Shizz Alston, junior Obi Enechionyia, and freshman Quinton Rose. The fact of the matter is we should have seen the writing on the wall when along with Daniel Dingle, Mark Williams was named a captain. The team never looked that it had a leader nor a go to guy in crunch time.

During the season a mutiny against Fran Dunphy was growing on Twitter with fans signing their tweets with #FireFran-friends of mine included. Between Fran Dunphy and Fran McCaffery, Iowa’s head coach, the #FireFran movement has blended together.

Now listen there are things about Fran that baffle even his strongest supporters. His NCAA Tournament record of 3-16 over 16 years, his motion offense can go stagnant, and his inability to not land top local recruits; some that live right down the street (JaQuan Newton, Rysheed Jordan, Quade Green).

This year’s team started the season as hot as a Temple team had in a while. They beat No. 25 Florida State with future NBA lottery pick Jonathan Isaac and No. 19 West Virginia, a team in the Sweet 16 at the writing of this, in the same weekend. They would have most likely been ranked top-25 the next week if it wasn’t for starting 1-2.

Even with the tribulations of the season there is one thing. Fran Dunphy isn’t going anywhere.

He is loved by his players.

Everyone has heard an inkling of the story about Dionte Christmas and Fran Dunphy. Dunphy promised Christmas he would shave his mustache if he graduated from college. Christmas fell three credits short, but came back two years later to finish his degree.

“When Coach Dunphy came, he really taught me a lot about basketball, life, being a man, and everything,” Christmas recalls. “He was like my second father.”

Dunphy lived up to his end of the deal and saw his upper lip for the first time in 40 years.

 

Khaliff Wyatt and Fran Dunphy butted heads for the first two years while Wyatt would be late for team meetings, doctors appointments, and show defensive lapses. But he echoes the same fatherly sentiments that Christmas did at the end of his career.

“Coming in here as a 17-year-old, you think you know everything. You think you have the answers to everything,” Wyatt said. “Coach Dunphy helped me grow up a lot. He really was like a father to me for 4 years. He pretty much raised me from 17 to 22. I’m happy I had him in my life. Through everything, he’s stuck with me. He had my best interests at heart.”

 

His recruiting class for next year is stacked.

The Temple recruiting class is stacked for next year–in terms of Temple standards. There will be three Four Star recruits-6’10 Forward Justyn Hamilton, 6’7 Forward J.P. Moorman, and 6’4 Guard Nate Pierre-Louis. Each of these recruits will add versatility and athleticism to a line up that is already flush with it.

The other recruit Temple has coming in is 6’6 Forward De’Vondre Perry who averaged a double double his junior season and mentions he can play all five positions on the court.

This young mix of recruits to go with the young core of Enechionyia, Alston, and Rose gives the Temple Men’s Basketball team a bright future.

He resurrected the program.

Every pundit points out Fran Dunphy’s tournament record of 3-16. You can picture the graphic in your mind whenever Temple is playing in the first round. The record doesn’t tell the whole story of Dunphy’s tournament career. This guy can coach! He went to the tournament nine times while at Penn and played a higher seed each time. Before he got to Temple the Owls hadn’t made it to the NCAA Tournament in over six years. At Temple he is 2-7 in the tournament. That could easily be 4-5 if Adam Woodbury gets whistled for his push-off last year and the Owls finish out No. 1 seed Indiana in 2013 after leading in the last 79 seconds.

I believe the addition of Aaron McKie to the staff will do wonders for the program and it’s already paid dividends in terms of the last two recruiting classes. Many people see McKie as a Kevin Ollie type. A veteran NBA player that has tons of respect from kids and parents who grew up watching those 2000 Sixers teams. Unfortunately, from people who I’ve spoke to around the program he has no interest in being the head man in charge, sorry #FireFran army.

This program is trending up and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a tournament appearance next year from the Owls. Enjoy Fran Dunphy while you have him folks. He’s not the all time winningest coach in Big 5 history for no reason.

 

 

The NBA has an Addiction With PB&J’s

A story written by Baxter Holmes featured in ESPN the Magazine discusses the addiction the NBA has with Peanut Butter and Jelly’s. The revolution of the PB&J started in 2007-08 with the Boston Celtics:

Bryan Doo, Celtics strength and conditioning coach, recalls it as if it were yesterday, how before a game in December of that season, an unnamed Celtic — his identity lost to history, like the other horsemen on Paul Revere’s midnight ride — complained to Doo of incipient hunger pangs.

“Man, I could go for a PB&J,” the player said.

And then Garnett, in an act with historical reverberations, uttered the now-fabled words: “Yeah, let’s get on that.”

Garnett had not, to that point, made the PB&J a part of his pregame routine. But on that night in Boston, as Doo recalls, Garnett partook, then played … and played well. Afterward, from his perch as the Celtics’ fiery leader, Garnett issued the following commandment: “We’re going to need PB&J in here every game now.”

And so a sandwich revolution was born.

The story elaborates on the PB&J buffet in Milwaukee featuring an assortment of breads, jellies, and butters, or the ‘minor uprisings’ in Washington D.C. (no guns were drawn) when the sandwiches were taken away for a period of time. But the best story is about Dwight Howard’s sugar addiction and mainly the reason why the Lakers dynasty never occurred due to his back surgery:

By February’s All-Star break, it was time for a full-blown intervention, and Dr. Cate Shanahan, the Lakers’ nutritionist, led the charge, speaking to Howard by phone from her office in Napa, California. Howard’s legs tingled, he complained, but she noticed he was having trouble catching passes too, as if his hands were wrapped in oven mitts. Well, he quietly admitted, his fingers also tingled. Shanahan, with two decades of experience in the field, knew Howard possessed a legendary sweet tooth, and she suspected his consumption of sugar was causing a nerve dysfunction called dysesthesia, which she’d seen in patients with prediabetes. She urged him to cut back on sugar for two weeks. If that didn’t help, she said, she vowed to resign.

To alter Howard’s diet, though, Shanahan first had to understand it. After calls with his bodyguard, chef and a personal assistant, she uncovered a startling fact: Howard had been scarfing down about two dozen chocolate bars’ worth of sugar every single day for years, possibly as long as a decade. “You name it, he ate it,” she says. Skittles, Starbursts, Rolos, Snickers, Mars bars, Twizzlers, Almond Joys, Kit Kats and oh, how he loved Reese’s Pieces. He’d eat them before lunch, after lunch, before dinner, after dinner, and like any junkie, he had stashes all over — in his kitchen, his bedroom, his car, a fix always within reach. She told his assistants to empty his house, and they hauled out his monstrous candy stash in boxes — yes, boxes, plural.

This debacle experienced by the Lakers is all to familiar with Sixers fans and their time with Andrew Bynum. 

P.S. The Sixers’ sandwich of choice would be wheat bread, Jif PB, and strawberry jelly. Until your parents separate and your cheap step-father buys discount PB and grape jelly. 

 

 

The Joel Embiid Jolly Rancher Commercial is Finally Here

Funny how the “Keep Sucking” slogan at the end speaks to the attitude of Sixers fans for these last 10 games.

Philadelphia Sports Radio Stations Have Officially Given Up

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We all know the state of Philadelphia Sports Radio has been in an interesting limbo the last few years with the introduction of sports blogs and podcasts.

Mostly everyone in the Delaware Valley area has their same routine. Angelo Cataldi in the morning and Mikey Miss in the afternoon. No station has been able to have an overall stranglehold on the ratings from top to bottom. The future does not look any brighter with the all but certain retirement of Angelo and Mike Missanelli’s major back surgery sidelining him for weeks. 

Who is going to replace these two titans of the industry after they hang them up?

Let’s look into the future; a future that looks laced with debates about the best bourbon chicken in Mall Food Courts and questions asking, “Is it good your local college sports team, the most dominant sports team over the last two decades in a town starving for a championship, loss in the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament?”

Act I: The Bourbon Chicken 

“Here is Tim Legler joining the Comcast Hotline. First question, Tim, is Mall Food Court bourbon chicken in fact the G.O.A.T?”

Why would ask a former NBA players’ opinion on the hottest topic in the NBA right now of resting players?

Act II: Outlandish Prognostications

I know with ‘Hot Takes’ comes ratings and people blogging about your takes increases the visibility, but there is no way Gargano believes the shit he is spewing. There is a laundry list of running backs drafted in the first round that never panned out in the league, but to say Leonard Fournette is basically soft and goes down easy??

Exhibit A:

 

Exhibit B:

 

He missed five games last season and was only 150 yards away from 1,000.

 

Act III: The Final Nail in the Coffin

I think I made this clear last week. I hate (am jealous) of Villanova. The fact that the WIP Morning Show has to even ask this question furthers my stance on the media will run every great future athlete or ruin every story–Simmons, Embiid, Wentz etc–out of town because they pull this stunt.

Villanova is the most successful team in the Delaware Valley since 2000. Nova epitomizes this city that prides itself on the blue collar spirit of hardworking athletes that do it by the book. I enjoyed Villanova’s loss over the weekend. I would have been content with another Villanova run to the national title because last year was a fun time for the city. To tweet about the failure of a school who brought the most championship starving city just that is so trivial. Then again when your host tweets this and is so wrong how can you not believe the account promoting the show would do something as absurd.