A few thoughts on what's happening locally in sports:
-College hoops is underway and PC and Rhody fans can't be thrilled about their season-openers. The Friars shouldn't lose to Northeastern no matter who the coach is! Maybe Tim Welsh's coaching wasn't the problem after all. It underscores the point that players need to make plays and the Friars didn't make enough of them Saturday night while the Huskies did. Maybe we are all guilty of overrating the talent on this Friars team. There are certainly flashes of brilliance from all of them at times, but not consistently. They can put it together and drill a good team like UConn on the road and lose to a team like Northeastern. that's maddening!
-As for URI, you all know how much I LOVE the Brown Bears, but Rhody (and any A-10 team) should be able to handle Brown (and any Ivy League team) no matter where the game is played. This was certainly not the case Friday night at the Ryan Center. Brown out-played URI for most of the game and deserved to win. Don't believe me? Read Jimmy Baron's comments after the game. Brown's inability to hit more freethrows and once official who made numerous terrible calls against the Bears prevented them from pulling off the upset. What was disturbing to me about Rhody was their undisciplined offense at times. Kaheem Seawright should NOT be spotting up for 19-foot jumpers.......period! It is also clear that the Rams have alot of work to do on improving their defense which helped lead to their collapse last year. Repeat after me, "it's a process!"
-In regard to Brown, I had no expectations entering the season given the fact that the Bears lost two first team All-Ivy guards to graduation in Mark McAndrew and Damon Huffman which accounted for about 50% of their offense last year. Add to that a new coach and a new system and I honestly did not know what to expect. If the Rhody game is any indication, I would conclude the following: 1.) Jesse Agel can flat out coach! He did a tremendous job preparing his team for URI and with his in-game coaching. 2.) The Bears should have a solid season overall and, particularly, in the Ivy League. Their starting 5 is experienced and there are a couple of guys who can contribute off the bench. Most of all, these kids know how to win and are not intimidated when they take the court against anyone. I am very excited about the upcoming season!
-As for college football, I hope we see a BIG crown at Brown Stadium this Saturday when the Bears play for the Ivy League title. Phil Estes is on the cusp of leading his team to a 3rd championship in his 11-years at the helm. Considering that Brown had won only 1 Ivy League title prior to Estes taking over, I think I can safely say that he is clearly the best coach in the history of the program! Brown hosts Columbia and 12:30 Saturday. It is fun, affordable entertainment and a great family atmosphere at Brown Stadium. plus, how many times do we get to witness a college or pro team winning a championship? Here's your chance!
-Now to the Patriots. I admit that Matt Cassel has been much better than I expected since taking over for the injured Tom Brady. Kudos to him. And kudos to the Patriots for playing well in the reigning MVP's absence. However, the loss at Indianapolis and to the Jets at home both hurt! Winning the division will be tough because the Jets have a better division record and, thus, hold the tie-breaker. If the Pats are to win the AFC East, a win in Miami next Sunday is a must! As for winning a wild card spot, that won't be easy either. Indy, for one, holds a tie-breaker over the Pats courtesy of their head-to-head win. So does San Diego. This may also be one of those years where 10-6 doesn't get you into the playoffs. We'll see!
-The Celtics look like they are more than capable of defending their NBA title. And are there any Paul Pierce haters still out there or have you finally come around to my way of thinking? I have said for years that he is one of the greatest Celtics of all-time and would make my all-time Celts starting five. The Truth can flat out play!