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Why Complain?

Apr 09, 2014 -- 8:39am

By Greg Brinda | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/USA Today

We here in Cleveland moan a lot about not having a championship team since 1964.

And upon further review, we do need to quit complaining.

The reason: there are many.

Why complain when we have mock drafts to talk about for months on end.

Why complain when we are in a never-ending search for a quarterback.

Why complain when we pound the Dolans for not signing everybody or at least the players you want.

Why complain when we have a point guard who is years away from being a leader and mature.

Why complain when that said point guard loves his brand above everything else.

Why complain when the owner of the basketball team hasn't the foggiest idea about how to right the ship.

Why complain when it's obvious the basketball team's fan base doesn't really care about winning.

Why complain when draft day is the Super Bowl for Cleveland.

Why complain when we can fight and debate about Chief Wahoo.

Why complain when we can debate and fight about the soon to be Browns uniform changes.

Why complain when the owner of the football team's legal problems may not be over.

Why complain when we can debate a sin tax on fixing up our stadiums.

Why complain when we can play fantasy sports and not worry about the real teams.

Why complain when the new coach of the basketball team used to be the old coach and his support is in the negative numbers.

Why complain when we have someone running one of our sports teams that actually has championship rings.

Why complain when we have a really good college football team just two hours down the road.

Why complain when our basketball team shoots t-shirts and lottery tickets into the stands.

Why complain when our baseball team has fireworks every Friday night.

Why complain when we can celebrate our football team's past...and I mean past.

Why complain when we have sports talk shows that allow us to complain.

 

 

 

Inside the Numbers of the NCAA Championship

Apr 05, 2014 -- 5:55pm

By Bruce Hooley | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/ESPN

They cliché goes, “Baseball is a numbers game,” but for purposes of this weekend in Dallas, so is college basketball.

As Wisconsin-Kentucky and Florida-Connecticut approach the Final Four semifinals Saturday, here’s a look at some statistics of note that tell the tale of each team’s respect advance to within two victories of the NCAA championship.

15 – Total seeding of Kentucky (8) and Connecticut (7) should they meet on Monday night, which would be the highest combined total of two championship participants since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

5 – Freshman starters for Kentucky, which won the national championship two years ago with three freshmen in the starting lineup.

4 – Senior starters for Florida: Scottie Wilbekin, Patric Young, Casey Prather and Will Yeguete. The fifth, Michael Frazier II, is a sophomore.

17/6.8 – Points/rebound averages for Connecticut forward DeAndre Daniels in four NCAA Tournament after averaging 10.3 points and 5.8 points in the Huskies last four games of the regular season.

30 – Consecutive wins by Florida since its 65-64 loss to Connecticut on Dec. 2.

0 – Points scored by Kentucky’s Marcus Lee in the 10 games prior to the Wildcats’ regional final victory over Michigan.

10 – Points Lee scored in that win over the Wolverines.

3 – Final Four teams from last season that Kentucky defeated to reach this Final Four (Wichita State, Louisville, Michigan).

8.1 – Wisconsin’s average turnovers per-game, which ranks No. 1 in the nation.

8 – Points for Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky in season-opening 59-53 victory over Florida at the Kohl Center.

28 – Points by Kaminsky in Badgers’ West Regional final victory over Arizona.

24 – Double-doubles in points-rebounds by Kentucky’s Julius Randle this season, most in the nation.

2 – Free throws Connecticut’s Shabazz Napier has missed on 27 attempts in Tournament.

.326 – Three-point shooting percentage (47-of-144) for Kentucky’s Aaron Harrison prior to NCAA Tournament.

.542 – Harrison’s three-point percentage (13-of-24) during NCAA Tournament.

 

Bruce Hooley hosts "Hooley & Jerod" from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on ESPN 850 WKNR. He is the author of, “That’s Why I’m Here: The Chris and Stefanie Spielman Story.”

Email Bruce hoolz@espncleveland.com

Follow Bruce on Twitter @bhoolz

 

 

 

The cost of doing business

Mar 29, 2014 -- 5:38pm

By Bruce Hooley | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/Chicago Trib

ESPN legal analyst Roger Cossack joined Hooley and Jerod on Thursday to discuss the right gained via the National Labor Relations Board for Northwestern University football players to vote on unionization.

Cossack also offered his assessment of the delay in federal officials reaching a decision on the investigation of Browns owner Jimmy Haslam’s alleged rebate fraud at Pilot-Flying J.

Hooley: “When you heard the NLRB ruled Northwestern’s football players could vote to unionize, did you think that we will look back on this day as a watershed moment when NCAA athletics changed dramatically?”

Cossack: “In some ways, yes. Look, there’s going to be an appeal on this, but I think the athletes will win this appeal. The idea that they may not be able to unionize, I think they can unionize. And if that appeal is upheld…the answer to your questions is, ‘Yeah.’ “

Jerod: “Let’s say down the line this pans out and football teams can unionize. Does that mean, relative to Title IX, that players in the non-revenue sports would have to get paid, as well?”

Cossack: “That’s a great question. Those are some of the things that are left open on this decision…that, of course, was implemented when we didn’t think of athletes as employees, which is now how we have to think of them.”

Hooley: “I think what we might see shake out from this is a reduction in the number of sports schools offer. Big schools like Ohio State will reduce the minor sports and have dramatically fewer varsity sports.”

Cossack: “You’re absolutely right. Let’s think of it this way: What happens in business? It’s a cost of doing business. Employee salaries and benefits are a cost of doing business. Whether you are Ohio State or whether you are General Motors or whoever you are. So, what happens when the cost of doing business goes up? One of …three things happen.

“One is, the employer can say, ‘I’m just going to make less profit. That’s the way I am. Chances are, that’s not going to happen. The second thing that could happen is, they’re going to say, ‘You know what? We’re going to pass that cost along to the consumer. Right? How do you do that? You raise the ticket prices. Or, you raise the negotiation, the amount you charge ESPN or whoever the network is that’s carrying the sport. If that gets passed on to our employer or any employer, then they’re going to have to make a decision. ‘Are we going to be nice guys and just bite the bullet on this one, or are we going to pass it along to the consumer?’ So, one way or the other, it gets passed along to the consumer.

“Or, there is a third choice. One, nothing gets done. Two, it gets passed on to the consumer, or three, the sport goes away, or whatever the business is goes away, because it no longer can compete. That’s what I think you’re talking about. So, yeah, I absolutely would expect, if this does hold up, if college athletes are viewed as employees and have a right to collectively bargain with all the tools that are at their disposal, yeah, I think it’s going to put added pressure on universities, and universities are going to have to make some decisions as to, ‘Where does this extra revenue come from to pay (athletes)?’”

Jerod: “What are the chances this reaches the Supreme Court, and if so, what are the precedents Northwestern or the NCAA would use to argue athletes shouldn’t be paid?”

Cossack: “You know, it’s not such shocking law. What’s shocking is, it took this long to get there…. College coaches are making an enormous amount of money. Everybody is making a lot of money. The only interesting question is why this took so long.”

Hooley: “Can you shed any light on the delay at the federal level on the FBI/IRS raid on Jimmy Haslam’s company, Pilot-Flying J, and whether it will result in an indictment? ”

Cossack: “These are the kinds of cases you don’t want to bring unless you have all your ducks in order. From just a logistical standpoint, when and if you’re going to take him on, you know that this is not someone who is going to roll over and say, ‘You’ve got me. You’ve got me. You’ve got me, and I’m sorry.’

“This guy is going to fight back and has the wherewithal to fight back. So, you do not want to take him on unless you have all your ducks in order and unless you have a highly-provable case, because it’s a high-publicity case and because it’s a case where if you fall flat, people will notice.”

To hear the entire interview with Roger Cossack, click here.

 

Bruce Hooley hosts "Hooley & Jerod" from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on ESPN 850 WKNR. He is the author of, “That’s Why I’m Here: The Chris and Stefanie Spielman Story.”

Email Bruce hoolz@espncleveland.com

Follow Bruce on Twitter @bhoolz

 

 

 

Things That Concern Me

Mar 26, 2014 -- 9:36pm

By Greg Brinda | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/USA Today

Things that concern me:

That winter won't end.

That the Browns won't make the right pick at 4.

That the Indians won't have enough pitching.

That Dan Gilbert doesn't see the light that he must hire a competent NBA person to run his team.

That fans won't come to see the Indians if they are playing well.

That the Browns will continue to wallow in 4-12 or 5-11.

That all of our sports teams don't respond to a sense of urgency.

That Cleveland sports fans only want to talk about mock drafts and the real one ad nauseam.

That Kyrie continues to mature at a snails pace.

That Kyrie and Dion Waiters just can't play together.

That the Browns have to look for a new coach in a year or two.

That Chief Wahoo goes away (over my cold dead body).

That the Dolans continue to drive us crazy as to how much they will spend or NOT spend.

That Bourn and Swisher under perform again.

That the new video boards at First Energy stadium are the best thing about the Browns in 2014.

That Cavs fans continue to have low expectations about the team.

That Masterson wins the Cy Young Award and leaves for free agency after the season.

That LeBron teases us this summer then decides to either stay in Miami or go elsewhere.

That the Cavs build up the lottery again.

That we go along with that nonsense.

That fans and media break down pre season games like they actually mean something.

That the Browns lose the opener again.

That Brian Hoyer is just OK.

That the Indians are sellers at the trading deadline.

That Browns fans continue to argue for a million years on who the team should have taken at number 4.

That I die before one our sports teams wins a championship.

That I don't play enough golf this year.

 

 

 

Ranking the remaining NCAA Tournament field top-to-bottom

Mar 26, 2014 -- 7:57am

By Bruce Hooley | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photos/USA Today/Getty

Not even one NCAA Tournament regional advanced all four top seeds through the first weekend, yielding a Sweet Sixteen that features a few powerhouse matchups and several Cinderella stories that will make for compelling viewing when the action resumes on Thursday.

Wichita State is the lone No. 1 seed that didn’t advance, while No. 2 Kansas and No. 3 Duke also fell by the wayside.

Every No. 4 seed advanced to its respective regional, however, as did a pair of No. 11 seeds in Dayton and Tennessee.

So how does the remaining field stack up top-to-bottom? Let’s have a look:

1. Florida – The Gators gutted out a first-round win over Albany and then breezed past Pittsburgh in looking worthy of their No. 1 overall seed label. This is a very tough defensive team with the requisite quality point guard, Scotty Wilbekin, needed to make a deep run.

2. Arizona – Another team that struggled in its opener, then looked great in Round Two in rudely dispatching Gonzaga. Might have the tournament’s most impressive player overall so far in Nick Johnson.

3. Michigan State – Although seeded just fourth in the West, MSU has lived up to pre-tournament hype that, now healthy, it would reach the Final Four. It faces No. 1 seed Virginia at 9:57 p.m. Friday.

4. Virginia – The Cavaliers have won 18 of 19 thanks to their defense and precision offense. It looks like they lack the athleticism to hang with Michigan State, but Virginia can win this game if it shoots threes well.

5. Louisville – The defending champions were on the ropes in Round One against Manhattan until Luke Hancock got hot from the outside. Montrez Harrell cannot get in foul trouble against Kentucky, or it’s curtains for the Cards.

6. Kentucky – The Wildkittens are growing up at the right time. They gutted out a win over an uber-experienced, albeit overrated Wichita State crew, and now face a Louisville squad they defeated in December.

7. Michigan – The Wolverines must shoot it well from the outside to take down Tennessee at 7:15 Friday in the Midwest. They will face a huge disparity inside, but it won’t matter if Nik Stauskus and Caris Lavert are hitting from beyond the arc.

8. Baylor – The Bears are streaky, and when hitting on all cylinders, can beat anyone. Ask Creighton, which fell under a hail of eight three-pointers that found the target on Baylor’s first nine attempts. If those shots aren’t falling, Wisconsin can beat up the Bears inside.

9. Tennessee – The chief question with the Vols is have they done enough to feel satisfied? If winning a First Four overtime game against Iowa, then advancing to the Sweet Sixteen made them content, then the Michigan matchup could be the end of the line. But if 6-8, 260-pound bruisers Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon dominate the lane, this surprising run could continue.

10. Wisconsin – The Badgers looked beaten in the first half of their second-round game against Oregon, then started making virtually every outside shot they attempted. That’s not typical, so perhaps the season ends against Baylor.

11. UCLA – Bruins fans were not happy when Steve Alford was hired, but they love him now. It’s doubtful UCLA has enough inside to contend with Florida, and even more doubtful the Bruins can withstand the sort of sticky coverage the Gators play.

12. Iowa State – The broken foot forward Georges Niang suffered in the second round damaged the Cyclones’ hopes of a Final Four run. DeAndre Kane, the hero of the win over North Carolina, may be enough to get them past No. 7 Connecticut, but not the Virginia-Michigan State winner.

13. Connecticut – The hottest ticket in the tournament is to see the Huskies play at Madison Square Garden. Shabazz Napier has the look of a get-on-my-back-and-ride post-season star for a team that went 28-8, but flew under the radar most of the year.

14. Stanford – The Cardinal do not have a point guard, and nearly paid the price for that deficiency with a near late collapse against Kansas. Still, size in abundance will allow this improbable run to continue thanks to an inviting Sweet Sixteen matchup against Dayton at 7:15 p.m. Thursday.

15. San Diego State University – The Aztecs will have some home fans behind them in San Diego, but No. 1 seed Arizona travels well and has too much on the perimeter for SDSU’s defense to make a difference.

16. Dayton – The Flyers’ two upsets over Ohio State and Syracuse make them the most-surprising survivor in the tournament. However, both the Buckeyes and Orange were Walking Dead into the post-season. In Stanford, UD gets an opponent playing its best basketball of the season.

 

Bruce Hooley hosts "Hooley & Jerod" from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on ESPN 850 WKNR. He is the author of, “That’s Why I’m Here: The Chris and Stefanie Spielman Story.”

Email Bruce hoolz@espncleveland.com

Follow Bruce on Twitter @bhoolz

 

 

 

Things you should all know

Mar 19, 2014 -- 2:01pm

By Greg Brinda | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/Getty

Love him. Hate him. Despise him. Want him.

It doesn't matter. The Cavs need LeBron or a reasonable facsimile. Without him or a player or players like him, the team has no chance of winning anything. Let me repeat that. No chance.

If you think this team is on the right path you are hallucinating. Without a superstar of LeBron’s caliber the best you can expect from the Cavs is mediocrity. And judging from the fans maybe that's all you want.

If you want to win a championship this team needs rock stars and not just one. This team also needs players who can stay healthy. In case you haven't noticed Kyrie Irving and Anderson Varejao don't quite fit that description.

The chances of LeBron coming back are slim. The chances of Irving and Varejao staying healthy for an entire year are non-existent. The chances of the Cavs making a lot of right decisions starting with owner Dan Gilbert are in the lower percentiles.

So where do the Cavs go from here? That's a good question that has no good answers. Unless Gilbert commits to hiring an NBA chief executive to run the organization and that person starts making really good decisions then this franchise is doomed.

The circus atmosphere at the Q with one or two good players and an opposing team that might bring a super star is OK for a lot of fans. Well good. That's all you deserve. The rest of us who want a team that contends sooner rather than later and wants to compete for a championship will be waiting a long time. I will still complain. Many others will just stop caring.

The Browns have done well so far in free agency.  The additions of Karlos Dansby, Ben Tate, Andrew Hawkins, Donte Whitner, Jim Dray and Isaiah Trufant have made the team better at least on paper. Of course there is a long way to go but there seems to be a clear plan to make the team a lot more competitive in 2014.

Now to another reality about the Browns. I continue to say it and I really believe it. No matter who the team picks on May 8th, at least two thirds of you will hate the pick. This town is so divided on what to do and who to go after it defies description. It will be a historical night for twitter. And twitter may crash forever because of you Browns fans. I can't wait.

You all do know Greg Little is still with the team, right?

Quicken Loans Bracket has garnered a lot of attention. Give credit to Warren Buffett and Dan Gilbert for devising a contest in which no one really has a chance to win. But the publicity they've gotten is remarkable. Yes they are giving away a hundred grand to 20 people who have the best results. That is chump change to these two guys. The publicity they've gotten, especially Gilbert is really worth the small investment.

Finally I hope the Indians come to terms with Justin Masterson. They have him at a bargain of a little over 9 million dollars for this season. He's a free agent for 2015. What's shocking is that he's willing to sign a shorter-term deal for a lot less money than what is the going rate. We don't know the actual numbers proposed by Masterson's agent but if they are reasonable the Indians should jump at it. If it were three or four years at 17 million dollars then that would be reasonable. It's hard for any organization to keep producing pitchers and for the Tribe it's almost impossible to buy a really good one. If the Indians sign him it will be great PR for the organization and an excellent baseball move. If it doesn't happen a lot of fans will continue to question if the team really ever wants to 'GO' for it.

 

 

 

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