This blog hasn’t gone away, just been in hibernation for a few weeks thanks to work, fatherhood and the busy time of the holidays. My goal is to post on a more regular basis from this point.
Sixers story: Mo Cheeks might not be Red Auerbach, but Cheeks got a raw deal when he was fired Dec. 13. The Sixers were struggling at the time, but it was expected since they were coming off a tough stretch with games against Cleveland, Detroit and the Lakers.
You want to fire Mo, fine. But you’ve got to give him a chance against teams with which the Sixers can compete. The bottom line with the Sixers is they just don’t have the talent – with or without Elton Brand in the lineup. They don’t have a legitimate 3-point shooter, which is a sin in the NBA (Example: The Sixers didn’t hit their first 3 in Monday’s loss to Utah until there were two minutes left in the game). Shame on Ed Stefanski for not finding one this offseason.
They are athletic, but that athleticism strangely doesn’t translate on the defensive end. This team still can make the playoffs, mainly because the Eastern Conference is so bad. But there’s no chance the Sixers are anything more than a first-round team.
And Tony DiLeo isn’t the answer. I wasn’t surprised to hear the praise heaped on DiLeo after the Sixers started 3-0 under him. But I knew it wouldn’t last since those wins were against Washington (twice) and Milwaukee. Since, the Sixers have dropped four straight against some real competition – vs. Indy and on the road against Boston, Denver and Utah.
Prediction: Jay Wright will be on the sidelines next September.
Next up: At Clippers, 9:30 p.m., tomorrow.
Eagles story: I was as shocked as anyone with Sunday’s 44-6 dismantling of the Cowboys that sent the Eagles to the playoffs. Truth is, I stopped paying close attention to the Eagles a month or so ago, so infuriated with Andy Reid’s coaching style, personality and reluctance to run the ball.
As a fan, I’ll follow the Eagles and root for them to beat the Vikings Sunday. But I can’t say that I think them making the playoffs is the best thing that could’ve happened for the franchise’s long-term success. They might just go out and win the Super Bowl and I could look foolish for writing this, but I truly believe the Eagles need a major overhaul, from the front office, to the coaching staff and, yes, to the quarterback for this organization to take a real step toward contending for a title.
I hoped that a loss to Dallas would signal a time for change. We all know what happened. Now, there’s no chance Lurie and Banner will make any changes – and, honestly, nor should they after what transpired Sunday. Somehow I think Sunday’s victory, while amazing and great for the city, will come back to haunt the Eagles.
Next up: At Minnesota, NFC Divisional playoffs, 4:30 p.m., Sunday.
Phillies story: Not much happening on the Phils front, other than Chase Utley saying he doesn’t regret dropping the F-bomb in the post-victory speech. It must be something in pro athletes’ DNA, that they never regret anything. Remember how Jimmy Rollins didn’t regret calling Philly fans “front-runners?”
Maybe it’s what makes players like Rollins and Utley so great, that they don’t look in the past and have regrets. But, really, would it have killed Utley to say he shouldn’t have used that word in front of so many kids in such a public setting? I’m not his judge or jury and I can handle him dropping the F-bomb, but as a parent I would prefer he would’ve been a bit more careful. That said, he’s not a druggie, a gunnie (a word?) or a womanizer. Bottom line, there are worse things he could’ve done than drop the F-bomb. Just wish he would’ve said he would be more careful next time.
On another note, anyone who’s seen the Phillies DVD probably will agree with me that it’s very well done. Brought back some great memories for me. How about you?
Next up: Spring Training, Februrary, Clearwater, Fla.
Flyers story: Word is that the Flyers are crashing frat parties and getting stalled on runways in Chicago. I also hear Jeff Carter is having a great season. Next up: At Vancouver, 10:30 p.m., tonight.
College hoops report: Here’s a quick look/update at the six Philly D-1 schools:
Drexel (3-6). The Dragons ended a five-game losing streak with Saturday’s 76-70 win over Rider. The victory came just in time, too, as the Dragons had the dubious distinction of landing in Sports Illustrated’s “Not Hot” list. Bruiser Flint, who could be on thin ice on 33rd and Market, didn’t even get to share the sideline with good bud and Memphis coach John Calipari for the Dragons’ game against the Tigers Dec. 22 after getting ejected from Drexel’s loss at Bucknell Dec. 20. Good thing, though, since Memphis buried Drexel, 87-49. Next up: At St. Joe’s (Palestra), 5 p.m., tomorrow.
La Salle (6-5). This team has some serious talent, as I saw first-hand in the Explorers’ 92-75 dismantling of Rider on Dec. 17. And La Salle pushed UConn to the limit in an 89-81 loss Nov. 21. Still, it’s hard to know much about the Explorers because they continue to play nobodies. Too bad. A decent nonconference schedule would get La Salle battle-tested and probably ready to contend in the weak A-10. As it is, the Explorers likely will be a run-of-the-mill conference competitor. Next up: Vs. Manhattan, 4 p.m., tomorrow.
Penn (1-7). The Quakers continued their struggles, getting blown out, 81-64, by Central Florida Monday to drop their fifth straight. Glen Miller’s job was in jeopardy prior to the season and Penn’s shaky start can’t be helping his job security. Miller hasn’t endeared himself to the Penn faithful but, in fairness, he had a very tough act to follow. Next up: Vs. Lafayette, 7 p.m., Jan. 6.
St. Joe’s (5-6). The Hawks inexplicably blew an 18-point, second-half lead at the Palestra Sunday night in a loss to Siena. The Saints are a very good team and a perennial MAAC contender. But the key word there is “MAAC.” If you’re St. Joe’s and you want to be any good, you can’t lose to a MAAC team. The Hawks haven’t had any wins of significance (please don’t give me Indiana, a team of walk-ons) this year, and they haven’t had any really bad losses either. SJU played well in a 59-56 loss at Villanova Dec. 11, but you know what they say about being close…only good in horseshoes and hand grenades. Next up: Vs. Drexel (at Palestra), 5 p.m., tomorrow.
Temple (5-6). The Owls followed their eye-catching 88-72 win over Tennessee on Dec. 13 with three straight losses, at Kansas (71-59), at Long Beach State (76-71) and at Villanova (62-45) Monday night. Fran Dunphy’s squad still looks like an A-10 contender. Next up: Vs. Kent State, 7 p.m., Jan. 5.
Villanova (12-1). Monday’s impressive 62-45 blowout of Temple capped Nova’s nonconference schedule. The Cats played a bunch of patsies. Now they enter the incredibly tough Big East portion of their schedule. No less than seven Big East teams are in the AP Top 25 this week, with Villanova coming in at No. 15. The Wildcats have the talent and are Philly’s best hope to make a run in the NCAA Tournament, but there are a lot of mine fields awaiting in conference play. Next up: At Marquette, 2:30 p.m., Thursday.
That’s all for now.