Monday, April 22, 2019

Lounge on YouTube: 2019 NFL Draft preview


By Rick Morris                                          


FDH Lounge Mini-Episode #1110 previews the 2019 NFL Draft with FDH Lounge Dignitaries Jason Jones and Chris Galloway.


       


       


       


       

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Duke’s huge mistake, Auburn’s shaft and other thoughts on March Madness


By Steve Kallas (posted by Rick Morris)


It was an exciting tournament for sure and congratulations to Virginia on going all the way after that terrible loss in the first round last year.  But they were beyond lucky to be in the title game.  Let’s go with the obvious (Auburn-Virginia) before the more nuanced (Michigan State-Duke).


AUBURN GETS ROBBED


While, apparently, very few people understood the obvious at the end of the Auburn-Virginia game, everybody picked up on it after the fact (mainly because Gene Steratore, the CBS rules expert, explained it AFTER the game was over).


But a number of knowledgeable basketball people understood that, without question (not appeared to be or maybe or it’s unclear), Virginia’s Ty Jerome double-dribbled with a few seconds left in the game and Auburn up by two.  As a result of that clear violation, Auburn should have had the ball at center court with about 2.4 seconds left in the game.


At that point, Virginia has to foul.  If they can’t (because Auburn plays keepaway), game over and Auburn’s in the Final. If they foul and Auburn makes both, the game’s over (up four) and Auburn’s in the Final.  If Auburn misses or makes one, Virginia has under two seconds to make an incredible play and, maybe, tie or win. 


With a proper, simple call, Auburn could have and should have won the game.


SO, WHAT HAPPENED?


Well, with three officials on the floor, you would think one of them would have seen the obvious.  This wasn’t a play where Jerome was crossing over IN FRONT of his body while being closely guarded.  Rather, he attempted to dribble BEHIND HIS BACK (and, then, off the back of his foot), the point being there was no tight defense and a possible tipping of the ball by the defender (which would eliminate any double-dribble call).


While Steratore, trying to defend the officials, said it was a “tough judgment play,” the reality is it was a no-brainer and an easy call.


Interestingly, the CBS commentating crew had no idea and also missed the obvious.  It’s unclear whether that was something that should have been obvious to Jim Nantz, but basketball experts Grant Hill and Bill Raftery should not have missed this.  Sometimes they spend so much time saying Team A should do this or Team B should not do that, they actually miss what’s right in front of them.


Jim Nantz tried to save the whole crew by saying, when Steratore was introduced (again, after the game), “one [play] we didn’t even have a chance to review” (referring to the double-dribble).  But that’s not true.  In fact, right after Jerome double-dribbled, he was fouled and play was stopped.


Didn’t have a chance to review?  That’s ridiculous.  In fact, right after the play ended, they showed a SLOW MOTION replay.  If you didn’t see it the first time, you had to see it the second time.  Yet nobody on the crew saw it. 


CBS stayed with the replay for 30 seconds or so and then went to the (dreaded) commercials.  After a minute of those (an eternity to, hopefully, see that a turnover was committed), CBS returned to the game and, after another 45 seconds or so on the air (never mentioning the double-dribble), the game resumed with that Kyle Guy jumper at the buzzer. So there was about two minutes and 15 seconds of real time to review the obvious.  An eternity in TV time.


OF COURSE IT WAS A FOUL


While Auburn fans (and, frankly, basketball fans) should be disappointed that there was an obvious missed call that (most probably) led to a championship game appearance for Virginia rather than Auburn, nobody should really complain about the final call sending Kyle Guy to the line for three shots.  It definitely was a foul.  He definitely was behind the line.


Auburn’s Samir Doughty definitely hit Guy (with his body) before Guy let the shot go.  You can’t expect no whistle there just because it’s the end of the game.  Charles Barkley said it was a foul.  And Auburn coach Bruce Pearl pretty much said the same thing.  There was really no question on that one.


And incredible props to Guy for making all three shots ( despite being iced by Pearl with a timeout after the first two) in as pressure-packed a situation that one can be put in at the end of a huge game.


Auburn got the ball back with 0.6 seconds left.  Despite ESPN’s Zubin Mehenti saying (on SportsCenter) that Auburn got a “decent look,” Auburn got a virtually impossible look.  Daniel Purifoy threw a 70-foot or so pass to Bryce Brown, who jumped up just behind the three-point line to catch it and then twisted in the air to take a heave that really had no chance.


And that’s how Virginia got to the final game.


REPLAY IN COLLEGE BASKETBALL?


A fascinating question.  After what happened to the New Orleans Saints, who were clearly robbed of a chance to go to the Super Bowl (yes, they had time to win, but if the proper and obvious call was made, they would have taken three knees and won the game), the NFL has now changed the rule to allow review of pass interference calls and pass interference non-calls.


Could something like this be done in basketball?  A challenge flag? A review from an eye-in-the-sky official?


Well, it would be very hard to do.  In the Rams-Saints game, there’s obviously a stoppage of play after each play.  Not so in basketball.


BUT COULD THE NHL BE INSTRUCTIVE?


The NHL replay rule is a bit weird in some respects but it has been used to challenge goals by saying the scoring team was offsides, even if they were offsides 20, 30, 60 or 90 seconds before the goal was scored.


Think about that.  The offense comes across the blue line, the linesman signals no offsides, the offense keeps the puck in the zone for (in theory, as long as they can – it could even be minutes) and then, when a goal is scored, the defense can challenge the goal based on something that had happened awhile ago.


It’s unclear whether that could even be used in basketball because the goal scored in hockey, by definition, causes a stoppage of play.  Not so on an uncalled double-dribble (for example) in basketball.


SO WHAT’S THE NCAA OR NBA TO DO?


Well, on that particular play (the Jerome double-dribble), you actually could have had a replay since he was fouled about one second later.  But ESPN’s Jay Williams had a good point.  He’s against some kind of replay and essentially said that Jerome had his jersey grabbed right before he double-dribbled and that wasn’t called.  He went on to ask, if there was replay review should it have been called?


Well, the answer to that is, if you want to get it right, absolutely it should be called if the refs think it was a foul.  Interestingly, if that did happen, Auburn would have had a (very) little additional time to try and win the game.


But maybe there is something, like the NHL, that can be done, especially in the case of egregious non-calls.  It will be hard to do it in basketball but, in 2019, we had an egregious non-call that (most probably) kept the Saints out of the Super Bowl and we had an egregious non-call that (most probably) kept Auburn out of the NCAA championship game.


And that’s just not right.


WHAT ABOUT DUKE’S HUGE MISTAKE?


This was not a bad call or a non-call.  More nuanced, this still has not been recognized by many people weeks after it happened.


Michigan State-Duke are playing a tough head-to-head game to go to the Final Four.  This writer’s personal thoughts aside (that it was absurd to put Michigan State in Duke’s bracket – the head of the committee said it was for “geographical” reasons.  Yikes!), the game was a back and forth game as you might have expected.


But, during the second half, it became obvious to a tiny number of people (and kudos to Joe Heinzmann of Ridgefield, CT, an excellent basketball coach, who was the first and one of the only (maybe the only) people to recognize this major issue with about four-and-a-half minutes left in the game), that Duke had not fouled Michigan State in the second half.


With 4:30 left in the game, Duke had committed one foul in the second half.  This, of course, could be incredibly important if, late in the game, Duke was down a little and had to put Michigan State at the line.


SO, WHAT HAPPENED?


Well, with 4:07 left in the game, Duke committed its second foul (you probably know that, in college, you have to commit seven fouls before someone goes to the line (on the seventh)).  But at 3:30 left and 3:00 left and 2:30 left, Duke had still only committed two fouls.


What were they going to do if Michigan State was a little ahead – foul FIVE times?


With 2:26 left, CBS put up a graphic showing score, time outs remaining, fouls and the possession arrow.  Jim Nantz said that Duke had only committed two fouls in the second half.  But he didn’t seem to understand the potential problem that could cause Duke (i.e., they couldn’t put Michigan State on the line if Duke was losing late).


With 2:18 left, Duke committed another foul.  Jim Nantz said, “And again, only the third team foul.”  Grant Hill chipped in with,”I’m not mad at that play by Tre Jones.  Duke has a lot of fouls to give and they can be aggressive especially with the basketball cause they are not in the bonus.”


Again, nobody seemed to look at it the other way:  what if Duke doesn’t foul enough to get Michigan State in or very near the bonus and Duke is down late?


At 1:33 left, the sideline reporter said that Coach K had told them a number of things.  The final thing she said to the audience was that Coach K “reminded them they have three fouls to give.”


Did Coach K really remind them that they had three fouls to give?  Or did he tell them to commit three fouls quickly so they could put Michigan State on the line if they were down late.  Because if he didn’t tell them to foul intentionally (and it appears that he didn’t because they didn’t foul anyone intentionally then), that could cost them a chance to win the game.


Did anyone on Duke’s bench (player, coach, assistant) understand the potential problem?


THE FINAL 1:17


With 1:17 left, Duke is up by one.  With 43.6 seconds left, Michigan State calls a timeout down one.  With 34.3 seconds left, Kenny Goins hits a three-pointer to put Michigan State up by two.  NOW WHAT IS DUKE GOING TO DO?


Duke runs their offense (no timeout called but they only have one left) and R.J. Barrett shoots a three with 12 seconds left in the game.  The ball goes out of bounds and eventually is given to Duke with 8.4 seconds left.  Barrett goes to the basket and is fouled in the act of shooting with 5.2 seconds left.


Barrett goes to the line for two, down by two points.  He tries to make the first but misses.  He now has to miss the second (Duke down two) but the ball (a line drive shot) hits the back of the rim, goes straight up and goes in.


Duke’s down one with only three team fouls.  They are FOUR fouls away from putting Michigan State on the line.  The ball is thrown in by Michigan State and their point guard, Cassius Winston, is fouled right away.  Everybody starts walking the length of the court so Winston can shoot a foul shot with 4.7 seconds left.  Right?  Wrong.


Duke hasn’t fouled enough for Michigan State to be anywhere near shooting the bonus. 


And it finally dawns on Jim Nantz (and maybe Duke?) that Duke has a problem.


Nantz first says, “And they have a foul to give.” Well, they actually have TWO more fouls to give and Michigan State STILL wouldn’t be shooting.


And then Jim Nantz says, “And that’s only team foul number four on Duke.  It really comes back to hurt the Blue Devils.”  YA THINK?


Finally, Jim Nantz says, “They just can’t send them [Michigan State] to the line.  They haven’t committed any fouls.”


So it wasn’t until 4.7 seconds left in the game that somebody on the broadcast looked at it from the other side.  Michigan State then got the ball in to Winston who ran away from everybody to run out the clock and win the game for Michigan State.


The moral of the story:  you really have to look at the team fouls sometime not-too-late in the second half to see if you should give a few fouls down the stretch.


A WEEK LATER


It was interesting to see that there was virtually no conversation about the lack of fouls committed by Duke.  Had they been able to put Michigan State on the line when they fouled with 4.7 seconds left, they would have at least had a chance (4.7 seconds), down one, two or three (depending on how many foul shots were made) to tie or even win the game.


But they never got the chance.  A big mistake.


So, at halftime of the Championship Game on CBS, Greg Gumbel said to Seth Davis something to the effect that you wanted to talk about the fouls in this game.  Seth Davis explained that you had to look at the team fouls for both Virginia and Texas Tech because they each had only four in the first half. 


He then referenced the Auburn game, saying they hadn’t fouled enough against Virginia in the second half to put them in the bonus.  And he’s right.


But the MUCH GREATER issue and MUCH BETTER example was Duke in their loss to Michigan State.  Without question, it cost them an opportunity to tie or win the game.  Did Seth Davis not know about it more than a week after it happened?


Again, it’s almost two weeks after the Michigan State-Duke game and, still, very few people know or understand what happened.  Amazing.


A BRIEF THOUGHT ON THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME


Virtually everybody (correctly, virtually all (but not totally all) of the time), the game isn’t won or lost on one play.  You know, the coach says something like, “we had a lot of opportunities” or “you can’t blame it all on that one play.”  Again, that’s usually, but not always, true.  The Seahawks passing (rather than running) from the one-yard line to lose the Super Bowl to the Patriots is one classic example when Malcolm  Butler intercepted a pass to save the win for New England.


In this game, the one play late to focus on (and, no, it’s not as bad as Seattle) is, with about 18 seconds left in the game, Texas Tech is up by three. Ty Jerome of Virginia easily beats his man and is going down the lane for an uncontested layup.  At that point, what you don’t want to give up is an uncontested three or an “old-fashioned” (how quaint) three-point play (you know, don’t foul the guy).


So what happened?  If you watch the replay, Davide Moretti, who was guarding Virginia sharpshooter (and hero) Kyle Guy, never moves from Guy, understanding exactly what he has to do (no threes).  However, three other guys, including Jared Culver, who was guarding De’Andre Hunter, attack Jerome.  WHY? A layup can’t tie or beat you.


Culver left 42% three-point shooter Hunter wide open in the corner.  Hunter buries it with 12.9 seconds left to tie up the game.  Virginia would go on to win in overtime. 


If everybody just stays with his man, Jerome scores a layup and Virginia, down one, has to foul and put Texas Tech on the line with 10 or less seconds left. 


Does that mean that Texas Tech would have won?  Absolutely not.  Does that mean that Texas Tech would have had the advantage? Absolutely.  It’s very hard to stay at home (like Moretti did) in such a big spot. 


But that’s something you have to just learn to do.


FINALLY


All credit to Virginia.  They owned their bad loss last year and came back to win it all.  Congratulations to them.


© COPYRIGHT 2019 BY STEVE KALLAS ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Monday, April 8, 2019

2019 FDH Stanley Cup Playoff predictions


By Rick Morris


STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS

CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS

Tampa Bay over Columbus in 5

Boston over Toronto in 6

Washington over Carolina in 6

Pittsburgh over New York Islanders in 6

Calgary over Colorado in 5

San Jose over Vegas in 6

Nashville over Dallas in 5

St. Louis over Winnipeg in 7

CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS

Tampa Bay over Boston in 7

Pittsburgh over Washington in 7

Calgary over San Jose in 6

Nashville over St. Louis in 7

CONFERENCE FINALS

Tampa Bay over Pittsburgh in 6

Calgary over Nashville in 6

STANLEY CUP FINALS

Tampa Bay over Calgary in 6

CONN SMYTHE TROPHY

Nikita Kucherov

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Lounge on YouTube: Mini-Episode #1102 – Billions Episode 4.3 preview


By Rick Morris

Mini-Episode #1102 previews Episode 4.3 of Billions.


       


       


        


       

Lounge on YouTube: Mini-Episode #1101 – Billions Episode 4.2 preview


By Rick Morris

Mini-Episode #1101 previews Episode 4.2 of Billions.


       


       


       


       

Lounge on YouTube: Don Koster tribute and 2019 MLB season preview


By Rick Morris                                          


FDH Lounge Mini-Episode #1100 previews the 2019 MLB season and serves as the second annual tribute to our late friend and colleague Don Koster with FDH Lounge Dignitaries Ken Detwiler and Steve Kallas.


       


       


       


       

Lounge on YouTube: 2019 fantasy baseball preview


By Rick Morris


THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER previews the 2019 fantasy baseball season.


       


       


       


       

Lounge on YouTube: Mini-Episode #1098 – Billions Season 4 preview


By Rick Morris

Mini-Episode #1098 previews Season 4 of Billions.


       


       


       


       

Lounge on YouTube: Mini-Episode #1097 – 2019 NFL New Year review with Mike Harmon


By Rick Morris


Here is Mini-Episode #1097 of The FDH Lounge, reviewing the 2019 NFL New Year with Fox Sports Radio host Mike Harmon.


       


       


       


       

Lounge on YouTube: Mini-Episode #1096 – 2019 John Basedow Oscars review


By Rick Morris


Here is Mini-Episode #1096 of The FDH Lounge, reviewing the 2019 Oscars with FDH Lounge Dignitary and fitness and pop culture expert John Basedow.


       


       


       


       

Lounge on YouTube: Mini-Episode #1095 – 2019 NBA stretch run preview


By Rick Morris


Here is Mini-Episode #1095 of The FDH Lounge, previewing the 2019 NBA stretch run with FDH Lounge Dignitary Ben Chew.


       


       


       


       

Lounge on YouTube: Mini-Episode #1094 – 2019 NASCAR preview


By Rick Morris

Here is Mini-Episode #1094 of The FDH Lounge, another edition of THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER, previewing the 2019 fantasy NASCAR season with FDH Motorsports Editor Mike Ptak.


       


       


       


       

Lounge on YouTube: Super Bowl 53 review


By Rick Morris                                          


FDH Lounge Mini-Episode #1093 reviews Super Bowl 53 with FDH Lounge Dignitaries Joe Staszak and Steve Kallas.


       


       


       


       

Lounge on YouTube: Super Bowl 53 preview with Chidi Ahanotu


By Rick Morris                                          


FDH Lounge Mini-Episode #1092 previews Super Bowl 53 with Chidi Ahanotu.


       


       


       


       

Lounge on YouTube: 2018-19 NFL Championship Sunday review


By Rick Morris                                          


FDH Lounge Mini-Episode #1091 reviews 2018-19 NFL Championship Sunday with FDH Lounge Dignitary Steve Kallas.