Final Four Predictions
Author: Dawson Haywood
In the Elite 8 article, I predicted Gonzaga, Michigan, Baylor, and Oregon State to win and progress. That leaves me 2-2 in this round and 7-5 since I began making predictions. Michigan and Oregon State set me back this past round losing to UCLA and the fraudulent Houston team. I’m actually glad that I’ve been wrong because it has kept things interesting for me.
Of the three teams in the Final Four Gonzaga, Baylor, and Houston have never won a National Title. UCLA has enough National Titles to pass around but there is a reason they are the team that I am pulling for to win it all and you will read why in this article.
#1 Gonzaga v #11 UCLA
Prediction: Gonzaga Win
For those that are rooting for an underdog in the finals, I would suggest pulling for whatever team comes out of this game. First off if Gonzaga makes the championship and wins it this will be their first national title.
UCLA took me by surprise and the Pac-12 continues to impress. Only four other teams that came into the tournament at the #11 seed have made the Final Four. UCLA joins the “#11 seed in the Final Four” with LSU (1986), George Mason (2006), VCU (2011), and Loyola Chicago (2018). Should UCLA get past this Gonzaga team they will be the lowest seed to ever make the championship.
I’m going to pull for UCLA in this game because if they did so we would all be witnessing history. Unfortunately for them, I cannot see them getting past this powerful Gonzaga Team. They just have too many weapons to overpower UCLA. Both teams have something to play for so you best believe that this game may just be the most competitive game in the tournament this year.
#1 Baylor v #2 Houston
Prediction: Baylor Win
I’m sticking to my original take and will continue to say that Houston is a fraud. Their route to the Final Four has been easiest as they have not played anybody in the tournament that was seeded higher than #10 and does not have high-quality wins in the regular season. Now if they beat Baylor this week I will admit my fault but until then I refuse to do so. Call me stubborn or whatever you want for having this take but I stand by my word.
In an earlier article, I mentioned that I predicted that we would see a Baylor v Gonzaga championship. Now I know I have been harping on Houston being a fraud team but it would be a disservice to my readers to not give them more of a reason to believe Baylor will win this game.
Both of Baylor’s losses come from teams ranked in the Top 25 and teams that are in the tournament. Kansas and Oklahoma State. The Big-12 was also very competitive this year sending seven teams to the Tournament. Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Texas, and Texas Tech. The American Athletic Conference only had two representatives in The Dance this year. Houston and Wichita State. Houston had two losses to teams that I would say didn’t make much of an impact this season but they’re the reasons I’m calling Houston a fraud. Tulsa and ECU finished in the bottom half of the conference and had losing records. Wichita State is the only team that can be justified because they are the AAC regular-season titleholders except they went on to lose to Cincinnati in the AAC Semi-Finals and to Drake in the play-in game.
Author: Cameron Haywood
News broke recently that Conor McGregor will face Dustin Poirier during International Fight Week on June 10th in Las Vegas. This is the match that will decide the tiebreaker between the two. Make no mistake about the importance of this fight for Conor. This is the biggest fight of Conor McGregor’s career. If he loses this match, his days in the UFC are numbered. If not over!!
Conor McGregor is going down a path that has been traveled before. The path of UFC legends tarnishing their legacy by allowing their careers to die a slow death. When he lost his match to Khabib Nurmagomedov, McGregor lost much more than a UFC fight. Before the Khabib fight, Conor thought he had no equal. Now he knows that he can never be the best at what he does best. That he is not invincible. Following his loss to Kabib, his next match was a lay-up against a washed-up Donald Cerrone. But when quality competition in the form of Dustin Poirier came calling, the ghost of Khabib reappeared. Conor was embarrassed and dominated for the second time in three fights. That loss was the proof that he lost things that every fighter must have. Confidence. Swagger. Invincibility. Conor is following a trail that many legendary fighters have walked. History tells us that this trilogy on June 10 is Conor’s last chance to be relevant in the UFC.
Chuck “Iceman” Liddell walk into the Octagon on May 6, 2007, with a 20-3 record while riding a 7-fight win streak. A streak that included his recent victory over his main rival Tito Ortiz for the second time in four years. The Iceman was universally thought of as unbeatable. His last loss was to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson four years earlier and this was his night to get revenge. To prove he is the best Light Heavyweight on the planet. But Quinton turned out to be his kryptonite and the Iceman could not pull off the victory. Rampage did not just beat him and take the UFC Light Heavyweight Title, but he embarrassed him. It took Rampage just one minute and fifty-three seconds in the first round to take the victory and all the necessities that a fighter must have. Confidence. Swagger. Invincibility. This loss meant that Rampage was better. There is a man walking the earth better at what he is supposed to be the best at. This resulted in Chuck only winning once in his next seven fights before retiring.
On July 6, 2013, Anderson “Spider” Silva was invincible. He was in the midst of a UFC record 16-fight win streak and 17 straight wins overall. He had not tasted defeat in over seven and a half years. No doubt that Chris Weidman was destined to be the next notch in the win column on the 33-4 record of the Spider. One minute and eighteen seconds in the second round, Weidman shocked the world and knock Silva out. Silva quickly got a rematch in December of that same year. Weidman won again; it just took two seconds less in the second round this time. Silva ended up with one win, one no contest, and seven losses to end his career. Matt Weidman too was the thieve of Silva’s fighting lifeline. He took his Confidence. His Swagger. Silva was no longer invincible.
This potential fight against Dustin Poirier has more than just a win at stake for Conor McGregor. This is about more than getting back into a title picture. This is about regaining all the things that he lost to Khabib. Repossessing all the things that Poirier took from him in that January 21st lost earlier in the year. Conor is fighting to regain confidence. Take back his “Rick Flair Style” swagger. To feel invincible once again.
My opinion. 120 million dollars in the bank along with the knowledge that he can be beaten, tells me that Conor McGregor has more losing in the future than winning. Starting with Poirier on June 10, 2021.
Author: Dawson Haywood
The Heatin' Up Podcast is hosted by Andrew Gibson, Wes Dennis, and Atlanta Empire Guard, Luke Gibson where they cover a wide variety of topics in sports. This week the Heatin' Up Podcast covered March Madness and NFL Free Agency. Us at Ok Listen Here are here to break down their podcast and give you more in-depth content about the topics discussed on Fridays at 7am!
As I'm writing this article my phone sends me a notification notifying me that UCLA did in fact pull the upset against #1 Michigan, who I have been rooting for throughout the tournament. The Pac-12 came into this tournament to make a statement. Of the Power 5 conferences the Pac-12 had the least amount of teams receive bids into the tournament at five. USC, Oregon, Colorado, UCLA, and Oregon state represented the conference this year and up to this point, they have represented the conference well. Had USC and Oregon not played against each other in the Sweet 16 it is possible that we could have seen half of the Elite 8 teams come from the Pac-12.
I do not think many people had but one maybe two Pac-12 teams in the Elite 8 much less have a Pac-12 team in the Final Four. I'll be the first to admit that I slept on the Pac-12. If you look at my previous articles you can see on record me doubting these teams. Now if UCLA can pull out a dub against Gonzaga, I might have to jump on the UCLA bandwagon because this Gonzaga team is one of the best college basketball teams that I have seen.
Is Kansas the Worst #3 Seed in the Tournament?
Kansas is the most decorated #3 Seed in this years tournament sitting pretty with three National Titles. Other teams seeded #3 this year are Texas, Arkansas, and West Virginia. The last time this team missed the tournament was in 1989 when now North Carolina Coach Roy Williams was coaching the team.
This season Kansas played up to par finishing 21-9. It's not often we see a Kansas team lose more than nine games in a season. The question at hand is, is Kansas the worst #3 seed in the Tournament this year?
First off, Texas, though they lost to #14 Abilene Christian in the first round, they ended up beating Kansas twice in the season and once in the Big-12 Tournament. Beating a single opponent three times in a season is not easy. For this reason, it's safe to say that Texas was the better team.
Next we have West Virginia who tied the series with Kansas 1-1 in the regular season. West Virginia was knocked out in the tournament by #11 Syracuse in the Round of 32, so take that how you will.
Last we have Arkansas, or as Arkansans call it, the better Kansas. With hindsight on my side it is safe to say that Arkansas is the better team because they made it to the Elite 8 to lose to a powerful and hot Baylor team whereas Kansas lost in the Round of 32.
Saying "Kansas is the worst #3 seed this year" but West Virginia is likely right there with them holding the "Worst #3 Seed" title.
Women's Basketball Dominance
Each year since the end of Tennessee's reign when you fill out your bracket it is safe to have UConn, Notre Dame, Baylor, and whoever the SEC champion is in your Final Four. Since women have had a tournament to call their own, two teams hold over half of the titles. Legend Geno Auriemma's UConn team and Legend Pat Summit's Tennessee team. Both teams have faced off four times in the National title game with UConn taking lead in the series 4-0.
What is probably the most impressive stat in sports is that UConn has NEVER lost a National Title that they have competed in. The only team or athlete that I can think of that is a guaranteed win when reaching the finals is Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls. When it gets down the the Elite 8 of the Women's tournament you are likely to find some of the most competitive competition in sports.
If you are a top prospect why would you not go to UConn? Since 2006 if Geno Auriemma said "I promise you a national title" she would not be a liar if you stayed all four years. If you are not recruited by UConn but are still a top prospect, you best believe you will be getting calls from Notre Dame or Baylor.
What's Wrong with UVA
UVA, defending National Champions, defeated in the first round by #13 Ohio. Not Ohio State... Ohio. We saw in the ACC tournament this UVA team have to remove themselves from competition due to COVID-19 issues. With this came a period of time that the team could not meet or practice. A quite unfortunate time to be tied up in a global pandemic.
Ohio was hot coming into the tournament winning the MAC title and only losing two of their last twelve games. They struggled at the beginning of the year but Coach Jeff Boals apparently knows how to rally the troops. Knowing that UVA was at a disadvantage this Ohio team knew that they had a shot. Being down by only one point at the half was enough for Ohio to get that confidence boost they needed to finish.
Had UVA not had COVID and had more adequate preparation they very well could have made a solid run in the tournament
NFL Free Agency
$5 million / One Year / Miami Dolphins
Brissett has done about as well as you can expect out of a backup quarterback. By spending time behind Andrew Luck and Phillip Rivers you are likely to learn a lot. Starting over Miami's fresh new Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is very unlikely but in the unfortunate event that Tua gets hurt again Brissett has proven that he can win a few games from time to time.
$10 Million / One Year / Washington Football Team
This is what, the ninth team that gets to experience a little Fitzmagic? The 2015 Jets are the only team to find success with Fitzpatrick at the steering wheel. I'm not sure I would have allowed Alex Smith to walk away just to replace him with a quarterback that has flashes of greatness but can never seem to find a way to have a losing season but you do you Dan Snyder.
$10 Million / 1 Year / Chicago Bears
"Bears fans are livid".... Yes we are Andrew. If you want to know my opinion on Andy Dalton please refer to the article I wrote about Andy Dalton a few days ago... As a Bears fan this is a touchy subject and I would like to practice my Fifth Amendment right and not discuss this topic anymore.
$2.5 Million / 1 Year / Buffalo Bills
I'm going to allow my emotions and bias to influence my writing here but treat him better Buffalo. The guy really was wasted potential in Chicago and I truly believe that he could be a solid Quarterback with the right people to get him to that point. I would make an argument that he is currently the best backup Quarterback any team could have.
$5.1 Million / 1 Year / New England Patriots
Carolina did Cam dirty and he is still paying for it. You're meaning to tell me Andy Dalton and Ryan Fitzpatrick deserve to make more than him? Patriots are once again getting a steal but this has allowed Belichick to surround Cam with weapons. Not that I think Cam has anything to prove but succeeding this year could elongate Cam's career and hopefully land him a contract that is longer than one year.
$3.5 Million / 1 Year / Las Vegas Raiders
Marcus Mariota is one of those players that I forgot existed for a while and it was not until I really started following sports that I was like "Oh yeah. That guy exist". I like this pickup because should Derek Carr go down Mariota can easily step in and give them more of the same. Should Mariota play a full season for Las Vegas he could get them four to eight wins which is what Raiders' fans should expect.
$11 Million / 2 Years / Las Vegas Raiders
Drake has been lurking in the shadows in the league and anybody who has had him on their fantasy team knows just how productive he can be. Drake will likely rotate with Josh Jacobs and will start this season fighting for that number one spot in the depth chart.
$48 Million / 4 Years / Green Bay Packers
Jones wrecks havoc on my Chicago Bears and based on his performance against Chicago I would say this is a really good signing for the Packers. Still young Jones does still have a good amount of potential and over the next four years we will see him in his prime.
$10.425 Million / 2 Years / Seattle Seahawks
Give him the ball and he is likely to give you a first down in two plays. Good for Seattle. I predict that like Aaron Jones he will enter the prime of his career over the course of this contract
$1.1 Million / 1 Year / New York Jets
The Jets made a few moves in free agency that seem to put them in the right direction. Coleman has not found much success in the league thus far but a starting position could change that.
$7.5 Million / 2 Years / Detroit Loins
Signing with a rival team? Ballsy move but a smart one. There's no starting over Aaron Jones. Jamal Williams will have two years to fight for a starting spot on the Detroit Lions. Up to this point he has started one out of every three games that he has played in.
$5.5 Million / 2 Years / Atlanta Falcons
Davis is entering this season coming off of his most successful season with Carolina, a large part of that due to McCaffery's injury, but he proved that he can get it done. Mike Davis will make an immediate impact in Atlanta and it will be a little upsetting for Carolina fans to see him wearing that black and red.
$5.5 Million / 2 Years / New York Giants
Saquan is coming back. Booker has been limited in carries per game but makes the most out of what he gets averaging 4.5 yards per carry last year. Booker has been a solid backup throughout his tenure in the NFL so Saquan has good support coming his way.
$2.5 Million / 1 Year / Houston Texans
As far as NFL careers go, Ingram has had one for the books. Three time Pro-Bowler will likely sit behind David Johnson and Phillip Lindsay. Just two seasons ago Ingram had over 1,000 yards and ten carries into the endzone. Though a little old for a running back he has proved to be productive. This might be the biggest steal this free agency as he could possibly start somewhere.
$3.25 Million / 1 Year / Houston Texans
Lindsay was the first undrafted rookie in NFL history to be voted into the Pro-Bowl. He is only in his fourth season entering this season and, dare I say it, could be on pace to be one of the best backs in the league. Last season Lindsay was injured which is likely the reason he is only signed to a one year deal. In seasons where Lindsay has not been hurt he has ran for over 1,000 yards. Hopefully, we can see Lindsay at 100% this season because if he is, the Texans got themselves a good one.
$72 Million / 4 Years / New York Giants
With Matt Stafford gone and the Lions future being questionable it is not surprise that Golladay decided to part ways. The Giants have made a few moves in free agency that could help them win more than six games in a season which, being in the NFC East, might just be all they need to reach playoffs.
$3.75 Million / 1 Year / Las Vegas Raiders
Henry Ruggs, John Brown, and Willie Snead. I find it hard to believe that any quarterback would not be able to find success when throwing to these three. Being in the same division as the Chiefs I find it hard to believe that these moves will bring them to the number one spot in the division but these moves could get them a Wildcard Berth.
$37.5 Million / 3 Years / New York Jets
Coming off of his best season yet with the Titans it comes to no surprise that Davis signed for as much as he did. The Jets have to be competitive because they are in arguably one of the most difficult divisions coming into the season. One thing I can bet on is we will see them win more than two games this year because of the moves they made during free agency.
$34.5 Million / 3 Years / Washington Football Team
Samuel signing with the Washington Football Team says a lot about what Ron Rivera thinks of him. Still young in his career Samuel has proven to be a efficient wide receiver. With the moves the Giants and Football Team have made this free agency I believe we may just see a competitive NFC East that actually host winning teams.
$22 Million / 2 Years / New England Patriots
Agholor is a big reason why Philly made it to and won the Super Bowl back in 2018. One thing is for sure, Cam Newton is going to have some weapons this season. Agholor is a great addition to this wide receiver core. This being the second season after Brady's departure Belichick has something to prove and boy is he making moves to do so.
$15 Million / 3 Years / New England Patriots
Another Weapon that Cam Newton gets to add to his arsenal. Cam is a competitor, Belichick is a competitor, the Patriots are a competitor. One season gone wrong and Belichick decides to make moves to ensure that this does not happen again. Maybe last season was just a Tom Brady hangover while the team was still trying to find its new identity. Bourne still has some work to do but he is Heatin' Up and could become one of the best receivers over the next three years.
$12.5 Million / 2 Years / Jacksonville Jaguars
Statistically, one of the better receivers on this list, but Jones is getting up there in age. Receivers peak around 26 to 27 years old and then gradually start declining but at age 30 Jones had one of his best seasons yet.
$14.25 Million / 3 Years / Jacksonville Jaguars
It's been since his rookie season that Agnew had over 200 receiving yards but in that season he was given an All-Pro title. We will likely see Agnew come off the bench this season and over the course of three years with Urban Meyer steering the ship we could see him develop into a good receiver.
$10.625 Million / 1 Year / Miami Dolphins
This move by Fuller does and does not surprise me. Since entering the league and up until last season he has been in the shadows of DeAndre Hopkins. This move surprises me because he for sure could have gotten more money and more years on this deal somewhere else but it doesn't surprise me because I'd want to get out of Houston as fast as possible right now.
$8 Million / 1 Year / Indianapolis Colts
Four time Pro-Bowler and Colts legend. I wish he was able to secure more years with the team because of his status in Indianapolis but I can understand the one year deal. Since Luck's retirement Hilton has had two of his worst years in the league. This season he will turn 32 but can consistently get you 800+ yards in a season.
$8 Million / 1 Year / Pittsburgh Steelers
I can only think that this year is worth as little as it is because of his off field shenanigans. That last half of Pittsburgh season hurt his value but I can only think that Juju is using this season as a bridge to what's to come. He is still very young and could make a lot of money, this season is going to have to be the season Juju proves that he deserves it.
$6 Million / 1 Year / Arizona Cardinals
Being a seven time Pro-Bowler playing with the Bengals for your entire career is impressive. Entering his last leg of his career its a good move by Green to go to an Arizona team that has the potential to contend for a title. His valuation is on par as the last two seasons have not been very productive but he will serve as a good player coming off the bench this year.
$6 Million / 1 Year / Buffalo Bills
Sanders is the oldest receiver on this list sitting pretty at 34 years old. Sanders is a two time Pro-Bowler with a ring on his hand. I believe he is at the point now where he is taking it year by year just waiting on retirement.
$50 Million / 4 Years / New England Patriots
$37.5 Million / 3 Years / New England Patriots
I'm writing about these two together because this is game changer for New England. Last year they did not run a two Tight End Offence whereas in previous years they have, and they found great success with it. Signing Smith and Henry are going to give Belichik and the Patriots a boost because it is what they know and it as worked. As they saying goes "If it ain't broke don't fix it". It's possible that this system worked with Brady but will not work with Newton, as he is a little more mobile.
$36 Million / 4 Years / Minnesota Vikings
By the time this contract is up Rudolph will be 35 years old. That is old for an NFL player. Rudolph has been with the Vikings since 2011 and has found his way to two Pro-Bowls since. The Vikings must really have trust in Rudolph to sign him for this much but if you can think of five Viking's players, odds are Rudolph is one of them.
$82.5 Million / 5 Years / Tennessee Titans
Bud did what Juju couldn't and got out of Pittsburgh. Dupree had an exceptional amount of sacks the last two years while racking up tackle after tackle. He was a big reason Pittsburgh had the #3 defense in the league last year which makes this contract well deserved.
$39 Million / 3 Years / New York Giants
The cornerback will serve as the return man for the New York Giants this upcoming season. Jackson missed last season due to a knee injury. I cannot really justify this contract as he does not exactly have the production to do so. Only averaging 8.8 yards on punt returns and 22.3 yards on kickoff returns does not really make me think "Oh lets pay this guy $10.3 million a year". In his first two years he found success on the defensive side of the ball but the last two seasons leave a giant question mark as to why this signing was even done.
$68 Million / 4 Years / Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa's defense has been something to marvel at the last two years and Barrett's contributions are a big part of why that is. Selected in the Pro-Bowl two seasons ago, largely because of his 19.5 sacks which is only three off the NFL record, and in the peak of his career, the outside linebacker's contract for the next four years can be justified.
$54.5 Million / 4 Years / New England Patriots
The last two season's Judon has found his way to the Pro-Bowl and shows no sign of letting up. This addition to the Patriots defense, which is already was a Top 10 defense, will make them contenders to have the best defense in the league this upcoming season. The outside linebacker served well for the #2 defense in the league last year with Baltimore and was a big reason for their success.
$28 Million / 2 Years / Arizona Cardinals
We all knew that after Watt's departure from Houston that the team was bound for disaster. Watt made the Pro-Bowl and received First Team All-Pro honors three season ago. A mix of injury and a messy front office likely have a correlation to Watt's less than Watt-Like production in the last two years. Watt is easily one of the biggest competitors in the league and being in a culture like Arizona's could provide fans with a revival of Prime Watt.
$26 Million / 2 Years / Las Vegas Raiders
Ngakoue spent last season jumping from Baltimore to Minnesota and finished the season with eight sacks. The Raiders had to make moves on defense as the only two teams with a worse defense were Jacksonville and Detroit. Up until last season Ngakoue started in every game he played in for Jacksonville except for one in his rookie season.
Luke's Quote of The Week
"The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them" -Mark Twain
Nic Batum and the Hornets Demise
Author: Dawson Haywood
This is a topic that I am more passionate about than I would like to admit. I had always grew up watching the Charlotte Bobcats and even though they sucked I still loved going to games. Rufus was the best mascot to ever walk this Earth and this is not up for debate. Growing from a kid that is in love with a mascot to an adult that actually cares about the success of the team there was always one thing that pissed me off more than my ex-girlfriends. Nic Batum and the ridiculous contract the Hornets gave him.
The 2016-2017 season was the most frustrating season for me as a Hornets fan because we had just made playoffs the year before and all of a sudden went back to our old mediocre ways. I started looking into what I thought would be the best moves to make to make this team a playoff contender consistently and one thing stood out to me... Nic Batum was getting paid Just shy of $22 million.
First off, I would like to note that nobody on that Hornets team deserved more than $20 million besides Kemba Walker. Now granted, Batum was the second highest scorer on the team behind Kemba, but boy could he miss some shots. Since being with the Hornets Batum was consistently had the worst Field Goal Percentages on the team. Most people that had a worse FG% played in just a few games and are likely no longer in the league.
I then did a little comparing to see if we had not signed Batum who we could have gotten, for less. During the 2016-2017 season players like Blake Griffin, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, and the man who has led two teams to a title Kawhi Leonard were being paid less than Batum. I could continue this list but for the sake of not making this article like a hundred pages long I won't.
It's no secret that Michael Jordan does not like to spend as much money as he can on his players. There's a reason Kemba Walker is with the Celtics. It baffles me that the players he does decide to spend money on can only average us 12.1 points per game. Maybe he saw something in Batum that I just can't see and hindsight is always 20/20. Portland did a good job valuing him at around $11 million a year between 2012 and 2015 but unless your name is Lebron James or Giannis Antetokumpo and you have proven to be a player that can lead a team to playoffs, there is no reason to more than double a player's contract. In 2015 Batum was signed to the Hornets for $120 million over five years.
Batum is now playing for the Clippers for $2.5 million but the Hornets still owe him around $9 million for the next three years. The point is Batum came to Charlotte, secured that bag, and gave nothing in return. Because of Batum the Hornets have been limited to signing players that can actually make the Hornets a better team. The Hornets have been the laughing stock of this league and with the release of Batum, the signing of Hayward and Rozier, the development of Miles Bridges and Malik Monk, and drafting LaMelo Ball this team might actually become a team to watch out for. I call this "The Batum Effect" (Trademark Pending).
This Article is Brought to you by The Heatin' Up Podcast
Elite 8 Predictions
Author: Dawson Haywood
In my predictions for the Sweet 16 I ended up 5-3. Loyola Chicago, Alabama, and Syracuse were the teams that I predicted to win that lost. Even though I harped on Houston being frauds I can admit that picking Syracuse was probably not my best move. Sister Jean and the Ramblers disappointed me because I really thought they were hot and were about to make a solid run. Nine times out of Ten I would have picked Loyola Chicago over Oregon State... Oregon State just played really well. Alabama losing surprised me because the SEC is competitive, especially this year since Kentucky was not dominant which left the conference wide open, and being number one during the regular season and winning the conference tournament meant they were hot. The fact that UCLA is in the Elite 8 baffles me because they came into the tournament on a four game losing streak, but that is the beauty of March Madness. Lets get into my predictions for the Elite 8.
#1 Gonzaga v #6 USC
Prediction: Gonzaga Win
Gonzaga is still THE team to beat this year. They have the players, the coaching, and the hot streak to win it all. They're only two games away from making the finals and I do not see them letting up. Since 2011 they have made it to the Sweet 16 with a few trips to the final four and even the finals in 2017 only to fall short. This is Gonzaga's year. This is arguably USC's best team since 1992. This will arguably be the best game in the Elite 8. If Gonzaga can blow out this USC team like they did Creighton I have no doubt Gonzaga wins it all.
#1 Michigan v #11 UCLA
Prediction: Michigan Win
If you have paid any attention to social media, you will know that this is Michigan's fourth trip to the Elite 8 since 2013, which is the most trips to the Elite 8 since. This record is also held by Duke, Gonzaga, and Kentucky. I'm still on the Juward Howard train. Seniors Isaiah Livers, Rico-Ozuna-Harrison, CJ Baird, Luke Wilson, Austin Davis, and Eli Brooks all know what it is like to make it to the finals only to lose. They still have that bad taste in their mouth. This is their last year to prove that they are the best. Coach Howard also knows what it is like to make the finals and lose as a player. This team is out to prove something and I do not see UCLA being the reason they don't make it this year.
#1 Baylor v #3 Arkansas
Prediction: Baylor Win
Baylor is just a dominant team, but so is Arkansas. I mentioned in my Sweet 16 article that I predict a Baylor v Gonzaga finals. This is the highest seeded matchup in the Elite 8 and naturally that will make this game interesting. I'm picking Baylor to win this game because they have been nothing but dominant in the tournament up to this point. Oral Roberts was only inches away from beating Arkansas on a last second shot and they just inched their way past Texas Tech as well. Baylor's dominance thus far leads me to believe that they can compete with anybody and beat anybody.
#2 Houston v #12 Oregon State
Prediction: Oregon State
I'm not backing down when I say Houston is a fraud even though my prediction last week bit me in the butt. Oregon State has beat Loyola Chicago, Oklahoma State, and Tennessee to get to this point, all of which are quality teams, and in the regular season have notable wins over Colorado, Oregon (twice), and UCLA. Houston still only has one notable team that they have beat all year long, Texas Tech. They have proved that they are beatable with losses to ECU, Tulsa, and Wichita State. If Houston pulls out of this game, they for sure are not beating Baylor or Arkansas. They also have been the lowest scoring winning team in the last two rounds. Now, if Houston does win this game and moves into the Final Four, they have to make it to the finals before I admit that they are not frauds.
Last Weeks Results
#1 Gonzaga: 83
#5 Creighton: 65
#6 USC: 82
#7 Oregon: 68
#1 Michigan: 76
#4 Florida State: 58
#11 UCLA: 88
#2 Alabama: 78
#1 Baylor: 62
#5 Villanova: 51
#3 Arkansas: 72
#15 Oral Roberts: 70
#8 Loyola Chicago: 58
#12 Oregon State: 65
#11 Syracuse: 46
#2 Houston: 62
This Article is Presented By The Heatin' Up Podcast
Author: Dawson Haywood
I think we can all come to an agreement when I say we all wanted to see Oral Roberts in the Elite Eight. There is just something about an underdog shining in the March Madness Tournament that tugs at our heart strings just a little bit. This year’s Oral Roberts team reminds most NCAA Basketball fans of the 2012-2013 Florida Gulf Coast team that made their run in the tournament as a fifteen seed and making it to the Sweet 16. That Florida Gulf Coast team and this years Oral Roberts teams are the only teams to be the fifteen seed and make it to the Sweet Sixteen.
Let us learn a little big about this year’s Cinderella Team. Oral Roberts is a Private Evangelical School located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. So already we can give Oral Roberts the Oklahoma State Champion title for being the only team from Oklahoma out of three that made the tournament this year to make it to the Sweet 16. The team finished 18-11 (10-5) this year with their most impressive win before tournament play being against South Dakota State back in February. During the season they lost to every team that would eventually make the tournament this year.
Oral Roberts’s run began on February 27th when they beat Western Illinois and then proceeded to go on a seven-game win streak which includes the Summit League Tournament and the Big Dance until eventually losing to a very well coached Arkansas team. The team was led by sophomore guard Max Abmas who averaged 24.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.8 assist per game this season. What is awesome about this team is that they are only losing three players this season due to graduation.
In my opinion, Oral Roberts’ run this year was slightly more impressive than FGCU’s 2013 run because their regular season was only slightly better than okay. FGCU placed second in their conference in the regular season and was only one game behind winning the title behind Mercer, who is now in the Southern Conference. Based on their season performance, FGCU was better equipped to make a run in the tournament. This year’s Oral Roberts team finished fourth in the Summit League, which is home to South Dakota State, South Dakota, and North Dakota State. To get to the Sweet 16, Oral Roberts beat #2 Ohio State in the first round and #7 Florida in the Round of 32. In 2013, FGCU beat #2 Georgetown in the first round and #7 San Diego State in the Round of 32. Both teams lost to the #3 seed in the Sweet 16, FGCU losing to Florida and Oral Roberts losing to Arkansas.
I have a good feeling this is not the last we have seen of Oral Roberts and that should be exciting for all March Madness fans. Their Cinderella story continues, but next season they will have more of a chip on their shoulder. This team knows how good they can be and being one shot away from being the only fifteen seed to ever make the Elite 8 is going to leave a bad taste in this young team’s mouth. It would be wise to not sleep on this team next year. 2021-2022 Oral Roberts revenge tour. You best believe I’ll be rooting for them all season long.
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Author: Dawson Haywood
The trade deadline for the NBA is almost as fun as free agency in the offseason because there will typically be two or three moves that really shock the NBA fandom. I often find myself paying more attention to free agency and trades more than I do regular season games. There's just something about Adrian Wojnarowski announcing a big trade that excites me more than a Lebron James game winning shot. Being a Charlotte Hornets fan is tough during free agency and around the trade deadline because when the team is playing less than exceptional basketball, the front office (other than this past year) never feels the need to make big moves.
With all this being said, lets get into this year's in season transactions
James Harden to the Nets
The NBA hit the ground running this year with an exciting trade. The Nets received James Harden and a 2024 second round pick. The Rockets received Caris LaVert, Rodions Kurus, Dante Exum, and eight first round picks spreading from 2021 to 2027. Finally, in this three way trade, the Cavaliers received Jarret Allen, Taurean Prince, and the rights to Alksander Vezenkov.
Looking at this trade at first glance, yes, teaming James harden up with Kyrie and Durant in Brooklyn is exciting. I don't think we will find many Nets fans complaining about this one. But, good lord do the Houston Rockets have a crap ton of draft capital as a result of this trade.
In order for the Nets to claim that this was a successful trade they need to make the finals and I would even go as far to say they need to win the finals. For now, I would say the Rockets won this trade. This is subject to change depending on what they do with all this draft capital. Finally, the Cavaliers also found success in this trade adding Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince to their roster. Both very talented in their positions and Allen being as young as he is and as successful as he is leads me to believe that he could be a top big man in this league in the near future.
Winners and Losers
Houston: Win (1-0)
Brooklyn: Pending. Needs a trip to the Finals (0-0-1)
Cleveland: Win (1-0)
Kevin Porter Jr. to Houston
Kevin Porter is young and boy does he have potential. In his second year in the league he is averaging 14.9 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 6.4 assist per game. Porter was traded to Houston by Cleveland for only a second round pick. He was picked up thirtieth in the first round of the 2019 draft. Hindsight being 20/20, this was a steal based on his current performance.
Houston: Win (2-0)
Cleveland: Losers (1-1)
Derrick Rose to the Knicks
Rose is a seasoned vet that most NBA fans would love to see be successful in the last half of his career. The Pistons are evidently in rebuild mode letting go of Rose and then later Blake Griffin. Dennis Smith Jr. has been coming off the bench for the Knicks the last three seasons and has been relatively inefficient for the team. The Knicks sent the Pistons a second round pick on top of Smith Jr. to obtain Rose. Rose is consistent and for the most part you know what you are going to get out of him until he decides to blow up one night.
New York: Winners (1-0)
Detroit: Losers (0-1)
Diallo to Detroit
Since being traded to Detroit, Diallo has yet to play minutes for the team. His contract is running out at the end of this season and somehow he has to prove that he belongs in the league with those minutes. On the other side of this trade we have Svi Mykhaliliuk and a 2027 second round pick going to Oklahoma City. Over the course of both of their careers Diallo tops Mykhaliliuk in both points and rebounds per game. Before becoming inactive Diallo was averaging 11.9 points per game for Oklahoma City but getting significant minutes before the end of the season seems to be a likely outcome. Since it is unlikely Diallo gets resigned and this trade has no real future value for the Pistons, I am going to give this trade to Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma City: Winners (1-0)
Detroit: Losers (0-2)
Meyers Leonard to Oklahoma City
Well... Meyers Leonard because of his own insensitivity has been waived by Oklahoma City after being traded to the team on March 17th. Lucky for the Thunder they still have a 2027 second round pick as a result of this trade. Oklahoma City never played Ariza and Miami is getting very little out of him in the few games that he has played. My own bias wants to say Oklahoma City won this trade because Ariza is likely out the door of Miami and into free agency after this season unless Miami resigns him. I'm going to let my bias get to the best of me and say Oklahoma City won this trade because they might be able to get more out of a second round pick six years from now than what they got out of Ariza.
Oklahoma City: Winners (2-0)
Miami: Losers (0-1)
Torrey Craig to Pheonix
Torrey Craig was essentially given to the Suns by the Bucks. All Milwaukee received was cash considerations. Since being in Phoenix Craig has statistically played better. Craig was not much of a liability for the Bucks but also was not much of an asset either. Since Craig is slightly better in Phoenix than he was in Milwaukee... I'm going to give this trade to the Suns.
Phoenix: Winner (1-0)
Milwaukee: Losers (0-1)
March 19th trade between the Bucks and the Rockets
So, the Bucks gave DJ Augustine, DJ Wilson, a top-10 protected 2021 first round pick, and a 2022 second round pick to the Rockets for PJ Tucker, Rodions Kurucs, a 2021 second round pick, and a 2022 first round pick. First off, the DJ's have been more efficient on the court than Pj and Rodions. It's unlikely that the Bucks get a top 9 pick with their success so Houston likely gets their first round pick. All players do not hold much value and DJ Augustine is still locked in for two more years with Houston. For this reason... Bucks win
Milwaukee: Winners (1-1)
Houston: Losers (2-1)
Mfiondu Kbengele to Sacremento
Newphew of Dikembe Mutombo, Mfiondu Kbengele, was sent to the Kings by the Clippers with a conditional future second round pick, and cash considerations and in return the Clippers received a future second round pick. Kbengele is on his last year of his contract and does not have to minutes or the stats to make him a pick up in this upcoming free agency. Over the course of two years he averaged 2 points and 4.5 minutes per game. As a big man he is not very efficient with only a .359 field goal percentage. A conditional pick is a pick that is based on the performance of the traded player. So, it is possible that besides cash considerations the Kings get nothing moving forward from this trade. The Clippers traded him away just to see if they could get anything out of him, and they did... a guaranteed second round pick
LA Clippers: Winners (1-0)
Sacramento: Loser (0-1)
Bulls trade their core
Orlando sends away arguably their best player Nikola Vucevic, steady role player Al-Farouq Aminu for Wendell Carter Jr. and Otto Porter Jr. This one is tough for me to assess because on the one hand the Bulls get a Nikola Vucevic that has averaged a double-double over the course of his career and has been playing his best basketball in his pro-career. On the other hand the Magic get a young player who will be a solid starter in the league as his career progresses and has a ton of potential moving forward. Each team has these players for two more full seasons. Between Aminu and Porter, Porter is currently playing better ball and can contribute more as a starter for the Magic. Because of this trade, Orlando gives up one of their best starters and a role player for two solid starters and two first round picks. Because of this... Orlando Wins.
Orlando: Winner (1-0)
Chicago: Loser (0-1)
Norman Powell to the Blazers
The Toronto Raptors traded Norman Powell for Gary Trent and Rodney Hood. Powell is better than both Trent and Hood and by a mile averaging in more points, rebounds, assist, and has a higher field goal percentage. Powell could be the link that the Blazers need to take that next step to compete, and I mean really compete, with the Wild Western Conference. I predict that Trent and Hood will not be as impactful in Toronto as Powell will be in Portland.
Portland: Winner (1-0)
Toronto: Loser (0-1)
Three Way Trade between the Knicks, Thunder, and 76ers
Oklahoma City is going to see so many new faces it is ridiculous because of how many picks they have between now and 2027. They now have a total of thirty-four draft picks between the next seven drafts. That is insane. In this trade the 76ers receive a potential role player (given their current roster) and a young player who may not last much longer in this league, George Hill and Ignas Brazdeikis. The Knicks Receive a young and and old player that have young careers that, like the 76ers new players, may not have much time in the league, Terrance Furguson and Vincent Poirier. Finally we have the Oklahoma City Thunder racking up a 2025 and 2026 second round pick along with two role players, Austin Rivers and Tony Bradly. Rivers came from New York and Bradley came from Philadelphia and for what? Nobody special. I don't want to say the 76ers lost this trade but the for sure did not get the better end of this deal and New York I have no idea what they expect to do with Furguson and Poirier. Keep the bench warm? Unlike the last three way trade I'm going to give Oklahoma City the win because they can use these players and draft picks, the 76ers a loss because they gave up two picks and a role player for a slightly better role player, and the Knicks receive players they don't have to resign next year.
Oklahoma City: Winner (2-0)
Philadelphia: Loser (0-2)
New York: Loser (1-1)
Heat and Kings Make Moves
The Miami Heat obtained Nemanja Bjelica, a solid role player, from the Kings and had to give up Moe Harkless, who has only played eleven games this season, and Chris Silva, a young player who's primary job was to ride the bench. Harkless and Silva are likely to continue playing with very limited minutes, if any at all, while Bjelica can come off the bench and help navigate this Miami team through the Eastern Conference.
Miami: Winner (1-1)
Sacramento: Loser (0-2)
Warriors and Spurs First Deal of the Season
San Antonio will receive Marquese Chriss, another role player in this article, and cash considerations and in return the Warriors will get draft rights to Cady Lalanne meaning that the Warriors will have exclusive rights to negotiate and sign Cady Lalanne. Chriss is currently hurt and will see no immediate impact on San Antonio and next year he will be an unrestricted free agent. And who is Cady Lalanne? Lalanne is a Haitian basketball player who has bounced from league to league, including the G League, and is currently playing in Korea. What you need to know is that San Antonio received cash considerations
San Antonio: Winner (1-0)
Golden State: Loser (0-1)
The Hornets did something
Okay. My Hornets finally did a thing. Not much of a thing, but a thing. They received Brad Wanamaker, who is in his third year in the NBA at 31 years old, a 2022 second round pick and cash considerations and in return the Warriors received a 2025 second round pick. I'm considering this a win for the Hornets because they need a backup point now that LaMelo is out and they received a second round draft pick, which is all they gave up, and cash considerations.
Charlotte: Winner (1-0)
Golden State: Loser (0-2)
Celtics, Bulls, and Wizards move the Young Bucks
In our third three way trade the Bulls receive Daniel Theis, who has started thirty seven games for Boston this season, Javonte Green, who is efficient while he is in the game, and Troy Brown Jr., who is the youngest of the three and had a solid year two. The Celtics will get Luke Kornet, who has only played thirteen games this season, and Moe Wagner, who thinks its a good idea to shoot two three pointers every time he hits the floor and misses them 70 percent of the time. The Wizards will get Daniel Gafford, who is very fun to play with and develop in 2k but has not had the same development in the league, but he is efficient making nearly 70 percent of his shots, and Chandler Hutchinson, who is lucky to get a bucket when he hits the floor. Chicago did not give much up in this deal but received players that come off the bench and at least don't hurt the team. Win for Chicago. The Celtics are getting two players that either 1. Don't play or 2. Suck when they do. Loss for Boston. Finally the wizards are getting a smart and efficient player but are getting a player that apparently is scared to score. Luckily they did not give up to much in this deal so win for the Wizards.
Chicago: Winner (1-1)
Washington: Winner (1-0)
Boston: Loser (0-1)
Geezers move from Atlanta and LA
Rondo is going back to LA, but this time across the hall to the Clippers. Rondo is on the tail end of his career and I feel like I have been watching him for years. The Clippers gave up Lou Williams who has also been in the league for what seems like forever, a year longer than Rondo. Statistically, Williams is equal to Rondo in both rebounds and assist but scores more points per minute (.55 to .26 ppm). So, Atlanta is getting the better player and two future second round draft picks.
Atlanta: Winner (1-0)
LA Clippers: Loser (1-1)
The Miami Heat are Contenders
Okay, because of this move I'm putting Miami back on my contenders list. Victor Oladipo, the man can't catch a break. From Indiana to Houston and now to Miami in just a year. But, peep this lineup. PG: Kendrick Nunn. SG: Victor Oladipo. SF: Jimmy Buckets. PF: Andre Igoudala (A starter. As he should be). C: Bam Adebayo. That is a scary lineup. The Rockets will get Kelly Olynyk and Avery Bradley who will serve as either starters or rotation players. Essentially, Houston just made Miami a contender. Amongst this deal is also a 2022 draft pick swap.
Miami: Winner (2-1)
The Last Move
Finally, the last trade of the deadline. I have had to refresh the NBA Trade Tracker Page about five times since writing this article, which is my fault since I decided to start writing this around noon on March 25th. The Magic just traded away the face of their franchise, Aaron Gordon, for Gary Harris, RJ Hampton, and a future first round pick. Gary Harris has been a solid player in the league the last six season and is one of the most consistent starters that has been traded. He is by no means going to be the guy that leads a team to the finals but still a solid player. RJ Hampton is just a rookie so who knows if he might blow up in these next few years. With a player of Gordon's caliber being added to this Denver team they are going to be real contenders in the West. This seems like a relatively fair trade to me but the clear winner is Denver because what they are adding could lead them to a Finals trip. I'm not going to give Orlando a loss because I feel like they got something equal in return
Orlando: Tie (1-0-1)
Denver: Winner (1-0)
After doing my research on every trade this year it is evident that there are some teams that are rebuilding, contending, planning for the future, or getting rid of dead weight. My overall winner of this year's trade season will be Brooklyn if they make the finals. If they do not make the finals my winner is either Miami, Denver, or Oklahoma City. Miami... Good lord... contenders. Finals. I bet they make it out of the East again. Denver also. With the addition of Aaron Gordon these Nuggets could give anybody out of the West a run for their money. Both are going to be a difficult teams to beat. Oklahoma City continues to build draft capitol and who knows what they are going to do with it. Lucky for me, OKC has the most potential these next few years and are going to be a very exciting team to watch. Seeing Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic leave Orlando has got to suck for the city of Orlando. That was a fun duo to watch. Charlotte did something! That's very rare and I think they made a good move, which is even more rare. I just hope LaMelo gets better so we might actually make playoffs.
Oklahoma City: 2-0
San Antonio: 1-0
New York: 1-1
LA Clippers: 1-1
Golden State: 0-2
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Author: Dawson Haywood
The Washington Football Team. I've never had much of an opinion on them as they have only won the NFC East three times in the last twenty years. I can say with certainty though that Dan Snyder has the worst reputation amongst owners in the NFL. This upcoming season Snyder and his front office has decided to continue as the Washington Football Team after hyping up all year that they were going to come out with a new name for the team.
First off, I would like to point out that if you go to the Washington Football Team's website it is still littered with "Redskins". So much for making a change. I cannot prove this but for the sake of stirring up some controversy I would like to think that Snyder is doing this simply because he is that stubborn. I mean within the last few days I was able to make this website, name it, secure a few sponsors (more to be announced soon), and (in my opinion) come up with some good content so why can't a $3.5 billion organization come up with a new name and clean up their website. Am I just that good?
Fans have almost handed Snyder and the organization a team name that they would be happy with. Washington Red Wings or Washington Red Wolves or Washington Generals. I don't know but it shouldn't be that hard.
On the flip side, in the first year of being called "The Washington Football Team" they did wind up making playoffs and made the season memorable for the fans. They started the season beating the Eagles and then they went on to beat the Cowboys twice and was the first team this year to beat Pittsburgh starting their losing streak and then beat the Eagles again.
Hiring Rivera and drafting Chase Young gives me hope for this team but with Snyder running the organization I believe that he cares very little about the actual team itself and has become complacent with the value of the organization. Snyder has the potential to do something great with this team and could make them a top five valued NFL franchise (currently ranked at eight). Snyder needs to clean up his act, put his ego aside, and start making the right moves both on and off the field. Having the Washington Football Team be a contender in this league would be fun because, like the Browns, seeing a team pull themselves out of the mud is fun to watch.
This article is brought to you by The Heatin' Up Podcast
The Heatin' Up Podcast
Author: Dawson Haywood
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