It’s that time of the week again. Every Wednesday, I post this comprehensive guide highlighting some of the notable unprophetic and wrong predictions and other observations that are relevant to the previous week’s sports news. Let’s begin.
BEST OF THE WEEK
PACERS EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS
The Indiana Pacers are having themselves a nice season. Currently 37-27 and sitting at 4th place in the Eastern Conference, they have far exceeded most expectations. Back in July, many thought of Indiana as fools for trading star veteran Paul George to Oklahoma City for Victor Oladipo and rookie Domantas Sabonis. However, Sabonis has been productive and Oladipo has turned in an all-star season. Here are some select offseason tweets about the Pacers season outlook:
The Pacers are gonna suck for years. Why would it matter if George is in the East or West? https://t.co/L5fIrFBqVT
— Jay King (@ByJayKing) July 1, 2017
The Pacers are in a not great place.
— Jason Patt (@Bulls_Jay) July 7, 2017
Why would Pritchard care if Cs are good? Pacers will be terrible for foreseeable future anyway. Not relevant. https://t.co/esxUsdSreD
— Kevin Duffy (@KevinRDuffy) July 1, 2017
The Pacers will struggle to reach 20 wins next season.
— John T. Martin (@ECPjohnmartin) July 2, 2017
Pacers are going to be trash next season. https://t.co/XKcyXjQL4z
— Michael Bohlin (@MBohlin247) July 4, 2017
— FanSided NBA (@FanSidedNBA) July 24, 2017
AWFUL PHIL MICKELSON TAKE LOOKS EVEN MORE AWFUL
Two years ago, Golf commentator Robert Lusetich posted this tweet about Phil Mickelson:
When it goes, it's gone.#ATTProAm
— Robert Lusetich (@RobertLusetich) February 14, 2016
This tweet was bad the minute it was posted, as it was sent while Phil was one shot off the Sunday lead at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Mickelson finished that tournament in second place. This weekend, Mickelson defeated Justin Thomas in a playoff to win the WGC-Mexico Championship in Mexico City. He’s not gone yet.
MICHIGAN STATE’S MILES BRIDGES TAKES AN L
This past offseason, Michigan State sophomore small forward Miles Bridges was confident that his Spartans would be “trouble” for in-state rival Michigan in the upcoming season. In May, he responded to playful trash talk from former Michigan guard Derrick Walton with this tweet:
? yeah we 1-1 but yo young boys in trouble next year I promise you that. https://t.co/axuNQwxfes
— Miles Bridges (@MilesBridges01) May 16, 2017
Those “young boys” to whom he referred are the players on Michigan’s team. In January, the Wolverines beat the Spartans 82-72 in East Lansing. On Saturday, in the Big Ten Tournament semifinal, Michigan beat Michigan State again 75-64 in en route to its second straight Big Ten Tournament championship.
JEMELE HILL ALSO TOOK SOME Ls
In October 2016, as Michigan State was slogging through one of its worst seasons in years, ESPN’s Jemele Hill, an MSU alum and ardent fan, was taking a lot of heat from Michigan fans on Twitter. Her response:
I look forward to their silence during basketball season https://t.co/XIwIYRXiO6
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 28, 2016
Since that tweet, Michigan has defeated Michigan State three out of four times. In addition, Michigan won the Big Ten Tournament in both 2017 and 2018 and made it to the Sweet 16 of the 2017 NCAA Tournament while the Spartans crashed out in the Second Round. Jemele still has football though, as Sparty has beaten the Wolverines eight times in the past 10 years. When presented with her 2016 tweet, Hill double-down:
I’m doubling down. We’re winning it all. https://t.co/Y4zbTaQ3Lg
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) March 3, 2018
SEAN MILLER’S CAREER: NOT OVER YET
In case you have taken a two-week nap, the University of Arizona Basketball program and it’s head coach, Sean Miller, have been through the ringer. To (very briefly) summarize: Just under two weeks ago, ESPN’s Mark Schlabach reported that, according to his sources, the FBI has wiretapped phone calls of Miller talking to a runner for an agent about a $100,000 payment to star center DeAndre Ayton to secure Ayton would play for the Wildcats. ESPN later issued a correction related to Schlabach’s reporting of the timeline of the events in the report, then retracted the correction. Miller and Ayton have categorically denied the allegations in the ESPN report. The University, at least for the time being, is sticking with Miller, who only missed one game due to the incident, and will continue to coach the team through the postseason. The fact that Miller is still coaching is a far cry from what the collective consensus was the day ESPN report was published. Unsurprisingly, media and TV personalities jumped to conclusions about Miller’s fate as soon as the report came out:
Jay Bilas on ESPN: 'This is a career-ending thing for Sean Miller. Can't imagine him ever coaching again.''
— Greg Hansen (@ghansen711) February 24, 2018
On ESPN, Seth Greenberg is saying Sean Miller will never coach another game at Arizona, Deandre Ayton won’t play again at Arizona and Arizona won’t be in the NCAA tournament.
— Brian Pedersen (@realBJP) February 24, 2018
The next day, during an ESPNU broadcast of an Arizona State/Oregon State regular season contest, the play-by-play announcer inaccurately reported that Arizona had fired Miller:
— Cameron Cox (@CamCox12) February 25, 2018
The announcer retracted the report shortly thereafter.
BEST OF THE REST
- In mid-February, CBS Sports NFL Analyst Jason La Canfora said Chicago Bears CB Kyle Fuller will not be with the team next season. Yesterday, the Bears applied the “transition tag” to Fuller and plan to keep him in Chicago.
- Two years ago, yours truly really liked Pitt basketball’s hire of Kevin Stallings as head coach. The Panthers went 0-19 in ACC play this year.
- Congratulations to the Tennessee and Auburn basketball teams for finishing in a tie for first place in the SEC this season. The Vols and Tigers were picked by experts to finish 13th and 9th respectively
- Coming off a National Championship in 2012, Kentucky failed to make the NCAA Tournament the following season and suffered a humiliating defeat by Robert Morris in the first round of the NIT. By March of the following season, Kentucky was struggling again. On March 2, 2014, the Wildcats had just suffered their worst defeat of the season at last place South Carolina, a game in which Head Coach John Calipari was ejected and didn’t show up to the post-game press conference. It was Calipari’s squad’s eighth loss and the third in their last five games. At that point, Yahoo! Sports’ Pat Forde, who has long been accused of a personal bias toward Calipari went nuclear on the controversial Kentucky coach in a column with this headline:
The column, which skewers Coach Cal for not taking responsibility for his failures, and questioned his annual strategy of recruiting “one-and-done” players, was lauded by many of Forde’s colleagues in the media.
But the Wildcats found their groove in the postseason. After losing to #1 Florida by one point in the SEC Tournament Championship game, Kentucky rattled off five straight wins in the NCAA Tournament. The run included a second round upset over undefeated and number 1 seed in the Midwest bracket Wichita State, a glorious Sweet 16 win over Rick Pitino and Louisville, and thrillers against Michigan in the Elite 8, and Wisconsin in the Final Four. UK ultimately lost to UConn in the Championship.
After Kentucky defeated Michigan to clinch its Final Four birth, Forde chimed in again. This time with a mea culpa:
- In March 2010, noted Bay Area scribe Tim Kawakami tweeted this about San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner:
Baseball note from yesterday that I noted: Madison Bumgarner threw 87-89 in his spring debut. I guess the +fastball is gone or never was.
— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) March 4, 2010
The fastball was not gone. Bumgarner turned into one of the best pitchers in the first half of the decade. MadBum played a key role in the Giants 2010 and 2012 World Series Championships. In 2014 he led the Giants to another world championship with one the most dominant postseason performances in Major League History. His fastball has surpassed 87-89 mph throughout his career.
- Kudos to Software developer Paul Buxton. In mid-January, he drew a sketch of his prediction of the 2018 NHL Draft Official Logo:
Here's my prediction for 2018 NHL Draft logo pic.twitter.com/m1VYrkw0er
— Paul Buxton ??? (@paulbux) January 18, 2018
On Friday, the NHL revealed the Logo:
— Puck Marks (@Puck_Marks) March 2, 2018
Paul swears he didn’t cheat!
- Kudos to comedian Kennelia Stradwick, who tweeted this in 2016:
Watch Kobe Bryant mess around and win an Oscar.
— Kennelia Stradwick (@Kennelia) June 14, 2016
Sunday night, Dear Basketball, written and narrated by Bryant, won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
- Notable sports TV and radio personality Mike Hill thinks this “Cavaliers team won’t even make the Eastern Conference Finals this year.”
- Colin Cowherd thinks the Dallas Cowboys are an 11-5, 10-6 team that makes the playoffs next year.”
- The SEC Network’s Tom Hart predicts that Kentucky will win the SEC Basketball Tournament this week.
- Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell thinks UCF Linebacker and NFL Combine darling, Shaquem Griffin, is a great story, but…not worth a draft pick.”
That’s it for this week.
Fred Segal is an attorney from West Palm Beach, FL. He operates the popular Freezing Cold Takes twitter account (@OldTakesExposed) which highlights, among other things, hilarious unprophetic and inaccurate takes and predictions.
Fred also hosts a podcast, “Freezing Cold Take Spotlights with Fred Segal,” which you can find on iTunes.