Ray Jr. on Sports

  1. Pitt basketball’s Curtis Aiken named to ACC Legends Class: It’s a tremendous honor, but a unique one. I call it unique because Aiken never played in the ACC, he was a Big East man, but the ACC likes to have this ‘retroactive’ way of honoring great players of their teams, old and new. And Aiken certainly deserves to be in this Class of Legends. Congrats to Mr. Aiken!
  2. Aiken was one of the reasons why I started watching Pitt as a youngster. He was part of one of the greatest teams in school history, along with Charles Smith, Jerome Lane, Sean Miller (who took over at PG when Aiken graduated), Demetrius Gore and HC Paul Evans. Those were some good teams and they were some good times.
  3. Speaking of which, Wednesday was the 29th anniversary of “Send it in Jerome!” Lane dunked a ball so hard at the Fitzgerald Field House that be shattered the backboard. It was awesome and historic.
  4. Speaking of the current team, in the aftermath of that 106-51 disastrous loss to Louisville, I’m thinking Pitt will win Saturday vs. Clemson. Why? Not because the Tigers are in last place in the conference and certainly not because they’re wearing those sharp black uniforms.
  5. My reason is because I feel that it can’t get any worse for Pitt. Losing streaks eventually end and sometimes teams will fall hard enough to bounce back up. Now I’m not saying they have a chance at the NCAA Tournament, but at least a chance to finish strong with 7 weeks left in the season.
  6. If there was one local basketball team that continues to play well, it’s West Virginia, who pulled off another Upset the same night Pitt was destroyed. The Mountaineers beat #2 Kansas 85-69. They should move up in the basketball polls next week.
  7. As for those basketball polls, Defending National Champ Villanova remains #1 in the AP Poll (Kansas in the Coaches Poll, but that will change) WVU is at #18 for now and as for the ranked ACC teams, Florida State is #6, North Carolina is #9, Virginia, Louisville and Notre Dame are #12, #13 and #14, respectively and Duke is #17. And therefore, the ACC is the best conference in College Basketball.
  8. Now onto the NFL in which the Pittsburgh Steelers season ended Sunday after falling to the New England Patriots 36-17 in Foxboro. Thus, the Patriots head to Super Bowl 51, and the Steelers look to 2017.
  9. After listening to Steelers LB Bud Dupree say that they changed their defensive game plan vs. Patriots QB Tom Brady. I got irritated because it didn’t make any sense. Why in the world would DC Keith Butler send Dupree and James Harrison in coverage?? I think the Steelers can act totally ignorant against the Patriots sometimes.
  10. The defense is what needs to improve if the Steelers hope to get to the Super Bowl next year. LB Lawrence Timmons is a free agent, so they need to find a way to re-sign him. Yeah, they have Ryan Shazier, but he can’t patrol the inside all by himself. And I know they re-signed LB Vince Williams this season, but he’s not Lawrence Timmons.
  11. And then there’s the story of QB Ben Roethlisberger who stated that he’s going to use the off season to determine if he’s going to continuing playing football. Since he’s turning 35, I don’t blame him, because he’s not young and he has endured several types of injuries, though none of them were ever season-ending.
  12. But I don’t think he’s ready to retire yet. Especially not in 2017 and especially after that loss to the Patriots. Plus, he knows that the Steelers don’t have a valuable replacement for him at QB. Big Ben wouldn’t do that to them.
  13. As for the Super Bowl, itself, the Patriots will be facing the Atlanta Falcons in 2 weeks and I think it will be a good game. I was very impressed at how the Falcons beat up on the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game. As we know, the media was salivating and hoping that it would be a Brady vs. Aaron Rodgers Super Bowl and I’m so glad it wasn’t. Thanks Falcons.
  14. The Pro Bowl will be its usual boring game, but at least it’s returned to its traditional AFC vs. NFC format. I mentioned this before, but that other format in which the players were drafted was ridiculous. As for the Steele’s, Big Ben and WR Antonio Brown will not play, no word on RB Le’Veon Bell (who injured his groin in the AFC Title Game) but it appears C Maurkise Pouncey and G David DeCastro will play.
  15. Here’s my prediction for NFL MVP: Falcons QB Matt Ryan. I think he deserves it and look at where he’s led the Falcons. He’s truly rebounded from that rough 2015 and 2015 and got the critics off his back. He’s valuable to the team and the NFL. Of course, Brady will get some votes, but the Steelers Bell should get some too.
  16. As for the NBA, apparently, there’s been a lot of talk about NY Knicks F Carmelo Anthony getting traded and I hope it happens, because Anthony needs to get out of there. Why? Because the Knicks are a joke and they don’t need him to remain a joke.
  17. The latest report is that the Knicks are willing to trade Anthony to the LA Clippers without wanting Chris Paul, Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan back. Sounds like a salary dump to me. I’m surprised that OKC isn’t interested, not that they’re lacking any talent right now.
  18. The Cavs Lebron James and owner Dan Gilbert at odds over spending, the Bulls Dwayne Wade calls out his teammates in frustration? What’s going on with the NBA’s stars? I think they all need to take a nap or something.
  19. Pitt football released it’s 2017 schedule and it will indeed be a tough one. In addition to going to Penn State, Pitt will host Oklahoma State, North Carolina and Miami. They also host Youngstown State to start the season. I’m sure that will be sentimental to HC and Youngstown Native Pat Narduzzi.
  20. It appears Serena and Venus Williams are dominating the Australian Open. Here’s hoping the face each other in the final.

 

 

Please e-mail Ray at Ray@ray@urbanmediatoday.com

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