Ray Jr. on Sports

1. New #1 in College Basketball-It seemed like the Villanova Wildcats would continue to hold onto the top spot in the Associated Press (AP) and USA Today Coaches Polls, but then this happened: The Wildcats fall to St. John’s and although 2nd ranked Virginia lost to Miami, they are now the new #1 in the AP Poll.

  1. Who’s #1 in the Coaches Poll? Not Virginia, it’s Michigan State.
  2. Does Virginia Deserve the #1 Ranking? Although I continue to be surprised at this

team, I say yes, they do. Why? Because they are also ranked #1 in defense which is huge in basketball, allowing only 52.7 points-per-game. Which basically means they can score 55-60 points and still beat you. That’s good enough to win a championship. But can they? With March Madness looming, that remains to be seen.


4. The Last Time the Cavaliers were ranked #1? Come sports fans, know your history. The last time the Virginia Cavaliers were ranked #1 was way back in 1982 when All-American giant Ralph Sampson patrolled the court. Now that’s a long time.

5. Trae Young-If you don’t know who this young man is, then you need to read up on him. He’s easily the best player in College Basketball right now. This Oklahoma Sooners freshman is averaging 29.1 points per game and has already had four 40-point games, including a 48-point outburst against Oklahoma State. They call him the next Steph Curry and that’s not so farfetched.

6. Is Young NCAA Player of the Year? I think he is. Can’t nobody stop him, plus his Sooners are Nationally Ranked (23rd) and en route to the NCAA Tournament. But he may get an argument from Duke’s Marvin Bagley III, Kansas Devonte Graham and Villanova’s Jalen Brunson. It will be interesting, to say the least, but Young should still win it.

7. Will Young declare for the NBA? Yup. No question. After this successful season, what else does he have to prove?

8. AP Top 5- In addition to #1 ranked Virginia, here is the rest of the AP Top 5: #2 Michigan St. #3 Villanova #4 Xavier and #5 Cincinnati (2nd best defense in the country)

9. Pitt-Seriously, what more needs to be said about this basketball team this season? At 8- 19 and an even worse 0-14?? This is truly the worst Pitt season in their history and with 4 games to go, they may finish 0-18 which would be deplorable.

10. What’s Pitt’s Problem? A lot of folks will say it’s because the players are majority freshman, but it’s more than that: They’re less-talented freshmen that has never played on this level and it’s hard to test their skills in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) one of college basketball’s best. Sure, you can say Duke and Kentucky have had mostly freshmen as well, but that’s Duke and Kentucky recruiting. We’re talking about Pitt. They can’t get those blue- chippers.

11. Does Kevin Stallings get his pink slip after this season? I never like to see a person lose a job, but I say yes. He’s just not a good fit with this team and 7 players left the school last season, because of him. It was a mistake to hire him from Vanderbilt. So, they just need to pay Stallings his $9-$10 million buyout and move on.

12. If Stallings leaves Pitt, then who’s his successor? If it were up to me, it would be Ben Howland, who not only coached Pitt from 1999-2003, he fixed the program and made them a national power again. After leaving them for UCLA (His dream job!) Howland was fired in 2013 and is now coaching at Mississippi St. I think Howland would jump at the idea if offered to him. I think he could save Pitt again.

13. What about Sean Miller? Yeah, what about him? I still don’t believe he would leave what he has in Arizona, despite the team underachieving the past few years. The Wildcats are ranked 17th and are still a pretty good team. Miller would be taking a step backwards to return to his alma mater. A media colleague told me that the mail reason for Miller to return would be to resurrect the program. I agree with that, but I still can’t see that happening.

  1. What about Archie Miller? Next question, please.

15.Cleveland Cavs are back-They sure are. After swapping 7 of their players for 4 others,

this team has truly caught fire, going 3-0 since the trades, which includes blowouts against Boston and Oklahoma. I have to say, I am impressed.

16. What Changed? The Cavs traded so-called big-name players (Isaiah Thomas, Channing Crowder, Derrick Rose, Iman Schumpert) who didn’t fit for those that have (Larry Nance, Jr, George Hill, Rodney Hood and Jordan Clarkson) who did. They’re not big names, but boy, are they effective. Plus, they know their roles and LeBron James is having fun again, as is the rest of the team.

17. GM Koby Altman is a genius- He sure is. He saw the problem and fixed it. I’ve never seen a team make so many trades and are still a contender, but the Cavs are getting it done. Kudos to Altman.

18. Rajon Rondo acts up again-This team killer is truly the Lisa Bonet of the NBA. He’s rebellious, confrontational and a team-killer. He has more jerseys than Dicks Sporting Good Store. He got ejected for arguing with LA’s Isaiah Thomas. Eventually, the NBA’s going to get tired of this dude. Grow up, please.

19. Pittsburgh Steelers still confident they can sign RB Le’veon Bell-I think they can too. Just give him $13 million over 5 years with a $23 million signing bonus and we’ll all go into 2018 happy. But please don’t franchise tag him again. The Steelers don’t need the distraction.

20. GM Kevin Colbert says Steelers must improve-Agreed. Here’s one of his comments: “If we don’t change the roster we had in 2017, what reason would we think there wouldn’t be any difference in the results?” Colbert said. “We have to be ready to be better than we were last year.” Exactly. So that must mean that S Mike Mitchell has to go. #peace

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