Introducing John Mapplethorpe and some college basketball talk...

Posted by Bob Biscigliano in ,

Hi, John Mapplethorpe here. I want to thank Bob for allowing me to join the talented team. It is truly an honor to be able to swap thoughts, (but not spit, that would be sick and wrong on many levels), with one of the finest sports minds/bloggers in the business. is the preeminent sports blog today, although many of you have not realized that yet. But you will. Mark my sarcastic, twisted words, you will.

I share Bob’s passion for sports, his loyalty to his hometown of Detroit, (Business Week can suck on an exhaust pipe for making us #4 on their list of “America’s top 10 unhappiest cities”- speaking of which, if Atlanta and Las Vegas are “unhappy”, then pass the Prozac, they can keep their laughing gas,) and his admiration for Zac Efron’s musical abilities. So we’ll gab about sports, often with a Motown slant. But we won’t stop there, oh no. We’ll blather about important current issues, like what Jessica Simpson is tipping the scales at and how many times she apologized for forgetting her own stinkin’ lyrics at her last appearance. (Notice I refuse to call it a “show”, because that would imply that when she goes on-stage, she actually provides some kind of worthwhile entertainment.) We’ll jive about politics and the economy, like when I break down Barack’s stimulus spending plan by sector. And we’ll banter about the front-runners in the race for the title of “Most unstable person in America.” Currently, Britney Spears is in a heated battle for supremacy with the wacko who popped out eight kids when she already had 27 rugrats at home that she was dutifully neglecting.

So it is fitting that I hop on board the Detroit4lyfe train this beautiful first week of March, the pinnacle of the sporting year. We have conference tournaments and March Madness coming up in the next two weeks in college basketball, the NHL and NBA seasons are barreling toward the playoffs, spring training has started in the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues, the World Baseball classic is underway, the NFL draft is looming, steroid users are coming out of the closet one by one, and Charles Barkley just got c-blocked by the Scottsdale Police Department. How can you not be on cloud nine right now if you are a sports fan?

The first thing I would like to discuss is the college basketball season, which is really heating up. The #7 Duke Blue Devils fire up the bus and drive eight miles down the famed 15-501 tomorrow to face the #2 UNC Tar Heels at the Dean Smith Center with a share of the ACC regular season title up for grabs. Is it just me or does Kyle Singler look increasingly disheveled by the game? I’m worried about him, frankly. One thing is for sure, Greg Paulus will pump his fist approximately 27 times throughout the game and cement his place toward the top of the list of most annoying Duke players ever. And yes, I will reveal this list in a future post. (Be careful not to slip off the edge of that seat.)

Meanwhile, after a huge win at the Old Barn today in Minnesota, the Michigan Wolverines men’s basketball team is likely to return to the Big Dance for the first time since 1998 when Tractor Traylor, Louis Bullock and the boys were a #3 seed and lost in the second round to UCLA (after beating Davidson College in the first round). Hopefully, this is the start of something special, and marks a return to the glory years when Michigan was an annual fixture in the tournament and once went to the National Championship game 3 times in 5 years, (1989, 1992, and 1993,) winning it once (in 1989 against Seton Hall.) The promising thing is that the Wolverines had a good regular season, beating Duke, UCLA, Purdue, and Illinois, with a team that is still clearly overmatched by the elite teams in regards to athleticism and pure talent. They are winning with discipline and a great system, which is a credit to their coach. They are winning with back door cuts reminiscent of the Pete Carril “Princeton offense”, and with a masterful zone defense, mostly a 1-3-1. As the program builds momentum and they once again are able to land blue chip recruits, they are going to be a force to be reckoned with. In Belien we trust.


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