Archive for the ‘Chattin' with Bradley’ Category

Chattin’ live on the NCAA tourney, propped-up-feet and all

The channel I'm watching, alas, is NOT truTV. (Photography and podiatry by M. Bradley)

The channel I'm watching, alas, is NOT truTV. (Photography and pedicure by M. Bradley)

Charlotte — Welcome to our third annual live chat off the Thursday afternoon NCAA tournament games. The first two years weren’t without controversy. In 2009 you folks made fun of my TV. Last year the Milwaukee Hyatt impelled me to relocate to Major Goolsby, a sports bar across the street, by delivering the sobering news that it did not offer room service for lunch.

(For breakfast, yes. For dinner, yes. Just not for lunch. Are you kidding me?)

But I digress. And now I move to this year’s issue: Of the 65 channels available on the wide-screen TV here at the Civic Center Marriott, truTV isn’t among them. I confess that I’d never heard of truTV until it came a carrier of NCAA games, but now I know what it is. And it’s not here. So I’m going to miss those games today.

My life: Drama untold.

And here we are again. I’m pretty sure the Marriott offers at least a tuna sandwich if not truTV, so I …

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Live from Game 5: Do the Hawks have an answer for Bango?

Joe Johnson practices shooting from the bench. Good trick, but not quite Bango-riffic.

Seeking to one-up a deer, Joe Johnson shoots from the bench. (Photo by M. Bradley)

Big game. Lots of pressure. If the Hawks lose tonight, they probably lose the series. But enough gloom and doom. Let’s talk about Bango.

Bango is the Milwaukee Bucks’ mascot. He — and I believe he’s a he — wears a deer costume. He’s not what you’d call intimidating. (When last did you see a scary deer?) But Bango did become the biggest Internet sensation of the NBA playoffs with a feat performed in Game 4 on Monday.

During a timeout, Bango climbed up a 20-foot ladder and, with his back to the basket, jumped off and dunked the ball. The Bradley Center crowd went Bango-ballistic, and even the Hawks took note. “That,” Joe Smith pronounced before tonight’s Game 5, “was sweet.”

And here’s my challenge to the Hawks: Last year Philips Arena produced a playoff star in Spirit the Hawk, who flew rampant before Game 2 of Round 1 against Miami and became so famous that he — the bird himself informed me in …

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From Braves-Phils: Can the Bradley live-blog streak continue?

This young fellow always seems to hit when MB's here. (AJC photo by Hyosub Shin)

This young fellow always seems to hit when MB's here. (AJC photo by Hyosub Shin)

Strange homestand. The Braves have been shut out twice and no-hit once over these five games. On Sunday they were an out away from losing 3-2, and two nights ago they were an out away from losing 3-0. And yet they’ve won three times in five.

They’ve done it with two bursts of late-inning lightning, sure, but they’ve also done it with pitching. The Braves’ starting pitchers have managed only one win this homestand — that by Derek Lowe against Colorado on Friday in a game he led 7-0 after two innings — but they’ve kept their team close in every game except Saturday’s, which was the night Kenshin Kawakami worked against no-hit Ubaldo Jimenez.

Throw out that game and the Braves’ starting pitchers have yielded 10 earned runs in four starts against two good-hitting teams this homestand. And that is, I submit, what will have to keep the Braves close if they’re going to make a race of it — pitching.

The …

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Live from Braves-Phillies: Guess who’s ‘tremendous-looking’?

Turner Field as of 5:30 p.m. EDT, April 20, 2010. (Gloomy photo by M. Bradley)

Turner Field as of 5:30 p.m. EDT, April 20, 2010. (Evocatively gloomy photo by M. Bradley)

Ryan Howard arrived in Philadelphia in September 2004. The next season he was the National League rookie of the year. Today he stands as the pillar of the club that even rivals concede is the model of excellence. As Brian McCann said Sunday: “The Phillies aren’t just the team in the National League East — the Phillies are the team in the National League.”

Charlie Manuel wasn’t managing the Phillies in 2004, but he arrived in 2005 and has been there since. And Manuel, who has become my favorite manager to hear speak, was asked today by an Atlanta correspondent (i.e., me)  if a big-hitting rookie can make a difference not just on a season but on the future of a franchise.

“A player like that brings excitement and energy,” Manuel said. “He brings a whole lot to a team and to a clubhouse.”

The obvious point of reference: Jason Heyward. He’s not yet Ryan Howard — there’s a difference of 222 …

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Live from G-Day: Who’s the QB? How’s the 3-4? Et cetera

A view from above during the alumni game. (Panoramic photo by M. Bradley)

A view from above during the dramatic alumni game. (Extremely panoramic photo by M. Bradley)

Athens — Murray, Gray or Mettenberger? The 3-4 as cure-all? And for Mark Richt on a sunny (but not all that warm) spring day, the key question: Sunglasses, hat or both?

We’re here at G-Day, where the masses — as of 12:30 p.m. — have yet to gather. There’s an alumni game ongoing before a gathering of family and friends, and the glorified scrimmage between undergrads is scheduled to commence at 2.

Of interest: Whether Aaron Murray, Logan Gray or Zach Mettenberger will stamp himself as the heir to Joe Cox as No. 1 quarterback, though it must be noted that Murray looked the best of anybody at G-Day 2009 and then didn’t play a real down. Also: Whether the newfangled 3-4 defense implemented by new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham will look at all coordinated.

I mention the last part not because I’ve leery of Grantham — I think he’ll do fine — but because I well recall the Georgia Tech …

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Live from Opening Day: Heyward homers his first time up!

April 5, 2010: Jason Heyward at the cage. (Photo by M. Bradley)

April 5, 2010: Jason Heyward at the cage. "He's the real deal," Chipper said. (Photo by M. Bradley)

Bobby Cox couldn’t think of a suitable antecedent. Neither could Terry Pendleton. Neither could Chipper Jones, who was himself a rookie of immense promise.

“The media spotlight is 10, 20 times bigger than it was even 10 years ago,” Jones said, and that’s true.

When Jason Heyward picked up a bat and walked to the cage Monday, he took in his wake a camera crew and two still photographers. And when he, on his sixth practice swing — actually his fourth full swing, the first two having been bunts — he hoisted a delivery from China Cadahia over the fence in right-center, a writer who has been covering the Braves since 1984 (i.e., me) felt compelled to note it.

“Everyone who gets here has talent,” said Pendleton, the Braves’ hitting coach, speaking as he watched Heyward take his pregame swings. “What’s impressive about him is the way he carries himself, the way he goes about his …

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Live from Day 2 of the ACC tournament: Fear the Techsters!

Greensboro, N.C. — Duke lost at Georgia Tech in January. The Jackets were routed in Durham last month. So who wins Round 3 Sunday?

I know. I’m getting ahead of events. I’m also getting a feeling. (I know. Dangerous territory for me.) But the team that nearly played its way out of two tournaments last night — the ACC and the NCAA — will play better tonight. And if Tech plays well, it will beat Maryland.

Do I guarantee this? Absolutely not. With Tech, there are no guarantees. But the Jackets were unlucky to have lost in College Park on Feb. 20 — Cliff Tucker hit over Glen Rice Jr. at the horn — and I’m not sure how much the Terrapins want to be here.

They tied Duke for first place in the ACC’s regular season, and they’re safely in the NCAA field. And for all Gary Williams’ fretting, his team often arrives at the conference tournament and lays a big fat turtle egg.

The Terps have won the ACC once in 20 seasons under Williams, that in 2004. Since its title, it has reached the …

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Live from G-Tech vs. V-Tech: It’s NOT an elimination game

Here's what it's all about, folks. (Bracket courtesy of ESPN.com)

Here's what it's all about, folks. Eight days until the invitations are extended. (Bracket courtesy of ESPN.com)

There are those who’ll disagree, but I don’t believe Georgia Tech would be in dire straits, Dance-wise, if it loses today. As I’ve mentioned a time or two, I’m fairly certain the Yellow Jackets can finish 7-9 in regular-season ACC play and still make the field of 65 on the strength of their schedule and RPI. And this will sound strange, but here goes:

G-Tech, which will finish behind Virginia Tech in the ACC, is in better shape than the Hokies. If V-Tech loses here today, it’s in real trouble. If G-Tech loses, it’s in less.

At this moment, Joe Lunardi of ESPN.com lists G-Tech as a No. 10 seed in his updated Bracketology and V-Tech as a No. 11. Yes, the Hokies are 9-6 in the conference to the Jackets’ 7-8, but the NCAA committee cares less about standings than it does about SOS and RPI. And there’s your difference: V-Tech has an RPI of 55 and a SOS of 155; G-Tech …

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Live from Dogs-Cats: Can Fox’s Hounds shock the world?

DeMarcus Cousins and the not-so-adoring Georgia fans. (Photo by M. Bradley)

DeMarcus Cousins warms up before the not-so-adoring Georgia fans. (Photo by M. Bradley)

Athens – Here’s an amazing stat, courtesy of Georgia publicist Tim Hix. The Bulldogs have outscored opponents 494-457 in the first halves of their 14 SEC games but have been outscored 564-505 in second halves. Being my analytic self, I take this to mean:

Preparation and coaching gets Georgia ahead; the lack of depth gets them behind.

And this, I submit, is why a surprisingly decent team has lost six conference games in which it held a second-half lead. One of those games came Jan. 9 in Rupp Arena, where the then-unassuming Bulldogs led Kentucky with 8:06 remaining.

I mention this because the two meet again here tonight. As was the case nearly two months ago, the Big Blue enters ranked No. 3 in the nation, but Georgia has a much different look. The Bulldogs have proved they can beat quality opponents from the SEC East — Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Florida — on this court. But Kentucky is …

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Live from Tech: Going for a sweep of the reigning champ

The Jackets ready for the men of Roy Williams. (Evocative photo by Mark Bradley)

The Jackets ready for the men of Roy Williams. (Extremely evocative photo by Mark Bradley)

How strange is this? For Georgia Tech, a home date against the defending NCAA champ has become one of two “should-win” games remaining. (The other involves Boston College.) Most seasons you’re happy — nay, ecstatic – with a split against North Carolina. These Jackets need to beat Carolina just to safeguard what seems to be an invitation to the Big Dance.

As noted yesterday, Tech is in decent shape for a team that has lost three of four and is 5-6 in its conference. But losing tonight could grease the chute toward the no-account NIT. The Jackets still have to go to Maryland and to Clemson, and they’ve got Virginia Tech, which is 20-4, here in the regular-season finale. With Tech’s RPI (29th) and strength of schedule (12th), a 7-9 ACC record would probably be enough. But 6-10 might not.

The good news: The Heels stink. They’ve lost seven of nine, and the victories were against North …

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