Random Thoughts 11/7/14

-I love the panic that is ensuing surrounding the Cavs.  I suppose everyone figured you could throw together a completely new team and a new coach and just go out and start winning.  The reality is that this is going to take time.  It’s no different than it was with the Heat.  Everyone expected the Heat to win right away too.  They were sitting at 9-8 after 17 games.  Honestly, I expect the Cavs to struggle more than the Heat did.  That Heat team was a lot of new players, but it included a lot of guys who had won before.  Perhaps not won it all, but nearly all the guys on that team had made deep Playoff runs, with the exception of Chris Bosh.  That’s not the case at all with the Cavs.  Obviously LeBron has been there.  Shawn Marion has been there.  So has Mike Miller and, to a lesser extent, Anderson Varejao.  However, 3 of their top 4 players in minutes per game have never even been to the Playoffs.  This is going to take some time.  I have no doubt that they’ll end up winning 50-55 games at the end of the year.  They’ll start figuring things out and tweaking things.  The biggest thing I notice is ball movement.  When the Heat were humming on offense that team was lethal with ball movement.  So was San Antonio last year when they won it all.  You’re not going to win meaningful games in the NBA by playing a bunch of one-on-one.  Kyrie is a fantastic player, but he must learn this.  Kevin Love is too good of a passer to be averaging only 2 assists.  He averaged 4.4 last year playing next to a bunch of guys who couldn’t shoot.  LeBron’s efficiency is way down from where it was the last 3 years with Miami.  That has something to do with his team, but he needs to be better too.  This team should be able to space the floor tremendously well.  They have all the assets needed to make for an elite offense.  With all that being said, I think a lot of their issues stem from defense.  They’re 28th in the league in opponent FG%, 24 in opponent 3pt fg% and 23rd in point allowed.  They need to turn up the heat on defense to allow them the chances to get more easy buckets.  This is the best team in the league in transition.  They have to be able to create more opportunities to run.  The bottom line is that they’ll be fine.  Guys are going to bicker when you’re losing.  There’s going to be public and media scrutiny all year.  The best cure for all of this is winning.

-It’s a huge weekend in college football.  Say what you want about the current Playoff system, but it’s certainly made more of these games exciting.  Several teams are fighting for the Playoff lives every week.  Oregon faces a tough Utah team in Utah.  A loss by Oregon would eliminate them from the Playoffs.  They need to win every game to have a shot.  Next up is Alabama at LSU.  LSU is most likely out already with 2 losses.  However, Alabama is right in the thick of things.  However, they really can’t afford to lose another game.  The Kansas State/TCU game features two teams that are till in the running.  They both have only one loss.  Neither team will have any shot with 2 losses.  The same can be said for Ohio State/Michigan State.  Honestly, I’m not sure Ohio State gets in even with 1 loss.  They lost to a Virginia Tech team that is now 4-5 and 1-4 in the ACC.  Plus that game was at home.  A bad loss like that should eliminate you.  Michigan State, on the other hand, is right in the middle of the hunt.  They can’t afford to lose though.  Notre Dame/Arizona State should be a fun match-up.  Both teams are on the outside looking in right now.  However, both teams would have a heck of a chance if they ran the table.  Arizona State has a few impressive wins with beating USC on the road and Utah at home.  However, they have the biggest loss of anyone in the top 10 with a 35 point loss to UCLA.  Notre Dame doesn’t have any impressive wins on their resume right now.  They do have the best loss of any 1-loss team though.  Baylor and Duke are about the only other teams with any shot.  Baylor has a tough road test at Oklahoma.  They also still play Kansas State.  So even though they are sitting at #12 right now, they’d have a shot if they won out.  Duke is going to need a miracle.  Luckily for them that could come in the form of beating FSU in the ACC Championship Game.  That is, of course, if they run the table until then.  If you made me pick the 4 Playoff teams right now I’d go with Florida State, Oregon, Michigan State and Mississippi State.  I’m basing this off where the teams are at now and also who they still have to play.  Auburn looks great, but still plays @ Georgia and @ Alabama.  Plus, they need Mississippi State to lose 2 SEC games to have a chance to play in the SEC Championship Game.  That’s going to be tough.  However, I do think Auburn has a chance to get in if they win out, even if they don’t make the SEC Champ Game.  Alabama just has too many tough games left.  TCU could possible get in, but I think they’ll lose this week to Kansas State.  Kansas State still has a super tough schedule so I’d be shocked to see them win out.  The reality is that there are still SO many different things that can (and will) happen.  It should be a lot of fun.

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