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In an interview with The Signal, President Foster opened up about plans for the fall, diversity initiatives at the College and her reaction to the anonymous Instagram accounts that have shaped the College culture this past summer. Here is what she said:
To the Editor:
To the College’s students, staff, faculty and administration:
In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, “Ref” Malcolm Luck asked our panel of three experts — Kyle Olszak, Ryan Vander Werf and Andrew Santonocito — three questions: 1. Will José Bautista make an impact on the Atlanta Braves? 2. Who do you think the New York Giants should take with their No. 2 draft pick? 3. How many seasons does LeBron have left until he shows signs of age? 1. Will José Bautista make an impact on the Atlanta Braves? Kyle: José Bautista will increase attendance for Atlanta’s minor league games, but that will ultimately be the only impact he will have on the organization. Bautista, once a star in the MLB, is now 37 and after a season where he batted only .203, it would not be surprising if he never played another game in the majors again. It is important, however, to note that there is rarely, if ever, a such thing as a poor minor league signing. By signing Bautista to a minor league deal, the Braves are taking little to no risk. Ultimately, it is impossible to say with certainty whether or not Bautista will make an impact with Atlanta, but as of right now it seems unlikely. Ryan: I think José Bautista will make little to no impact on the Braves. With the Braves currently sitting at 10-7, three games back of the New York Mets for the division lead, they aren’t in a position where they’ll be throwing Bautista into the lineup just yet. His contract is a minor league deal, so I assume he’ll play in their system for majority of the year to prove what he still has left in the tank. José was known for his big bat and right now the Braves aren’t in need of a home run hitter. Only if they’re having a hard time scoring runs in the future do I see them throwing Bautista into the mix. Andrew: Personally, I do not believe José Bautista will have any impact on the Atlanta Braves. Bautista, who was signed to a minor league deal on April 18, will now be playing the hot corner for the Braves, which he has done only 12 times since 2012, when he was 31 years old. Bautista is now 37 years old and his best games are behind him. The days of Bautista erupting the Rogers Centre with monstrous bat flips in the playoffs are over, and the chances of him making it up to the big leagues and having an impact are slim to none. After a horrid second half in 2017 when Bautista hit an underwhelming .156 with nine homers and 27 RBIs, the Blue Jays declined to pick up his option for 2018 simply because his bat is just not the same. “Joey Bats” is a career .250 hitter with 331 homers and 927 RBIs, but in my opinion, he will have a hard time making it back to the big leagues and making an impact with his decreased numbers and current second basemen Ryan Flaherty hitting .354 for the Braves ahead of him. Andrew receives 3 points for highlighting Bautista’s awful stats. Kyle receives 2 points for mentioning the harmlessness of minor league deals. Ryan receives 1 point for mentioning the Braves’ lack of desire for a home run hitter. 2. Who do you think the New York Giants should take with their No. 2 draft pick? Kyle: This question is obviously dependent on who the Browns draft with the first overall pick. If we assume that recent reports are accurate, and the Browns select quarterback Josh Allen, then the Giants should take quarterback Sam Darnold. Though the product from the University of Southern California struggled with turnovers during his college career, he made up for it with his hard work. Darnold also has some of the more physical intangibles as opposed to a prospect like quarterback Baker Mayfield, as Darnold is 6 feet 3 inches tall and over 220 pounds. He played tight end and linebacker in high school, which is something he should quickly overcome after working with an NFL training staff and coaches. In a draft that appears to have four NFL-ready quarterbacks, a team like the Giants who need a replacement for quarterback Eli Manning should not pass on Darnold at the number two spot. Ryan: The Giants should draft Sam Darnold with the No. 2 overall pick if he is available. Darnold is thought by many to be the best overall quarterback coming out of the draft this year. With Eli Manning only having about two more years left in the tank, this would be a great opportunity for the Giants to draft his replacement and allow Darnold, who is only 20 years old, time to develop and adapt in the NFL. With that being said, in the case that the Browns draft Darnold first overall, the Giants should draft running back Saquon Barkley. Saquon is the most dynamic player in the draft. Saquon has the ability to make people miss while running the ball, but also I think an underrated aspect of his game is his pass blocking ability. Saquon will provide the Giants needed help in the pass game while also bringing his running abilities to the plate. Barkley is the safest pick in this draft. Andrew: With the NFL draft just over a week away, it is coming down to the wire and teams are scrambling on who to select. Whether it be one of the top three quarterbacks like Allen, Rosen and Darnold. After doing some research, I think the New York Giants should take Barkley out of Penn State with their No. 2 draft pick in the 2018 draft. Giants general manager Dave Gettleman once told the press about drafting a hall-of-fame caliber player. Who would be a better selection than a 21-year-old out of the Bronx, New York? The Giants do not need to select a quarterback right away while they still have Eli. It would be a tragedy to pass up on Barkley, who ran for a whopping 3,843 yards with 43 touchdowns and racked up 1,195 receiving yards and 8 touchdown receptions in his collegiate career. Barkley is exactly the hall of fame player Gettleman was talking about. Kyle and Ryan receive 3 points for presenting multiple options contingent on the Browns’ decision. Andrew gets 1 point for alluding to Barkley’s college stats. 3. How many seasons does LeBron James have left until he shows signs of age? Kyle: If you did not already know, LeBron James is a freak of nature. No player in his 15th season should be able to put up 46 points in a playoff game so easily. This, coupled with his amazing regular season in which he improved his shooting and played in all 82 games, suggests that LeBron still has several years left. In order to maximize these years, LeBron has to leave Cleveland this summer and sign with a team that has two young, generational talents. This team I am referencing is the Philadelphia 76ers. Point guard Ben Simmons looks like the closest thing the NBA has seen to another Magic Johnson, and Joel Embiid has already become one of the top centers in the league. My prediction is that by partnering with them, LeBron could remain at his level of dominance for at least another five years. With that being said, I think the answer to the question is that it depends — if LeBron stays in Cleveland and posts another 82-game season next year while carrying the team on his back. Ryan: LeBron, in his 15th season, has shown no signs of deterioration. He’s actually on par, if not better, than he was in his prime. I believe LeBron won’t show signs of his age for another three seasons, making him 36 years old. LeBron is playing great basketball, but this does take a toll on your body after playing as many games as he has and making deep playoff runs year after year. The only way I see LeBron showing a drop-off anytime sooner than three years is if he gets seriously injured. We’ve seen this with other basketball players and athletes who dominated their sports, such as point guard Derrick Rose, who dropped off after several serious injuries and even quarterback Peyton Manning, who had a neck injury and surgery before dropping off and retiring. LeBron is one of the best athletes of any sport of our generation and I truly believe he has more left in the tank and will prove many people wrong for years to come. Andrew: The multi-billion-dollar question, “when will LeBron James start showing signs of age” is one that not even LeBron himself could provide an answer for. James, who is currently 33 years old, has been in the league since 2003 and has not showed any signs of fatigue or deterioration. LeBron is simply built like a beast and I do not see him slowing down for at least another three to five years. This is credited to LeBron taking care of himself and realizing he isn’t that 18-year-old kid anymore and he has to make the right decisions. LeBron spends 1.5 million dollars a year taking care of his body to ensure he is always ready to dominate and take over the game. While others are fatigued after the 82-game season, LeBron’s season starts now with the playoffs. LeBron is an athlete like no other and his age may never hold him back. It is unreal to watch him dominate every game he plays in. We are truly witnessing greatness before our eyes, and to LeBron, age is simply just a number. Kyle receives 3 points for mentioning LeBron’s longer career potential. Ryan gets 2 points for alluding to the possibility of a major injury shortening LeBron’s career. Andrew gets 1 point for discussing LeBron’s ability to take care of himself. Kyle wins ATD 8-6-5 “Hurry up and draft me because I want to be there. I want to wreck this league together.” — Johnny Manziel
In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, “Ref” Malcolm Luck asked our panel of three experts — Ethan Lott, Jake Chiavelli and Miguel Gonzalez — three questions: 1. Will the New York Mets win the NL East this year? 2. Who should be the NBA’s rookie of the year? 3. Are the Los Angeles Rams the team to beat in the NFC after all of their free agent signings? 1. Will the New York Mets win the National League East this year? Ethan: Although the Mets are on a tear right now, I do not believe that they will win the National League East. I personally think that the division is going to become more competitive as the season goes on with the young talent in both the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies. No one can sleep on the Washington Nationals either. With that said, the Mets will eventually cool down and I think that the Nationals will win the division with a tight race between the other teams in contention for a wild card spot. The Miami Marlins are a lost cause. Jake: Honestly, I think the Mets will win it. I think a lot of different things have to go right, but it can happen. First, they need to stay healthy, considering they have a lot of veteran guys and a pitching staff that is prone to getting hurt. They could have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball when healthy. As for their lineup, the veteran presence along with some of the younger guys such as left fielder Yoenis Céspedes is showing competitiveness. Ultimately, their pitching staff will keep them in games, but their lineup will win them. I love third baseman Todd Frazier and I think he was a huge reason why the New York Yankees were able to go so far last year. I think he will bring the same energy to the Mets and be a pivotal player for them as the season goes on. Assuming they stay healthy, I think this team has what it takes to beat out the Washington Nationals for the division. Miguel: The Amazin’ Mets are exceeding expectations in Queens, New York. Outside of the Big Apple, I feel like no one pays attention to the Mets because of some guys in the Bronx. Granted, the Mets didn’t have much media coverage after a lackluster season in 2017. Pitcher Matt Harvey has dealt with injuries. Former pitching coach Dan Warthen couldn’t utilize a good lineup. So what’s different about this year’s Mets? They have returned to their 2015 form. With third baseman Todd Frazier grinding out at-bats, left fielder Yoenis Céspedes securing the outfield and pitcher Noah Syndergaard electrifying the mound, these Mets are stacked. Just kidding, the Mets will always play second fiddle to the Yankees. With rising teams like the Philadelphia Phillies, the Mets will need to go through the process to win the weak National League East. Jake receives 3 points for breaking down the key components of the Mets. Miguel receives 2 points for mentioning Dan Warthen. Ethan receives 1 point for alluding to the weak Marlins. 2. Who should be the NBA’s rookie of the year? Ethan: Point guard Ben Simmons should without a doubt be the NBA’s rookie of the year. Yes shooting guard Donovan Mitchell has had an incredible season, but you cannot forget about the things Ben Simmons has done. He had double-digit triple doubles in his rookie season and has been a huge part of the Philadelphia 76ers’ success this season. Not only have the Sixers made the playoffs as a very good team, but during their 16-game winning-streak at the end of the season, Simmons averaged a triple double. I am not discrediting Mitchell in any way, but I believe it is silly to have to debate about this topic. Jake: I would say Ben Simmons just from his big impact. The 76ers haven’t been in a place like this in a long time and I think the biggest reason is the addition of Simmons. I think he has the potential to be a star and I think he deserves to be the league’s rookie of the year. Miguel: Lonzo Ball all day, every day! The point guard from Chino Hills, California has led the Los Angeles Lakers to greatness this season. As the Lakers wrapped up their proud 35-47 season, Ball balled hard to be the top rookie of the NBA. With impressive statistics like 10.2 points per game and 6.9 rebounds per game, Ball shows the potential to be greater than Lakers’ legend Kobe Bryant. How could you not like him? He’s sponsored by the greatest sports company of all time, the Big Baller Brand. With amazing products like their mysterious Lithuanian mineral water and $500 sneakers, Ball has established himself as a basketball icon like Michael Jordan. It’s not like the NBA has many talented rookies this year anyway, right? Ethan receives 3 points for mentioning Simmons’ triple-double ability. Miguel gets 2 points because the Big Baller Brand never takes L’s. Jake receives 1 point for alluding to the 76ers’ lack of recent success without Simmons. 3. Are the Los Angeles Rams the team to beat in the NFC after all of their free agent signings? Ethan: Coming from a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan who is still on a high from the Super Bowl win, I am frightened by the moves that the Rams have made. Through free agency, they have restructured their entire defense, turning it into a lethal weapon. They still have an incredible offense that they displayed in the 2017 season and added wide receiver Brandin Cooks on top of that. I do believe the Rams, as of right now, are the team to beat in the NFC. But don’t sleep on them Eagles. Go birds! Jake: I still think the Eagles are the team to beat in the NFC. I think the Rams have plenty of potential. However, they have to prove it can work first before I think they are the best. The Eagles still have a great defense and quarterback Carson Wentz coming back is huge for them. I think the Rams are a very scary team coming into the season because of their potential. I think it will be very interesting to see both teams down the stretch if they both stay healthy. Miguel: I never understood why the Los Angeles Rams left St. Louis, Missouri in the first place. Back then, the Rams were known as the “greatest show on turf” with amazing players like quarterback Kurt Warner. Now, the Rams are led by 32-year old Sean McVay, who could be mistaken for a newlywed husband ready to embark on a long marriage. I was impressed how McVay carried a whole new team and lead it to the NFC wild card game. I’m not sure who the Rams exactly traded for, but I’m going to assume that they are already better than the Chargers. The Rams’ only obstacle next season will be the San Francisco 49ers, who be will led by Tom Brady’s worthy apprentice, Jimmy Garoppolo. He’s probably not worried about the Rams since he’s been swimming in gobs of cash this offseason. Ethan receives 3 points for mentioning both sides of the ball. Jake receives 2 points for talking about Carson Wentz’s return. Miguel receives 1 point for roasting McVay. Ethan wins ATD 7-6-5 “Wanna give a shoutout to Ma. Without her none of this would be possible ... well really dad.”
In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, “Ref” Alexander Reich asked our panel of three experts — Malcolm Luck, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Miguel Gonzalez — three questions: 1. Will Tiger Woods win the Masters this year? 2. Can the Boston Celtics make a deep run in the playoffs without Kyrie Irving? 3. Will the Houston Astros continue their momentum from their 6-1 start? 1. Will Tiger Woods win the Masters this year? Malcolm: I don’t think Tiger Woods will win the Masters this year. He’s been performing pretty well lately, but definitely not well enough to outperform some of the guys like Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth, who have all maintained better success more recently. I think Tiger Woods has been getting so much hype lately because of the drastic improvement he has stumbled upon. It seems like a few years ago I would turn on SportsCenter to see Woods injured or performing uncharacteristically poorly in tournaments. Seemingly out of nowhere, he’ll flash signs of his old self with a long putt for a birdie and a classic fist pump but it’s nothing like his old self. Unfortunately, we have seen the best of Tiger, and I don’t think he’ll win another major event ever again. Matthew: Tiger Woods will not win the Masters this year. Tiger has been very competitive these past few tournaments, but the Augusta National is a much more difficult golf course than the ones he has played on since his return. With young players like Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas and seasoned veterans like Matt Kuchar and Henrik Stenson, Tiger will not be the one putting on the green jacket. Miguel: It’s good to see the red Nike polo shirt at the Masters. While I admire Tiger Woods’ effort to come back on top, the competition is simply too much for him at the Masters. With perennial contenders like Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed and Rickie Fowler, Woods can’t be considered the best golfer in America. Tiger Woods at the Masters in 2018 is like seeing Vince Carter in the NBA dunk contest. Regardless of the result, Woods is definitely showing potential after placing in fifth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and second at the Valspar Championship. If he keeps persisting and placing high in future tournaments, I can see Woods winning the Masters in two years. Miguel gets 3 points for adding that Woods does have the potential of winning. Matthew gets 2 points for pointing out that Woods is still competitive. Malcolm gets 1 point for his negativity about Woods’ future. 2. Can the Boston Celtics make a deep run in the playoffs without Kyrie Irving? Malcolm: The Celtics still have potential, but I don’t think they have a deep run left in them without Kyrie Irving. The Celtics win and lose games on their defensive output, and I don’t think that’ll be any different without Kyrie. He wasn’t necessarily a defensive liability, but he definitely isn’t good enough on defense to cause the Celtics to truly miss his presence. On offense, however, clutch playoff Kyrie will undoubtedly be missed. I’m a huge fan of his replacement Terry Rozier. I think Rozier has triple-double potential every time he steps on the court, but we have yet to see him in a playoff atmosphere. I’m not convinced that he can lead this team in a do-or-die type of game, and he definitely isn’t a good enough shooter to take clutch shots like Kyrie. Considering that they’re now losing games against the (really, really, really bad) Atlanta Hawks at home, I can see any team in the East knocking off the Celtics after the first round. Matthew: The Boston Celtics cannot make a deep run without star point guard Kyrie Irving. Kyrie had been the difference this year that would have propelled the Celtics over the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Toronto Raptors. However, without star small forward Gordon Hayward and star point guard Kyrie Irving, the Celtics are not advancing to the Finals this year. Miguel: The Boston Celtics should be more worried about its foes this year. In an Eastern Conference filled with strong teams like the Toronto Raptors, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Indiana Pacers, the Celtics don’t have much room for error. Not to mention the Celtics will have to deal with the red-hot Philadelphia 76ers, who are currently on a 14-game winning-streak. Sure, while the Celtics do have excellent players like 20-year-old forward Jayson Tatum, guard Marcus Smart and guard/forward Jaylen Brown, it won’t be enough to win the Eastern Conference. The Celtics should be thankful they are not in the ultra-competitive Western Conference. Malcolm gets 3 points because he added that any team in the East can beat the Celtics. Matthew gets 2 points for mentioning Hayward. Miguel gets 1 point because he said that he does not think the Celtics can advance. 3. Will the Houston Astros continue their momentum from their 6-1 start? Malcolm: The Astros cannot and will not be stopped. Right now, they’re my front-runners for the World Series title. Every aspect of their team has so much depth. Their starting rotation, lineup and bullpen are all probably in the top five of the American League. They’ve added Gerrit Cole, who has looked phenomenal through his first two outings of the year. What really convinces me, however, is their lineup. With Springer, Altuve and Correa all at the top of their lineup, they’re easily one of the most consistent offensive teams in the league. Josh Reddick and Brian McCann have also been adding to the offensive powerhouse early on in the year which is promising as well because the top of their lineup can’t carry the entire team. The Astros are something special, and the rest of the baseball world should definitely take notice. Matthew: The Houston Astros will continue their hot streak after their 6-1 start. With the new addition of Gerrit Cole, the World Series champs only got better this offseason and are primed for a great season. As long as star shortstop Carlos Correa and reigning MVP Jose Altuve stay healthy, they will be a force to be reckoned with. Miguel: Man, I have to admit, the Houston Astros are great. Throughout Major League Baseball history, championship teams usually can’t replicate their success from the previous year. It’s difficult because of free agency signings, retirements, trades and coaching changes. Unlike past championship teams, the Astros haven’t skipped a beat. During the offseason, the Astros revamped their pitching lineup by signing pitcher Gerrit Cole from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Astros also extended the contracts of core players like Jose Altuve and George Springer. It’s almost as if the 2017 Astros transitioned to the 2018 season within a week. I expect the Astros to continue their great start and take over the American League soon. The only team that can stop them are the New York Yankees, only if Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton can’t stop striking out so much. Malcolm gets 3 points for saying that the Astros are the real deal. Miguel gets a 2 points for mentioning pitcher Gerrit Cole. Matthew gets 1 point for lack of detail. Malcolm wins ATD 7-6-5 “Let’s go Mets!”
In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, “Ref” Miguel Gonzalez asked our panel of three experts — Kevin Kistner, Andres Arango and Vinnie DeTommaso — three questions: 1. Should the New York Giants trade Odell Beckham Jr.? 2. Can the New York Mets maintain a healthy pitching lineup this season? 3. Will Duke’s Marvin Bagley III become the No. 1 NBA draft pick? 1. Should the New York Giants trade Odell Beckham Jr.? Kevin: I do not think this is the year to trade Odell just yet. The biggest problem with the Giants’ offense is that they do not have a run game. A good run game allows for play action passes and opens up the passing game a lot more. This upcoming draft class is full of extremely talented running backs and the best move this year would be to draft a running back and establish a run game to take pressure off of Eli Manning and ultimately, Odell. Odell deserves at least one more year to prove that he deserves to stay in New York because he is obviously talented. I believe once a run game is established, Eli and Odell will start to use their talent and connection to generate a pass game and an efficient offensive team. Andres: I don’t think that the Giants should trade Odell — he is an essential part of the franchise. Odell is by far one of the most iconic players in the NFL. He has multiple advertising contracts and his jersey sales surpass those of any other NFL player. He not only guarantees the franchise an enormous profit, but he also indirectly markets the franchise through his continuous roles in advertising campaigns with other companies such as Verizon, Coca-Cola and Head and Shoulders. Odell is also a huge morale booster for the team. Though his attitude may be criticized by the media, his enthusiasm and passion offer his teammates much-needed morale especially after this season, and his work on the field is superb as well. Vinnie: No, the New York Giants should not trade Odell Beckham Jr. He is one of the best wide receivers in all of the NFL. He has been named second team All-Pro twice and been selected for the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons in the NFL. In 2016, he was the fastest player to reach 200 career receptions and 4,000 career receiving yards in the history of the NFL. He is and should be the future of the New York Giants and will continue to be a prolific player for the team. Kevin gets 3 points for emphasizing a good run game. Andres gets 2 points for mentioning Odell’s marketing and morale worth. Vinnie gets 1 point for using statistics. 2. Can the New York Mets maintain a healthy pitching lineup this season? Kevin: No one knows for certain whether the Mets’ starting rotation can stay healthy, for it is not predetermined. However, given the history of injuries sustained by the starting rotation, they are in a better place now than in years past. The additions of former Cleveland Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway as manager and former Kansas City Royals pitching coach Dave Eiland were a big step in the right direction for the Mets. Callaway stated in his first press conference that he was going to introduce new structures and routines and hold the players accountable for what they do. It would be a devastating blow to this team if one of their good young starting pitchers goes down with an injury. However, they still have talented young arms like Robert Gsellman, Paul Sewald and Zach Wheeler, who was recently sent down in a likely brief stint to the Las Vegas 51s, the Mets’ Triple A team. Andres: Although the Mets have an extensive rotation, I believe it is nearly impossible for them to maintain a healthy pitching staff due to the nature of the sport. The players are exposed to a lot of travel time, a plethora of games and a lot of practices. Pitching takes an incredible toll on the pitcher’s body, even for the healthiest individuals. Vinnie: The New York Mets can easily keep a healthy lineup, but here’s the catch — they won’t. Being a Mets fan has been rough after the team’s World Series appearance in 2015, which left fans optimistic for years to come. Since then, however, it has been a roller coaster of injuries plaguing the pitching rotation. “The Dark Knight” pitcher Matt Harvey has yet to return to his full glory seen in 2015 after fans pressured him into pitching despite recommendations to rest his arm. Aside from Harvey, last season practically all of the Mets’ star pitchers got hurt besides Jacob deGrom. Everyone knows that the Mets’ key to a successful season is to maintain a healthy pitching lineup. It may just be that Mets pitchers are prone to injury — the luck of the Met. Kevin gets 3 points for discussing the Mets’ manager and pitching coach. Vinnie gets 2 points because being a Mets fan is a lifelong roller coaster. Andres gets 1 point for emphasizing the difficulty of pitching. 3. Will Duke’s Marvin Bagley III become the No. 1 NBA draft pick? Kevin: I believe that Marvin Bagley III will not be the No. 1 NBA draft pick. Bagley is a very young and talented player, but he still has some work to do. The best player coming out of this draft class is the University of Arizona’s Deandre Ayton. He is a seven-footer who can defend extremely well and has all the right moves down low in the post. His three-point shot is continuing to improve and he is the most NBA-ready player in this class. If it was up to me, I would draft Deandre Ayton first overall but because of Bagley’s athleticism, shot blocking ability and presence around the rim both offensively and defensively, drafting the Duke star first overall would not be considered a bad move by any means. Andres: Marvin Bagley III is an incredible player. He is physically gifted and stands at an incredible 6’11, which compliments his skills and basketball knowledge. Not only did he lead one of the best teams in the country, but he also excels, averaging over 33 points per game which is incredible in such a competitive professional league. His personality and work ethic will make his transition into the NBA smooth. As a result, I don’t doubt he is worthy of being the first round pick. Vinnie: Duke’s Marvin Bagley III has a pretty good shot at being drafted first overall. With a strong average of 21.1 points per game, many sports experts claim that he offers the most potential, especially offensively. Where Bagley III struggles is on defense, and that is what is holding him back from being drafted first overall. There’s no doubt that, although he may not be the first pick of the draft, he will definitely be a top five pick. Regardless of what pick he is drafted, in a few years he may become a superstar. Kevin gets 3 points for comparing Bagley III to Ayton. Andres and Vinnie get 2 points for mentioning statistics. Kevin wins ATD 9-5-5 “Birds rule!”
In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, “Ref” Miguel Gonzalez asked our panel of three experts — Vinnie DeTommaso, Kevin Kistner and Andres Arango — three questions: 1. Did the Giants make the right call in trading Jason Pierre-Paul? 2. Can the Philadelphia 76ers qualify for the playoffs? 3. Will pitcher Shohei Ohtani help the Los Angeles Angels contend for the American League West division title? 1. Did the Giants make the right call in trading Jason Pierre-Paul? Vinnie: The Giants made the right move trading defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul because they are looking toward the future. After last season’s 3-13 record, it only makes sense for the Giants to clear cap space to allow young talented players to prove themselves. The Giants also changed their defensive scheme to a 3-4, which outside linebacker Olivier Vernon fits well in. With no large role for Pierre-Paul along with his large salary, it’s time for the Giants to move on. Kevin: To me, I agree with the Giants trading Pierre-Paul. However, that is only if the Giants are going to take defensive Bradley Chubb from North Carolina State University in the 2018 NFL Draft. Pierre-Paul was an elite defensive end before his injury and if the Giants do not see the same potential in him now, I believe the Giants made the right call for the future. Andres: I think the Giants made an excellent choice trading Pierre-Paul. Not only does the departure of Pierre-Paul open up an enormous amount of salary cap, but it also helps the Giants gain much needed drafts picks to continue their rebuilding. Although Pierre-Paul is an elite player, the Giants need more passionate players that are capable of excelling together and not individually. Vinnie gets 3 points for mentioning the Giants’ defensive scheme. Kevin gets 2 points for suggesting a draft pick. Andres gets 1 point for being vague. 2. Can the Philadelphia 76ers qualify for the playoffs? Vinnie: The 76ers are most likely qualifying for the playoffs. The 76ers are only one win or one loss from the Detroit Pistons away from clinching a playoff spot. Currently standing as the fourth seed in the Eastern conference, it is highly unlikely that they crumble and fall below the eighth seed. This is where center Joel Embiid can prove to his fans and the rest of the NBA that he has what it takes to lead his team to the finals. Kevin: Without a doubt, the Philadelphia 76ers will qualify for the 2018 NBA playoffs. As of right now, the 76ers are the fourth seed in the Eastern conference. With the East being very weak compared to the Western conference, the 76ers have a good chance to continue their season once the regular season ends. Embiid is a tremendous player but he still has some stuff he needs to prove to NBA fans. This year, he will prove that he is capable of bringing the 76ers to the playoffs. Andres: In my opinion, the Philadelphia 76ers will most likely qualify for the playoffs. The 76ers are currently the fourth seed in the East which, in my opinion, is not as competitive as the Western conference. The 76ers have a talented team with players that are itching to prove their worth. It will be a driving factor for much of the team. Vinnie and Kevin get 2 points for praising Embiid. Andres gets 1 point for his short answer. 3. Will pitcher Shohei Ohtani help the Los Angeles Angels contend for the American League Division West title? Vinnie: Some say that pitcher Ohtani is the Babe Ruth of Japan. In a shocking turn of events, Ohtani chose to sign with the Angels instead of divisional powerhouses like the Houston Astros or Texas Rangers. With the addition of a potential superstar like Ohtani, the Angels are turning heads and are serious contenders for the AL West title. On top of Ohtani, the Angels already have stars like two-time MVP center fielder Mike Trout, left fielder Justin Upton and future hall-of-famer designated hitter Albert Pujols. With talented fielders, Ohtani’s 100-mph fastballs will only compliment the Angels’ play. Kevin: With the addition of Ohtani, the Los Angeles Angels add a very nice scare tactic to their team. He pitches over 100 mph and can hit bombs. He is one of the most highly recruited players in the league this year will have a chance to prove himself. He gives the Angels a six-man rotation, which is sometimes necessary to give pitchers some rest. While he seems to be a great player and person, his talents can only up the Angels so much. The Astros as a whole are still a way better team than the Angels and for these reasons, I do not believe the Angels will come out champions of the American League West. Andres: Shohei Ohtani is without a doubt a phenomenal player — his pitching is second to none. I believe his talents will improve Los Angeles’ chances of contending for the American League West crown and having a player of that talent will inspire and boost the team morale. However, I believe L.A. lacks depth and unity. They will only have a chance of clinching the AL West if they are able to overcome these obstacles. Vinnie gets 3 points for highlighting the Angels’ roster. Kevin gets 2 points for acknowledging the Astros. Andres gets 1 point because boosting team morale takes more than talent. Kevin wins ATD 8-6-3 “To understand the world of sports, you have to look at it with a bird’s eye view.”
In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, our panel of three experts — Malcolm Luck, Alexander Reich and Michael Battista — debate which four teams will be in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Division I tournament Final Four. Malcolm: After two rounds, I’d set my Final Four at Kentucky, Texas A&M, Villanova and Duke. I think Kentucky has way too much experience to be kept out of the Final Four at this point. Head coach John Calipari has been in the Final Four six times in his career, including four with Kentucky since 2011. This program is saturated with success. I remember watching Calipari in an interview after Selection Sunday. Given a fifth seed in the South region, Calipari was on ESPN being interviewed about the questionable seeding and team expectations. The guy was oozing composure and poise which is when I realized that the regular season record didn’t matter. I knew that this team had a special run in it and I don’t think it will end in the Sweet 16 or the Elite Eight. This will happen especially after second seed Cincinnati, third seed Tennessee, fourth seed Arizona and sixth seed Miami were all eliminated from the South. I’m willing to bet that this is the easiest path Calipari has had to a Final Four appearance. When former president George H.W. Bush published his bracket having Texas A&M winning it all, I couldn’t help but think that they would get bounced in the first round. Seven vs. 10 seed games are often hard to predict, and Texas A&M barely escaped Providence in the final minutes of the game. Impressive win, but it could have been a fluke. However, Texas A&M absolutely dominated second seed North Carolina and this victory really put them on the map as legitimate contenders. I think Texas A&M will have some trouble with Michigan in the Sweet 16, but Michigan has not impressed me. They almost got knocked off by Bucknell in the Round of 64, and only advanced to the Sweet 16 due to poor clutch free throw shooting from Houston and a miracle shot from freshman guard Jordan Poole. That gut feeling arises every time I see Texas A&M’s name — they will advance to the Final Four. For the few years prior to Villanova’s championship run, the program was notorious for spoiling favorable seeds and matchups with early tournament exits to poorly seeded teams. I remember a few years back, North Carolina State knocked off first seed Villanova in the round of 32. My friends and I watched together and all three of our brackets predicted the upset, which is typically uncommon, but we knew it was coming. Things have changed though. The program has taken a positive turn and I’m a big fan of Villanova’s offensive and defensive balance. Most college teams that have the ability to put up 80-plus points a game are weak defensively, usually at the fault of their fast-paced offense that leads to increased possession time for its opponents. However, Villanova can play at any pace and still find a high-percentage bucket before the shot clock expires. The team chemistry is impressive and there aren’t any teams in the East region that can beat them. Plain and simple. Duke is the only team living up to its expectations in the tournament right now. They’ve put up 89 and 87 points against their first two opponents and I don’t think any team in the tournament right now could hold them under 80 or put up enough points to run with them. Duke has the potential to run the table. Alex: Since thirteenth-seed University of Buffalo knocked off third seed Arizona in the South region, my bracket on the ESPN tournament challenge has been messed up. However, I still have first seed Villanova winning it all and beating Xavier in the national championship game. I picked Villanova because of how good their offensive team effort is and dominant three-point shooting. The key players to keep an eye on are Brunson and junior guard/forward Mikal Bridges. Brunson averaged 19.3 points and 4.7 assists a game during the regular season this year. Meanwhile Bridges averaged 17.9 points with 2.1 assists. They are really talented shooters who can easily get hot and cause trouble for the opposing team. On the other side of things, I picked Xavier because they are a No. 1 seed and I thought that since they are the real deal, they will advance to the Final Four and to the national championship game. The key player on Xavier is senior guard Trevon Bluiett. He averaged 19.5 points a game in the regular season and could be a big threat to his opponents. Another player on Xavier that could help them win is graduate student forward Kerem Kanter, who posted 18 points against Providence. I picked Duke to be in my Final Four because head coach Mike Krzyzewski, known as “Coach K” is very good at making his team compete at the most advanced playing style. He knows what it takes to win important games. The two main guys on this Duke squad to watch out for throughout the tournament are Allen and Bagley III. Allen averaged 15.7 points a game with 4.6 assists. Bagley III averages 21.1 points despite only averaging 1.5 assists. It’s going to be one heck of a run for these teams, and I am hoping for the best. Michael: After an incredible first round that included the first ever sixteen seed beating a first seed, my bracket is pretty wrecked and one of my Final Four teams is gone. The teams I picked to go to the big dance in my standard bracket are Cincinnati, Gonzaga, Duke and Villanova. The easy one is Villanova, who won the whole tournament two years ago and is the overwhelming favorite to win after Virginia’s loss with 14.6 percent of NCAA sponsored Bracket Challenge users picking them. It’s easy to see why when the team went on a 13-game winning-streak to open the season and only lost four times in the regular season. All the big success comes from talent that still has time to develop like junior guard Jalen Brunson and sophomore guard Donte DiVincenzo. This young core honestly looks unbeatable. My next pick goes to the dogs, Gonzaga that is. Last year’s runner-up are of course from the west coast so for a true blue Atlantic Ocean guy like myself, it was hard for me to constantly be in tune with what the team was up to all season. Turns out I was missing a lot. The team dominated in the West Coast Conference, winning the conference tournament against Brigham Young University, 74-54. This team can score, with five players averaging at least 11 points a game while the team as a whole is averaging 84.5 points per game. Statistics like these make the team ninth in the nation, and can also boost the team into the Final Four. Next up is Cincinnati, but Nevada will instead make an appearance in San Antonio. The American Athletic Conference housed three tournament-bound teams this year and I felt the conference champion Cincinnati was the team to watch out for. I should have realized that any team from Cincinnati will choke in the second half of games. The team let up seven turnovers and made only one three-pointer in the second half courtesy of junior guard Justin Jenifer. This is a team that hit nearly every one of it’s offensive season averages, like Jenifer and senior forward Kyle Washington. But in the end, they forgot how to play defense and Nevada overran them into the Sweet Sixteen. Finally, I see Duke making another Final Four appearance. The team entered the season as the top team in the country but lost to schools like Boston College, St. John’s University and North Carolina State. The team’s defense also made me question its practicality when it allowed at least 89 points for three consecutive games in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season. But, call it conspiracy or luck, I feel Duke can beat any team in their region. They easily handled Iona and the University of Rhode Island. Syracuse’s fast offense will be their biggest challenge, but if they can beat them, I believe the team is set. With freshman forward Marvin Bagley III and senior guard Grayson Allen, this team can go to the Final Four, as long as Allen can stop tripping people. My championship game is still a possibility, with Villanova taking on Gonzaga on April 2. The final will be an defensive showcase, with long buckets raining down like cats and dogs. Villanova will be winning by two points because the offenses will be mute against one another. The immovable force versus the unstoppable object. In the end, I will once again fail to win it all in a heartbreaker, 67-59.
In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, “Ref” Malcolm Luck asked our panel of three experts — Kevin Kistner, Ryan Jin and Arjun Gupta — three questions: 1. Can Dwyane Wade lead the Miami Heat into the playoffs? 2. With the NCAA tournament coming up, which school do you see becoming a Cinderella team? 3. Which team has a better offense right now: the New York Yankees or the Boston Red Sox? 1. Can Dwyane Wade lead the Miami Heat into the playoffs? Kevin: As a big fan of Dwyane Wade, I do believe he has what it takes to carry the Heat to the playoffs. The Eastern Conference is not nearly as strong as the Western Conference, so to say the Heat can make the playoffs is very reasonable. Sometimes, chemistry and dedication get a lot further than just raw talent and I think this Miami team has great chemistry. With Wade coming back, the city of Miami is just glad to have him back. A loose and comfortable Wade might play better without feeling any pressure. Ryan: Dwyane Wade is looking pretty damn vintage as of late. In that fresh new vice-style home jersey, his confidence has only grown. Look no further than that iconic game winner over Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia Sixers. Though his critics might look at his age, his numbers don’t lie. He’s averaging 14 points, four rebounds and three assists per game this season, which are pretty impactful numbers if you’re thinking about a veteran’s contributions in the scope of Miami’s young roster. With the help of energetic guys like Hassan Whiteside, Dion Waiters and James Johnson who push the in-game pace, the Heat could just lead itself into the playoffs. Arjun: Yes, Dwyane Wade can lead the Miami Heat into the playoffs because Dwyane Wade is an all-star veteran player who has been playing in the league for 15 seasons now. Over the span of his amazing NBA career, he has accumulated many great awards and titles. He is a three-time NBA champion, an NBA Finals MVP, a 12-time NBA All-Star, a two-time All-NBA First Team, three-time All-NBA second team and an NBA scoring champion. All in all, he has the necessary qualities and the high-caliber skills to lead this team into the promise land. Ryan gets 3 points for alluding to Wade’s game winner. Arjun receives 2 points for mentioning Wade’s accolades. Kevin receives 2 points for comparing the conferences. 2. With the NCAA tournament coming up, which school do you see becoming a “Cinderella” team? Kevin: In the foreseeable future, I can see St. Bonaventure University becoming a Cinderella team. They are one of the best perimeter shooting teams in the nation. They emphasize the saying “you live and die by the 3.” If St. Bonaventure gets a good matchup they like and are feeling confident and find their sweet stroke, this is a team that can put up a lot of points to compete with anyone in the nation. It’s all about creating the runs and limiting the opponents to as few runs as possible to win during this heated tournament. If this team strings a good few possessions together, they could be scary. Ryan: College basketball hasn’t always been my thing, but in recent years I’ve gotten much more involved due to Sportscenter, Bleacher Report or House of Highlights hyping up crazy game winners and wet shots. Speaking of crazy wet shots, Trae Young and the University of Oklahoma Sooners are looking pretty good as a Cinderella team. I mean, Trae Young is Cinderella in the flesh. His range and consistency are truly magical. I’ll be surprised if the Sooners get knocked out before the Sweet Sixteen, because I’m hoping to see them make some headlines this month. Arjun: I see the University of Nevada, Reno becoming the Cinderella team and making a deep run in the NCAA tournament. They are the Mountain West regular season champions, who have won eight of their last nine games, including a blowout victory against University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The team is averaging about 84 points per game and have four players who each are scoring over 13 points per game. Jordan Caroline is also a key player to watch out for as he is nearly averaging a double-double with 17.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Kevin gets 3 points for mentioning a legitimate Cinderella candidate and its offensive strength. Ryan gets 1 point because Trae Young and the University of Oklahoma are overrated. Arjun gets 1 point for mentioning a team that is too mainstream for the Cinderella label. 3. Which team has a better offense right now: the New York Yankees or the Boston Red Sox? Kevin: Regardless of where I live, I think the New York Yankees have the better offense right now. They have three of the best home run sluggers in the game right now — with Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, it could be as simple as three swings producing three runs. With the addition of Yankee Stadium being very well known as a hitter’s ballpark, it only creates an even more of an advantage for the Yankees. The Yankees might not be the better team in what is called manufacturing runs, but the Yankees do have the firepower to put up over four runs a night. Ryan: How is this even a question? The “Boston Red Sux” can’t even hold a candle to the dominating powerhouse striking fear into all pitchers’ hearts that is the Yankees’ starting lineup. All the buzz about New York’s new “big three” of Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez is finally paying off as spring training offers the Yankees an opportunity to flex early. Let’s not forget Brett Gardner, the all around complete hitter and catcher who has been smacking dingers all preseason. In their spring training matchup today, it’s no question the Yankees’ offensive lineup will have pitchers Chris Sale and David Price absolutely trembling on the mound. Arjun: The New York Yankees have a better offense right now and will have one of the league’s best offensive lineups for the upcoming season. The Bronx Bombers already had a potent lineup and made it even more lethal with the addition of the reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton, who has 7.6 wins above replacement and an MLB-leading 59 home runs. Now paired with Aaron Judge, the Rookie of the Year and the runner up for the American League MVP award, along with Greg Bird, Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius, the Bronx Bombers can and will do some serious damage. Last season, the Yankees led the league in walks, were second in runs scored, third in on-base percentage and fourth in slugging average. Arjun receives 3 points for alluding to the Yankees’ potent offense before the acquisition of Stanton. Kevin gets 2 points for mentioning the size of Yankee Stadium. Ryan gets 1 point for incorrectly saying Brett Gardner is a catcher. Kevin wins ATD 7-6-5 “Go birds!”
In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, “Ref” Miguel Gonzalez asked our panel of three experts — Matthew Fitzpatrick, Andres Arango and Lawrence Kruglyak — three questions: 1. Did the University of Louisville deserve to be stripped of its 2013 national title? 2. Can Adam Vinatieri maintain success as an NFL kicker next season? 3. With the Winter Olympics coming to a close, what has been the most memorable moment? 1. Did the University of Louisville deserve to be stripped of its 2013 national title? Matthew: The University of Louisville men’s basketball team did not deserve to have their 2013 national championship stripped from its program. The NCAA has been drastically inconsistent with the magnitude of its punishments for colleges and universities around the nation. Granted, Louisville did use illegal methods to recruit players, but that had nothing to do with the players’ performances on the court as they earned that national title. Perhaps head coach Rick Pitino should have his wins vacated since he was the head of the program. The school, and more importantly the players, earned that national championship and should not have been stripped of their title. Andres: The Louisville men’s basketball team’s situation is a very peculiar one. The staff and student athletes undoubtedly sacrificed their time and energy in order to perform at the level they did in the 2011-2013 seasons. Although I believe the program should be penalized for their unethical behavior, the NCAA’s decision to strip their 2013 title and several years of wins is unjust. Louisville is the first program in modern NCAA history to vacate a national championship. As a result, there is no precedent from which to adjudicate this sticky situation. I think the NCAA is attempting to make an example of Louisville and is being excessive in their punishment. If you ask me, the staff should be penalized a lot harsher than the student athletes, as they are supposed to be role models. The NCAA should hurt the university where it hurts them the most — the money. The NCAA should never degrade the student athletes’ hard work as a team, dedication and talent. Lawrence: Recently, the University of Louisville men’s basketball team was stripped of 123 wins from 2011-2015 and its 2013 national championship. After an investigation, the NCAA found that the University of Louisville had hired exotic dancers to visit student athletes’ dorms and perform for new recruits. Though this is against NCAA policy, the team did not deserve to get its national title taken away. The players worked hard to win the national title and they should not be punished for the actions of the school’s athletic department. The student athletes had no participation in the hiring of the performers, and therefore should not be punished. Andres gets 3 points for emphasizing the hard work of student athletes. Matthew and Lawrence get 2 points for placing the blame on Louisville’s athletic department. 2. Can Adam Vinatieri maintain success as an NFL kicker next season? Matthew: In a year where 40-year-old quarterback Tom Brady was the NFL’s most valuable player, I have no doubt that kicker Adam Vinatieri will be able to achieve the same level of success as a 45-year-old. With the current rules in place, such as “roughing the kicker” and “running into the kicker,” kickers are now the most protected players on the field. As long as Vinatieri does not have a fluke injury off the field and he practices the way he needs to kick in practice and games, he will most definitely have another successful season as a 45-year-old. Andres: Adam Vinatieri can absolutely maintain his success as an NFL kicker at age 45 for several reasons. The man is in amazing physical condition. The NFL places a lot of emphasis on protecting kickers from opposing team’s tackles. The kicker is considered a defenseless player, so the amount of contact is reduced and it’s rare to see a kicker get tackled. I don’t think being a kicker demands much physicality, so as long as Vinatieri can stay in good shape, I feel his experience, skills and muscle memory will do the rest for him. Lawrence: In today’s professional sports world, age has become an enemy for many players, especially in football. We see countless players get released from teams or cut before the season starts simply because they are aging out of a league that requires young talent. I still believe Adam Vinatieri can maintain a successful career as an NFL kicker next season at 45 years old. Unlike other positions in football, kickers do not get brutally hit and take physical abuse every game. As long as Vinatieri can still kick the ball through the uprights consistently, there should be no reason why he should leave the NFL. Matthew gets 3 points for mentioning specific rules. Andres and Lawrence get 2 points for talking about Vinatieri’s physical condition. 3. With the Winter Olympics coming to a close, what has been your most memorable moment? Matthew: With the Winter Olympics coming to a close, the most memorable moment and personally my favorite moment, was hearing the story of Redmond “Red” Gerard. Red had spent hours the night before his event watching Netflix, to the point where he fell asleep late into the night and overslept the next morning. Next, before his Olympic event, he lost his jacket and then after winning his event, he dropped the f-bomb on live television! This teenager made nearly every mistake possible, but still pulled out a gold medal for his country. Andres: The Winter Olympics are coming to a culmination and there have been many memorable moments such as North and South Korea marching together at the opening ceremony as a unified Korean team and bringing the crowd to an absolute frenzy. I think it was a beautiful gesture because it reminds us what sports are really about. It is people of different origins, religions, skin colors, sexual orientation and genders coming together to compete in a sport they love. This small gesture marked a small step in a long journey of easing political tensions between North and South Korea. I think it was definitely something worthy of being tweeted by Chloe Kim at her next event. Lawrence: With the 2018 Winter Olympics coming to a close, my favorite moment has been the U.S. gold medal victory in women’s ice hockey. On the 38th anniversary of the “Miracle on Ice,” Team USA managed to defeat the Canadians in a shootout, ending Canada’s streak of four straight Olympic gold medals. Team Canada seemed unbeatable in women’s ice hockey, especially after the last Olympic games. But after winning gold for the first time since 1998, this victory seemed like another Miracle on Ice for the Americans. Andres gets 3 points for discussing about the unified Korean team. Lawrence 2 points for mentioning the “Miracle on Ice.” Matthew gets 1 point for talking about Red. Andres wins ATD 8-6-6 “A little bird once told me to aim high and keep dreaming big.”
In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, “Ref” Michael Battista asked our panel of three experts — Mark Fitzpatrick, Malcolm Luck and Miguel Gonzalez — three questions: 1. With All-Star break passing by, which NBA teams are prepared to be the No. 1 conference seeds? 2. Who has been most impressive at the halfpipe in the Winter Olympics — Shaun White or Chloe Kim? 3. Who will be the NBA rookie of the year? 1. With All-Star break passing by, which NBA teams are prepared to be the No. 1 conference seeds? Mark: Despite neither team currently possessing the top seed in their respective conference, I believe the Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors are the most prepared to be the top seed in their conferences. In the East, the Celtics are competing mostly against the Toronto Raptors and the Cleveland Cavaliers, but are in a better position than both teams to clinch home court advantage. While the Celtics struggled heading into All-Star break, that could be a result of tired legs due to their front-loaded schedule. A handful of young players who play major minutes for them may not have been fully acclimated to the long NBA season. This is a team that spent most of the first half as the number one seed and even went on a 16-game winning-streak earlier in the season when they were fresher. The rest they will get from the All-Star break could be exactly what they need to start another streak to capture the top seed. For the Warriors, there is no doubt that when they focus, they are the best team on the planet and clear favorites to win the title. The Houston Rockets, who have exceeded all expectations this season, are only slightly ahead of the Warriors in the standings. As a result, I see it much more likely that the Rockets hit a rough patch over the next two months as Golden State will become more focused and prepared to defend their title with home court advantage. Malcolm: In the West, I have to go with Golden State. They’re so deep and they have way too many scorers to finish in any spot other than first. Houston is solid too but the team relies too heavily on Harden and while he is a legitimate MVP candidate, a team isn’t usually in a position to claim the top spot without depth. In the East, I think it’s the Celtics. Toronto is wildly inconsistent and is pretty weak on the road — it’s tough to sustain a great record with lopsided splits like that. The Cavaliers’ new lineup impressed in their few games together but it’s a small sample size. They are also 6.5 games behind in the conference which is a pretty significant deficit. The Celtics statistically have the best defense in the Eastern Conference and can still put up points when Kyrie is healthy and is getting 30 plus minutes a game. They’ll overtake the Raptors for the number one seed. Miguel: It’s definitely going to be another Cavaliers-Warriors matchup in the finals. LeBron and the Cavaliers will be storming the Eastern Conference after a slow start to the season. While the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors are top contenders, they are no match against LeBron’s ambition to return to the NBA finals. Meanwhile, the Warriors will trudge through the Houston Rockets and the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference. Malcolm gets 3 points for mentioning Toronto’s inconsistency. Mark gets 2 points for talking about Boston’s early success and Miguel gets 1 point for not answering the question. 2. Who has been most impressive at the halfpipe in the Winter Olympics — Shaun White or Chloe Kim? Mark: Although Shaun White has been exceptional at the 2018 Winter Olympics, Chloe Kim has been the more impressive of the two at the halfpipe during these games. Shaun White, a 31-year-old and three-time Olympic gold medalist, has set a certain standard of excellence that we can expect from him. However, Chloe Kim has come out of nowhere to shock the world as the youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboarding medal with her gold medal winning performance at just 17 years old. She also received attention for tweeting during the Olympics about how she was “hangry,” which shows that she was competing but also having fun during the most important week of her life. All the attention she received for her tweets came because of her outstanding performance, as she was the perfect modern day storm of athletic excellence and social media attention, making her the more impressive of the two. Malcolm: I think Shaun White has been more impressive just because of his age. This guy is 31 years old and winning gold medals against guys half his age. Yes, composure and experience come with age, but so do back aches and sore legs. Don’t get me wrong, Kim is still impressive. With her gold medal, she became the youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboarding medal, but I think it’s less impressive solely because in general, athletes are obtaining success at earlier ages in seemingly all sports. It takes a lot of heart to do what she’s doing at such a young age, but White’s halfpipe accolades are more impressive. Miguel: While I do admire Chloe Kim’s enthusiasm and natural talent, Shaun White is one of a kind. I thought White was coming into Pyeongchang, South Korea as a slow, aging snowboarder. Boy, I was wrong. White shredded the halfpipe like it was 2010, and claimed another gold medal for Uncle Sam. White is already a once-in-a-generation type of Olympian, but Kim will soon become one herself. Mark gets 3 points for discussing Kim’s fun personality. Miguel gets 2 points for praising the legendary White and Malcolm gets 1 point for downplaying Kim’s success. 3. Who will be the NBA rookie of the year? Mark: If he can successfully lead his underdog Utah Jazz into the Western Conference playoffs, the new NBA slam dunk champion Donovan Mitchell will take home the NBA rookie of the year award as well. Coming into this season, the Jazz had limited expectations after the departure of George Hill and Gordon Hayward in free agency, both crucial parts to the team in the past. To add insult to injury, the team’s next best player, Rudy Gobert, injured his knee in a game against the Boston Celtics, seemingly destroying any chance the team had to reach the postseason. However, Mitchell unexpectedly stepped up to average 19.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists this season to lead his team. This season, Mitchell already has more 20-plus point games than Hall of Famer Karl Malone had as a rookie and has two 40-plus point games, the most by a rookie since current NBA star Blake Griffin’s rookie of the year award winning season. Griffin also won the NBA slam dunk contest in his rookie year. Although Ben Simmons is a strong candidate for rookie of the year, he seems to have more help on his team in All-Star Joel Embiid and a supporting cast of other talented, young players. Mitchell, on the other hand, has fought and destroyed every low expectation we had for this seemingly decimated team and currently has them on an 11-game winning streak and in possession of the 10th seed in the Western Conference. Thanks to his hard and persistent work, the Jazz are now just 1.5 games behind a playoff spot. Malcolm: I think it’s Ben Simmons — a lot of people forget he’s a rookie. Donovan Mitchell is an excellent athlete and scorer, but that’s it. His dunks are impressive and he’s fun to watch, but in terms of value, Ben Simmons means more to his team. Among rookies, Simmons is first in assists, rebounds and steals per game, second in points per game and third in blocks per game. Mitchell only edges out Simmons in scoring, considering Simmons is also a better defender. I’m also willing to bet that Simmons would be first in scoring if it weren’t for him playing next to Embiid, who is averaging over 17 shots a game. It’s a close race but Simmons deserves it more. Miguel: Lonzo Ball without a doubt. The dude has the size, speed and strength to outlast the rest of the rookies in the NBA. Make no mistake: Ball will be future Lakers legend like Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Jerry West and Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Miguel gets 3 points because the Big Baller Brand always comes out on top. Mark and Malcolm both get 2 points for praising the rookies. Mark wins ATD 7-6-6 “I’m not superstitious, but I am a little stitious.”
In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, “Ref” Michael Battista asked our panel of three experts — Miguel Gonzalez, Malcolm Luck and Kyle Olszak — three questions: 1. Did offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels make the right decision to stay with the New England Patriots? 2. Can the New York Knicks make it to the playoffs without Kristaps Porzingis? 3. Who do you think is winning the MLB World Series this year? 1. Did offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels make the right decision to stay with the New England Patriots? Miguel: There are traitors, snakes, snitches, Benedict Arnolds and Kevin Durants in sports. What lies beneath all of these traitors is Josh McDaniels. He previously committed to being the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, but he decided to pull out. Is it because the New England Patriots lost the Super Bowl? Probably not. Is it because the Colts are a dumpster fire right now? Probably not. I think McDaniels wants to stay with the Patriots so he can be Bill Belichick’s successor. The only problem is that Tom Brady’s time is running out at the same time strong American Football Conference teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars are emerging. Malcolm: I think Josh McDaniels made the right decision to stay with the Patriots in the sense that his career will be more successful. The Patriots are the most dominant franchise in all of sports throughout the last decade, so obviously he’s going to continue to have success and build his résumé in New England. He is currently the quarterback coach for the greatest quarterback in National Football League history, and the offensive coordinator for one of the most consistent offenses that this league has ever seen. With that being said, the manner in which he decided to stay with New England was disrespectful to the Colts. After being announced as the head coach, he withdrew from the position to stay in New England. I think this decision will hurt him more than he can imagine in the future. If he ever looks to leave New England, teams will question his loyalty and ability to commit, two qualities needed as a prominent coach in an NFL organization. Kyle: No, Josh McDaniels did not make the right decision. Coming off a season where the New England Patriots were a league leader in offensive production, McDaniels was given the opportunity to join the Indianapolis Colts. After committing to a team led by Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton, the New England offensive coordinator decided to revoke his commitment. There are two major reasons why this was a bad move for McDaniels. First and foremost, Tom Brady is getting old and there is no replacement for the future of the Patriots offense. This, coupled with injury problems, is something that does not bode well for the New England offensive coordinator. McDaniels was given the opportunity to coach a team with one of the top quarterback prospects since John Elway. Such an opportunity is a rare one in this league, and by not taking advantage of it, McDaniels may have squandered the best head coaching gig he will ever be offered. Malcolm gets 3 points for mentioning the disrespect. Miguel gets 2 points for looking at McDaniels as a successor and Kyle gets 1 point for comparing injury-prone Luck to Elway. 2. Can the New York Knicks make it to the playoffs without Kristaps Porzingis? Miguel: I feel bad for Porzingis. He finally has Carmelo Anthony off his shoulders and can finally lead the Knicks to the playoffs. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL. Regardless of the situation, the Knicks still have productive players like forward Michael Beasley, guard Frank Ntilikina and centers Enes Kanter and Joakim Noah. Hopefully Kanter doesn’t get persecuted by Turkey. Other than those players, the Knicks do not possess neither the talent nor skill to reach the eighth seed of the eastern conference. With quality teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics, it’ll be difficult for the Knicks to win. But hey, at least they’re better than the Brooklyn Nets. Malcolm: Unfortunately, the Knicks can’t make it to the playoffs without Porzingis. Not only is he the best player on the team, but he also did things for the Knicks offense and defense that can’t be replaced by guys like Kyle O’Quinn or Lance Thomas. The Knicks already had trouble on the defensive side of the ball, and without Porzingis, the league’s statistically best shot blocker, those problems will only get worse. On the offensive side of the floor, Kristaps’ ability to shoot three-pointers stretched the floor and opened up the paint for more scoring. Anyone who replaces him on the Knicks roster doesn’t have that same ability. Right now the Knicks are 11th in the conference with the Philadelphia 76ers, Detroit Pistons and Charlotte Hornets in eighth, ninth and 10th place, respectively. The Pistons acquired Blake Griffin and the 76ers and Hornets are fundamentally better, leaving the Knicks no room to pass them in the standings anyway. Kyle: Absolutely not. In the NBA, you need to have a star on your team if you want to make the playoffs. When the Knicks lost Kristaps for the remainder of the season, they also lost their chance at making the playoffs. They currently stand at 11th in the Eastern Conference and I expect the Chicago Bulls to overtake them soon. That would leave the Knicks in 12th place right after the all-star break, a place where nothing short of a miracle would be required in order for the team to make the playoffs. Malcolm gets 3 points for discussing the hole left by Porzingis. Kyle gets 2 points for talking about star power and Miguel gets 1 point for mentioning Joakim Noah, who is injured. 3. Who do you think is winning the MLB World Series this year? Miguel: The New York Yankees are taking the commissioner’s trophy this year. The Yankees were only one game short of making it to the World Series last season. The Bronx Bombers will feature perennial offensive players like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Giancarlo Stanton. Didi Gregorius will provide strong defense at shortstop. Meanwhile, the Yankees have an arsenal of furious pitchers like Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, Daniel Robertson, Aroldis Chapman and CC Sabathia. If the Yankees can overcome the Houston Astros this season, nothing will stop them in their quest for ring number 28. Malcolm: The reigning world champion Houston Astros have the best chance of winning the World Series this year, without a doubt. The most efficient formula for repeating as world champions in any sport is to maintain your team’s key pieces. The Astros have done exactly that. Players like American League MVP Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Dallas Keuchel and George Springer all came up huge for the team last season. These players are all returning. Houston also managed to pick up one of the top arms on the market with pitcher Gerrit Cole, which only adds to their dominant pitching staff from last season. While some top AL teams like the Yankees added big free agents like Giancarlo Stanton, free agency has been pretty stagnant and no teams made enough moves to threaten the Astros from repeating as world champions. Kyle: Although they came up short last year, I believe the New York Yankees are the clear favorite to win the World Series. Although the team’s bullpen may not be the strongest in the American League, I expect their strong hitting and fielding to bring another pennant home to the Bronx. Miguel gets 3 points for mentioning every players. Malcolm gets 2 points for looking at Houston’s roster and Kyle gets 2 points for balancing the Yankees’ stacked batting order. Malcolm wins ATD 8-6-5 “SOMEBODY HIT SOMEBODY!
In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, “Ref” Alexander Reich asked our panel of three experts — Michael Battista, Sean Reis and Malcolm Luck — three questions: 1. Will the Los Angeles Clippers continue to be relevant in the NBA without Blake Griffin? 2. Is Alex Smith a good fit for the Washington Redskins? 3. Will snowboarder Shaun White medal in the halfpipe at the Winter Olympics? 1. Will the Los Angeles Clippers continue to be relevant in the NBA without Blake Griffin? Michael: Not really, since they weren’t really relevant in the first place. The Clippers play in the western conference and unless your team is the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers or (sometimes) the San Antonio Spurs, it doesn’t matter what they do for the foreseeable future. Griffin helped the Clippers stay relevant to the public. However, their presence on the court won’t really change because of his trade to the Detroit Pistons since the team hasn’t been producing consistently as of late. They sit around ninth place in the western conference standings and only one player, Lou Williams, is averaging above 20 points per game. The team lost a superstar, and now need to find a new one as a centerpiece for a mediocre organization. Sean: The Los Angeles Clippers were already struggling to stay relevant, so no. Chris Paul’s departure was the beginning of the end for the Clippers. Although Austin Rivers has been a strong leader at point guard, the team was not the same after Paul left. With the surprising Griffin trade, this is just the organization accepting that fate. DeAndre Jordan’s trade rumors are now afloat, and it is only a matter of time before the Clippers fall back down to the bottom of the totem pole, far from relevancy. Malcolm: This question is tough to answer because there is no definitive timetable. The team still plays in one of the biggest markets in the realm of sports and although they share Los Angeles with the Lakers, they won’t have trouble filling seats. Griffin is undoubtedly one of the best athletes the Clippers have seen in its franchise history, but that’s not really saying much. Coming out of the University of Oklahoma, a lot of his hype came from a slightly above average postgame and a jaw-dropping ability to dunk the ball. While dunking is cool and all, he did not do nearly enough to make his absence endanger the franchise’s relevancy. He really hasn’t achieved that much in general. Being a five time All-Star might seem impressive, but the NBA All-Star voting is nothing more than a popularity contest. He has never made an All-NBA first team and has never done enough to put the Clippers in the Western Conference Finals, even with DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul playing with him. Blake Griffin is by no means an irreplaceable player and the Clippers will continue to be relevant without him. Malcolm gets 3 points for writing about the Clippers’ future. Michael gets 2 points for supporting Lou Williams’ big impact. Sean gets 1 point for talking about other players. 2. Is Alex Smith a good fit for the Washington Redskins? Michael: Does anyone know what a “good fit” is for the Redskins? What plan or trade has really worked for them the past few seasons? This trade seems like a typical move by Redskins owner Dan Snyder to me, and I can prove it fits his pattern. This trade shows that the Redskins are the champions of the off-season. This team spends tons of money on players that are past their prime, or are toxic and overrated. From Deion Sanders and Andre Reed to Josh Gordon and Albert Haynesworth, Snyder never makes the right call. Looking solely at Smith, maybe he can jump them a few spots in the total offense category, but that’s if he plays. I guarantee Kirk Cousins gets franchised tagged and he will battle it out with Smith for the starter spot. I’m not sure if fans will like that. Sean: Yes and no. I think Alex Smith can be a good fit in most organizations. He’s a smart quarterback who knows how to read the defense and lead his team downfield as long as you don’t tell him to play too conservatively, like the Kansas City Chiefs did time after time. Smith has the potential to be a top quarterback in the league, especially in Washington. With that said, he also needs help from his backfield. Smith had a 50-26 regular season record during his five years with the Chiefs and a large part of those wins came from Jamaal Charles and Kareem Hunt. Smith will be a good fit in Washington, but he needs that backfield behind him. Malcolm: I think Alex Smith is a good fit for the Redskins, but not the quarterback they need if they plan on getting any further than the divisional round of the playoffs. Prior to this season, Alex Smith earned his living in the NFL as a “game manager,” earning his paycheck every year by using his ability to limit turnovers. His career 1.91 touchdown/interception ratio places him at No. 16 all-time and in front of Hall of Fame talent like Big Ben, Brett Favre and Dan Marino. While that number is impressive, Smith is notorious for relying on a top-tiered run game and a West Coast offensive approach that emphasizes short routes and screen passes. The Redskins haven’t had a significant run game since the RGIII and Alfred Morris rookie era. With that said, Smith is going to have to step a little out of his comfort zone and trust his instincts. If the Redskins can improve their previously awful offensive line and inevitably improve the run game, Smith would be an excellent starting quarterback and would be part of a team that parallels the San Francisco and Kansas City teams he had success on. Malcolm gets 3 points for talking about Smith’s skills. Michael gets 2 points for discussing fan reactions. Sean gets 1 point because he didn’t go into detail. 3. Will snowboarder Shaun White medal in the half-pipe at the Winter Olympics? Michael: I’m not really sure. In 2014, White didn’t even medal and that speaks to both the volume of the competition and, possibly, his age catching up with him. But coming into this year, the San Diego native scored a perfect 100 at the U.S. Grand Prix to qualify for the Winter Olympics. Not only that, but his routine includes the Double McTwist 1260, which he patented, and the frontside double cork 1440. Both are incredibly difficult maneuvers. I think that regardless of what happens, he’s really going to shred the gnar. He’ll just need to be careful while he’s tearing it up, in case the Korean half-pipe gives him chatter. Sean: It pains me to say this, but sadly, White will not medal in the half-pipe at the Winter Olympics. At 31 years old, White has passed his prime as a snowboarder. He inspired most of the young talent that he will face in the coming weeks, and sadly, they will beat him. His age may not be “old” per se, but he’s seen better days in a young man’s game. As much as I would love to see him bring home the gold, or even medal, I honestly do not think it is going to happen for White in his most likely last Olympic performance. Malcolm: I don’t think White will medal in the half-pipe this year. In 2014, White was four years younger and still failed to medal against his foreign competitors. Now, at age 31, White is past his prime. In certain sports, athletes like David Ortiz, Vince Carter and Tom Brady continue to age and still maintain at least an average level of success. This same phenomenon can’t apply to a sport as strenuous as snowboarding. In order to wow the crowd and judges, snowboarders have to do combinations of twists and turns that are almost impossible to pull off past a certain age. In the 2014 Olympics, men’s half-pipe gold, silver and bronze medalists were ages 25, 15 and 18, respectively. Athletes are getting younger and more innovative — I don’t think White has what it takes to perform at a level worthy enough to beat competitors half his age. Malcolm gets 3 points for comparing White to other athletes. Michael gets 2 points for mentioning White’s tricks. Sean gets 1 point for his pessimism about White’s age. Malcolm wins ATD 9-6-3 “Count...cadence...count cadence delay, cadence delay, cadence count...”
In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, “Ref” Malcolm Luck asked our panel of three experts — Matthew Baginski, Philip D’Armiento and Miguel Gonzalez — three questions: 1. Will Team USA medal in men’s hockey at this year’s Winter Olympics? 2. Can Pat Shurmur lead the New York Giants to a winning record next season? 3. Has head coach Tyronn Lue lost control of the Cleveland Cavaliers? 1. Will Team USA medal in men’s hockey at this year’s Winter Olympics? Matthew: No, I do not believe that the U.S. hockey team has the talent to compete with Canada, Russia, Sweden and Finland in the 2018 Winter Olympics. The National Hockey League has banned its players from entering the Olympics to prevent injury, leaving the roster filled with players that did not compete well enough to play in the NHL. I do not think that former college athletes and abroad American players have what it takes to defeat these hardened professionals from Europe and other parts of North America. Philip: It is hard to say whether Team USA will be able to medal this year at the Olympic games, since NHL teams are not allowing their players to compete in them. I believe Team USA can medal since they mainly will be competing with Canada, who also has a lot of great young talent. Since Russia is not allowed in the Olympics this year, it will give the U.S. a much better chance of reaching the podium. I believe they are guaranteed a bronze medal game and possibly higher. It is tough to tell, since most of the talent is not proven yet and don’t play at the highest level. I think Team USA has a lot of good talent coming in, especially as we saw in the Junior Olympics up in Buffalo, New York. It is going to be very competitive and interesting to see the up and coming stars compete and good to see young talent coming in. I do not want to get on the argument of NHL players playing since they should be representing their countries. Besides that, I do think Team USA will be surprising and dominant in the Olympics and bring home a medal. Miguel: USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! Matthew gets 3 points for acknowledging Team USA’s inexperience. Philip gets 2 points for mentioning Russia’s Olympic ban. Miguel gets 1 point for his short response. 2. Can Pat Shurmur lead the New York Giants to a winning record next season? Matthew: Shurmur has a decent record behind him. As the offensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams in 2010, he turned the team from 1-15 to 7-9, a massive turnaround. Since then, he worked with Chip Kelly and the Eagles as their offensive coordinator and led one of the most efficient and impressive offenses of the year with Nick Foles at quarterback. Since then Shurmur has been quiet. His only other head coaching gig was with the Cleveland Browns in 2011. It was not an enviable position by any means and he was fired at the end of the season. I believe that Shurmur can turn this Giants team around and with Odell Beckham Jr. on his way back from a season ending injury early last season, the Giants are once again a team that cannot simply be overlooked. However, the locker room has been near chaotic with player squabbles and media rumors. Eli Manning is at the end of his rope and the defense is not good enough to compete with Philadelphia or Dallas. I think Shurmur gets them to 7-9 or possibly 8-8 but I don’t think he can get them farther than that. Philip: I think Shurmur can lead the Giants to a winning record next season because he is coming into a program that has a lot of talent, but destroyed with injuries this season. I believe Manning still has some left in the tank, especially with all the weapons coming back to the team. The thing people seem to forget, is that the Giants were in the playoffs just last season with a lot of the same weapons that they have now. I think Shurmur can take this team and make them even better. Former head coach Ben McAdoo had trouble motivating the team and keeping them under control. I believe Shurmur will come in with a much better, hard working attitude that Giants fans are looking for, similar to what Zimmer has done for the Minnesota Vikings. Shurmur can easily bring this team to the playoffs as long as he changes the culture and makes sure the players are behind him. Now, they all must earn their spot, no matter how popular they are in the organization. He is taking over a team with a lot of talent and potential for success. As long as Shurmur puts the right culture into this team, they will no doubt be a playoff team next year. Miguel: I just hope Shurmur can get a hold of Odell Beckham Jr. and Eli Apple. The Giants need to invest more in draft picks and new talent to transition after Eli Manning eventually retires. As long as Shurmur doesn’t insist on looking at the tape at press conferences, I think he can get the Giants back on track. Matthew gets 3 points for dissecting Shurmur’s coaching history. Philip gets 2 points for alluding to the Giants’ playoff team. Miguel gets 1 point for mentioning key players. 3. Has head coach Tyronn Lue lost control of the Cleveland Cavaliers? Matthew: The Cavaliers once again find themselves struggling, only this time their defense is the worst its been in a long time. Players are also consistently in the media for all the wrong reasons. While getting blown out by one of their Eastern Conference rivals, the Toronto Raptors, LeBron James was visibly irate on the sidelines, yelling at players and coaches. He seems to be the de facto general of this Cavalier’s team. Combined with player-only meetings and rumblings in the locker room of players like Isaiah Thomas being selfish with the ball have led me to believe that there is a drastic lack of order and discipline on this Cavaliers team. LeBron has made it quite apparent through social media that he is heavily considering making the move to the Los Angeles Lakers next season. As Thomas and Kevin Love under-perform in their respective roles, this Cavaliers team under Tyronn Lue is certainly in more trouble than they have been in the past. Philip: I believe Tyronn Lue has lost complete control of the team. After taking over the team from former head coach David Blatt, he was put in the driver seat of a great team with a good vibe around it. I believe they are beginning to lose it because they do not know how to play with each other and Lue is unsure how to adapt to the different team. It is hard to get them motivated during January games when they know they will make the playoffs. Since Kyrie Irving left, this season has been the first test for Lue to truly show how good of a coach he is. Currently, he is showing he has no response when it comes to adversity within a team. A coach is supposed to be in charge of changing the team and making adjustments when it is not working, but it is clear that Lue has no control and cannot change the team atmosphere because whatever he does is not working. I believe that once meaningful games come closer to the playoffs, the team will turn it on again. With LeBron on your team, it is easy to turn a switch on because he is the best player in the world and I believe their team will eventually come together. Miguel: Yeah, without a doubt. LeBron is leading a sinking ship right now. The Cavaliers are the epitome of big egos and selfish players. Kevin Love isn’t feeling the love anymore. Isaiah Thomas has not performed well. Lue ain’t got a clue what he’s doing. Phillip gets 3 points for elaborating on Lue’s lack of adaptability. Matthew gets 2 points for dissecting the failing Cavaliers. Miguel gets 1 point for his play on words. Matthew wins ATD 8-7-3 “Don’t put your dick in the shark tank if you don’t want to catch a few fish.”
In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, “Ref” Miguel Gonzalez asked our panel of three experts — Alberto Gregorio, William Guttman and Michael Battista — three questions: 1. How have the Vegas Golden Knights ascended to the top of the NHL Western Conference? 2. Can Oklahoma freshman guard Trae Young lead his team to success this March? 3. Were the Pittsburgh Steelers unprepared for the Jacksonville Jaguars? 1. How have the Vegas Golden Knights ascended to the top of the NHL Western Conference? Alberto: The Golden Knights are one of the best teams in the NHL because of their quickness. During the past five seasons, the NHL has been evolving into a speed game. Shorter players are now finding success when they would not have a decade ago when the players focused on heavy hits. During the expansion draft, the Knights modeled their team after small and fast players who can outskate just about anyone in the league. Players like centers William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault are having career years. Previously, they were not playing with players as fast as them. Now paired with players who can keep up, the Knights are pushing the pace of play. As a result, they have tremendous success playing rush and transition games. They outskate their opponents on the rush, which naturally opens up holes that the Knights can easily pass through. They skate quickly and move the puck even quicker. Other teams have a hard time playing at the speed the Knights do, and no one can keep up with the Knights’ pace. William: Las Vegas has become an elite team in the conference with a surprisingly good lineup and impressive goaltending. Goalkeeper Marc-Andre Fleury is still elite, and even with him out for a stretch, backup goalkeepers Oscar Dansk and Malcolm Subban have been stellar. With no big names on the team, it’s a stretch to say that no one expected much from the newest NHL franchise. In new roles as the team’s best trio, Marchessault, Karlsson and right winger Reilly Smith have been able to play to their fullest potentials, taking the league by storm. I don’t think anyone is still skeptical of this team’s ability to be successful in the NHL. Michael: The Golden Knights are having the most success of any expansion franchise in North American sports history. To be honest, I almost hate trying to dissect this team because I simply enjoy watching them play. When looking at leading players in the NHL, besides goalkeeper Fleury’s leading the league in save percentage, not many Golden Knights are in top spots. This team works more as a unit than as a team with one big star. Every member is playing his part, whether it be as a third string goalie with Subban and Malcolm, or a young defender like Colin Miller. This team could be the first expansion team since the 1967-1968 St. Louis Blues to make the Stanley Cup Final in their first year, but I think they could actually win the entire thing in just four games. Alberto gets 3 points for emphasizing the importance of speed. William gets 2 points for mentioning Dansk and Subban. Michael gets 1 point for being honest. 2. Can Oklahoma freshman guard Trae Young lead his team to success this March? Alberto: Trae Young is phenomenally talented, but March Madness is a different kind of monster Young has not experienced before. Since he is only a freshman, he needs more time to grow before he can lead Oklahoma to a deep run come March. William: The short answer: yes. The long answer: define success. Winning it all? No. Solid tournament run? No doubt. Trae Young is phenomenal. He is putting up Kevin Durant-like numbers and draws comparisons to Steph Curry. What do those two players suggest? Well to start, a few MVPs, not to mention many deep playoff runs and some championships. The numbers alone are enough to bet against even the best of teams and players, but you have to like what Young brings to the table. Expect his eye-popping numbers to get even better as he gains experience and leads his team through the big tournament. Michael: He can, but I think we should be worrying about him leading his team to conference success first. The team has the eighth-hardest remaining strength of schedule and the Big 12 is stacked this year. The top four teams are all ranked in the top 10, and Oklahoma is in fourth place despite holding the highest national ranking. Young may be leading the team by averaging 30 points per game, but with tough Big 12 competition they may have to receive a bid into March Madness. As a lower seed, Oklahoma may be pitted against teams like No. 1 ranked Villanova or a team like Michigan State. Young and the rest of his team are going to need to show they haven’t peaked and keep pushing deep into the regular season if they want any hope of success come March. Michael gets 2 points for talking about the Big 12. Alberto and William get 1 point for their ‘phenomenal’ answers. 3. Were the Pittsburgh Steelers unprepared for the Jacksonville Jaguars? Alberto: The Pittsburgh Steelers definitely underestimated the Jacksonville Jaguars. From the very beginning of the game, the Steelers were not ready. In fact, the Jaguars scored a touchdown on the first drive of the game and took off from there. The Steelers were left surprised and played catch up the entire game. It took about halfway through the second quarter for the Steelers to answer the Jaguars’ hot start. By the time the Steelers scored a touchdown and got their first points, the Jaguars already had three touchdowns of their own. In the second half, the Steelers battled back to make it close, but by then, it was already too late. William: The Jaguars are a very good team and the Steelers knew it. It’s hard to imagine any team underestimating their opponent in the playoffs, so I have to say no. Given that Jacksonville’s defense was the one thing that was expected to keep this game interesting, Pittsburgh showed that they clearly studied, putting up 42 points. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger picked apart the team for five touchdown passes and put them in their place. The terrible towels didn’t put any fear in Jaguars’ running back Leonard Fournette, however, and he quickly became an factor in this showdown. When two good teams clash, only one can win, but it doesn’t always mean the other wasn’t prepared, right? Michael: Without a doubt. Every Yinzer in Pittsburgh, not just the players, had been looking toward the Patriots since they got whooped in last year’s conference championship. Steelers’ safety Mike Mitchell came out and said his Steelers could beat the Patriots in any location, from Hell to New England. It doesn’t seem crazy to think a team that nearly beat the defending Super Bowl champs in the regular season would overlook a Jacksonville side that managed 10 points against the Buffalo Bills. If star running back Le’Veon Bell felt like skipping the team walkthrough before the divisional round, I’m betting other players felt the same way. At the end of the game, the Steelers’ plain arrogance and underestimation of quarterback Blake Bortles and his slingshot arm led to their downfall. William gets 3 points for emphasizing defense. Michael gets 2 points for mentioning Yinzers. Alberto gets 1 point for his play-by-play commentary. William wins ATD 6-5-5 “It’s better to be lucky than good.”
In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, “Ref” Miguel Gonzalez asked our panel of three experts — Malcolm Luck, Ashton Leber and Michael Battista — three questions: 1. What should be considered more in college football — beating ranked teams or winning conference championships? 2. Which group do you consider to be the “group of death” in the World Cup? 3. Is Eli Manning’s time with the Giants coming to an end? 1. What should be considered more in college football — beating ranked teams or winning conference championships? Malcolm: I think this answer depends entirely on the program. College teams have to be separated into three “tiers” so to speak. Top tier powerhouse programs such as Alabama or Ohio State should be measuring their success based on conference championships. Every year, these teams are ranked consistently and their fanbases expect to see them competing for a national championship, forget about a conference championship. Non-powerhouse but formidable teams in smaller conferences should undoubtedly prioritize winning conference championships over beating ranked teams. In terms of satisfying their fanbases, beating a ranked team might satisfy them for a week, but can’t be considered sustainable success. Weak teams in smaller conferences should measure their success based on beating ranked teams because conference championships aren’t usually feasible. Ashton: Personally, I feel like beating a ranked team is more important than winning a conference championship. As a transfer from West Virginia University, one of the biggest football schools, I can remember when we beat Baylor University. The town literally went up in flames — couches burning, dumpsters on fire, the whole nine yards (pun intended). When No. 6 Auburn beat No. 1 Alabama last week in the Iron Bowl, the joy and gratification the players and team felt must have been overwhelming, in a positive way of course. For a team that has been set on defeating Alabama for years, this was an achievement finally unlocked. The Crimson Tide has been a top seeded team for years, with almost every college team trying to defeat them along the way. For example, when Clemson beat Alabama last year in the final seconds of the College Football Playoff national championship, I feel that their mission was to defeat the No. 1 team, and not so much on winning the title. Michael: I honestly don’t know anymore. I said it with Penn State last year and I’ll say it again now, conference championships should be a big factor in the selection committee’s head. Ohio State got robbed this year by Alabama, and USC got robbed of a sixth place spot by Wisconsin. Alabama and Wisconsin had weak schedules and lost crucial games against Auburn and Ohio State respectively. If you have a weak schedule and lose to big teams, then you shouldn’t make it to the College Football Playoffs. If you have a harder schedule, lose a game or two and win your conference, you should matter more. Yes, Ohio State lost to Iowa by more than 30 points, but that was coming off a grueling comeback against Penn State. Alabama’s best win this year was against LSU and they nearly lost to Mississippi State. Winning a conference, no matter what, should make you a favorite to go to the College Football Playoffs. Ashton gets 3 points for discussing West Virginia’s win over Baylor. Malcolm and Michael get 2 points for valuing conference championships. 2. Which group do you consider to be the “group of death” in the World Cup? Malcolm: This World Cup is odd because there isn’t any group of death. In 2014, USA happened to be in THE group of death with the world powers of Germany, Portugal and Ghana. In terms of the best group, I would have to go with Group E (Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia). Brazil is a proven team every year and have the second best odds behind Germany. Switzerland is an underrated, solid team with quality players. The veteran presence of Xherdan Shaqiri and Stephan Lichtsteiner will lead younger, talented players such as Granit Xhaka. They have serious potential. Costa Rica isn’t highly favored but have past success, advancing from their group in 2014 with no losses. Serbia is also a solid team that shouldn’t be slept on. Ashton: For this World Cup, I don’t necessarily see a “group of death,” but to pick one I’m going to have to say Group B – Portugal, Spain, Morocco and Iran. Usually when you discuss a group of death, there are three dominating teams and one underdog. But I have to say, Group B stands the closest chance to meeting that. Portugal and Spain’s national teams are in the top 10 rankings for the 2017 FIFA World Cup. Portugal is ranked No. 3 and Spain is ranked No. 6. Morocco and Iran will have a tough time as they face two dominating teams, but surprises always come with sports, so who knows what the end result will actually be. Michael: There are a lot of interesting groups in next year’s World Cup, but Group F is looking like a monster. Let’s go through this from bottom to top. You have South Korea, who are a pretty good team and came in second in their qualification group. Then you have Sweden, whose qualification group included France and the Netherlands. They beat France once and knocked the Netherlands out of qualification. Not only that, but they knocked off four-time world-champions Italy in the playoffs, which I’m still mad about. Now come the real killers that topped their qualification groups. Germany, the reigning champions, was undefeated in qualification matches and Mexico only fell once to Honduras. Germany will advance, but that second spot is going to be a bloodbath between the remaining three teams. It’ll be fun to watch. Malcolm gets 3 points for mentioning players. Ashton gets 3 points for discussing rankings. Michael gets 2 points for supporting Italy. 3. Is Eli Manning’s time with the Giants coming to an end? Malcolm: I don’t think Eli is done with the Giants just yet. He will be the starter next year. He’s definitely had a disappointing season but he shouldn’t be blamed for all of his team’s troubles. It’s almost impossible to put up sustainable numbers without your top three receivers and a below average offensive line. He has still managed to put up 14 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. The Giants will have a top five draft pick this year and will most likely take a quarterback like Sam Darnold out of USC or Josh Rosen out of UCLA. They will benefit from having him sit behind Eli for a year or two so he can develop. Eli’s career may be coming to an end because of his age, but not because of underperformance. Ashton: Tough question. Since 2004, Eli Manning has been a key player for the Giants. I’m sure the news that he was benched must have been devastating for him, but at the same time, an entire organization can’t let emotions get in the way. They have to do what’s best for them, and perhaps that was benching Manning. It’s no secret that the four-time Super Bowl champs have been absolutely horrible this season. But you also have to look from a technical standpoint when evaluating this. What does the future hold for the New York Giants? Since they are so awful this season, why not give other quarterbacks a chance? At some point, Manning is going to retire. I think this is a good opportunity for the team to let other players make names for themselves on the field, and benching Manning is a good first step. I don’t know if this means it’s the end of his career with football, but maybe with the Giants. I don’t think he wants to end his prized football career being benched. So that’s why I don’t necessarily believe it’s the end of his career, but it could be for his current team. Michael: I almost hope so, not as a sign of hate toward Manning. I think the disrespect was too much for a two-time Super Bowl MVP. Manning did not deserve to be benched the way he was. After their loss to Oakland, in which he didn’t start Manning, made two things clear. He plans to play in 2018 and he doesn’t want head coach Ben McAdoo fired. He even went as far to say that “When a coach gets fired, it’s usually because the team, the players and myself haven’t performed up to our duties.” He’s that much of a professional. He’ll still support McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese. If McAdoo and Reese are fired, I can see Manning staying in New York, but it isn’t a guarantee. Emotions are powerful things, and he may follow his brother’s steps and go to the Broncos or he may reunite with Tom Coughlin in Jacksonville. Either way, you’ll see me wearing a Manning jersey next season because that’s my quarterback. Michael gets 3 points for mentioning Manning’s perspective. Malcolm and Ashton get 2 points for considering the future of the Giants. Ashton wins ATD 8-7-7 “This one’s for Calabria!”