Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Best Film of 2010

Catching you up with links to my rankings of all the 2010 Best Picture nominees:

The Introduction of William H. Dirkness

Ranking The Best Pictures: 8-10

Ranking The Best Pictures: 4-7

Ranking The Best Pictures: 2-3

1. Black Swan

Bam! The credits roll but paralysis has overtaken my body. The other people in attendance (after laughing through many of the scenes that made them squeamish or uncomfortable) are standing and leaving the theater. Meanwhile, I can't move. I can't even think. I will be the last one to leave the theater. By far. I feel like what I had just witnessed has changed me.

The sign of a great film can be traced to the emotional impact it has on you. I experienced an entire spectrum of emotions throughout Darren Aronofsky's best film to date (2. Requiem, 3. Wrestler). When I returned home, I scribbled down on a sticky note (my preferred way to record thoughts) the following words: Delusional, paranoid, confidence, created a monster, insecurities, sense of self, dark tones. My mind was so active afterwards that I could've written a Harvard dissertation on it, but instead chose to just scribble those seven notes down.

Black Swan hit me on such a personal level with what I felt was the heart of the film: Natalie Portman character's quest for perfection. I've always wrestled with the idea of perfection. It seems so boring. Without the proper perspective of losing, it just becomes ego feed (yes this is a sports rant, my specialty, but can be applied to other facets of life). Yet, so many people seek it, while really, if it's about anything, it's about the pursuit of it. The journey > final destination (A cool story: I wrote this preceding paragraph on a spiritual frolf outing before nearly missing a called ace on #5 at Shawnee Mission Park, which gets me to my next point...).

I'm afraid of perfection. I'm an avid bowler and disc golf player who has never shot 300 or thrown an ace, while numerous people of inferior skill have accomplished those feats, for just a few examples. I feel like I handle times of failure/sadness better than times of success/happiness, which is a weird concept. It's almost as if I sense the impeding upward/downward swing that follows (a result of keeping one eye on the future instead of two eyes on the present). In conclusion, I'm better from behind (as much of the local Asian population already knows) than I am in front.

Can you believe I've written 4 paragraphs on this film and haven't even discussed the hottest lesbian scene in movie history (waiting to be proven wrong)? In fact, I was so blown away by Black Swan that the carpet munching didn't even crack my ten favorite things about the film (but maybe it will on the second viewing). The transformation of Nina, both literally and metaphorically, from an innocent White Swan to an emotionally corrupted Black Swan is truly incendiary. Incendiary. The director, the most underrated character of the film, knows that he must shatter her purity in order for her to fully embrace the role of the Black Swan, which sets the metamorphosis in motion.

The process drives Nina to the brink of exhaustion, both physically and mentally, complete with delusions and paranoia, a manifestation created from her own intrinsic insecurities, with the audience left to decide what's real and what's not (Personally believe more of the scenes are her own illusions than most other people) - I theorize that every delusion is directly related to one of Nina's scratching episodes (ripping the hangnail back is absolutely terrifying and haunted me for the ensuing fortnight). Portman portrays the character so well, that just saying she should win the Oscar for Best Actress doesn't come close to expressing how I feel about her performance. The way most people are talking about Colin Firth's performance is how I felt about her achievement. It would be an absolute travesty if she didn't emerge victorious on Sunday night.

I know Black Swan doesn't have a chance of bringing home the Best Picture Oscar, but it fulfilled its destiny by snatching up one of nominations (the committee isn't ready to recognize a film of such complicated psychological depth). Plus, what it does get, is William H. Dirkness' first annual 'Best Movie of the Year' label. Furthermore, searching back a few years, Black Swan would classify as the most powerful and meaningful film to me since 2007's No Country For Old Men.

IMDB Nugget: SPOILER: There is a mirror or a reflective surface in nearly every shot of the film. The only noticeable place where there isn't one is when Nina is on stage, during the film's climax, performing the Black Swan, when her 'dark side' has taken over.

IMDB Double Dose: Nina Sayers: I was perfect...

I hope you all enjoyed my rankings of the 2010 Best Picture nominees, and hope that you gained something from atleast one of the films. Everybody enjoy the Academy Awards tomorrow night!

William H. Dirkness

KU vs. Oklahoma Live Feed

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ranking The Best Pictures: Films #2-3

Catching you up on William H. Dirkness' past MovieTox:

The Introduction of William H. Dirkness

Ranking The Best Pictures: Films 8-10

Ranking The Best Pictures: Films 4-7

Without further ado, here w'go....

3. The Social Network

Once upon a time, I was made fun of by my friends for wanting to see "The Facebook movie." Yea, well, who's the crazy man now?!? This really made me take notice of an interesting paradox existing within my generation, which ironically, parodies this very movie. Despite the universal participation of Facebook, any mention of it in the real world gets you a seat at the loser table. It's very uncool. In fact, the only time you do hear about it is when people brag about how little amount of time they spend on it or how much they hate it. The social networking site has almost become socially unacceptable. People have long been obsessed with being perceived as cool, and to tie this all together, perhaps no movie better captures the essence of that chase than The Social Network.

The heart of the movie can be traced to whether you feel sympathy for the main character, exquisitely played by Jesse Eisenberg. Personally, I do. All Mark Zuckerberg wanted was to be liked and accepted (see what I did there?). He's noticeably filled with a tremendous amount of insecurity. Obviously, some of his actions came off as evil-natured, but I don't think he was ever trying to purposely hurt anybody, but rather he's just vulnerable to being taken advantage of. At the head of that was former Napster creator Sean Parker, who is the perfect embodiment of 'cool,' magnificently casted as Justin Timberlake (finding out the dude from Napster had anything to do with Facebook was one of the nice surprises of the flick). Parker introduced Zuck to the big time, showing him what it was like to be cool, seemingly giving Zuck what he had always lacked: (In the irony of all ironies) Friends. In fact, The Social Network contains so much irony wrapped up into one movie that I felt anemic afterwards.

I have to mention the two brainchilds behind it, Director David Fincher (who my buddy, CS Mofo, would light me up if I didn't mention has a background in music videos, not to mention Fight Club), and writer Aaron Sorkin (who my buddy, Leftover Taco, still jerks off manually). That dream team made this movie a near can't-miss. There's also the Winklevii, who (through one actor, I might add) offer the comic relief of the film, and provide the best line of the year, "I'm 6'5, 220, and there's two of me." The movie oozes with so much relevance that it would be hard not to enjoy, especially because the story is relatively unknown. I will be cheering hard for this film to emerge victorious over The King's Speech come Sunday.

IMDB Nugget: During one of the depositions, it is mentioned that the invention of Facebook made Mark Zuckerberg "the biggest thing on a campus that included nineteen Nobel Laureates, fifteen Pulitzer Prize winners, two future Olympians, and a movie star." One of the lawyers then asks, "Who was the movie star?" and the response is, "Does it matter?" This movie star was, in fact, Natalie Portman, who was enrolled at Harvard from 1999 to 2003 and helped screenwriter Aaron Sorkin by providing him insider information about goings-on at Harvard at the time Facebook first appeared there.

2. Inception

It's a shame that this film was released in the summer and is no longer fresh in people's minds. Even I started to question my own previous enjoyment of it until I rewatched it just the other night (which resulted in zero-gravity like slobber bubbles). It's like the College Football player in the Heisman race who dazzles at the beginning of the season, only to be forgotten when his team falls into irrelevancy at the end, and never sniffs the trophy. In other words, Inception is Denard Robinson. I believe Christopher Nolan got hosed on a Best Director nod because of this, and that this may be his masterpiece.

Most people's first focus is on the ending, which is hard for some because it is left open to interpretation and people are forced to think for themselves, but I'm gonna start with my favorite scene of the movie, when Leo Dicap's character is explaining the "rules" of inception to Ellen Page's fine piece of tail. A few of them were simply brilliant, and here are my favorites...

  • I really like how people's biggest secrets are hidden into safes that can be very difficult to discover
  • I thought having characters from your subconscious out to hurt the people around you was a fantastic representation of how your past affects your present
  • Recreating past memories in your dream world is the best way to lose grasp on reality
  • People can have defense systems implanted in their mind to protect them from extraction, also referred to as being "militarized"
Now let me take a stab at my very own interpretation of the ending (SPOILERS). Let me start by saying that the question everybody wants answered is if Cobb is still dreaming or if he has actually gotten back to his kids in "reality." While that aspect of the ending was very thought provoking, and extremely fun to debate, I believe Nolan's ultimate message was that he didn't care about whether he was dreaming or not anymore. He doesn't stick around to witness the verdict of his totem, but rather walks out and plays with his kids, accepting whatever state he is in as reality. That's the evolution of his character in the movie.

Now for what I believe? I think he was still inside his limbo, deep into dream world, to a point where he was convinced it was reality. To take it even further, I believe the Asian dude, Saito, possessed the capabilities to help him achieve his faux-reality. The key was eliminating the idea of trying to keep his wife alive in his subconscious, and this may have been what Saito had promised to him all for his incepting con-job on the business dude. But you never see Cobb being "kicked" through the different dream stages (brilliantly differentiated with different settings - rain/snow/subconscious shores) like the others, he just wakes up on the airplane. And from that moment on, none of the other characters ever say anything to him, but instead just look at him like they are his "projections." And the biggest decider in my mind was how the kids he came "home" to hadn't aged at all, and were identical to his memories of them. This all led me to believe that he was still dreaming, but was ready to accept it as his reality regardless, which in a way, might be what we all do from time to time.

IMDB Nugget: The first letter of each of the main character's first names - Dom, Robert, Eames, Arthur/Ariadne, Mal, Sato - spell the word DREAMS.

IMDB Double Dose: Not counting flashbacks, Cobb's wedding ring only appears in scenes where he is dreaming. Was he wearing it in the final scene??

Only one movie left to go on the list, which you can wait a day or two for, or decipher on your own by digesting the rest of my list, the choice is yours.

William H. Dirkness

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ranking The Best Pictures: Films #4-7

In case you've missed it, here's quick links to my first two Movietox write-ups:

Without further ado, here w'go.....

7. True Grit

Let me preface the breakdown of the film that many would consider to be the best of the crop, by saying the Coen Brothers are my favorite directors. The Big Lebowski and No Country For Old Men would make my Top 10 movies of all time, and would most likely crack the Top 5. Barton Fink and Fargo would both get Top 20 consideration. No other director(s) could come close to matching the resume of these two brohams. I thought True Grit was good, but not great, which is an accomplishment because of the expectations I hold Coen Brothers' movies to.

However, the public seemed to eat this movie up. Here's my theory on why. People know that the Coens are highly respected and renowned amongst movie folk, but they don't make films that are easy on the brain. They like to challenge their viewers. So the bros finally made a movie that connected commercially, which caused a sort of universal overreaction by drawing in the common moviegoer. Now the mainstreamers feel ok about claiming themselves as Coen Brothers fans, and now I feel slightly perturbed because I have one more thing in common with the rest of society, which hurts my perception of this movie. All this said, it was good, and I liked it.

IMDB Nugget: The first Coen Brothers film to gross over $100 million in the United States.

6. The Fighter

This was the most surprising movie of all to me (although it suffered from a late fall from 4 to 6 - three films that are all neck-and-neck), because I did not expect to like this one. The crazy part about this movie was that it centered on Micky Ward, who I knew as a boxer (the epic Ward-Gatti threequel), yet  I never made the connection between this flick and the fighter. However, I am a big fan of movies that portray true stories where I'm unaware of the outcome (even though I was, I wasn't cognizant of at the time).

The heart of the movie was the relationship between Ward (Marky Mark) and his brother (Christian Bale). It's not just their direct relationship though, but indirectly, as well, by how their relationship affects everyone else in their lives. It's Bale who really carries the movie, providing comic relief while doubling as both the antagonist and the inspiration to the protagonist. He shall be rewarded this year. My only problem with the movie was Ward's knockout of Alfonso Sanchez, which seemed poorly executed (my dislike of it lessened after watching the real clip of it at about the 1:25 mark of this video...)

IMDB Nugget: Q: Did HBO make a documentary about Dicky Eklund? A: An HBO documentary film crew did follow the real Dicky Eklund. While the title of the documentary in the film is Crack in America the real title was High on Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell (1995).

IMDB Double Dose: Darren Aronofsky was previously attached to direct but left the production to work on Black Swan (2010).

5. 127 Hours

After the introduction is shot in a fast-paced city setting, Aron Rolston finds himself trapped under that fateful rock about 20 minutes into the movie. After that happened, I sort of thought to myself, "If he's reserved to being under this rock, what could possibly fill the rest of this movie?" Well, that's the beauty of this film. Through creative flashbacks and hallucinations (I'll never look at Scooby Doo the same) you are told the background of the main character, played awesomely by (my boy) James Franco (Freaks and Geeks 4 Life), who I'm eagerly anticipating as host of this year's Oscars.

You get a peek into the mind of Rolston through a narrative video diary he keeps along the way. I believe it's designed to show him experiencing the 5 stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. It was fascinating to see what parts of his life, and which people, resonated through his mind as time went on because at that point, there's simply no lying to yourself. It all crescendos with the scene that everybody paid for (and if you're squeamish, you will pay for it), which doesn't disappoint one bit.

IMDB Nugget: Aron Ralston: "You know, I've been thinking. Everything is... just comes together. It's me. I chose this. I chose all this. This rock... this rock has been waiting for me my entire life. It's entire life, ever since it was a bit of meteorite a million, billion years ago. In space. It's been waiting, to come here. Right, right here. I've been moving towards it my entire life. The minute I was born, every breath that I've taken, every action has been leading me to this crack on the out surface."

4. Winter's Bone

This is the kind of movie that benefits from expanding the Best Picture category to 10 films (instead of 5), earning an otherwise unknown indie some recognition. This movie was just the latest reminder to me to avoid Ozark Country in Missouri (the Hansbrough's were enough of a reason). This slow and subtle peek into backwoods life, where everybody may or may not be related and anybody may or may not be out to get you, sets an excellent tone with drabness painted all over the set. At no point, is this a place you'd ever want to find yourself, and yet these people are real, just like you and I.

The heart of the movie is the ever-present theme of the wild, which these characters are more sensical to than us city folk. Visuals of the surrounding animals and trees are consistently displayed between scenes of dialogue (including a harrowing black-and-white squirrel sequence). The movie climaxes with a spine-tingling scene that goes above and beyond the way-more-hyped scene in 127 Hours. It's haunting enough to stay with you for more than a few days. This is probably the most under-the-radar film of the 10 nominations, but if you can handle the unsettling nature of it, you're sure to pop a Winter's Boner.

IMDB Nugget: References: Boyz n the Hood (1991) - Porch convo in final scene. It's basically a scene-for-scene replica of Boys n the Hood actually.

Only 3 movies left, see which W.H. Dirkness selects as his favorite movie of the year between Black Swan, Inception, and The Social Network.

William H. Dirkness

Monday, February 21, 2011

KU vs. Oklahoma St Live Feed



The idea of this live game chat is to enhance your game watching experience. Essentially, it is designed to create an environment equivalent to watching the game with a group of your friends, or atleast, people who's opinions you respect. But this way you don't actually have to be with them, because it's 2011, and who actually likes being around people anymore these days?

His Dirkness, "The Tiny Dantha" LaBrockso Ellis, Sweedish Scheiba, and Sweet Zeetz Tweets will all be dee-jaying the action tonight, but celebrity panelist appearances are expected from all over the 'hood. You never know who might join in (I'm lookin at you Klosterman!).

For the record, this is meant to be very informal and unprofessional, so do not hesitate to say anything dumb, offensive, cringeworthy, or zingtastic. In fact, any and all of your verbal diarrhea is encouraged. Comments are not meant to be reflected on, but rather progressed with further ridiculosity/insightfulness. It's a one-upsmanship type mentality round these parts.

Check back in with His Dirkness around gametime (I'll be kickin' it off around 7:45) to collaborate in Gametox 2k4!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ranking The Best Pictures: Films #8-10

William H. Dirkness is proud to announce that he has soaked in all 10 Best Picture nominations of the year. It wasn't easy as I was forced to trek through foot high snow drifts, while dealing with young punk kids and their fancy cell phones lighting up the local cinemas. Don't worry though, I only had to get violent once, and that 13 year old girl deserved it (she tried to spoil the ending to Toy Story 3). This year's crop also led me to question my sexuality, halt my quest for perfection, and dream about dreaming about dreaming about dreaming up a new social networking website.

I would describe the field as deep, because there wasn't a movie that I disliked, while there was only one truly great film that stood out by itself, which earns masterpiece status in my books (sticky notes). My final rankings of the films 1-10 are complete, which I will reveal to the world over the course of the next week, in reverse order, but of course. My feelings on the films may include some spoilers, but I won't give away enough to ruin the essence of enjoyment for you (or atleast I'll warn majorly ahead of time if I do). With each movie I plan on sharing an interesting IMDB nugget along with, because I love scouring a movie's page after watching it to solidify my thoughts. You may also find me referencing the 8 criterion I laid out defining my enjoyment of the movie-watching experience, which can be found in my introduction to the film blogosphere.

Without further ado, here w'go.....

10. Toy Story 3

Despite coming in last on my list of Best Pics, this flick was not disliked by any means. At no point did I think to myself that the movie was bad. It was charming and enjoyable, just not award-worthy. Ever since experiencing the greatness of WALL*E, which had such an excellent social commentary representation, that now animated films are staring down a new ceiling. It's very similar to how The Dark Knight came along and raised the stakes for all comic book movies. Now, while WALL*E is The Dark Knight in this analogy, Toy Story 3 comes off like Iron Man 2. It was good, but couldn't even approach the achievement of its predecessor.

Now you might say it's unfair to compare animated films to past greats, which I concur that might be true, to which I would say there just wasn't enough substance to stand up to the other 9 films. It almost felt like an episode of a 90's TV show dealing with cults (Boy Meets World comes to mind). The lost souls (other toys beside Woody/Shawn) believed that their new home was going to be a great place (Shawn), while the protagonist (Woody/Corey) did all that he could to help them see the truth. Meanwhile, my favorite character was the charismatic cult leader (Lotso), who if you aren't beware of, might screw you over (although Barbie is rather sassy as well).

IMDB Nugget: WILHELM SCREAM: During the opening segment of old home footage, when Andy is watching TV with the toys. YESSSSS! Greatly admire a good wilhelming.

IMDB Double Dose: Sid Phillips, the next-door-neighbor who was the first movie's major antagonist (he destroyed toys by blowing them up, and he liked to dismember toys and reconstruct them by mixing up their parts) makes a brief appearance in the third movie as a garbageman. He is identifiable by the same black and white skull t-shirt he wore during the first movie, and he is voiced by the same actor, Erik von Detten. This character was awesome!

9. The King's Speech

The most overrated movie of the nominations. That's not a statement to say it's a bad movie, but is just so outside the realm of what I'm looking for. I did actually enjoy the movie because it didn't suck, therefore impressing me. Every year the Oscars nominates a period piece oozing with elegance and sophistication (Atonement, The Reader, The Queen), that I find to be bloody boring. So, the fact that I didn't hate this speaks highly towards it. Part of my enjoyment may have come from trying to decide if leading man, Colin Firth, looked more like Bill Self or John Calipari (It's Calipari).

The heart of the story was the main character overcoming his biggest fear in the grandest way possible. Unfortunately, I never really felt enough sympathy towards the character to fully enjoy what the movie had to offer (I would have drawn out the opening scene about twice as long, where the introduction of his speech impediment is fully displayed, letting that initial embarrassment drive the story even more so). Also, I would've liked to see more from his brother (played by Jude Law!), who held his reign for all of about 5 minutes, but partied it up Charlie Sheen style while he did. Those are just a few of my complaints on the only movie with a chance of upsetting The Social Network for the Osceeeeee.

IMDB Nugget: Lionel (the speech therapist) is reputed never to have sworn in front of the King, nor ever to have called him 'Bertie.' This was one of my favorite elements to the movie, the informal way Lionel (definitely the best character) treated the King, but it wasn't historically accurate. I've debated whether this bothers me ever since reading it, and honestly have yet to reach a conclusion. However, it is interesting to note.

8. The Kids Are All Right

Although "gay movies" tend to be a bit overrated, because people are quick to tell you how much it doesn't bother them, this movie does a good job of avoiding the usual stereotypes of those types of movies. And by that, I don't mean they avoid stereotypes oftentimes hung on homosexuals, but by taking an honest look at a relationship between two members of the same sex. The heart of this movie can be traced to that relationship and its refreshing look into its dysfunctions. Oftentimes, movies like to portray these relationships as especially erotic (always hot n' heavy) or without much struggle (there's always the happy gay couple). This movie drives home the point that their relationships can go through many of the same troubles that heterosexual couples do.

The movie also adds the extra speed bump a gaylationship might encounter, with a man thrown into the mix, who just happens to be the sperm donor for the couple's children. Of course, that man is played by the Ruff Dogg (Mark Ruffalo), who happens to be the best part of the flick. The movie is superbly acted, although I was not wowed by Annette Benning (who's character is named Nic!), who is Natalie Portman's biggest competition for Best Actress. I was more impressed by the always-likeable Julianne Moore, who shares my affection for the Ruff Dogg. 8 is a low number on this list, but this movie sits at the bottom of a logjam from 4-8.

IMDB Nugget: When Jules is trying, awkwardly, to explain the reasons that lesbians might prefer to watch gay male pornography rather than porn showing two women together, one of the reasons she gives is that they always cast two straight woman pretending to be gay in those movies. Both Julianne Moore, who plays Jules, and Annette Bening, who plays Nic, are in their real lives straight actress pretending to be lesbians for this movie. That scene is as awesome as it sounds.

Be sure to check back in for films 1-7, which will all be coming your way before the Academy Awards air next Sunday.

William H. Dirkness

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Introduction of William H. Dirkness

William H. Dirkness (The H stands for Hoffman, and you know why)

For years upon years now, I have been showering you all with my sports wisdom freshly squeezed from my golden mane (with a little extra knowledge emanating from my beard as of late). But, now that I have the platform to do so, I'm gonna dip my pen in some company ink (#misusedcliches), and take on a new endeavor for the next two weeks...

MovieTox with William H. Dirkness

My passion for movies sprouted from a college course (English Topics in Youth Rebellion) where I wrote a paper for Professor Iain Ellis (A Punk-Brit-Rock-Hooligan who couldn't wait to tell me what a pansy Leonardo Dicraprio was in response to his casting in The Basketball Diaries) on Sam Mendes, concentrating mostly on his directorial work on American Beauty. I couldn't believe how much I enjoyed what I had found once breaking down every scene of the film down (in the most elementary way possible).

That same semester I watched, and for the first time, really focused on the Academy Awards. It wasn't so much Ellen Degeneres that got me hooked, but just the whole atmosphere of the event. This led to a IMDB obsession, a Netflix infatuation, and an EW subscription that would be read on the pooper until this very day. It all peaked at the 2008 Oscars when my two favorite films of the 2000's (No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood) squared off for Best Picture honors. Since then, the Oscars have been an event scheduled on my calendar, and I look forward to them every year.

But now, it's time to take it to the next step. Writing about movies. I've been on a quest to watch all 10 of the Best Picture nominees this year, and share my personal rankings 1-10 with the world. My goal isn't to judge the cinematic achievement of the films, but rather share with you what they meant to me on a more personal level. Movies aren't intended to mean the same things to everybody, which is what can make people's opinions of them so fascinating.

I've put together a list of criteria that I look for in movies that I watch (in no particular order). I don't use them to the rate the movies in any way, because I don't feel like movies are meant to be relegated to numbers like that. I might reference a certain criterion that a movie excels at or disappoints in. Here's the list:

  • Substance - The essence of what goes into a movie. The script. The depth. The message.
  • Style - All-encompassing feel of a movie. I'm more of a style over substance kinda guy.
  • Originality - Has it been done before? Or, more importantly, have I seen it before?
  • Creativity - This is what separates the men from the boys (and also why it's hard for me to enjoy action movies). I draw your attention to a brilliant scene in (500) Days of Summer where a split-screen of reality and the main character's expectations play out simultaneously. Can't get it out of my head.
  • Risk-taking - Give me something my Mom wouldn't like.
  • Connectivity - Did you relate with it? Did the movie spark an emotional reaction out of you?
  • Transcendence - Does it take you above and beyond the movie itself? Or is it supposed to?
  • Entertainment Value - Was there a story? Did I care? Would I suggest it to my dumb friends?

So for all those sports fans out there, this will be just a short 2 week hiatus until after the Oscars, while I give movie blogging a shot (although the always growing live Gametox will continue). I'll be hitting you with my thoughts on each and every Best Picture nominee (yes, even The King's Speech if I don't fall asleep at it tonight) over the next two weeks. Be sure to check back make some fun.

William H. Dirkness

Monday, February 14, 2011

KU vs. K-State Live Feed



The idea of this live game chat is to enhance your game watching experience. Essentially, it is designed to create an environment equivalent to watching the game with a group of your friends, or atleast, people who's opinions you respect. But this way you don't actually have to be with them, because it's 2011, and who actually likes being around people anymore these days?

Tonight's live Gametox will be full of viewers and commenters representing both sides of the rivalry so don't hesitate to let your voice be heard. Simply type in any question/comment/quip/anecdote/diss into the chat box and I'll publish 99% of what you have to say. For you Twitter folk, simply tag your tweets with "#hisdirkness" to join in on the festivities. 

His Dirkness and Brock ShamBrock will be dee-jaying tonight, but celebrity panelist appearances are expected from all over the 'hood. It should be a gay ol' time.

For the record, this is meant to be very informal and unprofessional, so do not hesitate to say anything dumb, offensive, cringeworthy, or zingtastic. In fact, any and all of your verbal diarrhea is encouraged.

Check back in with His Dirkness around gametime (I'll be kickin' it off around 7:45) to collaborate in Gametox 2.0!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens Retro Diary

A week past the Super Bowl felt like the proper time to conclude football season (as well as Dirkness sports articles for a temporary attempt at movies) by finally sitting down to re-watch the Chiefs-Ravens playoff clash. You see the game an entirely different way watching on TV than you do in attendance at the game. For starters, at the game, you're more focused on the end result of each play as opposed to what led to the result of a play. All you care about is being as loud as humanly possible and witnessing success. I feel like you're more in tune with the game because you're feeling many of the same emotions that the players are feeling (the atmosphere, the weather, momentum, etc.) At home, you're in constant reminder of what players are doing what, and more in tune of WHY stuff is happening. You're usually more aware of the tiny nuances that make the game so beautiful (in game adjustments, breaking tendencies, injuries, replays, etc.). I've made a point to re-watch every Chiefs game I attended throughout the year so that I was able to get the best of both worlds. Time was both available and needed after, what turned out to be, the last game of a GREAT Kansas City Chiefs season.

I've decided I'm gonna attack this article in a Sports Guy retro diary kind of way, sharing thoughts with you as the game goes on in chronological order.

12:00 - I LOVE the CBS pregame hype-up videos. I feel instantaneously fired up about this game, almost like we've been given a second chance.

12:03 - Jim Nantz: "It snowed overnight here, but now it's just cold."

12:05 - Eric Berry almost picks off the pass on the very first play of the game, which I half remember. Now realizing that I'm gonna cringe at every missed opportunity that could've altered the outcome of this game.

12:08 - Flowers follows that with another near INT

12:10 - "Houshmandzadeh has been involved in some jawing on the last two plays." This is the point where I tried to decipher which race he was so I could hurl vulgar slurs his way. I settled on "vagina."

12:12 - Fumbled Flacco snap on 1st and goal at the 1 yard line. Missed opportunity number 3 of the first drive.

12:13 - Ray Rice is a bitch.

12:15 - Berry finishes his up-and-down drive with a terrific breakup of a pass. Heap beat him for multiple 3rd down conversions on the drive. It seemed like Berry was involved on every single play of that drive, which I think is a good thing. I can't remember the last Chiefs goalline stand from the 1 yard line, and if I didn't know the end result of this game, I'd say that was huge. 3-0 Ravens.

12:18 - The blimp view displays a "Go Chiefs" between two arrowheads and HyVee logos in the stands. How did this happen? Was it superimposed? Was everybody holding up cards of some sort? SOMEBODY ANSWER ME!

12:20 - Beautiful deep fade throw to Moeaki on the second play for the Chiefs offense and he lands just out of bounds. The bipartisan part of me is thinking none of the breaks are going our way.

12:21 - God Jam gets rocked on his first carry and pops up emphatically with a nice Wilhelm scream. Mutual respect begins to radiate out of Ray Lewis' body. Chiefs punt.

12:27 - 3rd and 11 swing pass to Ray Rice picks up a first down. I had heard endless criticism of Jon McGraw from this game. There's the first piece of evidence.

12:28 - Haley challenges after the Ravens get the first down by a few inches (great balancing effort by The Pocket Butthole, Ray Rice). Don't like challenging calls in the first quarter unless it's a huge play or obvious. I think what he really wanted to challenge was his decision to keep McGraw on the roster.

12:36 - First goosebumps of the game watching Tamba crawl around on the ground after strip-sacking Flacco. The Chiefs get their first break of the game with Joe's non-recovery skills.

12:37 - First play after the turnover is a flea flicker, another play I didn't remember. Love the call. Kevin Curtis was open. Wait, who?

12:37 1/2 - Before the snap, I scream at the top of my lungs, "RUN JAMAAL CHARLES!"

12:38 - GOD JAM CHARLES! His head-bobbing run was oddly reminiscent of Priest Holmes record breaking touchdown run (edit: the run I'm referring to a Priest run that came against the Miami Dolphins in a weird Friday night game, where he bobs his head just like JamaAL did for like 30 yards). At this point, I can't believe we could lose. 7-3 CHIEFS!

Game Pause: In search of this Holmes run I was referring to I stumbled across this video, which must immediately be seen by anybody who has ever cheered on the Chiefs. Roll it....

First off, the Priest arms out move is so fuckin' awesome that words cannot even describe it. Second, check out the Trent Green block on the run starting at the 3:08 mark. Third, pay attention to the score in the Minnesota game: Down 31-0 but score 3 TD's in about 5 minutes to cut it to 31-20. Lastly, Priest's record-setting run (the one I had gotten it confused with) came against the Bears and was so unbelievably brilliant that it transcended football (and life, for that matter) and exceeds anything I, or my children, or my children's children could ever accomplish.

12:41 - Nantz brings up God Jam's run against the Chargers from the season opener which confirms my sentiment that this game seems remarkably similar to. Opponent races out to an early lead, looks like it might pull away with it, until a long Charles run swings the tide.

12:44 - Really like how Eric Berry positions tape at both joints on his fingers. That IS badass.

End of 1st quarter - Can't believe how good the Chiefs look outside of 3rd down defense. The Ravens are completely unable to run the ball, but seem to find success on every short crossing route. Defense has been on the field for too much of the first quarter, confirmed by the Ravens 27-5 advantage in offensive plays.

12:47 - Eric Berry just made an unfathomably amazing play where he came from a deep safety position all the way across the field to break up a 5 yard drag route in the flat. My god Berry, my god.

12:48 - Ravens punt from the Chiefs' 40 yard line on 4th and 5. I break the World Record for most times yelling "vaginas" in public in a 60 second time span. Nate tallied 44, while Rob said 47.

12:51 - JamaAL Charles for 11 yards. JamaAL Charles for 8. JamaAL Charles for 7. Just sayin'.

12:53 - JamaAL fumble. I need a drink. Let it be known that the Chiefs were dominating up to this point.

12:57 - Interesting to note that his fumble wasn't the tide-turner that I thought it was. Following a Ravens' 3-and-out and bad punt, the Chiefs still stand in good shape. I sense doom though.

12:59 - Hold up! The "bad Ravens punt" was marked out of bounds at the 18 yard line by the side judge. Coming back from commercial the ball is sitting at the 13. This is bullshit! There was no penalty to speak of, and ESPN's play by play shows the punt going to the 13. But I just re-watched and double-checked it 5 times. I'm now debating writing a letter to the NFL asking them to reconsider the outcome of this game. I think it should be replayed from the moment of this punt, 9:12 left in the 2nd quarter.

Now, everybody's first reaction to this is gonna be, "Did it cost them the game?" Which nobody could reasonably argue, but this is a big business league. This is an NFL playoff game. I'm just a fan, but people's livelihoods are at stake on games like this. And no, that's not an exaggeration. I just don't understand how this could happen, and makes me question how often this happens.

1:00 - First play of the drive is a beautiful fake screen to McCluster quick slant to Moeaki over the middle. This is a play design with a very high chance to succeed.

1:01 - Next play is Jam Charles for 11, finishing the run by lowering his shoulder into Ravens CB Josh Wilson. "Charles shaken up right here Phil" may have been the biggest turning point in the game.

1:07 - McCluster gets absolutely trucked by Ed Reed to end the drive. These are the drives I was most curious about in re-watching this game, when the Chiefs had the ball and the lead. I think there was only two of them, and both were squandered by mistakes (Charles fumble, Albert false start on 3rd and 3).

1:08 - Ricky Price fucks up downing the punt inside the 5 yard line leads to me throwing a pillow in frustration. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea.

1:14 - Joe Flacco to Todd Heap on 3rd and 13 (McGraw on the coverage) is the biggest play of the game to this point. Ensures the Ravens with the last drive of the half, ultimately leading to the pull ahead score.

1:17 - Pretty good little cheap shot on Flacco from Jovan Belcher right there. Goes uncalled. Neither Berry nor McGraw can stop Heap (season highs in catches and yards before half).

1:20 - Apparent miscommunication between DJ and McGraw leads to Rice touchdown. DJ doesn't run with him, and looks around after he scores like he thought somebody should've been there. McGraw jumped a slant over the middle from the opposite side, which was already well covered by Berry. McGraw went with his instincts. Good eye manipulation by Prop Joe. Ravens 10-7.

HALFTIME - It's frustrating because I really feel like the Chiefs were the superior team in the first half. KC owned the line of scrimmage, finding plenty of room to run the ball, while the Ravens could hardly muster anything on the ground, hanging around with long 3rd down conversions thrown to Todd Heap. Cassel only attempted 5 passes in the 1st half, none of which in D-Bowe's direction obviously. Without knowledge of the end result, I would feel confident in the Chiefs coming back in the 2nd half.

1:38 - I had no idea Matt Cassel played in the Little League World Series, but I love that his nickname was "Moose."

1:39 - Chiefs come out pass, pass, pass on the first drive. The second pass was a fake screen to McCluster, screen to McCluster, truly one of the worst play designs I've seen of the Chiefs season. The third pass was intercepted, at which point Ed Reed immediately begins clapping his hands wanting the pitch, which the Japanese Ravens finally does, only to get it stripped away. Who forced the fumble AND recovered it? That would be Jamaal Charles.

1:40 - Oh yea, what an incredibly stupid play by Reed. I can't consider him one of the all-time greats after witnessing something that idiotic.

1:44 - I think it went largely unnoticed that Barry Richardson played a great game, atleast so far.

1:45 - Thomas Jones did a bad job of picking his hole on the 3rd and 1 prior to the biggest play of the game. If he plows behind Asamoah and Shaun Smith he easily gets the first down.

1:46 - Oy. The 4th and 1 toss to Charles was unbelievably bad. I watched the play over and over and I think the blame goes on Leonard Pope, who was slow to get out of his stance, and then stumbled into his block, giving the Ravens' Jarret Johnson the corner, forcing Charles to cut it back. It's funny how you never know which player can be involved in the biggest play of your season, and sometimes it's someone like Leonard Pope not executing, and that's all it takes. You never know.

1:49 - Wow, I can't believe they just called that Roughing the Passer on Tamba Hali. I guess that makes up for the non-call on Belcher. I guess...

1:50 - Eric Berry just caught a pass that happened to be in 'Quan Boldin's chest.

1:51 - Ray Rice is a bitch.

1:52 - Obvious holding call on Oher vs. Dorsey goes uncalled.

1:54 - I feel like the Chiefs have missed so many opportunities in this game that I want another shot to cheer them on harder. I can do better! Ravens 13-7.

1:58 - Intentional grounding call was absolute bullshit. D-Bowe ran an out, was covered, and cut up field, at which point Moose Cassel threw it, only D-Bowe stopped on it, giving the appearance of intentional grounding. I'm now booing at my TV.

2:01 - Don't ask me my thoughts on Dexter McCluster until next season unless you want to see a grown man bitch and moan like an 8 year old girl.

2:02 - Awful illegal contact penalty on Eric Berry. This quarter is being officiated atrociously bad, one of the worst I've ever seen.

2:06 - It's tough to say the defense didn't do their job in this game after stuffing the Ravens on yet another red zone trip. 16-7 Ravens.

2:09 - Leonard Pope manhandled by Suggs on a running play that looked promising. Cut him, cut him now.

2:10 - Cassel interception. It's fair to say he's entering "shitting his pants" territory.

2:11 - After the announcers talked about how the Ravens were going to attack Brandon Carr all game long, I don't think they've thrown at him a single time.

2:12 - At this point, the Chiefs defense is playing 10-on-11 with Mike Vrabel on the field.

2:13 - I think I'm becoming a Tyson Jackson fan.

2:16 - At this point the Chiefs felt the same way that I did up in the stands. Fight!

2:18 - Flowers chews out Vrabel after touchdown throw to 'Quan. Changing of the guard on the defense? Ravens 23-7.

End of 3rd quarter - This 3rd quarter fits every necessary criterion to be classified as a complete and utter meltdown (and I wrote that before the Cassel tuck rule call).

2:20-2:35 - (Pouting...)

2:36 - Awesome back-to-back play sequence where Oher drives Belcher's face back well after the whistle followed by Belcher kicking him in the face to get off of him. Next play Belcher punks Oher in the face after the play, faux-knocking him to the ground. Somebody should tell him that Sandra Bullock sucks as a person.

2:39 - Of all the bad plays in the game, I think the Demorrio Williams offsides on the Ravens punt may have been the most depressing.

2:44 - Awesome. Things got so chippy, with scuffles after each play, that the refs went to both head coaches and told them, "Stop it!"

2:48 - McGahee scores a TD and then this happens....

2:54 - Ray Lewis is pacing the sideline like he just murdered somebody and got away with it.

Final: Baltimore Ravens 30, Kansas City Chiefs 7 - Just remember Chiefs fans, something like 7 straight postseason losses can build character (yes, in you as a fan), and it will make that streak-breaking victory all the sweeter. Trust me, fans of teams that win all the time don't cherish it, and would long for the emotions that will overtake us when it happens.

Goodnight everybody,
His Dirkness

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Look at KU's +/- Stats

The most telling stat in all of sports is the +/- statistic. For those of you not in the know, this all-encompassing statistic lets you know of the team's success while an individual player was in the game. In other words, if Mo'Kieff Dogg Morris starts the game, and KU gets out to a 15-8 lead before he's subbed out for ChenoWithey's sleepwalking corpse, then he stands at +7 so far. 'Kieff-Dish-Trey then reenters the game later with KU up in the game 20-12, but picks up a first half second foul, and leaves the game a few minutes later with KU's lead down to 20-16. Kieff-Mo logged a -4 for that chunk of time, but still stands at +3 for the game.

Still with me? And while as unlikely as it is that a KU lead would grow with Witheystein on the floor, I believe this is as telling a stat as there is in all of sports. After all, what else measures a player's pure impact on what matters most in a game, the score? This stat should be the most recognized of all, more so than scoring, rebounding, assists, turnovers, cheap thug-overtoned elbows, blown Withey-oops, out of control Ty-Tay drives, T-Robb the Hobb-scotch travels, two-handed WNBA Morningshots, or Jacob Pull-outs.

So you would expect one of the Morrisi to lead the team in this statistic right? Or maybe Thryrell Reed? Or (if you're a believer) Selby Delby Do(n't)? Or if you're KU Gametox assistant producer/key grip Brock ShamBrock you'd think it's Ol' Withey Swatz. Well, you'd all be wrong.

I was thrilled to find these stats at a badass little site at Yep, that IS badass!

Here's a list of the +/- stats for every member of the Kansas Jayhawks team (again the +/- is a direct reflection of how the team does with each player on the floor - shown as per game):

1. Tyshawn Taylor: +14.3
2. Tyrel Reed: +14.0
3. Marcus Morris: +13.0
4. Markieff Morris: +12.1
5. Josh Selby: +9.9
6. Brady Morningstar: +9.5
7. Thomas Robinson: +5.6
8. Travis Releford: +5.1
9. Elijah Johnson: +4.3
10. Mario Little: +2.8
11. Jeff ChenoWithey: +2.5
12. Royce Wooldridge: +0.5
13. Jordan Juenemann: +0.1
14. Niko Roberts: 0.0

Follow up thoughts:

  • Have we all underestimated the impact that Ratatat Ty Tay has on this team? I was pleasantly surprised to see him atop this list, and have noted his improvement since conference play started (most noticeably by cutting back on his shots taken). Stick to distributing and being a one man fast break. Ty Tay is tied for first in the conference (w/Tristan Thompson of Texas) and tied for 12th in the nation. Here's a look at the top +/- players in the country:

1. Kyle Singler, Duke: +19.1
2. Nolan Smith, Duke: +18.7
3-5. Diebler, Sullinger, Lighty, Ohio St: +18.2-17.2
6. Bill Clark, Duquesne (??): +16.4
7. Jajuan Johnson/E'Twaun Moore, Purdue: +14.7
9. The Jimmer, BYU: +14.6

  • I'm startled by how low The Mid Ranger Banger, Mario Little is on the list (although his conference numbers improve drastically). As disappointing as he's been this season, I wouldn't have guessed he'd be below The Book of Elijah Johnson. I continue my stance that Lil' Big Man will play a huge role in the NCAA Tournament.
  • My reason for chasing these stats was to bag on Josh Selby with hopes that his +/- was inferior to players such as Morningstar, Releford, and maybe even Little. No such luck. However, I will note that during conference, his numbers are well below Morningstar's. Here's a look at that list:
KU +/- stats in conference games ONLY:

1. Markieff Morris: +8.8
2. Tyshawn Taylor: +8.6
3. Brady Morningstar: +8.5
4. Tyrel Reed: +8.4
5. Marcus Morris: +7.5
6. Josh Selby: +4.8
7. Mario Little: +2.6
8. Thomas Robinson: +1.9

  • Interesting to note that Kieff Dogg moved to the top of the list, while Morriz cuz 'Cus dropped to 5th on the team. M-Star and The newly-unveiled Long Ranger Slanger, Mario Little, saw the biggest rises on the team since conference play has begun.
I'll be keeping these stats in mind during our live game chat during tomorrow's game against Iowa St. Be sure to check it out and let any and all of your ridiculousness be heard by the rest of the world. I give you a Dirkness guarantee that it'll enhance your gameday experience. Saturday, 3 PM, Iowa St at Kansas.

His Dirkness

Monday, February 7, 2011

KU vs. Missouri Live Feed


The idea of this live chat is to create the best forum possible to watch a KU (or any other) game. Essentially, it is designed to create an environment equivalent to watching the game with a group of your friends, or atleast, people who's opinions you respect.

His Dirkness and DeBrockius Nephews will be dee-jaying tonight, but also I'll be publishing anything that readers have to say (preferably game relevant, but not a requirement). To let your voice be heard, simply just type in any question or comment into the box and send it my way. OR for you Twitter folk, simply tag any comment with "#hisdirkness" to throw your insights into the mix.

This is meant to be very informal and unprofessional, so do not hesitate to say anything dumb, offensive, cringeworthy, or zingtastic.

Also, I'll be including commentary brought to you via Twitter from Kansas City radio hosts Nick Wright and Shan Shariff, who will both be in attendance at the game tonight. I think it could really add something. If I pick up on anybody else talking about the game, I'll be sure to include them as well. Don't hesitate to let me know what you think.

Here we go.......

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl XLV Preview

I began Super Bowl week surprised that Green Bay was favored over Pittsburgh by 2.5 points (I would've guessed something like -4.5 for Pitt). Even more surprising, is the public support behind the Packers. If I had to guess, I'd say 75% (if not more) of the predictions I've heard have been for Green Bay. So do people really feel that strongly about the Packers or are they just bored with the Steelers? Although, the Colts are around year in and year out, and everybody was picking them over the Saints last year. So do the experts know something that we, or atleast I, don't? Perhaps some, dare I say, insiiiiide informaaaaation?!? (Remember when Around the Horn was good?) So I did some investigative work (looked on the Internet) and dug as deep as I could into the depths of my brain (drank alot) to find the real reasons. Here's what I gots...

  • Pittsburgh's past 2 Super Bowl wins have come against two of the worst teams to ever make the Super Bowl. The Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals represented the NFC at the height of the AFC's dominance. The Steelers weren't forced to do anything extraordinary to win those games. That won't be the case in today's game.
  • The past two teams (and perhaps only two? Don't worry, I'm firing my assistant) to win three road games on their road to the Super Bowl were victorious in the big game. The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Seabags and the New York Giants beat the previously undefeated New England Patriots a few years back. Is there something to this or just a co-winky-dink?
  • Green Bay's strength matches up well against Pittsburgh's weakness. The Packers like to spread teams out and pick on the defense's weak cornerbacks. The Steelers cornerbacks are nothing to write home about. I expect a bevy of 7 yard stop routes out of the Packers (enough to annoy everybody watching at home).
  • Green Bay's weakness matches up well against Pittsburgh's strength. Nobody runs on the Steelers. The Packers don't run on anybody. It'll be interesting to see how the Packers attack them with the run, if at all.

I expect this to be the 18th best Super Bowl of all time, here's a list of my Top 5:

1. XLII: New York Giants over New England Patriots
2. XXXVI: New England Patriots over St. Louis Rams
3. XXXVIII: New England Patriots over Carolina Panthers
4. XLIII: Pittsburgh Steelers over Arizona Cardinals
5. XXXIV: St. Louis Rams over Tennessee Titans

Prediction: I think the pressure on both quarterbacks is about equal. I feel Roethlisberger has higher expectations on his head because he's been here, done that before. On the other side, Rodgers has yet to win one, so he has more to lose. I think whichever team's quarterback plays better wins. Since I've always been one to go with the masses, I'm gonna join the bandwagon and predict a Packers victory.

Score: Green Bay Packers 23, Pittsburgh Steelers 17

Prop Bets: Here are some bets that I have made the enhance my Super Bowl experience:
  • Christina Aguilera holding the Brave note for longer than 6 seconds (-140)
  • First score of the game: Green Bay field goal (7/2)
  • Highest scoring quarter of the game: 3rd (+350)
  • Total Sacks: Over 5 (-135)
  • First missed FG of the game: Short or blocked (+1000)
  • Distance of first punt: Under 44.5 yards (-115)
  • First penalty of the game: Green Bay (+110)
  • Successful 2 pointer in the game? Yes (+375)
  • What will Fergie be wearing for the halftime show? Thong/G-String/Bikini (+1000)
  • Super Bowl winning Gatorade color: Blue (10/1!)
  • Who will Super Bowl MVP thank first? God (+150)
  • Who will announcers say has better hair during the game- Polamalu or Clay Matthews? Polamalu (-140)
  • How many times will Fox mention Brett Favre? Under 2.5 (+140)
His Dirkness

Saturday, February 5, 2011

KU vs. Nebraska Live-Tox

Check out this live shiite:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Big 12 College Basketball Power Rankings

Originally published on Husker Corner

 two teams are beginning to run away with things, while the rest of the league is left treading water. Sounds like it's time to throw down some rankings, along with a thought or two, and their projected NCAA Tournament seeding (not as of now, but instead, what they will be) or other postseason destination.

1. Texas Longhorns (7-0) - Undefeated in the conference without a single game against a ranked opponent remaining on the schedule (toughest road games are at Colorado, Nebraska, and Baylor). This Texas team could very well finish undefeated in the conference and end the Jayhawks' 6-year run atop the Big 12 (although to be fair, the Longhorns did split with KU in 2006 and 2008). Absolutely cremated Texas A&M in College Station earlier this week. 1 Seed.

2. Kansas Jayhawks (6-1) - Really wanted to put KU #1 on this list (and would have if their loss to UT had been in Austin or if Texas had a loss on their resume). The Jayhawks were the victims of some unfortunate timing by playing Texas the night after learning the news of Thomas Robinson's mom passing away. Paired with the emotional beginning to the game, the team simply just ran out of gas. However, I'd put a large sum of money on KU if they meet in the Big 12 Tournament. For further analysis on the Jayhawks check out my home-blog by clicking here. I got KU dropping another game, and without many quality wins, I believe KU falls to a 2 seed.

3. Texas A&M Aggies (4-3) - The drop off from 2 to 3 on this list is substantial. While the Longhorns and Jayhawks share a combined 8-0 conference record on the road, the Aggies are tied for the 3rd best conference record on the road: 1-2! The good news is that they've already got both Texas beatdowns out of the way. The gooder news is that Mark Turgeon knows how to win in the NCAA Tournament. 6 seed.

4. Missouri Tigers (3-4) - Part of the inclusive "undefeated at home, winless on the road" club of the Big 12. At that rate, they should be finishing at 8-8 right? With a few solid non-con wins, the Tigers, and their always dangerous style (especially in a one game setting), are headed for a 5 seed.

5. Colorado Buffaloes (4-4) - Owners of the best conference win of teams ranked 3-12 (@Kansas St). Also played Kansas tough when KU brought their B+ game. The Buffaloes deploy two dynamic wing scorers in Corey Higgins and, the most underrated player in the Big 12, Kansas City homeboy, Alec Burks (held to single digits only one time this year). With a few terrible non-con losses (16 point loss to Harvard?), the Buffs are most likely headed for the NIT.

6. Kansas State Wildcats (3-5) - Hard to pinpoint exactly what has gone wrong for the Wildcats this year, but no possible explanation bodes well for Frank M. Bison. Obviously, the loss of Denny Clemente has hurt them, although they may be equally affected by the loss of Dominique Sutton. They really lack an identity right now, and some of that blame has to fall on Jacob Pull-out's shoulders. Speaking of which, if Pull-out follows through on his statement to not play in the NIT, that would be the salliest move of the year this side of Jay Cutler. If they get to 9-7 in the conference, they'll make the Tournament, but I think they go 8-8 and squeak in with an 11 seed.

7. Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-4) - Another member of the "undefeated at home, winless on the road" club. Tough to say whether this reflects poorly on the conference as a whole, or positively on the home arena environments in the conference. Got to sit down and watch the Huskers in action last night for one of the few times this year, and lets just say they didn't pass the eye test. They couldn't buy a bucket in the first half once K-State switched to a zone defense. The Huskers' postseason hopes might be on the line on Saturday, when they host the #2 ranked Kansas Jayhawks. I don't like they're chances, and believe this team is headed to the NIT.

8. Baylor Bears (4-4) - Is it me or does Baylor's team never look interested? Maybe it's just LaceDarius' non-jumpshot that gives off that perception. It's a good thing for Baylor that K-State has been so terrible, or else they'd be the most disappointing team in the Big 12. This team, once destined for the Big Dance, will now have to settle for the NIT.

9. Oklahoma State Cowboys (3-5) - Led by the little piglet that is Keiton Page, the Cowboys are yet another team that can threaten you at home, but are incapable of winning on the road. This team bores me....CBI.

10. Oklahoma Sooners (4-3) - Amazingly the Sooners have rattled of 4 straight wins. Unspectacularly, those wins came against Texas Tech, Colorado, Iowa St, and Baylor. No postseason.

11. Texas Tech Red Raiders (3-5) - Somehow, the Red Raiders have won a conference road game (Iowa St). Ironically, every player on the team shares the last name 'Red Raiders.' No postseason.

12. Iowa State Cyclones (1-7) - Held a pretty good record until conference season started. Maybe Auburn should hire their coach and win a National Championship. No postseason.

His dirkness

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

NBA's 7 Most Interesting Teams

It feels like the NBA has ushered in a whole new generation of talent. My interest level is at an all-time high. I actually embraced the NBA season before the College Basketball season, which might've been a first. I spent all Christmas day giddily watching NBA games. I've been checking scores semi-frequently. I've even launched a semi-serious hip hop career in my free time (sort of a cross between Joaquin Phoenix and Tamba Hali). To prove my point about how interesting the NBA is right now, I'm gonna give you 7 teams that I would watch if they were on TV right now (that's 8 more than 5 years ago) in order of interest level. I'll let the Dirka Dirka handle the segue....

1. Miami Heat - I couldn't have hated The Decision more. I felt like it was everything wrong with sports all bundled up into a nice, neat, hourlong special. But, I was analyzing The Decision for what it was, instead of examining the long-term effects of it. And the reality is, it created an incredible amount of interest in the NBA. It was a publicity machine. I've come full circle, and am ready to admit that the Miami Heat are awesome, and I'm not even sure if I'm cheering for them yet or not. But, the point is, that I care, something I haven't said about the NBA regular season in, well, forever? The NBA needed a villain, and the Heat have definitely become that, getting vigorously boo'd in every opposing arena. LeDarth gets boo'd essentially every time he touches the ball. They're selling out every arena they visit, while, ironically, not even selling out their own home games. Miami has no fans. We are literally seeing a team that everybody is rooting against. I became intrigued when they failed so spectacularly at the beginning of the season, curious about how that was possible. It's almost like we're witnessing a study on how a team comprised of 3 super-duper stars and little else could fair in the league. This stuff is usually reserved for video games. You had better believe I'll be glued to the TV for every minute of their playoff run, which is sure to be heavily scrutinized every step of the way.

2. Dallas Mavericks - It's meant to say a lot that I put "my team" second on this list. But to be fair, I cheer for the Mavs for two reasons, and two reasons only: Das Man and Mark Cuban. Dallas seems to be in the same situation they've been in the past few years, thriving in the regular season, while nobody believes they could compete with the Lakers in the West. They added Tyson Chandler this year, who is the perfect yeoman to Dirk's Jesus-like qualities. With Brendan Haywood coming off the bench, they finally have the bigs to protect Dirk around the rim (miss DeSagana Diop more then you can believe). I feel like Dirk has one more serious run in him before he fades off into the scheisse. I feel like it's my responsibility to inform everyone that Dirk Nowitzki now ranks 22nd on the NBA's all-time scoring list. If he averages 75 games for the next 5 years at a clip of 20 points per game (all plausible), that would be enough for #5 ALL TIME!! (although, would probably be 6th behind Kobe Bryant).

3. New York Knicks - Yes! Relevance! The biggest, baddest, jew in all the city has brought ball back to the Gaaaaahden. And I ain't talkin' about D'Antoni, although I do give him most of the credit. I was raised on early 90's Knicks teams with the likes of Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley, Anthony Mason, John Starks, and Chris Dudley. I love watching D'Antoni teams get out and run (starring Raymond Felton, who you might remember from UNC in 2005ish, as Steve Nash, and Amar'e Qwangzilla as, well, Amar'e Stoudemire). I love that I share a name with a professional sports team. I love Ronny Turiaf's style. And I love that playoff games are returning to Madison Square Garden, the best basketball venue in the world.

4. Los Angeles Lakers - The former villains of the NBA (I think) almost feel lost in the shuffle now with the Miami Heat in town (3,000 miles away). Don't worry though, they're still the easiest team for me to hate. Kobe Bryant is the lone remaining relevant ranger from the "We must replace Michael Jordan with the next superstar NOW, it doesn't matter if he's as good (Kobe), not nearly as good (Grant Hill), or even good at all (Vince Carter)" phase (Ironically, it may have been LeBron that ended all the unnecessary pedestals for unproven players by bringing an all new skill set to the table). Oh yea, the Lakers: They've entered their annual "Are the Lakers in trouble?" January swoon. They remain one of the best teams so long as they care, although the Christmas day beatdown handed to them by the Heat looms large.

5. Chicago Bulls - This is the team to keep your eye on for the future. With Derrick Rose and Joakim Phoenix Noah still playing under rookie contracts, they have tons of money to play with, even with Carlos Boozer signed to a near max-deal. It's all about how they choose to spend that money though. They already have the alpha dogg of the team in D-Rose (who is most experts' choice for MVP as of now). These same experts also say it's not wise to threaten the alpha dogg with another. He needs more of a Lambda Lambda Lambda sidekick. Timing is the other issue. If spent wisely, say in a mid-season trade this year, the Bulls could vault into the upper-tier of NBA teams.

6. Oklahoma City Thunder - The youngest player with the biggest takeover potential (that is to say, take over the NBA) is still Kevin Durant, who's almost under the radar now with all the other young stars taking over the league. They're still loaded with a young nucleus of talent that have a good chance to produce multiple championships down the line (although changing their colors to black and yellow would quicken the process). Just wait until Blake Griffin decides to leave the Clippers and joins the Thunder along with Bill Self.

7. Los Angeles Clippers - Yeaaaaa buddy. The biggest one man show in the NBA right now is Blake Griffin. I was so impressed watching Griffin in his first game of the season that I texted my buddy, The Leftover Taco, that he was "The best post player in the NBA right now" a whooping 10 minutes into his career. This was obviously meant with some hyperbole, but looking around the league, I'm not sure that it's untrue. Who's better? Dwight Howard? On defense, yea. Tim Duncan? 3 years ago, yea. The Bearded Clam, Pau Gasol? Maybe, if you don't mind an STD or two. The Dirk? Nicht er ist nicht eine post player. There you have it, case closed. You must find time to watch The EarthBlake! Blake Superior! Griffin Impossible! To be fair, those were all stolen, but this one is all mine, The Gingerbread Man, unh!

Take that witchuuuuuu,
His Dirkness