Hump day hot takes: Screw Jim Boeheim, time to consider Brad Marchand as MVP & more

A good old-fashioned asshole like Jim Boeheim has to eat his words and a little ball of hate asshole is making critics eat their words. 

Buckle up everyone, it’s just about the most magical time in the sporting calendar. Even as the non-basketball fan of the Chin Music Pod, I get my juices going with March Madness. It’s working from home time whenever possible, or at the very least multi-tab viewing on the laptop or tablet. We have a host of March Madness content coming in over the next couple weeks, so I’ll do my usual look around the whole sports’ world with this. Peruse last week’s hot takes before jumping in here. Otherwise, away we go.


1. A stern screw-you to Syracuse legend cheater Jim Boeheim

Nothing like a curmudgeonly old man like Jim Boeheim bitching about his average team missing out on the NCAA tournament to get the blood boiling in the middle of the week. Like I just said, he bitched about Syracuse not getting into the tournament this year even though they had a comparable resume last time around.

Want to not miss the NCAA tournament? How about not lose to Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh and 12 other times during the season. 19 wins doesn’t get you jack shit in college basketball, and it shouldn’t. Just because Syracuse is a big name doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed a berth in the big dance. And just because ‘Cuse plays in the ACC doesn’t mean they deserve to get in over other programs from “lesser” conferences.

Syracuse’s lackluster resume is one thing, but Boeheim deciding to go off on Greensboro for no reason other than his team sucking in the ACC tournament in Brooklyn, pissed me off. It’s not like Boeheim is living in a tropical paradise for starters. Just to go off on Greensboro for no reason was dumb. Not the city’s fault his team blows. Boy, do I hope that UNC Greensboro knocks them off in the NIT. Not only to knock him off his high horse, but to get some revenge on his bullshit bitching the last couple weeks.


2. It’s time to seriously consider Brad Marchand as a Hart Trophy candidate

The Bruins shirt is off as I write this, believe me. Now with that said I did have it on as I watched the “Little Ball of Hate” Brad Marchand undress the Vancouver Canucks three times on Monday to tie the NHL lead for 35 goals. Entering Tuesday, he was also one point behind Conor McDavid for the NHL scoring lead. However you want to characterize it – Marchand is having himself a hell of a season.

Hockey fans saw first hand how talented Marchand could be at the World Cup of Hockey, as he combined with Sidney Crosby and Patrice Bergeron to form the most dangerous line on the planet. Now, he’s having a career season as the Bruins try to get back to the playoffs. He’s been the best player all season long and is looking at a 40-40 type of season.

Marchand still plays on the edge, but his goal-scoring ability has taken another leap forward this year. He scored a career-high 37 goals last year and is all but assured of setting a new career-high this spring. He’s been one of the most consistent goal scorers in the NHL and he also plays a strong two-way game that makes him a 200-foot player.

McDavid, Crosby and Burns certainly have more “star power” than Marchand, but I’d be hard-pressed to find a player more valuable to his team than the Bruins left winger. He could damn well win the scoring title. It’s time to consider the little shit as a possible league MVP candidate.


3. The New Orleans Pelicans are a goddamn mess

I guess adding Boogie Cousins was pretty much like adding gasoline to the fire. One of the best 1-2 combos in the NBA, Cousins and Anthony Davis, flat out don’t work. The Smoothie King Center (top-5 worst arena name in pro sports) is dead every night. The team sucked before they acquired Boogie, and they’re just 3-6 with him.

Overall, Cousins’ addition to the Pelicans hasn’t changed anything besides the salary cap down in the Bayou. That sucks, because Cousins and Davis should be a hell of a duo that excites NBA fans every night. Instead, it’s a clusterfuck. So, while the Pelicans wallow away near the bottom of the NBA with two superstars burning out, we’ll wait until the inevitable Cavaliers-Warriors Finals matchup coming down the road.


4. The World Baseball Classic has been fun, but Team USA lacks some serious star power

It’s pretty evident that Brendan and I had quite a time at the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto last September. The city was buzzing and the entire hockey world came down on one of the world’s greatest cities. With baseball rebooting the World Baseball Classic this “spring” I can honestly say that I’ve paid attention to it and watched a couple of games, but am nowhere near as invested in it as I was in September.

There’s a couple of things that make the World Baseball Classic not as exciting. First things first: the timing of it sucks. It’s March Madness, stretch run of the NBA and NHL and Spring Training.There’s way too much competing with it. Second – it’s all over the goddamn planet. I’d stay up until 10 PM to watch a game, but you’re out of your goddamn mind if you think I’ll be awake for a 3 AM first pitch for a game in Korea.

But, first and foremost, Team USA doesn’t have the same caliber of player as the rest of the world. Sure, Canada and Italy and Israel don’t have many (or any) homegrown talent in the big leagues, but they have enough “heritage” based players to fill out a roster. The biggest stars in the game – Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Justin Verlander, etc. – just refused to play in it for fear of getting hurt. I don’t blame them for it, but still. If you want the WBC to drum up interest in the US, then you better have some major star power.

Trout already said he wants to take part in 2021, but who knows what it’ll look like, even if it exists, by then. If Major League Baseball wants more interest on its home turf, then the team needs to be filled with the best players, not the second tier players filling out the roster.


5. The New England Patriots need to resign Malcolm Butler

The word need isn’t thrown around all that often. Teams rarely need something to happen. I use it sparingly and in the most dire of circumstances. That’s exactly what I mean when I say this: The New England Patriots NEED to sign Malcolm Butler. The cornerback is one of the best in the game, won the franchise a fucking Super Bowl and did everything else right while getting paid the NFL minimum.

I get Bill Belichick’s roster savvy. He has to make some incredibly tough/difficult decisions to stay competitive every year. But even then, a kid who did everything right and managed to not squawk about it until it was time for his payday deserves the big contract.

The Patriots playing hardball with him makes it very hard to get behind the move. The other free-agent signings suggest that New England isn’t afraid to spend the plethora of money they have. And yet, Butler remains unpaid and the restricted free agent is taking tours with other teams. That scares the shit out of me. Stephon Gilmore is a commodity, but he’s an unknown commodity. Everyone knows what Butler gives the team. Give me the known talent over the shiny free agent everyday of the week.

Sign Malcolm Butler and make him a career Patriot. Let’s make it happen.

That’ll do it for me. Follow Tim on Twitter@culvey13 and Brendan @murraysporttalk for more.


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