The LSU Tigers know that the road to the 2012 College World Series goes through Baton Rouge. LSU opens post-season play this Friday Night as they take on in-state foe UL Monroe.
Tigers Coach Paul Mainieri spoke with me and Bobby Hebert about the Regions, and says his Bayou Bengals have worked hard to get to this point.
''I’m just so proud of these kids. They’ve worked hard all season long and I’m very excited that they have earned the right to host a regional and if we can play well our team will host a Super Regional,” said Coach Mainieri.
The Tigers are the 7th overall National Seed, meaning that if they win this weekend's regional in Baton Rouge, the Tigers would host a Super Regional next weekend in Alex Box Stadium. The winner of the Baton Rouge Regional will face the winner of the Coral Gables Regional, which is hosted by the University of Miami.
''UL Monroe has a very good team with an excellent pitcher and we are going to have to play our best in order to win. We have great respect for UL Monroe and we know that this is going to be a tough game,” said Mainieri.
The Tigers will open the post-season in the second game of the Baton Rouge Regional on Friday. The first game has #2 seed Oregon State facing Belmont at 2pm while the Tigers entertain the UL Monroe Warhawks at 7PM right here on WWL Radio 870AM/FM 105.3.
The New Orleans Hornets simply put got lucky! But as they say in sports, I’d rather be lucky than good. The New Orleans Hornets snagged the #1 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, as well as the #10 overall pick in this year’s draft as well.
The Hornets won just 21 games in the 2011-2012 NBA Season and had many other questions about the future of the franchise in New Orleans. Going into the season the Hornets lost their best two players, a trade that was vetoed by the NBA Commissioner. All this at a time when the team was still searching for an owner.
Well since the month of April, things have been about as good as they could have been for the Hornets franchise. Saints owner Tom Benson, who is one of the best owners in the NFL, purchased the Hornets. The team is better off financially then they have been in years, and the Hornets have two top ten picks in the 2012 NBA Draft.
Now the Hornets' future looks as bright as ever, and the road to New Orleans becoming one of the best sports cities in the world just got a little shorter. Wow! And speaking of good luck, Hornets Coach Monty Williams had Mr. Benson’s Super Bowl Ring in his pocket. Maybe that was the luck we needed to win an NBA title!
Eastern Conference Finals - #2 Miami Heat vs #4 Boston Celtics
Ok let me make this simple. The Heat are younger, have perhaps the two best players on one team, and they have home court advantage. With that said, the Celtics are deep in the minds of the Heat.
Boston knows that this is the series they have been waiting to get to and now it is here. Boston won the regular season series 3-1. The Heat had a tough time with Boston last season but were able to get by the C’s on their way to the Finals where they lost to the Mavericks.
I think Boston’s starting five is as good as Miami’s front five, if not better. Paul Pierce can handle his own when it comes to trying to lockdown King James, and oldie but goodie Kevin “Big Ticket” Garnett still has enough gas left in the tank to lead the Celtics to the Finals.
But to me the guy who will be the difference in this series is Rajon Rondo! Rondo just plays well and is always a guy that somehow gets overlooked. Rondo just needs to make his free throws and if he has an open jumper just knock it down!
And perhaps the biggest edge in this series has to go to the Doctor doesn’t it? I’m talking about Doc Rivers! Doc has more knowledge, he’s played in (and of course, coached in) far more big games than his counterpart Eric Spoelstra.
I just think that this is Boston’s final run with their Big Three and this series is as big as the Finals to the Celtics. I’m not a Lebron Hater, I’m just going with the wiser, more experienced team here. Gimmie the Celtics in seven!
Western Conference Finals - #1 San Antonio Spurs vs #2 Oklahoma City Thunder
Man oh man, is this going to be good! I can see every game in this series going down to the wire. I can see every game in this series being decided on the last possession of the game as well.
But I can also see the Spurs winning every game! San Antonio is that good. Yes they are a small-market team, but they have a big league coach, and the best remaining bench in the game. Tim Duncan is as cool as the other side of the pillow and so are his teammates.
Manu will knock down open looks, Tony Parker can slice and dice, and Pop will school his troops to handle the younger and more talented duo of Durant and Westbrook. The Thunder are the second best team in the NBA post season!
Too bad they are in the same conference with the best team in the league! I think the winner of this series will take it all. This match-up is as close as they come, but I still give the edge in just about every category to the Spurs.
OKC is not too shabby when it comes to bench play. And, will the Derrick Fisher deal bring the calmness and experience to the a Thunder Team that is lacking in those departments right now! Like I said earlier I see this one as tight as they come.
by Deke Bellavia - firstname.lastname@example.org When it comes to the New Orleans Saints people think offense first, and everything else second. But, if the Saints are to get back to the Super Bowl this season, the Black and Gold defense will have to tighten up , especially when it comes to giving up big plays.
''Defensively, we gave up more last year than we ever have at 99," said Assistant Head Coach Joe Vitt. "The big plays on offense, we would like to keep that number exactly where it is. We have to get that number on defense down to about 75.''
Vitt spoke to us following the team's OTA's on Airline Drive today.
So how will the Saints be able to get those numbers more in their favor defensively this season? ''Just a little bit more zone defense and not selling the farm is going to give you an opportunity to keep those big balls off your back,'' Vitt said.
Key additions to the Saints defense this season are expected to come in and make an impact right away. The first major addition was made when Coach Sean Payton hired Steve Spagnuolo as the Black and Gold’s Defensive Coordinator.
The Saints were also able to land free agent linebackers Curtis Lofton, David Hawthorne and Chris Chamberlain, and picked up fee agent DT Brodrick Bunkley to help aid a D-line that needs some upgrading.
Coach Vitt likes what he sees in his new DT so far. ''We are really happy so far with Bunkley. This is a very serious man who is serious about his craft and his trade. He comes to work every day and wants to get better.''
Although he did not have a good season in 2011, Coach Joe Vitt says that Sedrick Ellis is a player that the team is counting on very much.
''We haven’t lost confidence at all in Sedrick Ellis but healthy competition is always good. There is a lot of competition in that room right now. It is going to be interesting to see how it shakes out.''
The Saints defense had the ''bend but don’t break'' mindset last season, and more times than not it worked. With that said, when it counted the most, that formula did not work. But it looks like the goal for the Saints defense this season is consistency in all fronts.
They say that the last game you play is the one that is the freshest in the minds of all. And in their last game the Black and Gold played, the Saints gave up far too many big plays, including a 14-yard TD reception that eventually ended what was potentially looked to be a storybook season!
So what are the initial goal s of Coach Vitt, Steve Pagnuolo and the Black & Gold defense? Covering better, a more consistent pass rush, and getting off the field. Solid objectives and goals the team has to achieve to finish better than last seaon.
Okay, OTA’s begin this week and as of this afternoon (Monday May 21st) there’s still no contract for Drew Brees! Last week you heard from Drew, Saints owner Tom Benson and Saints GM Mickey Loomis. Drew sounded frustrated, Mr. Benson said don’t worry Drew will be here; Mickey kept everything close to the vest and like always in contract talks, would not give any details.
I think we all would agree that with Drew in the building we all feel safer when it comes to the 2012 Black & Gold season. Does Coach Payton not being here put more of an importance on Drew being with the team now?
Do you think the deal will get done before the Saints biggest off-season event, which is their annual Mini-Camp June 5th, 6th, and 7th? Or, are you not worried at all and feel like as long as Drew is here before the season begins we are good to go? Talk about it today with me and Bobby Hebert at 4 on WWL AM and FM and WWL.com!
What could have been, and what many thought should have been, the greatest time ever to be a Saints and Tigers fan turned out to be anything but great. Since January 9th 2012 things have not been so peachy down here in Louisiana.
LSU was undefeated and #1 in the country basically hosting the BCS National title game in the very same Superdome that they had won their last two national titles. The New Orleans Saints were fresh off a blowout win over the Detroit Lions and a rare road favorite against San Francisco in the NFC Divisional Round of the 2012 Playoffs.
Monday January 9th things began to go downhill for both the Tigers and the Saints. LSU was embarrassed in a 21-0 “taking to the woodshed” that was all Roll Tide in the Mercedes Benz Superdome.
That win for the Tide to this day stings like none other in the history of LSU Football. And then, just when we thought that the Black and Gold were going to make us feel a little better about ourselves, here come the 49ers.
After turning the ball over five times, our beloved Black and Gold took a late lead over San Francisco, only to have gigantic holes punched in our hearts less than ninety seconds later as Vernon Davis hauled in a TD pass to give Frisco a 36-32 win over New Orleans, ending the Saints’ history making season.
Then the Saints loss only felt worse as on the very next day, January 15th, as the New York Giants went into Green Bay and knocked off the Packers, which would have given the Saints the right to host the NFC Title Game on January 22nd.
And speaking of January 22nd, that would be the day that the team that the Saints dismantled earlier in the season (NY Giants) beat San Francisco to advance to the Super Bowl to take on the AFC Champ New England Patriots.
Then two weeks later even more upsetting news would come toward the Tigers and Saints. As we sat on Radio Row in Indianapolis prior during Super Bowl Week, the first Wednesday of February was National Signing Day. We (Bobby and I) were way up in Indianapolis when we got word that Coach Les Miles called out a young man for not signing with the LSU Football Team. Miles questioned the “chest” of one of the nation’s top recruits in QB Gunner Keel. Aside from the national media talking about the future of Peyton Manning and the battle between the Pats and G-Men, the other hot topic was Miles, and the talk was not very positive towards Miles and LSU.
Then on that Sunday (February 5th) the underdog Giants beat the Patriots to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy which many, including myself, felt like should have been in the hands of the New Orleans Saints and not the New York Giants.
OK, so after we all seemingly got over that bad whirlwind of disappointing news we then pointed towards the month of March in which we were hoping to get the great news of a new long-term contract with the greatest Saint ever, we got the complete opposite.
Where were you on the weekend of March 3rd? I was at home getting ready to go to the dentist when K-Dog (Kristian Garic) called me. When I saw K-Dog’s number pop up on my phone I was kind of excited, because that weekend was the deadline to get the deal done with Drew before the Saints had the option of placing the Franchise Tag on Drew. Thinking that K-dog was going to give me the details of Drew’s new deal, I found myself moments later cancelling my dentist appointment as the news that Kristian dropped on me was sort of like a bomb!
Kristian told me of news he had learned was that of an investigation by the NFL into the Saints and what was dubbed a “bounty” system that had been in place for years under former Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams.
I was like, “What the hell is this all about?” Then, less than 24 hours later the hopes of a hearing that the Saint and Brees had come to terms before the deadline went flat as the Saints had announced that they had place the dreaded franchise tag on Drew, leaving Saints fans in total disarray that weekend.
I mean, a “bounty” system and no new Drew contract in the same span of hours is an awful lot for any fan base to have to deal with, much less the world famous Who Dat Nation! But the Who Dat Nation was still in store for more disappointing news.
With now the world watching to see what the most powerful man in sports would do to the Saints and their higher-ups, the mighty Roger Goddell would simply lay the smack down on the Saints.
On March 21st the commissioner let us know that he gave Sean Payton a lot of time off, while GM Mickey Loomis and Assistant Head Coach Joe Vitt were given much shorter vacations. Saints Fans were hoping maybe Williams’ suspension would have began back on January 14th when he allowed his defense to get beat deep against the 49ers costing the Black and Gold a shot at another World Title!
Then on March 30th Coach Payton, Coach Vitt and Mickey Loomis, all made appeals in front of Roger only to have all three of their appeals denied on April 9th. Then the Saints had to wait all the way until May 2nd to learn that two former Saints, along with current players Will Smith and Jonathan Vilma, were given their suspensions that have since been appealed as well.
But all has not been bad news. The Saints had a very good off season in the form of signing OG Ben Grubbs, LB’s David Hawthrone and Curtis Lofton along with Defensive Linemen Brodrick Bunkley and Remi Ayodele.
Mr. Tom Benson added some more good news when it was announced that he was not only “in” but he bought the Hornets. Once the news of Mr. Benson buying the Hornets hit the airwaves a sense of excitement about the Hornets was felt around the area. That excitement has only grown with the Hornets’ future looking brighter in the Big Easy, and that brightness could get even brighter on May 30th when the NBA Draft Lottery is announced for the 2012 NBA Draft.
Plus, the LSU Tigers basketball program has one of their own now leading the way with former Tiger, and now Head Coach, Johnny Jones. The Tigers baseball team looks to be in position to host a regional and super regional this post-season. And, the Tigers fan base is excited about the upcoming football season with new QB Zach Mettenberger under center.
And as far as the Saints, the news that we are all hoping that comes to light very soon is that of a new long term deal for our beloved #9, Drew Brees. So to say that this has been an unusual, very busy and sometimes disturbing off season would be an understatement.
During his time in New Orleans he became a solid, reliable interior defensive lineman for the the Saints Defense. And now after spending one season in Minnesota with the Vikings he’s back in a Black and Gold Uniform.
Today, Remi Ayodele spoke with me on Sports Talk on his first day back as a Saint.
“It’s good to be back. I’m glad to be back and ready to get to work with my teammates,” Ayodele told us.
Remi spent three seasons with the Saints after making the jump from the clubs practice squad to the active roster during his first stay in the Big Easy.
Many Saints fans remember Remi most for the TD he scored when he jumped on a loose ball in the NY Jets endzone in the Superdome back in 2009 as the Saints beat the Jets on their way to a 13-3 regular season-record, eventually became the World Champions.
“It hurts some because those guys are guys that are my teammates and when bad things are being said about them it’s upsetting,” Remi said when asked about all of the negative light that has been shed on the Saints and their Defense this off season.
If you like sports, the first weekend of May is a biggie, to say the least. The greatest two minutes in sports, NHL and NBA Playoffs, and prize fights are always on the docket to go along with other events like college sports and golf.
History was made at Churchill Downs as a horse from the 19 position won the Kentucky Derby. Why is that history you ask? Well, because no pony has ever won the race from the spot in the prior 137 “Run for the Roses. “
Then later that night in Sin City, the undefeated and prettiest fighter ever waltzed to the ring at the MGM in Vegas with a dynamic duo that had more platinum hits than any boxer could ever think about having by his side. Yep pretty boy Floyd “Money” Mayweather was “Money” once again as he heralded a unanimous decision over a gritty and younger brawler in Miguel Cotto. But Money’s help carrying his previous six title belts to the ring was incredible.
The great 50 Cent had four belts, while every youngster’s ( and I’m quite sure some older ladies as well) teen heart throb carried the other two, as Justin Beiber walked right alongside of Money on the way to him picking up yet another title. So that leaves us the question…Who will carry belt number seven the next time Floyd Fights? The Foo Fighters? Mystikal? The Zach Brown Band, or Frankie Beverly and Maze? Naw, those are just a few of the great acts I was able to catch this past weekend at Jazz Fest 2012!
The NY Bricks got a major game from Mello to snap a historic NBA Playoff losing record on Sunday while the 76ers are looking more and more like another #8 that’s going to knock off a #1 seed in the first round. And, Kobe and his traveling “Lake Show” are now just one win and three more games away from getting back “Peace” my brother to their line-up. That being Metta World Peace of course!
While the Who Dat Nation still waits for our hero to be inked to a new long-term deal and the newest appeal to play out the saddest news of the week without question came from the football world and it was one that shook us all. While I was in Orlando last week with my family I got ready to go out to one of the several parks that you can check out and breaking news was all across the TV and Radio that the great Junior Seau had died.
One of the greatest and toughest players ever was dead and it was ruled self-inflicted. I can remember Junior as we were able to interview him once on the radio. Junior was an intelligent, yet seemingly nice person that had as many hard hits applied on others as anyone perhaps ever in a football career. But the only memory that I will carry from Junior from now on every time I hear his name will not be about him. It will be about his mother Luisa.
I came to a dead halt in my room in Orlando as I was checking our bags on the way out while my back was turned to the TV so I could not see what was on the tube at the time. Then I could hear a person crying. This was no ordinary cry. It was a cry for help, a cry for mercy and cry for death.
A mother crying, begging for her son to be alive, begging to take his place and begging like all of us would, will and hopefully will never have to do if something happens to our children. That, my fellow sports fans, is something that has stuck with me the last six days and that is something that will be embedded in my mind forever. RIP Junior and God Bless your mother Luisa.