In this week’s Around the Dorm, the “Ref,” Otto Gomez, asks our panel of experts three questions: What should be the penalty for the Patriots’ “Deflate-Gate” scandal, who was the biggest snub or surprise selection to the NBA All-Star Game, and can the Kentucky men’s basketball team finish the regular season undefeated?
1. What do you think the punishment should be for “Deflate-Gate,” and how could it affect the Patriots in the future?
Kevin: Honestly, I’m not sure what the punishment should be for “Deflate-Gate’”because I’m not sure what actually happened. I think it’s both plausible that the Patriots did nothing wrong and that the league won’t be able to prove they did anything wrong. If that’s the case, there will be no punishment. However, if the league proves there was systematic cheating on the Patriots’ behalf, I expect Brady and/or Belichick to be suspended for a couple games, fined and the team will lose a first-round pick. I personally don’t think this is a big deal, but this on top of Spygate, along with the scrutiny the league has been on this season, will lead to this harsh punishment if the Patriots are found guilty.
Josh: I don’t think the Patriots should be harshly punished for “Deflate-Gate.” While some of the coaches and higher-ups may have known of the plan or even ordered the balls to be deflated, I don’t believe the players had such knowledge. And, in hindsight, I really don’t think the deflated balls had much impact on the game. The Patriots beat the Colts 45-7 in dominant fashion. I think the Patriots would have won handily even without the ball pressure help. Even Colts tight end Dwayne Allen tweeted, “They could have played with soap for balls and beat us. Simply the better team.” The Patriots organization should be assessed a fine or, at most, docked a late-round draft pick. Their future will be affected as much as it was by Spygate: a slight hit to their reputation and nothing more.
George:”Deflate-Gate” is the most heinous football crime of our day, and its perpetrators deserve strict and sudden castigation. All the big players involved will surely be weeded out one by one, but the question will remain: Did the Big Cheese, star quarterback Tom Brady, know what was happening? Mr. Brady will deny any involvement, but I hear from my anonymous source — let’s refer to him as Deep Throw — that Mr. Brady records every conversation that takes place in the locker room. If the tapes reveal that Mr. Brady did in fact know about “Deflate-Gate” beforehand, I believe the only punishment suitable would be the swift impeachment of the Pats quarterback. As for what this means for the Patriots’ franchise, “Deflate-Gate” will forever smirch the organization known for four Super Bowl wins, eight Super Bowl appearances and freeing the slaves.
George gets 3 points for reminding us of the emancipation. Josh gets 2 points for saying the balls were irrelevant during the game, and Kevin gets 1 point for mentioning Spygate.
2. What was the biggest surprise from the NBA All-Star team selections?
Kevin: I was going to say the biggest All-Star snub was Boogie Cousins, but he got chosen as Kobe’s replacement. I’ll go with the other obvious snub instead, Damian Lillard. I thought Lillard’s clutch performances last postseason put him on the map enough that a good first half of the season would definitely make him an All Star, and he had a really good first half of the season. You can make a strong argument he’s been the second best point guard in the west behind Steph Curry. So in order for there to be a snub, there has to be someone who doesn’t belong. They’re both incredible players, but at least one of the Thunder stars, Westbrook or Durant, doesn’t deserve to be an All Star this season. They’ve both missed a chunk of the season, and their team isn’t in the playoffs right now.
Josh: The biggest surprise from the NBA All-Star selections was the absence of Atlanta Hawks guard Kyle Korver. While the Hawks are already being represented by three other players plus their head coach, Korver is a big reason why the Hawks currently sit atop the Eastern Conference and have won 19 straight games. The 12-year vet has not posted off-the-charts numbers in points, assists or rebounds, but he has put up incredible shooting percentages. Korver is currently shooting 51.8 percent from the floor, 53.4 percent from behind the arc and 92.3 percent from the free throw line. If he keeps up these numbers, he is headed for two league records: first player to post a 50/50/90 shooting slash and the best overall shooting percentage of all time. With percentages like this, Korver deserved to be invited to New York to take part in the festivities.
George: The biggest surprise by far is the fact that there are no actual stars on either roster. Sure, they got Melo, King James and the Boshtrich, who are all pretty good players, but where’s Aldebaran? Betelgeuse? Polaris? And don’t even get me started on Sirius. These guys are in their prime right now, but time flies. In a couple billion years, these star players will become hot enough to fuse helium into carbon and oxygen through the triple-alpha process and eventually turn into white dwarfs. Some of the bigger stars might even exceed the largest possible mass supported by degeneracy pressure, experience a core-collapse supernova and become black holes or neutron stars. And neutron stars can’t be ballers.
Kevin gets 3 points for mentioning the Thunder’s injuries. Josh gets 2 points for the Korver analysis, and George gets 1 point for assuming that neutron stars can’t be ballers.
3. Will the Kentucky Wildcats go undefeated throughout the rest of the regular season and win the March Madness Tournament?
Kevin: I don’t see Kentucky going undefeated throughout the whole season. They’re in a mediocre conference, but they also had to go to OT to win their first two conference games this season. They’re tremendously talented, smothering on defense and have two full squads of future first-round picks. However, they are not without flaws. I don’t think they have a true go-to option on offense and have the potential to go through droughts on offense when they can’t force the opponents into turnovers. They’re also just crazy young, and it’s super difficult to go undefeated in college basketball.
Josh: I think there is a better chance of the Wildcats going undefeated in the regular season than there is winning the national championship. Kentucky does not play another ranked team for the rest of the season, and they are firing on all cylinders right now after retaining most of their monstrous 2013 recruiting class. While their schedule seems to point toward an undefeated regular season, the real danger lies in the tournament. Every year, high-seeded teams fall to lower-seeded teams in shocking defeats. Last year, No. 3 Duke fell to the 14th-ranked Mercer. The bigger they are, the harder they fall, and I don’t think Kentucky is immune to this perennial occurrence. A No. 1 seed has only won the whole thing once in the last 13 years. Undefeated? Probably. Champions? History says probably not.
George: It’s possible they’ll be defeated, but not by any big team. Instead it’s going to be a team they’d never expect to beat them. The Wildcats play well against good teams. They dominate the court when they share it with someone of equal caliber. For example, UCLA, North Carolina and Kansas all fell to the Wildcats. What the cats will struggle with is when they go against a team that they underestimate. Take for example, their game against unranked Ole Miss. The Cats had to drag the game into overtime to win, and beforehand were struggling defensively. While this game may have been a one-time thing, it revealed cracks in the seemingly flawless Wildcats strategy.
Josh gets 3 points for acknowledging the danger of the Tournament. George and Kevin get 2 points each for talking about the weaknesses of the Wildcats.
Josh wins Around the Dorm 8-7-6.