In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, “Ref” Miguel Gonzalez asks our panel of three experts — David Weinberg, Sean Reis and Michael Battista — three questions: Who will win the college basketball National Championship in 2017? What is Colón’s legacy for the Mets? Can the Browns win at least one game this season or will they be like the 2008 Detroit Lions?
1. With the college basketball season in full swing, who will win the 2017 National Championship?
David: I think Kentucky should be the ones that cut down the nets come April. College basketball, in my eyes, really comes down to coaching. Unlike the NBA, the players here are often just out of high school and it’s up to a premier coaching staff to help the freshman adjust to the frenetic pace of the next level — and there is no better guy to do that than “freshman guru” John Calipari. Once again, his team is loaded with freshman talent with top recruits Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox, Bam Adebayo and Wenyen Gabriel. Toss in local product Isaiah Briscoe and big man Derek Willis and Kentucky is oozing with talent. The question is, how will these guys fit? I’m confident their strong backcourt can guide them through the rough patches this season. In terms of their top teams, the loss of Ryan Arcidiacono should end any hope of a Villanova repeat. I think Kansas’s tournament struggles continue — even with the addition of Josh Jackson. I think Kentucky’s swarming defense would overmatch Duke’s backcourt in a hypothetical game. But the tournament takes place in March, and March is madness, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a huge underdog like Saint Mary’s take home the title this year. After all, the Cubs and Cavaliers came back from 3-1 deficits this year — as Kevin Garnett said, “Anything is possible!”
Sean: Who will win the 2017 National Championship? Damn, Miguel! Back at it again with the impossible to answer questions! OK, this will certainly be a bold prediction, but the Syracuse Orange will go all the way this season. Last year, the entire country was against the Orange, but after making it to the Final Four, the haters were silent. This year, though, will be Syracuse’s year. The Syracuse Orange had a young roster last season, but now these college “kids” have the experience under their belts to win it all. Remember that you heard it here first; the Syracuse Orange will win the 2017 National Championship.
Michael: I’ve failed at my bracket the past few years, and last year’s was even documented in The Signal during “LTV vs. The Signal,” so I am afraid whomever I pick will lose horribly. So I’m going to pick who I think will win and who I want to win because I want to have more than one horse in the race and less chance to be disappointed. My two picks to win March Madness are Duke and Saint Joseph’s universities. Duke, who won back in 2015, is holding 7-2 odds at this time of winning the title in an ESPN story from October and started the season with two crushing wins. As for St. Joseph’s, my brother and sister went there so in my heart I will always be rooting for the A10 to have its champion. Head coach Phil Martelli has been with that team since the mid ’80s and had so much talent play under him. I always hope this year is the year he does it and gets passed the Elite 8.
David gets 3 points for evaluating Kentucky’s roster. Sean gets 1 point because any question is possible! (To answer) Michael gets 2 points for mentioning his past failures.
2. Now that MLB pitcher Bartolo Colón is departing to the Atlanta Braves, what is his legacy for the Mets?
David: As a Mets fan, I never truly joined in on the cult classic that is ultimately Bartolo Colón. “Big Sexy,” as fans call him, was a beloved Met by many and he will ultimately be missed on this team. Fans loved how he swung so hard that his helmet would fly off when he came up to bat. They were enthralled when Colón would hustle down the first baseline — all 285 pounds — and would beat out the throw for a base hit. He was a productive starter and really helped anchor the Mets rotation this year, gathering 15 wins and a 3.43 ERA en route to his fourth career All-Star game appearance. Ultimately, he was a pretty reliable and effective pitcher, and I think that is going to be my view of his legacy as a Met. He pitched well under pressure and was someone the Mets could rely on to pitch a decent outing — especially in a season when the Mets lost Jacob DeGrom, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz for the year. For others, however, he will forever be known as “Big Sexy” and his stunning first home run of his career versus San Diego will be in Mets highlight reels for years to come.
Sean: Colón’s legacy for the Mets will be similar to the past clubhouses he has thrown for: a beloved individual — who may not have always been the best pitcher — but the fans loved the guy! And how could they not? A man of his size and age on the mound, he’s like a big teddy bear throwing the ball! Not to mention, the solid hitting he supplied to his team during his time as a Met. Colón will not be remembered as one of the best players, but the fans will surely remember him as one of their favorites.
Michael: Colón’s legacy is comparable to that of former Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher — he wasn’t the absolute best, but he was good when he needed to be and was all around fun. He defied logic, as he seemed to stay at a high level of play despite his age. He was even an All-Star at 43 years old and hit his first home run ever last season… at 43! Mets fans wanted to watch him play because, despite being a good pitcher, he would somehow pull amazing things out of his baseball cap — like the aforementioned home run or that time he made a behind-the-back flip along the first base line to get an out. In the end, the Colón legacy will be that of a fan favorite. He did his job well and made the baseball world — and Met fans — smile.
David gets 3 points for Colón’s stellar performance. Sean gets 1 point because Colón is “Big Sexy,” not a teddy bear. Michael gets 2 points for his Swisher comparison.
3. The Cleveland Browns are now 0-10. Can the Browns win at least one game this season or will they be like the 2008 Detroit Lions?
David: After the magical comeback of the Cleveland Cavaliers and the surprising World Series run of the Cleveland Indians, things are looking up in Cleveland… until you realize they still have the Browns. All jokes aside, I do think Cleveland pulls off a victory this year. Although it would’ve helped if Roger Goodell reinstated embattled wide receiver Josh Gordon, I think the Browns still have enough talent to pluck off a victory by the end of the year. Obviously, they need a lot of help — their offense ranks 28th in production and their defense ranks 31st — but all you need is a productive 60 minutes and you can have yourself a victory. If they can establish the run game with the dual threat of running backs Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson, Jr. and their defense can keep it close I’m boldly calling they eke out the win in Buffalo on Sunday Dec. 18, when likely frigid temperatures should help mitigate Cleveland’s paltry passing game and force them to run the ball.
Sean: In a city that has seen success with basketball and baseball franchises this past year, Cleveland is ashamed to be the home of the Browns. At 0-10, the Browns may become another infamous 0-16 team. The Browns will face the division rival Steelers next week and Cleveland will end the season at Pittsburgh, as well, for likely two more losses. Cleveland’s best chances at that one win will be against the never consistent New York Giants (sadly) on Sunday, Nov. 27, and the San Diego Chargers on Christmas Eve, but I would not be surprised to see the Cleveland Browns fall to a similar fate as the 2008 Detroit Lions.
Michael: No, I don’t think so. The Browns are just so… so damn bad this year. At the beginning of the year the team was losing close games, with weeks two and three being lost by one touchdown and the latter being an overtime lose to Miami. Now ten weeks in and after seeing six, count’em, SIX quarterbacks (QB) try their luck with the team, and the flashes of young talent disappearing, what hope does any fan have? At least one season ticket holder is planning to hold a parade if the team goes 0-16, so everyone can feel like they accomplished something… I swear if the Giants are their only win though I will lose my damn mind.
David gets 3 points for his reasonableness. Sean gets 1 point because Odell Beckham Jr. will wreck the Browns. Michael gets 3 points for the Browns pathetic QB rotation.