New York Knicks hate Triangle Offense, Players fighting Carmelo

carmelo-anthony-knicksWith his 11 NBA titles, Phil Jackson was expected by some to immediately turn around the mess made in New York last season. But so far, the situation wtth the Knicks has only got messier.

News coming on the heels of the team’s 9-game losing streak suggests that they want to abandon the legendary triangle offense. What’s more is that players are allegedly fighting with Carmelo Anthony over how many shots he takes. In one instance, this almost spilled into a real fight in the locker room.

Through an insider report by ESPN’s Chris Broussard, it was revealed that Anthony and Tim Hardaway Jr. got into a verbal argument when the former thought Hardaway yelled at him for not grabbing a rebound. Anthony then reportedly said he was going to beat Hardaway up after the game. Luckily this never happened, but the tension is still there as you can see from the following:

Several Knicks, in addition to Hardaway, are at odds with Anthony and believe he is not playing team basketball. Sources said players voiced their displeasure with Anthony over the weekend, telling him he shoots too much, doesn’t move or pass the ball, and plays defense only when he feels like it.

Sources said the most tension exists between Anthony and Hardaway, as they haven’t cared for each other almost since Hardaway joined the team last season, with each player believing the other shoots too much and doesn’t care about defense. Sources said Hardaway was also bothered by the favorable treatment Anthony received under last season’s coach, Mike Woodson.

About the only thing that Anthony and his teammates can agree on right now is their hatred of the triangle offense that made Jackson so famous. But it is Derek Fisher coaching the team now, with Jackson merely overseeing the organization as president. And players have begged Fisher to abandon the triangle offense, but their pleas have fallen on deaf ears. Here’s one more excerpt from Broussard on this matter:

One thing Anthony and his teammates do agree on is their disdain for the triangle offense, sources said. For weeks, if not longer, the players have been ready to ditch the triangle and move on to another system. They feel like other teams know what they are going to run and where they are going to go on the court, which makes it easier to stop them.

Mired in second-to-last place in the Atlantic Division, with only 2-18 Philadelphia below them, New York certainly doesn’t look like a playoff team this year. But the situation may be even worse than it looks considering all of the drama surrounding the players and triangle offense.

So if you’re into New York Knicks betting, you should take all of this into account. And if the situation doesn’t improve any time soon, you should certainly fade the Knicks on the spread until they develop some chemistry – or at least stop threatening to beat each other up.

Louisville vs. Michigan in 2013 NCAA Championship

trey-burke-michiganJust a couple of hours ago, the Michigan Wolverines were able to hold off the scrappy Syracuse Orange to advance to their first NCAA title game since 1993. Interestingly enough, the ’93 title appearance no longer counts due to violations associated with former Michigan booster Ed Martin.

The Wolverine’s opponent in the 2013 NCAA Championship game will be the Louisville Cardinals, which advanced after surviving a tough 72-68 contest over the Wichita State Shockers. For Louisville, this will be their first title game since 1986, when Pervis Ellison led them to victory.

rick-pitinoSeeing as how neither of these teams have experienced a title game within the last two decades, it’ll definitely be interesting to see who ends the drought. Of course, if coaching experience has anything to do with the matter, the Cardinals definitely have an advantage in this department. Louisville coach Rick Pitino has been to six Final Fours with three different teams, and he guided the 1996 Kentucky Wildcats to the national championship. That said, if anybody can prepare Louisville for the title game, it’s Pitino.

Of course, this isn’t to say that Michigan coach Jim Beilein is chopped liver though. He’s guided teams to a collective eight NCAA tournament appearances, including an Elite Eight trip for the 2005 West Virginia Mountaineers.

This isn’t a game that’ll solely be won or lost based on coaching resumes though. Star players are going to shine in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, which makes it worth discussing some players to keep an eye on in this contest.

Michigan Wolverines to watch

Trey Burke (18.8 PPG, 6.8 APG) didn’t exactly have an outstanding game against the Orange after shooting 1-for-8 and scoring 7 points. However, the Wolverines wouldn’t be here if not for the super sophomore, who scored 23 second-half points against Kansas in the Sweet 16 – including a sensational 28-footer to tie the game in regulation. Likely a future NBA lottery pick, Burke will get another chance to improve his stock with an outstanding title game.

tim-hardaway-jrTim Hardaway Jr. (14.6 PPG) is another player who’ll be looking to shoot better after going 4-for-16 against Syracuse. The junior did hit three 3-pointers and dish out a team-high five assists though and should bounce back against Louisville.

Great shooting was not exactly a theme for Michigan last night since Nik Stauskas (11.5 PPG, 44.9 3P%) also went 0-for-5. He only played 18 minutes total, and backup Caris LeVert stole a lot of his minutes.

First-year player Glenn Robinson III (11.0 PPG, 5.5 RPG) looked anything but a freshman in his first Final Four. He connected on 5 out of 7 field goal attempts and added five offensive rebounds for the Wolverines. It’ll be interesting to see if he can keep this same poise in the championship.

Mitch McGary (7.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG) is another freshman who’s done well under the pressure. In fact, McGary has thrived in the NCAA tournament since he’s averaged 16.0 and 11.6 RPG – way up from his season averages. But can he keep this production up against Louisville’s 6’11” stud Gorgui Dieng?

russ-smith-louisvilleLouisville Cardinals to watch for

One of the best guards in the country, Russ Smith has definitely proved this in the Cardinals championship game run. He’s averaged 25 PPG in the NCAA tournament and hasn’t scored less than 21 points in any of the five games. But he’ll have to do better than his 6-for-17 shooting performance against Wichita State if he hopes to lead Louisville to victory one more time.

Lucky for Smith, junior G/F Luke Hancock hit 6 out of 9 of his shots and scored 20 points off the bench. He was a big part of helping Louisville overcome a 12-point second half deficit to Wichita State and could play another huge role in the title game.

gorgui-diengInterestingly enough, star center Gorgui Dieng (10.2 PPG, 9.5 RPG) was a non-factor in this contest. In 30 minutes of play, he took one shot and missed it, while chipping in six rebounds and two blocks. The Cardinals HAVE to get more production out of him against Michigan.

Sophomore forward Chane Behanan (9.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG) was pretty steady in last night’s contest – as he’s been throughout the tournament. Behanan scored 10 points on 3-for-5 shooting and pulled down nine rebounds.

Who will win the 2013 NCAA Championship?

When the NCAA tournament started, many picked Michigan to be an early upset because of their obvious youth. However, the three starting freshman have been quite mature up to this point, and sophomore Trey Burke has played like a seasoned senior.

Of course, they’ll face the ultimate test in Louisville since the Cardinals have a lineup full of sophomores, juniors and seniors. And this experience should do them well against a very young Michigan squad. Rush Smith should especially give the Wolverines fits, as he’s done to most other opponents.

But in the end, Michigan will have too many weapons for the Cardinals to deal with. McGary and Dieng will cancel each other out in the middle, while Burke, Hardaway Jr., Stauskas and Robinson III will overwhelm the rest of Louisville’s lineup.

Final Score: Michigan 76 – Louisville 68

College Basketball Power Rankings for February 18th, 2013

durand-scott-miamiIf anything is clear thus far into the 2012-2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball season, it’s this: there is no clear number one team right now. First place votes are spread across five different teams, including Duke (18 votes), Indiana (6), Gonzaga (1), Miami (5) and Michigan (1). Out of these teams, both Miami and Gonzaga are nice surprises because neither club was expected to contend for the number one ranking. So which of these teams do we think is number one? You can check out the answer below.

1. Miami Hurricanes (19-3) – As mentioned in the introduction, nobody expected Miami to be this good – especially when they lost to Florida Gulf Coast and Indiana State earlier in the season. Butt the Hurricanes quickly put these losses behind them after demolishing Duke by 27 points a few weeks ago. Now they’re sitting at 12-0 in the ACC and have NBA stars like LeBron James and Dwayne Wade showing up to their games. This has really been a team effort with Durand Scott (14.0 PPG), Shane Larkin (13.4 PPG), Kenny Kadji (13.1 PPG) and Reggie Johnson (10.0 PPG, 8.7 RPG) all making big contributions.

2. Indiana Hoosiers (21-3) – The Hoosiers have rebounded nicely after a narrow February 7th loss to Illinois. They’ve now won three straight games (Ohio State, Nebraska and Purdue) and are looking very good going into a road matchup with eighth-ranked Michigan State. This is an extremely efficient offensive team with Cody Zeller (16.8 PPG, 59.8% shooting) and Victor Oladipo (13.8 PPG, 63.9% shooting) leading the way.

3. Michigan State Spartans (20-4) – Michigan State makes a big jump from last week after beating in-state rival Michigan by 23 points. This hasn’t been their only impressive victory either because the Spartans also have recent wins against Illinois and Minnesota. Tuesday night they’ll be facing off against Indiana in a highly-anticipated matchup. Things don’t get any easier because they face Ohio State, Michigan (again) and Wisconsin immediately after this.

Duke v Miami4. Duke Blue Devils (22-3) – Duke’s road woes continued this season after losing at Maryland by 22 points a couple of nights ago. Of course, there’s no reason to panic because the Blue Devils did win six straight games in one of the nation’s toughest conferences before this. Mason Plumlee continues to be a do-it-all player for Duke with 17.6 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 1.6 BPG and 1.0 SPG.

5. Florida Gators (21-3) – After being beaten by Arkansas on February 5th, Florida has came back strong by winning three straight contests against Mississippi State, Kentucky and Auburn. This is a veteran team that’s led by seniors Kenny Boynton (13.0 PPG), Mike Rosario (12.9 PPG) and Erick Murphy (12.7 PPG) as well as junior Patric Young (10.5 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 1.8 BPG). That said, we like the Gators’ chances when March Madness rolls around.

6. Gonzaga Bulldogs (23-2) – We’re aware that Gonzaga has a great team and even gained a first place vote. However, their weak conference schedule makes it hard to put the Bulldogs much higher than where we have them now. This certainly isn’t to say they haven’t beaten anybody though because the Zags have defeated Oklahoma, Davidson, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and BYU throughout the season. Assuming Gonzaga keeps winning, they have a good shot at a number one NCAA tournament seed.

tim-hardaway-jr7. Michigan Wolverines (22-4) – Michigan has had some rough matchups this month and has lost three out of the last five contests. If there’s anything good to be said of these losses, at least they were to ranked teams on the road (Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan State). They’ll be seeing both Indiana and MSU against at home, so this will provide a chance to get some revenge. We like their chances of winning at least one of these two games because the Wolverines have an excellent core croup in Trey Burke (18.2 PPG), Tim Hardaway Jr. (15.5 PPG), Nik Stauskas (12.0 PPG) and Glenn Robinson III (10.9 PPG).

8. Syracuse Orange (21-4) – Big East play has proven pretty tough for Syracuse since they’ve lost three out of the last six games. Don’t expect the Orange to go undefeated the rest of the way since they face Georgetown (twice), 18th-ranked Marquette and 12th-ranked Louisville over the coming weeks. C.J. Fair continues to have an outstanding junior year since he’s averaging 14.0 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1.1 SPG and shooting 41.2% from three-point territory.

9. Louisville Cardinals (21-5) – Louisville lost favor with the pollsters after losing three straight Big East games in late January. But they’ve been doing pretty solid this year after winning five out of their past six games. The lone loss was an overtime game to Notre Dame in South Bend. Quality wins during this period include beating Marquette and Pittsburgh. Gorgiu Dieng has been a great all-around player for the Cardinals with 9.4 PPG, 10.3 RPG and 2.6 BPG.

10. Georgetown Hoyas (19-4) – The Hoyas make their first appearance in our power rankings after rattling off seven straight Big East victories. And some of these wins weren’t easy to come by since Georgetown faced Notre Dame, Louisville, Marquette and Cincinnati during this stretch. Sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr. is the star of this team and his contributes 15.3 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 1.8 SPG and 1.0 BPG.

College Basketball Power Rankings for January 29th, 2013

The last time that we ran our college basketball power rankings, the Louisville Cardinals were on top with a 15-1 record. Boy how things change since Louisville isn’t even in our top 10 following three straight losses at the hands of Syracuse, Villanova and Georgetown. The Cardinals finally stopped the bleeding with a victory over Pittsburgh, but it’s a little too late now. As for who’s number one in this week’s edition of the GTbets NCAA basketball power rankings, you can see the answer below.

1. Kansas Jayhawks (18-1) – Since losing their second game of the season to Michigan State, all Kansas has done is win. Just last week they won on the road against 11-ranked Kansas State, and they also have recent victories over Texas (road), Oklahoma and West Virginia (road). Super-frosh Ben McLemore (16.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG) might be the top pick in the NBA Draft if he decides to leave. But for now, he’s busy trying to lead the Jayhawks to a national title.

2. Michigan Wolverines (19-1) – A couple of weeks ago, Michigan was dealt their first loss on the road against Ohio State. However, they came back strong by winning at 9th-ranked Minnesota, against Purdue and at Illinois. This team features a very strong lineup that includes Trey Burke (17.4 PPG), Tim Hardaway Jr. (15.9 PPG), Nik Stauskas (12.7 PPG) and Glenn Robinson III (12.1 PPG).

3. Indiana Hoosiers (18-2) – Indiana has hovered around this spot in our power rankings for a while. They fail to move up because of a recent loss to Wisconsin; but a victory over Michigan State in their last game keeps the Hoosiers from falling back. Victor Oladipo (13.9 PPG) continues to shoot lights-out from three-point territory (54.8%), while Cody Zeller is taking care of the inside (16.1 PPG, 8.1 RPG).

4. Syracuse Orange (18-2) – Villanova knocked off yet another powerhouse team when they grabbed a 75-71 OT victory over Syracuse. However, that doesn’t drop the Orange much in our eyes since they beat Villanova earlier in the year and have recent wins over Cincinnati and Louisville. Nobody scores a ton of points for Syracuse – Brandon Triche leads the team with 14.9 PPG – but they have a nice balanced approach that sees four players average at least 12.6 PPG.

5. Florida Gators (16-2) – Since dropping a home game against Kansas State on December 22nd, Florida has now won eight straight contests. The most impressive victory during this stretch was a 31-point drubbing of Missouri. Based on the way that they’ve been playing, we don’t think the Gators will have any difficulty winning the SEC. It helps that they only play 16-ranked Ole Miss once this year too.

6. Duke Blue Devils (17-2) – The Blue Devils impressed everybody early on with quick victories over Louisville, Ohio State, Minnesota and Kentucky. However, they’ve since been exposed after an 8-point loss at NC State and a 27-point beating at Miami. Duke will no doubt be looking forward to a rematch when 19th-ranked NC State comes to Cameron Indoor Stadium.

7. Butler Bulldogs (17-3) – The Bulldogs are leading the mid-majors charge in our eyes after a thrilling one-point win over 8th-ranked Gonzaga. Unfortunately, they had a letdown the next game and lost by one point at LaSalle. But this certainly doesn’t erase impressive victories over North Carolina, Marquette and Indiana. Expect Butler to have at least a three seed when the NCAA tournament begins in March.

8. Oregon Ducks (18-2) – Oregon makes an appearance in our power rankings for the first time this season. They’ve beaten some quality opponents during this stretch too, including Arizona, UCLA and Arizona State. The Ducks make sure that everybody gets the ball as six players are averaging 8.9 PPG or more. Freshman Damyean Dotson leads the scoring attack (11.7 PPG), while Arsalan Kazemi has been a monster on the boards (9.6 RPG).

9. Michigan State Spartans (17-4) – Like Oregon, MSU is making their first appearance in our power rankings. We don’t know if they’ll stay long because the Big 10 is extremely brutal this year. However, they’ve certainly done enough to impressive the college hoops world with recent wins over Wisconsin and Ohio State. And we won’t fault them for a close loss at Indiana in the past game.

10. Arizona Wildcats (17-2) – Pac-10 play has been hard on the Wildcats since they’ve lost to UCLA and Oregon in January. And although it’ll be hard for Arizona to win the Pac-10 now, they are still one of the best teams in the nation. We fully expect them to do well come March Madness because they’ve been getting very strong guard play from Mark Lyons (14.9 PPG, 3.1 APG) and Solomon Hill (13.5 PPG, 5.6 RPG).

College Basketball Power Rankings for Dec. 17th, 2012

While the Duke Blue Devils claimed the top spot in our college basketball power rankings last week, they had yet to wrestle the top ranking away from Indiana in the polls. However, the Hoosiers dropped an overtime game to their instate rivals – the Butler Bulldogs – and they’ve given way to Duke. With the spoilers out of the way, let’s cover NCAA basketball’s top 10 teams.

1. Duke Blue Devils (9-0) – We haven’t seen Duke on the court in a while, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less deserving of the top spot. The Blue Devils have defeated some of the nation’s best teams in Ohio State, Louisville and Kentucky.

2. Michigan Wolverines (11-0) – Michigan has quite a trio in Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Nik Stauskas. These three have helped the Wolverines get off to their best start since the 1988-89 season, when Glen Rice led Michigan to a national title.

3. Syracuse Orange (9-0) – Thanks to Michael Carter-Williams, who’s averaging 10.8 APG, the Orange rank third in both points and assists. Syracuse is also quite good on the other side of the ball since they’re holding opponents to just 56.1 PPG.

4. Ohio State Buckeyes (8-1) – OSU is our favorite one-loss team at this point because their only loss involved blowing a second half lead at Duke. Currently they’re dominating teams like Northern Kentucky, UNC-Asheville and Long Beach State while readying for a big game against Kansas next week.

5. Illinois Fighting Illini (12-0) – The pollsters aren’t showing Illinois a lot of respect right now since they’re ranked 10th. However, a big win over previously-unbeaten Gonzaga still has us high on the Illini. They have a huge test coming up against 12th-ranked Missouri.

6. Arizona Wildcats (8-0) – Arizona leap-frogs a few teams after defeating unbeaten Florida in an amazing comeback. The Wildcats were down by 6 points with 55 seconds left, but forced three turnovers and eventually won on a Mark Lyons’ layup.

7. Louisville Cardinals (9-1) – Despite losing starting center Gorgui Dieng to injury, the Cardinals were able to defeat rival Memphis on the road. However, it wasn’t easy since they had to rally from a 16-point deficit. Russ Smith is playing excellent lately as he’s averaging 21.8 PPG over the past four games.

8. Indiana Hoosiers (9-1) – While some might say that Indiana doesn’t deserve to drop from number two to number eight in these power rankings, we just don’t like how the Hoosiers lost to Butler. They were thoroughly outrebounded and outplayed during the loss. But with freshman Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin now eligible to play, things figure to get better for this team.

9. Cincinnati Bearcats (10-0) – The Bearcats remain stagnant in our rankings simply because other teams won some big games and moved up. They have a huge game coming up against crosstown rival Xavier. Can junior shooting guard Sean Kilpatrick (19.3 PPG) lead Cincinnati past the Musketeers?

10. Florida Gators (7-1) – Florida should have moved up to the number two spot; but they couldn’t hold onto a 6-point lead against Arizona with less than a minute to go. It was definitely a pretty bad way to lose a game, and they’ve fallen quite a bit in our power rankings.

College Basketball Power Rankings for Dec. 10th, 2012

With the 2012-2013 NCAA basketball season now several weeks deep, we’ve had an opportunity to see some of the top teams tested. Duke is one squad that’s definitely risen to the occasion after defeating three of the nation’s top teams. And Indiana has done an admirable job of taking care of business and remaining undefeated. So which of these teams is playing the best right now? Let’s take a look….

1. Duke Blue Devils (9-0) – Most people didn’t view Duke as a top title contender entering the season. Sure, they were expected to have another good season and grab a decent tournament seed, but championship….that was left for Indiana and Louisville to contend for. However, the Blue Devils have already beaten Louisville, Kentucky and Ohio State this year, thus giving them our top power rankings spot.

2. Indiana Hoosiers (9-0) – The Hoosiers remain the pollsters’ favorite team since they’ve stayed undefeated – including an 83-59 trouncing of North Carolina. The only thing keeping Indiana from the top spot is the fact that they haven’t beaten as many quality opponents as Duke. C Cody Zeller is having a great sophomore campaign with 15.4 PPG, 8.9 RPG and 1.4 BPG.

3. Florida Gators (7-0) – Entering this year, Billy Donovan worried about his club’s ability to defend opponents. Looking at the results, which see Florida win by an average of 25 PPG, you might just chalk this fear up to Donovan’s perfectionism.

4. Michigan Wolverines (9-0) – While Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. command the national attention here, freshman Nik Stauskas has been just as good averaging 13.7 PPG while shooting 60.5% from behind the arc. Teams have certainly had trouble shutting down all of the Wolverines’ scoring options.

5. Syracuse Orange (8-0) – Michael Carter-Williams has really stepped up his game in 2012 since he’s averaging a nation-best 10.4 APG and a nation-second-best 3.8 SPG. Expect the Orange to be remain undefeated for quite some time since their schedule is pretty soft until Big East play.

6. Ohio State Buckeyes (6-1) – The Buckeyes carried an eight-point lead into the half at Cameron Indoor Stadium. However, they couldn’t hang on and will have to wait until a matchup against Kansas on December 9th to make a national statement. DeShaun Thomas is picking up where he left off from last season in averaging 20.6 PPG and 6.1 RPG.

7. Illinois Fighting Illini (10-0) – Illinois receives a huge boost in our power rankings because they just knocked off previously-unbeaten Gonzaga. Senior Brandon Paul saved his best for his last season by averaging 19.5 PPG – up five PPG from the previous year.

8. Louisville Cardinals (8-1) – The Cardinals were our favorite team to open the season, and they looked every bit the part…..up until a home loss against Duke and an injury to starting center Gorgui Dieng (8.2 PPG, 8.0 RPG). With Dieng out, Louisville’s lineup is certainly weakened.

9. Cincinnati Bearcats (9-0) – The Bearcats are looking very good heading into a game against crosstown rival Xavier. They’ve also become one of the favorites to win the Big East.

10. Arizona Wildcats (7-0) – Arizona may have point guard difficulties at the moment, but they’re hoping that Xavier transfer Mark Lyons can eventually fill the role. A big test is coming up on December 15th when the Wildcats face Florida.