Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Georgia v. Kentucky

 No point in being superstitious about live-blogging at this point.  With 12:43 left in the first half, the Cats are 0-4 from three-point range and trail 10-7.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Seems Like a Big Deal

 This week, for the first time since December 18, 1961, neither Duke, UNC, nor Kentucky is ranked in the AP's men's basketball poll.  And you have to wonder how much longer all three teams will have the same coaches as they do now.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Pennant Fever

 Here are the last 10 winners of the English Premier League:

2010-11:  Manchester Utd
2011-12:  Manchester City
2012-13:  Manchester Utd
2013-14:  Manchester City
2014-15:  Chelsea
2015-16:  Leicester City
2016-17:  Chelsea
2017-18:  Manchester City
2018-19:  Manchester City
2019-20:  Liverpool

From the early 1990's until 2013, the English Premier League was dominated by Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United.  But Sir Alex retired after winning the 2012-13 title, and United hasn't won the crown since.  Last year, Liverpool won the title for the first time since 1990, meaning that the list of all-time English football champions now looks like this:

1.  Manchester Utd:  20 titles
2.  Liverpool:  19 titles
3.  Arsenal:  13 titles

But this year, Manchester United is back in the thick of things.  Today they went to Anfield and ground out a 0-0 tie against Liverpool, which is a very good result from their perspective.  So as we approach the halfway mark, the top of the table looks like this:

1.  Manchester Utd:  11-3-4 (37 points)
2.  Manchester City:  10-2-5 (35) (goal differential of 16)
3.  Leicester City:  11-5-2 (35) (goal differential of 12)
4.  Liverpool:  9-2-7 (34)
5.  Tottenham Hotspur:  9-3-6 (33)
6.  Everton:  10-5-2 (32)

It's an unusually close race.  Manchester City has an edge, because they've played only 17 games while every other team in the top five has played 18.  They also have Pep Guardiola, who is one of the greatest managers in the world.  Here are the latest odds for winning the title:

Manchester City:  4 to 7 (63.6 percent chance)
Liverpool:  7 to 2 (22.2 percent chance)
Manchester Utd:  7 to 1 (12.5 percent chance)

You can have Spurs at 20/1, or Leicester City at 28/1.

All of the big teams made it through the third round of the F.A. Cup, meaning that they are in the Round of 32.  Here are their matchups (home teams listed first):

01/23/21:  Cheltenham Town v. Manchester City
01/24/21:  Brentford v. Leicester City
01/24/21:  Everton v. Sheffield Wednesday
01/24/21:  Manchester Utd v. Liverpool
01/25/21:  Wycombe Wanderers v. Tottenham Hotspur

These days, the big clubs tend to treat the F.A. Cup as an exhibition series unless they get pretty deep into the competition.  It's awkward, because the fans would like to win the Cup, but no one wants to risk injury or have too many games going on in April and May when the bigger trophies are up for grabs.  Liverpool and Manchester City are still in the Champions' League -- which is the biggest title of all -- while United has already been knocked out of that competition.  So it would be really surprising for Liverpool to make much of an effort in that F.A. Cup game -- which is exactly the sort of thing fans my age complain about.  On the other hand, they all keep watching -- just like I sat through those extra wild card games last week in the NFL.

NFL Divisional Playoffs

Here's what we've had so far (home teams listed first):

Saturday, January 16:
(2) Green Bay 32 - 18 (11) Los Angeles
(3) Buffalo 17 - 3 (7) Baltimore

Sunday, January 17:
(1) Kansas City 22 - 17 (12) Cleveland

So all of the home teams have won so far.  Only the Chiefs faced real danger, and that was largely due to Mahomes's injury.  New Orleans is now facing Tampa Bay for the third time this year.  The Saints won the first two matchups in blowouts, and they now lead 20-13 with 7:11 left in the third quarter.

The three teams to reach the semi-finals so far all reached the semi-finals back in 1966.  That year, the Chiefs beat Buffalo to win the AFL before losing to Green Bay in Super Bowl I.

The fourth semi-finalist in 1966 was Dallas.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Music of the week

I tend to listen to a lot of music that I never write about here.  I thought this year I would try and give a nod at least to what I'm listening to each week and then when I find something I like go into more detail.  So nothing really stood out in week 1 of this year, but here is what was on my playlist for the week.

F*ck Art by The Dirty Nil

A Canadian band this is their second album.  I would say they are a mix of Green Day and Everclear if you are looking for influences.  Just not lyrically as interesting as either of those bands.  

Daylight Saving by Photonz

Portuguese producer and DJ.  Probably enough said right there.  I found this opening track "Venus" to be the best.  There wasn't much to keep me interested.  Still I love the idea of listening to someone who Allmusic refers to as a driving force behind the Lisbon dance scene.  

Pure Piano Chill by Jim Brickman

My youngest has started taking piano lessons and one of the things we like to throw on in the background these days is piano music.  This was a fun album this week.  We put it on this Saturday and our oldest and me kept trying to name the songs when they would start to play.  At 52 tracks you get a lot of music here.  If you want WZEZ style piano music to go in the background it's a good call.  

Nuthin' But a She Thang by various artists

A collection of songs by 14 different female electronic producers.  Not a lot here, but another good background album.  

Red Hills Road by Sly & Robbie

Probably had the most fun listening to this album.  Good beats and the kids and I really had fun dancing along to some of the tracks.  I had never heard of Sly & Robbie but here is a quote from their bio at allmusic.  
Theirs is the ultimate musical marriage, a partnership that, once formed, re-etched the very landscape of not just Jamaican music, but the entire world's. Such hyperbole is oftentimes rolled out by publicity machines whenever two musical talents come together, but in the case of drummer Sly Dunbar and bassist Robbie Shakespeare, it really was an earth-shattering union. 

A fun album like I said with some good beats.  Still nothing that I'm going to be listening to once it is off my weekly playlist. 


Piano Pentagon by Maria Kiosseva

Born in Bulgaria, Maria Kiosseva is a professional, classical, pianist.  That is about all I can say for her and this album.  Again this fit with my youngest and his interest in piano music currently, but this one didn't find much interest in our house.  

Ballads on the Subway by Briony Price

The fun thing about these streaming services is they have all sorts of artists and so when you are looking through their list of new releases you never know what you'll find.  Sometimes I find albums by obscure artists that are really good, sometimes not so good.