The Stack is back on this Thursday with a couple of things to react to, including some college basketball thoughts from Tuesday night since we didn't get to a blog post Wednesday. Let's not waste another moment and get right to "the stack" for today Thursday, November 13:
Tuesday, AL and NL Manager of the Year awards were announced. Terry Francona of the Cleveland Indians (AL) and Clint Hurdle of the Pittsburgh Pirates (NL) won the award. Can't argue with either pick here. Cleveland seemed like a team that was at least a year, maybe two away from having a realistic shot at the playoffs, but Francona in his first year helped lead them to the playoffs where they lost in the opening game against Tampa Bay. Hurdle was even more of a slam dunk. The Pittsburgh Pirates had had twenty straight losing seasons and Hurdle not only got them (cough, cough) over the hurdle (cough cough), but he also got them to the playoffs and took the Cardinals to five games in the NLDS. The Pirates will be around for a few more years and Hurdle will be there to lead them.
Yesterday, AL and NL Cy Young award winners were announced and to the surprise of no one, the awards went to Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers (AL) and Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers (NL). Kershaw went 16-9 with an ERA under 2 (1.82 to be exact) and 232 strikeouts which led the NL. All Scherzer did for the Tigers was go 21-3. Yeah, not too shabby. Considering he's on a staff with Justin Verlander, to be the rock that the Tigers leaned on, that is a lot of pressure and Scherzer handled it beautifully. No complaints here.
Champions Classic thoughts
Four of the top five teams in the country were in action Tuesday night at the United Center in Chicago. We saw #1 vs #2 as Kentucky led by their fabulous freshman took on a veteran Michigan State squad and the best player (at least coming into the game) in Kansas' Andrew Wiggins against Jabari Parker (who should now be considered the best player in the country) and Duke. They were two very entertaining games. Michigan State beat Kentucky after getting out to an early first half lead, but Kentucky battled back in the second half, tying the game temporarily before falling. However, Wildcat fans shouldn't feel distraught after seeing freshman Julius Randle's performance. He had 27 points and 13 rebounds and shot fifteen free throws. He had eight turnovers which isn't good, but he can not be guarded by just one guy. He will need to double-teamed almost constantly. Kentucky will be right there at the end of the year when it is all said and done.
Meanwhile, Duke may win the whole thing this year because of Parker. He made shots with ease and with Wiggins, the biggest sensation to hit college basketball in a long time, it Parker's play that really had everyone talking. 27 points, including 4-7 from three. He was great. He made it look easy. Wiggins played good as well and Kansas won the game, but it was Parker that had everyone talking. If any of these teams win the national championship it won't be surprising. Should be a fantastic season.
Speaking of the season, already we're seeing a lot more scoring in college basketball this year thanks to some changes made in the offseason by the NCAA. However, the number of fouls that is being called is a little much. Hand checking and some slight bumping, calls that should have perhaps always been made but weren't the last couple of years are now being called. Players and coaches knew that coming into the year. As the season goes on, it will get better, but they choppy play with fouls being called each time they go down the floor makes it a little difficult to watch. Higher scoring is good though. How do you want to weigh that? The fouls will drop as the season goes on, but the scoring won't/shouldn't go down too much...we hope.
Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans 8:25 PM ET NFL Network
This game could have been for a share of first place in the AFC South had the Titans won last week. Key word had. Both the Titans and Rams had embarrassing losses last week and the Titans lost more than just the game Sunday against the Jaguars. Their quarterback Jake Locker is done for the year with the dreaded Lisfranc foot injury. The Colts must find a way to dvelop a rushing attack. Trent Richardson certainly hasn't had the impact that the team expected him to have when they traded for him earlier in the season. Still, the Colts have Andrew Luck and they are determined to prove that last week was a fluke.
Prediction: Colts 27 Titans 19
Coming up Friday: Week 11 NFL preview and predictions