400 miles. 400 miles until one of the best drivers in a long time is once again on top of NASCAR. 400 miles until Jimmie Johnson is one title short of Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty. Johnson is going for his 6th Cup title in eight years. Six in eight years. Yep, you read that right. All he has to do is finish 23rd or better this Sunday at Homestead. That seems easy enough. Especially when his winning percentage in Chase races is 24.2%. That is double his regular season winning percentage. Pretty good right? When you talk to his fans they all say he's the best. Ever. He let someone else win these last two years. When you get right down to it, maybe he did. The 48 has all the best equipment he can get but so does the rest of the Hendrix Motorsports drivers. So does that mean the Johnson is just better? 63 career victories. 63. That's 8th best in NASCAR history. The best part, he has only been driving for 13 years. His career is still young. Not to mention that he is a perfectionist. He's a killer on the track. Its like he's a shark when it smells blood. He finishes. He's clutch. In short he's good. There is no question that he's going to win his 6th Cup Championship. No doubt. He made sure of this when he finished 3rd last Sunday. Not to mention in the first eight Cup races he finished sixth or better. The other finish? 13th. More than enough to conclude that yes he will finish 23rd or better. What does this mean for NASCAR? It means Johnson could be the best driver of all time before his career is finished. He's only 37 years old and after Sunday he'll be one title short of matching the record. Petty and Earnhardt got better when and after the turned 40. So it's safe to say the Johnson might as well. Also he decides to rattle off another 5 titles in a row he will own the championship record. Being great is measured by championships right? Yes. While he is not the best yet he's on his way. He is undoubtedly the best driver right now. While I like Dale Jr. he isn't even close to skill level of Jimmie Johnson. Yes I just said that. NASCAR and NASCAR fans should be on the edge of their seats. Johnson is becoming a legend in front of our eyes. That is rare. There is only one Jordan. No matter if you like Jimmie or not you may never see a driver be as dominate as Jimmie is now. NASCAR can and will be able to make even more money of JJ now more than ever. Once he wins Sunday next season is already set up. Can he tie the record. Boom. Tons of marketing money right there. Not to mention the fans may get to see one of the most dominate seasons ever. He won't stop either. If and when he ties he will continue to go and go. When he retires he will be the greatest ever if he keeps this up. Best driver. Best athlete. Most dominate. Call him whatever you want but I like Legend in the making. Or NASCAR's King. It's not even close.
Kentucky and Michigan State played a fantastic game last night. While it looked like Michigan State would run away early it was not the case. Yes Kentucky never had the lead. However, they fought back and made it interesting late in the second half. While Digger can say whatever he wants the effort fight from Kentucky was awesome. Here are things we learned from last night:
Michigan State is good at basketball. They are the #1 team in the nation. They are extremely well coached and they play together. They capitalize on the other teams mistakes and they limit their own mistakes. This team is dangerous now and can only get better.
Julius Randle is the best freshman and the best player in the nation. Yes he started slow but man he took off. Triple team, double team, contact, no contact, it doesn't matter. Randle finished and finished strong. He had another double-double with 27 points and 13 boards. He can't be stopped and Wiggins and Parker can just deal with it. Need proof? Here you go:
Kentucky is still bad at free throws. 20-36. That is terrible. If they make half of the 16 they missed they win the game. While Randle hit most of his, he will need to make both. Kentucky will get fouled and they need to take advantage of that.
When the Twins are bad Kentucky will struggle. While Randle is the heart of the team the Twins are the brain. They both played terrible. Their body language was bad through out the whole game. They had 7 turnovers combined and four assists. While they will be solid in March they sure looked like freshman yesterday.
WCS is bad. I hoped he would get better this season and right now he hasn't. He can hardly hang on to the ball. He also can't hit a free throw. He can't play defense. He is 7 foot tall and he can't get double digit rebounds. He can't score in the paint. All he had was 5 points and 7 rebounds. That won't cut it. I believe he will be a four year player and hopefully he gets better.
Alex looks like he has gotten better. He had 7 points and 12 rebounds. Yes he still got deflated at times. Yes he may have pouted. However, he going at a level that we didn't see much last year. He going for the ball on the ground. He was blocking shots and he just played well overall. In my opinion he has played his way back into the starting role. Over WCS.
Officials are still bad. While I have no problem with the new rule changes I do have a problem with the consistency of the calls. They missed two or three walks by Michigan State players and were way to inconsistent on the hand check calls. Not to mention missing the player throw his hip into WCS when MSU hit that three towards the end of the game. All I'm saying is that the officials have to better in these big games.
Kentucky will get better. There is no doubt Kentucky will get better. They will still be a #1 seed in the tournament. The flashes are there. When the Twins get in sync and Randle and Young play like they did this team will be dangerous. They played terrible last night and only lost by 4. That is impressive.
Here are Coach Cal's post game comments if you are interested:
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The folks over a Yahoo have put together a mockumentary of ESPN's 30 for 30 series. In it they look at one of the greates basketball games ever played: The Tune Squad vs The Monstars. What a game. In this 30 for 30 series they explore, Jordan and his impact, The terrible officiating of the game, the next man in motto the Tune Squad played with, how dirty the Monstars are. They even have some big basketball names involved. Plus see what was the turning point for the Tune Squad and what happened after all was said and done. Anyway its worth a watch just relive the magic.