‘One Shining Moment’ of the Day: 2012

Final Four:

(1) Kentucky, (2) Kansas, (4) Louisville, (2) Ohio State

 

National Championship:

Kentucky over Kansas, 67-59 at the Superdome in New Orleans

 

Most Outstanding Player:

Anthony Davis, Kentucky

 

Fun Fact:

Two 15 seed teams advanced past the first round as Norfolk State upset (2) Missouri and Lehigh defeated (2) Duke. 

Check out our discussion on this year’s tournament and who to keep in mind when filling out your brackets. Subscribe to The Piffcast on iTunes here

Follow along for more on Facebook or Twitter.

<< Previously 2003

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#TBT Year in Review: 1996

In the year New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde was born…

  • The Daily Show aired for the first time on Comedy Central
  • Nintendo 64 was released in Japan
  • The Ramones performed their last show 
  • The OJ Simpson civil trial began
  • Steve Jobs’ company NeXT was bought by Apple, which he also founded

Tupac Shakur was shot and killed at the age of 25. 

To this day, people are trying to prove he’s still alive. 

AND in the worlds of movies, music and sports…

Movies

Comedy

Happy Gilmore, Swingers, Kingpin, Matilda, 101 Dalmatians, Don’t Be A Menace in South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, Tin Cup, The Nutty Professor, Bio-Dome, The Cable Guy, Beautiful Girls, The First Wives Club, That Thing You Do, Striptease, Jack, Multiplicity, Kazaam, The Birdcage, Beavis and Butthead Do America, Down Periscope, The Stupids, Black Sheep, Bulletproof, One Fine Day, Spy Hard, Sgt. Bilko AND…

Space Jam

Action/Thriller

Scream, Independence Day, The Rock, Escape from LA, A Time to Kill, From Dusk Till Dawn, Twister, The Craft, Fear, Eraser, Broken Arrow, The Long Kiss Goodnight, The Ghost and the Darkness, The Frighteners, Chain Reaction, Ransom, Executive Decision, The Fan, Last Man Standing, Maximum Risk, AND…

Mission Impossible

Drama

Trainspotting, Jerry Maguire, The English Patient, Romeo + Juliet, Sling Blade, Sleepers, Secrets and Lies, Shine, Michael Collins, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Evita, The Mirror Has Two Faces, Kolya, Bullet, The Mirror Has Two Faces, Jude, Mother Night, Phenomenon, Gotti, Emma, Before and After, The Juror, Fly Away Home, Marvin’s Room, AND…

Fargo

The 69th Academy Awards

Best Actor

  • Tom Cruise, Jerry Maguire
  • Ralph Fiennes, The English Patient
  • Woody Harrelson, The People vs. Larry Flynt
  • Billy Bob Thornton, Sling Blade
  • Geoffrey Rush, Shine – Winner

(The first of 4 nominations for Geoffery Rush. His latest was in 2011 for The King’s Speech

Best Supporting Actor

  • William H. Macy, Fargo
  • Armin Mueller-Stahl, Shine
  • Edward Norton, Primal Fear
  • James Woods, Ghosts of Mississippi
  • Cuba Gooding Jr., Jerry Maguire – Winner

(Cuba Gooding Jr. won the only time he was nominated)

Best Actress

  • Brenda Blethyn, Secrets & Lies
  • Diane Keatin, Marvin’s Room
  • Kristin Scott Thomas, The English Patient
  • Emily Watson, Breaking the Waves
  • Frances McDormand, Fargo – Winner

(Frances McDormand has been nominated 3 other times, most recently for North Country in 2006)

Best Supporting Actress

  • Joan Allen, The Crucible
  • Lauren Bacall, The Mirror Has Two Faces
  • Barbara Hershey, The Portrait of a Lady
  • Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Secrets & Lies
  • Juliette Binoche, The English Patient – Winner

(Juliette Binoche was nominated once more in 2001 for Chocolat)

Best Picture

  • Fargo
  • Jerry Maguire
  • Secrets & Lies
  • Shine
  • The English Patient – Winner

(The English Patient won 9 of the 12 Oscars it was nominated for, including best Director)

Music

Rock Albums

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Hip Hop Albums

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Pop Albums

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Billboard Year-End Top 25 Songs

  1. Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)” – Los del Rio
  2. One Sweet Day” – Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men
  3. “Because You Loved Me” – Celine Dion
  4. “Nobody Knows” – The Tony Rich Project
  5. “Always Be My Baby” – Mariah Carey
  6. “Give Me One Reason” – Tracy Chapman
  7. “The Crossroads” – Bone Thugs-n-Harmony
  8. “I Love You Always Forever” – Donna Lewis
  9. “You’re Makin’ Me High / “Let It Flow” – Tony Braxton
  10. “Twisted” – Keith Sweat
  11. “C’mon N’ Ride It (The Train)” – Quad City DJ’s
  12. “Missing” – Everything but the Girl
  13. “Ironic” – Alanis Morissette
  14. “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” – Whitney Houston
  15. “Follow You Down” / “Til I Hear It From You” – Gin Blossoms
  16. “Sittin’ Up in My Room” – Brandy
  17. “How Do U Want It”/”California Love” – 2Pac featuring K-Ci & JoJo / Dr Dre
  18. “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” – Celine Dion
  19. “Change the World” – Eric Clapton
  20. “Hey Lover” – LL Cool J
  21. “Loungin” – LL Cool J
  22. “Insensitive” – Jann Arden
  23. “Be My Lover” – La Bouche
  24. “Name” – Goo Goo Dolls
  25. “Will You Save Your Sould” – Jewel

Sports

Baseball

League Leaders

Offensive

Average: Alex Rodriguez (SEA) – .358

Hits: Lance Johnson (NYM) – 227

Home Runs: Mark McGwire (OAK) – 52

RBI: Andres Galarraga (COL) – 150

OPS: Mark McGwire (STL) – 1.198

Stolen Bases: Kenny Lofton (CLE) – 75

Pitching

Wins: John Smoltz (ATL) – 24

ERA: Kevin Brown (FLA) – 1.89

Strikeouts: John Smoltz (ATL) – 276

Complete Games: Pat Hentgen (TOR) – 10

Shutouts: Pat Hentgen (TOR) – 3

Saves: Jeff Brantley (CIN) & Todd Worrell (LAD) – 44

MVP

AL – Juan Gonzalez (TEX)

NL – Ken Caminiti (SD)

CY Young

AL – Pat Hentgen (TOR)

NL – John Smoltz (ATL)

Rookie of the Year

AL – Derek Jeter (NYY)

NL – Todd Hollandsworth (LAD)

World Series

New York Yankees over the Atlanta Braves (4-2)

Basketball

NCAA

Final Four:

(1) Kentucky (1) UMass (4) Syracuse (5) Mississippi State

National Championship

(1) Kentucky over (4) Syracuse 76-67

NBA

League Leaders

Points Per Game: Michael Jordan (CHI) – 30.4

Rebounds Per Game: Dennis Rodman (CHI) – 14.9

Assists Per Game: John Stockton (UTAH) – 11.2

All-NBA Team

Afernee Hardaway (ORL)

Michael Jordan (CHI)

Karl Malone (UTAH)

Scottie Pippen (CHI)

David Robinson (SA)

MVP – Michael Jordan (CHI)

Rookie – Damon Stoudamire (TOR)

NBA Finals

Chicago Bulls over Seattle Supersonics (4-2)

Football

NCAA

Heisman Trophy – Danny Wuerffel, Florida

National Championship

Ike Hilliard

(3) Florida over (1) Florida State 52-20 in the Sugar Bowl

NFL

League Leaders

Passing Yards: Mark Brunell (JAX) – 4,367

Passing Touchdowns: Brett Favre (GB) – 39

Passer Rating: Steve Young (SF) – 97.2

Rushing Yards: Barry Sanders (DET) – 1,553

Rushing Touchdowns: Terry Allen (WAS) – 21

Receiving Yards: Isaac Bruce (STL) – 1,338

Receiving Touchdowns: Michael Jackson (BAL) & Tony Martin (SD) – 14

Receptions: Jerry Rice (SF) – 108

AP MVP – Brett Favre (GB)

Super Bowl XXXI

Green Bay Packers over New England Patriots 35-21

Hockey

League Leaders

Goals: Mario Lemieux (PIT) – 69

Assists: Ron Francis (PIT) & Mario Lemieux (PIT) – 92

Points: Mario Lemieux (PIT) – 161

Hart Memorial Trophy – Mario Lemieux (PIT)

Stanley Cup

Colorado Avalanche over Florida Panthers (4-0)

Did I miss anything? Let me know on Twitter @Mike_PiFF03 or on Facebook.

Also checkout past #TBT Years in Review.

2012

2011

2010

2007

2006

2005

2002

1999

1998

1992

1990

1989

1988

1987

NBA Draft 2015: Who Fits For Bulls With 22nd Pick?

Get your fancy suits and flat-billed team hats ready, it’s NBA Draft Day!

Wiggins and Jabari

Best suit in NBA Draft history right there. I wonder if Andrew Wiggins kept the hat…

Commissioner Adam Silver, who has yet to give Draft attendees a reason to boo him, is expected to shake the hands of the 2015 draft class and its coveted triumvirate. That group include’s Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns, Duke’s Jahlil Okafor, and Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell. After that, the field of college basketball’s best and international stars becomes much less predictable. Trade talks have heated up across the league, and it doesn’t appear to be as much smokescreen as it has in the past (Way to blow your cover, George Karl).

The Chicago Bulls, for the time being, appear to be staying put in the 22nd spot and that’s not a bad thing. In recent years, Vice President John Paxson and General Manager Gar Forman have found “diamonds in the rough” late in the first round after selecting Taj Gibson 26th in 2009 and All-Star Jimmy Butler 30th in 2011. They flipped 28th overall pick Norris Cole and 2nd rounder Malcolm Lee for Nikola Mirotic, who was selected 23rd by Houston before making his way to Minnesota via trade, also in the 2011 draft. Tony Snell, selected 20th overall in 2013, made strides as an athletic scorer last season. However, Marquis Teague (29th overall in 2012) may or may not have changed professions after being traded to Brooklyn in 2014 for Tornike Shengelia (we hardly knew thee…No, we never thee at all). Hitting on four out of five picks is still a nice batting average though…

While it’s nice to have a lottery choice in the draft, picking between the 20 and 30 spots is still significantly valuable. The players available are older, better developed for specific roles, and ready to contribute right away. They are also nearly 20% the price of a the Top 3 draft picks. In 2013, frenchman Rudy Gobert was selected 27th by the Utah Jazz. Gobert was 11 blocked shots behind Anthony Davis for the league lead this past season and earned $1.1 million. 1st overall 2013 pick Anthony Bennett has averaged just 4.7 points per game, is on his second team in as many years (and back on the trading block), and made $5.6 million last season.

So who will be there for the Bulls after the Dallas Mavericks make their choice at 21? Let’s take a look at who fits their needs and can realistically be available.

Jerian Grant, Notre Dame

Grant Bulls

Senior / Guard / 6-5

Son of former NBA forward Harvey Grant and nephew of four-time NBA Champion Horace Grant, Jerian Grant may be the best fit. Backcourt depth was a glaring issue for the Bulls, especially in the playoffs, and Grant is one of the best point guard prospects in this draft. His size and ball handling allows Grant to play both 1 and 2 guard spots, making him a flexible option for new head coach Fred Hoiberg to pair with either Derrick Rose or Butler. With an ability to create his own shot and excel in transition, Grant can also be utilized in small lineups in case Hoiberg wants to play him with both Rose and Butler. He averaged 16.5 points, 6.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game in his senior season while also shooting over 57% from 2-point range. Being older, Grant can contribute right away for a Bulls team that wants to win now…and he can certainly finish at the rim.

Grant Dunk

Rashad Vaughn, UNLV

Vaughn Bulls

Freshman / Guard / 6-6

The Bulls lacked dependable scoring off the bench in the postseason last year. Rashad Vaughn is an “instant offense” pure scorer who has shown he can generate scoring in bunches. Averaging 17.8 points per game, Vaughn is a natural scorer and played his best in catch-and-shoot opportunities. He can create off the dribble in isolation situations and is athletic enough to be a decent defender. Vaughn’s freshman season was ended prematurely due to a meniscus tear against Fresno State in February, which has contributed to his slide in draft projections.

RJ Hunter

RJ Hunter

Junior/ Guard / 6-6

During March Madness this year, the country was made aware (if they weren’t already) of RJ Hunter as he knocked out #3 Baylor from the tournament…and his coach/dad out of his chair.

RJ Huner shot

As 3-star recruit from Indianapolis, Hunter passed on much bigger programs than Georgia State so he could play for his father and led the Panthers to 25+ victory seasons. Hunter provides two things the Bulls are in need of…scoring and 3-point shooting. As they wait and see who Doug McDermott is in Hoiberg’s system, adding Hunter’s 19.7 points per game and 51% shooting from the field doesn’t hurt either.

Trey Lyles, Kentucky

Trey Lyles

Freshman / Forward / 6-10

Had he not been on the same team as Towns and Willie Cauley-Stein, Trey Lyles would be a much higher prospect in this draft. Lyles was forced to play out of position at small forward with Alex Poythress going down to injury, but it allowed him to showcase how skilled he is off the dribble. Lyles is one of the best well-rounded forwards in the 2015 class and would bolster a very thin front court rotation for the Bulls. With Joakim Noah playing on one leg and Gibson out recovering from ankle surgery, Lyles provides a post up game that the Bulls don’t have with either Pau Gasol or Mirotic.

Sam Dekker, Wisconsin

Sam Dekker Bulls

Junior / Forward / 6-9

It is probably a stretch to think Sam Dekker would fall to the Bulls at 22, but his projections for tonight’s draft have varied from 8th overall to 25th. Like Hunter, Dekker provides scoring and range beyond the arc, but he is more polished and has done it against better competition. Dekker’s versatility on both ends of the floor and athleticism make him more than a role player off the bench. He can defend multiple positions, can play the 4 in small lineup scenarios, and is better prepared to play right away.

Have your eye on someone else? Let’s talk about it on Twitter @Mike_PiFF03

#TBT Year in Review: 2011

Although it was just 4 years ago, 2011 still qualifies as a Throwback Thursday material

  • President Barack Obama announces Osama bin Laden was killed in an American Military Operation
  • Two billion people watched Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, marry Catherine Middleton…They’ve had two children since
  • Occupy Wall Street protests begins in the US Sept. 17…The Occupy Movement then spread to 82 different countries by October 
  • A 9.0-Magnitude earthquake and tsunami hit eastern Japan, with tsunami warnings being issued to 50 other countries and territories. Emergencies were declared at 4 Nuclear power plants effected by the earthquake
  • “The Macho Man” Randy Savage passed away at the age of 58.
And here’s what we saw from the world’s of Movies, Music, and Sports

Movies

Comedy

Bridesmaids, Paul, Hangover II, No Strings Attached, Friends With Benefits, Hall Pass, Horrible Bosses, Crazy, Stupid, Love., Your Highness, 30 Minutes or Less, Bad Teacher, Zookeeper, Midnight in Paris, Larry Crowne, Tower Heist, Arthur, The Sitter, Take Me Home Tonight, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, 50/50, The Big Year, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Bernie, AND…

The Muppets

Action/Thriller

Captain America: The First Avenger, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, X-Men: First Class, Unknown, Hanna, Limitless, Fast Five, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows – Part 2, Source Code, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Headhunters, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Wrecked, The Raid: Redemption, Immortals, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Haywire, Sanctum, The Skin I Live In, Elephant White, In Time, The Adjustment Bureau, The Ledge, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, The Devil’s Double, Season of the Witch, The Roommate, Drive Angry, I Am Number Four, Contagion, Priest, Killer Elite, AND…

Drive

Drama

The Artist, The Descendants, The Tree of Life, The Lincoln Lawyer, The Ides of March, Warrior, Water For Elephants, The Help, Warhorse, One Day, The Separation, Detachment, Like Crazy, My Week With Marilyn, Carnage, Another Earth, Beastly, United, Jane Eyre, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Albert Nobbs, Shame, Too Big To Fail, 1911, Win Win, W.E., J. Edgar, Wreckers, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, AND…

Moneyball

Animated

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, Cars 2, Puss in Boots, Rio, Kung Fu Panda 2, Arthur Christmas, Gnomeo & Juliet, Winnie the Pooh, Hop, The Smurfs, AND…

Rango

The 84th Academy Awards

Best Actor

  • Demian Bichir, A Better Life
  • George Clooney, The Descendants
  • Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • Brad Pitt, Moneyball
  • Jean Dujardin, The Artist – Winner 

Best Supporting Actor

  • Kenneth Branaugh, My Week With Marilyn
  • Jonah Hill, Moneyball
  • Nick Nolte, Warrior
  • Max Von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
  • Christopher Plummer, Beginners – Winner

Best Actress

  • Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
  • Viola Davis, The Help
  • Rooney Mara, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn
  • Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady – Winner

Best Supporting Actress

  • Berenice Bejo, The Artist
  • Jessica Chastain, The Help
  • Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
  • Janet McTeer, Arthur Hobbs
  • Octavia Spencer, The Help – Winner 

Best Picture

  • Hugo
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Moneyball
  • Warhorse
  • The Tree of Life
  • The Descendants
  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
  • The Help
  • The Artist – Winner

Music

Rock Albums

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Hip Hop Albums

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Pop Albums

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Billboard Year-End Top 25

1. “Rolling In The Deep” – Adele

2. “Party Rock Anthem” – LMFAO

3. “Firework” – Katy Perry

4. “E.T.” – Katy Perry featuring Kanye West

5. “Give Me Everything” – Pitbull featuring Ne-Yo

6. “Grenade” – Bruno Mars

7. “F**K You” – Cee Lo Green

8. “Super Bass” – Nicki Minaj

9. “Moves Like Jagger” – Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera

10. “Just Can’t Get Enough” – The Black Eyed Peas

11. “On the Floor” – Jennifer Lopez featuring Pit Bull

12. “S&M” – Rihanna

13. “Pumped Up Kicks” – Foster the People

14. “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” – Katy Perry

15. “Just The Way You Are” – Bruno Mars

16. “Tonight (I’m Loving You)” – Enrique Iglesias

17. “Raise Your Glass” – Pink

18. “Born This Way” – Lady Gaga

19. “F**k’n Perfect” – Pink

20. “What’s My Name” – Rihanna featuring Drake

21. “Look at Me Now” – Chris Brown featuring Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes

22. “Down On Me” – Jeremih featuring 50 Cent

23. “How To Love” – Lil Wayne

24. “Someone Like You” – Adele

25. “Good Life” – OneRepublic 

Sports

Baseball

League Leaders:

Offensive:

Average: Miguel Cabrera (DET) – .344

Hits: Michael Young (TEX) & Adrian Gonzalez (BOS) – 213

Home Runs: Jose Bautista (TOR) – 43

RBI: Matt Kemp (LAD) – 126

OPS: Jose Bautista (TOR) – 1.056

Stolen Bases: Michael Bourn (HOU & ATL) – 61

Pitching

Wins: Justin Verlander (DET) – 24

ERA: Clayton Kershaw (LAD) – 2.28

Strikeouts: Justin Verlander (DET) – 250

Complete Games: James Shields (TB) – 11

Shutouts: Cliff Lee (PHI) – 6

Saves: Jose Valverde (DET) – 49 

MVP

AL – Justin Verlander (DET)

NL – Ryan Braun (MIL)

CY Young

AL – Justin Verlander (DET)

NL – Clayton Kershaw (LAD)

Rookie of the Year

AL – Jeremy Hellickson (TB)

NL – Craig Kimbrell (ATL) 

World Series: St. Louis Cardinals over Texas Rangers (4-3)

Basketball

NCAA 

Final Four:

(3) UConn, (11) VCU, (4) Kentucky, and (8) Butler

National Championship:

(3) UConn over (8) Butler 53-41

NBA

League Leaders

Points Per Game: Kevin Durant (OKC) – 27.7

Rebounds Per Game: Kevin Love (MIN) – 15.2

Assists Per Game: Steve Nash (PHX) – 11.4

All-NBA Team

Kobe Bryant (LAL)

Kevin Garnett (BOS)

Dwight Howard (ORL)

LeBron James (MIA)

Derrick Rose (CHI) 

MVP: Derrick Rose (CHI)

Rookie of the Year: Blake Griffin (LAC)

NBA Finals: Dallas Mavericks over Miami Heat (4-2)

Football

NCAA

Heisman Trophy

Robert Griffin III, Baylor

National Championship

Alabama over LSU 21-0 

NFL

League Leaders

Passing Yards: Drew Brees (NO) – 5,476

Passing Touchdowns: Drew Brees (NO) – 46

Passer Rating: Aaron Rodgers (GB) – 122.5

Rushing Yards: Maurice Jones-Drew (JAX) – 1,606

Rushing Touchdowns: LeSean McCoy (PHI) – 17

Receiving Yards: Calvin Johnson (DET) – 1,681

Receiving Touchdowns: Rob Gronkowski (NE) – 17

Receptions: Wes Welker – 122

AP MVP

Aaron Rodgers (GB)

Super Bowl

New York Giants over the New England Patriots 21-17 

Hockey 

League Leaders

Goals: Corey Perry (ANA) – 50 

Assists: Henrik Sedin (VAN) – 75

Points: Daniel Sedin (VAN) – 104 

Hart Memorial Trophy

Corey Perry (ANA) 

Stanley Cup

Boston Bruins over Vancouver Cannucks (4-3) 

Did I miss anything? Let me know on Twitter @Mike_PiFF03.

Also checkout past #TBT Years in Review

2006

1998

1987

#TBT Year in Review: 1998

Two years before Y2K, yet everyone was talking about it…and these things.

  • Bill Clinton dominated the headlines and SNL for his “off the field” issues.
  • Before teaching you how to survive EVERYTHING, Bear Grylls became the youngest person to scale Mount Everest at 23. 
  • Microsoft released Windows 98…some of you still use it.
  • The Winter Olympics were held in Nagano, Japan.
  • Will Smith’s son Jaden was born and former Hall of Fame Bears quarterback Sid Luckman passed away at the age of 81.

And this is what we saw in the worlds of Movies, Music and Sports!

Movies

Comedy

The Truman Show, There’s Something About Mary, Rushmore, Can’t Hardly Wait, Patch Adams, You’ve Got Mail, Dr. Dolittle, The Waterboy, The Wedding Singer, Baseketball, Night at the Roxbury, Almost Heroes, Waking Ned Devine, Bulworth, Sliding Doors, Blues Brothers 2000, How Stella Got Her Groove Back AND…

The Big Lebowski

Action/Thriller

Ronin, Enemy of the State, Fallen, U.S. Marshals, The Negotiator, Mercury Rising, Lethal Weapon 4, Wild Things, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, Godzilla, Rush Hour, The Siege, Psycho, Snake Eyes, The Faculty, A Perfect Murder, Out of Sight, The X-Files, Hard Rain, Lost in Space, The Mask of Zorro, Dark City, Sphere, Small Soldiers, John Carpenter’s Vampires, The Big Hit, Phantoms, Black Dog, Halloween: H20, Desperate Measures, Blade, Deep Impact AND…

Armageddon

Drama

Saving Private Ryan, American History X, Meet Joe Black, What Dreams May Come, Elizabeth, A Civil Action, The Thin Red Line, City of Angels, Shakespeare In Love, Ever After, Another Day in Paradise, 54, Rounders, He Got Game, Stepmom, Les Miserables, The Adventures of Sebastian Cole, Great Expectations AND…

Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas

Animated

Mulan, The Prince of Egypt, The Rugrats Movie, Antz, AND…

A Bug’s Life

The 71st Oscars Nominees/Winners

Best Actor

Nick Nolte, Affliction

            Edward Norton, American History X

            Tom Hanks, Saving Private Ryan

            Ian McKellen, Gods and Monsters 

            Roberto Benigni, Life Is Beautiful – Winner

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Robert Duvall, A Civil Action

            Ed Harris, The Truman Show

            Geoffery Rush, Shakespeare in Love

            Billy Bob Thornton, A Simple Plan

            James Coburn, Affliction – Winner

Best Actress

 

            Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth

            Fernanda Montenegro, Central Station

            Meryl Streep, One True Thing

            Emily Watson, Hilary and Jackie

            Gwyneth Paltrow, Shakespeare in Love – Winner

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

 

            Lynn, Redgrave, Gods and Monsters

            Kathy Bates, Primary Colors

            Brenda Blethyn, Little Voice

            Rachel Griffiths, Hilary and Jackie

            Judie Dench, Shakespeare in Love – Winner 

Best Picture

 

            Elizabeth

            Life is Beautiful

            Saving Private Ryan

            The Thin Red Line

            Shakespeare in Love – Winner

Music

Rock Albums

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Hip-Hop

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Pop Albums

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Billboard Year-End Hot 100

  1. “Too Close” – Next
  2. “The Boy Is Mine” – Brandy and Monica
  3. “You’re Still the One” – Shania Twain
  4. “Truly Madly Deeply” – Savage Garden
  5. “How Do I Live” – LeAnn Rimes
  6. “Together Again” – Janet
  7. “All My Life” – K-Ci & JoJo
  8. “Candle in the Wind 1997” – Elton John
  9. “Nice and Slow” – Usher
  10. “I Don’t Wait to Wait” – Paula Cole
  11. “How’s It Going to Be” – Third Eye Blind
  12. “No, No, No” – Destiny’s Child
  13. “My Heart Will Go On” – Celine Dion
  14. “Getting’ Jiggy wit It” – Will Smith
  15. “You Make Me Wanna” – Usher
  16. “My Way” – Usher
  17. “My All” – Mariah Carey
  18. “The First Night” – Monica
  19. “Been Around the World” – Puff Daddy feat. Mase and Notorious B.I.G
  20. “Adia” – Sarah McLachlan

Sports

Baseball 

Offensive Leaders:

Average: Larry Walker (COL) – .363

Hits: Dante Bichette (COL) – 219

Home Runs: Mark McGwire (STL) – 70

RBI: Sammy Sosa (CHC) – 158

OPS: Mark McGwire (STL) – 1.222

Stolen Bases: Rickey Henderson (OAK) – 66

Pitching:

Wins: Roger Clemens (TOR), Rick Helling (TEX), David Cone (NYY), Tom Glavine (ATL) – 20

ERA: Greg Maddux (ATL) – 2.22

Strikeouts: Randy Johnson (SEA/HOU) – 329

Complete Games: Curt Schilling (PHI) – 15

Shutouts: Randy Johnson – 6

Saves: Trevor Hoffman (SD) – 53 

MVP:

AL: Juan Gonzalez (TEX)

NL: Sammy Sosa (CHC)

CY Young:

AL: Roger Clemens (TOR)

NL: Tom Glavine (ATL)

Rookie of the Year:

AL: Ben Grieve (OAK)

NL: Kerry Wood (CHC)

World Series: New York Yankees over San Diego Padres (4-0)

Basketball

NCAA

Final Four:

(2) Kentucky, (3) Utah, (3) Stanford, and (1) North Carolina

National Championship:

(2) Kentucky over (3) Utah 78-69

NBA

League Leaders:

Points Per Game: Michael Jordan (CHI) – 28.7

Rebounds Per Game: Dennis Rodman (CHI) – 15.0

Assists Per Game: Rod Strickland (WAS) – 10.5 

All-NBA Team:

Tim Duncan (SA)

Michael Jordan (CHI)

Karl Malone (UTAH)

Shaquille O’Neal (LAL)

Gary Payton (SEA) 

MVP: Michael Jordan (CHI)

Rookie of the Year: Tim Duncan (SA)

NBA Finals: Chicago Bulls over Utah Jazz (4-2)

Football

NCAA

Heisman Trophy Winner:

Ricky Williams, University of Texas

National Championship:

Tennessee over Florida State (23-16) in the Fiesta Bowl 

NFL

League Leaders:

Passing Yards: Brett Favre (GB) – 4,212

Passing Touchdowns: Steve Young (SF) – 36

Passer Rating: Randall Cunningham (MIN) – 106.0

Rushing Yards: Terrell Davis (DEN) – 2,008

Rushing Touchdowns: Terrell Davis (DEN) – 21

Receptions: O.J. McDuffie (MIA) – 90

Receiving Yards: Antonio Freeman (GB) – 1,424

Receiving Touchdowns: Randy Moss (MIN) – 17

AP MVP:

Terrell Davis (DEN)

Super Bowl:

Denver Broncos over Atlanta Falcons (34-19)

Super Bowl MVP:

John Elway 

John Elway SB 33

Hockey

League Leaders:

Goals: Peter Bondra (WSH) & Teemu Selanne (ANA) – 52

Assists: Wayne Gretzky (NYR) & Jaromir Jagr (PIT) – 67

Points: Jaromir Jagr (PIT) – 102

Hart Memorial Trophy:

Dominik Hasek (BUF) 

Stanley Cup:

Detroit Redwings over Washington Capitals (4-0)

Did I miss anything? Let me know on Twitter @Mike_PiFF03.

No Excuses Next Year, Illini Hoops

Did you have high expectations for the 2014-15 Fighting Illini?

John Groce did. He had to. He’s the coach.

John Groce gif

The team and fan base probably did. And why not? What’s the point of playing or being a fan without some belief?

I did not. While the team didn’t have much turnover from 2013-14 (just graduating Joseph Bertrand and Jon Ekey), they didn’t add much either to a squad that only reached the 2nd round of the NIT. Yes, the roster gained a year of experience, and that showed in Big Ten breakout Malcolm Hill. However it did not show in leading scorer Rayvonte Rice, who found himself suspended from the team following extended time out with a broken left hand.

Would the 2014-15 Illini won more games with Rice on the floor? Probably. Would a handful of extra wins put them in the NCAA tourney? In this year’s Big Ten…certainly. It wasn’t about THIS year for the Illini, though. As difficult as it is for anyone with vested interest in Illini basketball to hear it, success was a luxury rather than a necessity. That is because the incoming class will make or break the Groce era.

Ranked 15th by ESPN, 10th by 247 (CBS), and 16th by Rivals (Yahoo! Sports), the 2015 class will be Illinois’ best recruiting class in years. Having covered 3 of the 4 commits in person, I can tell you the Illini will add scoring and a lot of it. Local Chicago area stars DJ Williams (ranked 63rd in the nation on Rivals) 6’7 from Simeon High School and Aaron Jordan (ranked 83rd) are long and athletic players with range and a knack for attacking the paint. Jordan is more of a jump shooter, passive compared to Williams, but knows how to get to the free throw line when it’s needed. Williams, amazingly, has been able to shine on a Simeon squad full of D1 talent and that bodes well when it comes to meshing with his new Illini teammates.

Jalen Coleman, a 6’3 shooting guard from La Porte, IN (Indianapolis area), is the real catch and not based on his rankings alone. Playing against some of the country’s best in AAU, Coleman proved to be a prolific scorer. He made half of his 92 three-point attempts leading up to the NIKE EYBL Peach Jam Championship tournament in Augusta, South Carolina last summer. He can run the floor when asked to, but has the ability to take over a game by himself…a huge difference when it comes to college basketball.

The Illini will also be adding Darius Paul, who technically was already a member of the team but was suspended for 2014 because of a failed drug test and underage drinking. He is the younger brother of former Illinois star Brandon Paul, a 6’8 power forward from Gurnee, IL, and played this season at Lamar State junior college in Texas. Illinois will need all the size they can get after Nnanna Egwu graduates this year and Paul has the opportunity to contribute in a big way with his 2 years of eligibility.

After missing the year due to injury, senior Tracy Abrams will have another year of eligibility. Abrams tore his ACL last September, but spent the season providing much needed leadership for the team this season, leadership that will hopefully translate to hardwood next Fall. Hill will be depended on to replace the scoring after Rice graduates, much like he did during the injury and suspension.

The big knock on Groce and the Illinois program in recent years has been their inability to keep highly touted recruits in-state. Duke’s Jahlil Okafor (Whitney Young HS, Chicago) and Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky (Benet Academy, Lisle, IL) were this year’s NCAA All-American headliners. The nation’s top point guard recruit Jalen Brunson (Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire, IL) chose Villanova. Catholic League star Charles Matthews (St. Rita, Chicago) selected Kentucky a year ago. And Illinois Top-10 players like Glynn Watson (St. Joseph), Ed Morrow (Simeon) and Brandon Hutton (De La Salle) all chose other Big Ten schools to take their talents to.

If Illinois basketball proves they can win with the in-state talent they committed already, the program will become more attractive to recruits in the Chicagoland area. If they win big games on national television, step up in the Big Ten conference, play well in the NCAA tournament, and put players in the NBA, more talent will stay in-state. That’s a lot of “ifs”, but it is plausible. And because it is plausible, that means no excuses in the 2015-16 season…year 4 of the Groce era.