In Week 6 of Around the Dorm, the “Ref,” Alex Wolfe, challenges Staff Writer Krystal Spencer, Correspondent Chloe Fama and Sports Editor Brandon Gould to answer questions about what uniform Albert Pujols will be wearing come 2012, which team will finish the season atop the NBA’s Eastern Conference and which college basketball team will finish the season at No. 1.
1. Albert Pujols may be set to pull a LeBron James this coming year after failing to come to terms with the St. Louis Cardinals prior to spring training. Pujols will likely command one of the most lucrative contracts ever this offseason, but what team will be the one to pony up and sign “The Machine?”
KS: Well, it definitely won’t be St. Louis. They played too many games with Pujols and now that the deadline is here, it doesn’t look like he’s staying. As to where he’ll go, I honestly don’t know. He’s like Carmelo right now — everyone can speculate, but it’s difficult to tell who’s being serious. He’s worth the money he’s asking for, and some teams need him desperately — like the the Chicago Cubs or Atlanta Braves — but just can’t break the bank. I know the Red Sox can afford him, but maybe we’ll see him on the East Coast in a few weeks?
CF: Regardless of everything going on at the moment, Albert Pujols will be playing with the Cardinals again next season. The team was built around Pujols, and there is no way that the Cardinals can just allow him to walk in free agency. Pujols is not obsessed with the cash. He just wants to be paid market value, even if that means asking to be the highest paid player in history. By paying him market value, too, the team is sure to expect nothing but the best from Pujols, as this is the only way to show them he is worth the money. The main reason why the Cardinals will sign Pujols again? He wants to stay a Cardinal. When both sides want to stay and the money is there, the deal will be made.
BG: Let me start by saying I really hope that Pujols signs a long-term deal with the Cardinals. That may not happen now with the discrepancies over the amount of years the Cardinals are willing to give and the amount of years Pujols wants, so it may be time to consider Pujols playing with another team in 2012. If that is the case, I think Pujols will be headed to the Atlanta Braves. The Braves have lost most of their connections to what they were in the ’90s. Bobby Cox retired this offseason, and Chipper Jones is on his last legs. The departure of those two icons has left the Braves looking for a new face for the franchise. It could end up being Jason Heyward, but I think it would be better to pair that young talent with a superstar and franchise player like Pujols.
AW: I give the 3 to Chloe for bringing up the fact that Pujols said he wanted to be a Cardinal this past week. Brandon gets 2 because I don’t know if the Braves would be willing to dish out that kind of money. Krystal gets 1 because Pujols isn’t going anywhere in the next few weeks.
2. The Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks are all playing at a high level, but who will end up coming away with the No. 1 seed and home court advantage for the playoffs?
KS: I’d like to give this one to the Celtics. They’re like the Philadelphia Phillies of the NBA — stacked with talent in all departments with high hopes of continued success.
Besides, the Celts can win the crucial games against some tough opponents. They have the best chemistry out of the four teams, and let’s not forget, they have the greatest three-point shooter ever!
CF: The Boston Celtics are bound to be the No. 1 seed and have home court advantage. Yes, the Miami Heat has LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, but they haven’t proven that they can win in the past few games. The Celtics’ recent 85-82 win against the Heat gave the Celtics the confidence they needed and provided the Heat with the realization that if they do not beat Boston, the rest of their season meant next to nothing. Although the talent may be better on the Heat, the Celtics have a more experienced team, and, in the end, that is what makes the difference. The true competition is currently between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat, and at this point, the Celtics are winning the No. 1 seed.
BG: The Miami Heat may have everyone’s attention, but the Boston Celtics will finish the season as the East’s top squad. The media blew up this whole Big-Three thing over the summer, but it has been done before — by the Celtics. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen came together to win a championship — which they accomplished — and have created a special chemistry on the court. Until the Heat develop that type of chemistry, they won’t be able to overcome the Celtics. The Celtics also have more depth than all the other teams. Besides their Big-Three, the Celtics have Rajon Rondo — a budding star — Kendrick Perkins, Glenn Davis, Shaquille O’Neal, Jermaine O’Neal and Nate Robinson. The combination of those players and the chemistry they have will ultimately prove to be the ingredients that get the Celtics the top seed.
AW: Boring field of answers, but Brandon gets 3 for pointing out the Celtics’ phenomenal depth. Chloe gets 2 for pointing out the Celtics’ record against the Heat. Krystal gets 1 for bringing up the C’s team chemistry.
3. The No. 1 team in college basketball has been a revolving door recently, with Ohio State University and Kansas University getting knocked off in consecutive weeks. March Madness is coming up soon, so who will be the No. 1 overall seed come tournament time?
KS: That’s such an impossible decision to make, seriously. While Ohio State University and Kansas University are formidable teams, college ball is so unpredictable. And let’s not mention that the ranking’s a matter of opinion anyway. But since I have to make a pick, I’ll give it to Ohio State because of their unbeaten run. For a team to lose and maintain their No. 1 ranking is rare. Clearly they deserve it.
CF: Come tournament time, the Pittsburgh Panthers are undoubtedly going to be the number one seed. Their recent victory against the University of South Florida lengthened their Big East lead to two games with only five games remaining on the schedule. With Ohio State and Kansas falling behind, Pitt is looking more and more promising. Pitt has six top 25 RPI wins, with two of those resulting from road games last week without their leading scorer. The Panthers are an extremely tough team, both mentally and physically. Although Pitt has made it as No. 1 seed the past few years and got shut out of the Final Four, I believe this year is their year to shine.
BG: Ohio State University may end up winning the tournament, but I think the No. 1 overall seed is going to be the University of Texas. The Longhorns were ranked No. 3 before Kansas University dropped to Kansas State University the other day, so they will already be moving up in the rankings. Another bonus is that the Buckeyes have to go on the road to face No. 11 Purdue University and then end the season by hosting No. 10 University of Wisconsin, who handed them their only loss. Meanwhile, the Longhorns do not play another ranked team for the rest of the season. Mix all those facts together, and you’ve got a pretty strong case that the Longhorns will finish the season on top.
CR: Although Pitt just lost a close one to St. John’s at the Garden, they’re the best team in the best conference and Chloe gets the 3. Krystal gets 2 for pointing out that Ohio State will likely be in the top spot once again. Brandon gets 1 because Texas has lost to some sub-par competition including Nebraska.
Chloe wins this week’s AtD, 8 – 6 – 4.