In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, “Ref” Malcolm Luck asked our panel of three experts — Matthew Baginski, Philip D’Armiento and Miguel Gonzalez — three questions: 1. Will Team USA medal in men’s hockey at this year’s Winter Olympics? 2. Can Pat Shurmur lead the New York Giants to a winning record next season? 3. Has head coach Tyronn Lue lost control of the Cleveland Cavaliers?
1. Will Team USA medal in men’s hockey at this year’s Winter Olympics?
Matthew: No, I do not believe that the U.S. hockey team has the talent to compete with Canada, Russia, Sweden and Finland in the 2018 Winter Olympics. The National Hockey League has banned its players from entering the Olympics to prevent injury, leaving the roster filled with players that did not compete well enough to play in the NHL. I do not think that former college athletes and abroad American players have what it takes to defeat these hardened professionals from Europe and other parts of North America.
Philip: It is hard to say whether Team USA will be able to medal this year at the Olympic games, since NHL teams are not allowing their players to compete in them. I believe Team USA can medal since they mainly will be competing with Canada, who also has a lot of great young talent. Since Russia is not allowed in the Olympics this year, it will give the U.S. a much better chance of reaching the podium. I believe they are guaranteed a bronze medal game and possibly higher. It is tough to tell, since most of the talent is not proven yet and don’t play at the highest level. I think Team USA has a lot of good talent coming in, especially as we saw in the Junior Olympics up in Buffalo, New York. It is going to be very competitive and interesting to see the up and coming stars compete and good to see young talent coming in. I do not want to get on the argument of NHL players playing since they should be representing their countries. Besides that, I do think Team USA will be surprising and dominant in the Olympics and bring home a medal.
Miguel: USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!
Matthew gets 3 points for acknowledging Team USA’s inexperience. Philip gets 2 points for mentioning Russia’s Olympic ban. Miguel gets 1 point for his short response.
2. Can Pat Shurmur lead the New York Giants to a winning record next season?
Matthew: Shurmur has a decent record behind him. As the offensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams in 2010, he turned the team from 1-15 to 7-9, a massive turnaround. Since then, he worked with Chip Kelly and the Eagles as their offensive coordinator and led one of the most efficient and impressive offenses of the year with Nick Foles at quarterback. Since then Shurmur has been quiet. His only other head coaching gig was with the Cleveland Browns in 2011. It was not an enviable position by any means and he was fired at the end of the season. I believe that Shurmur can turn this Giants team around and with Odell Beckham Jr. on his way back from a season ending injury early last season, the Giants are once again a team that cannot simply be overlooked. However, the locker room has been near chaotic with player squabbles and media rumors. Eli Manning is at the end of his rope and the defense is not good enough to compete with Philadelphia or Dallas. I think Shurmur gets them to 7-9 or possibly 8-8 but I don’t think he can get them farther than that.
Philip: I think Shurmur can lead the Giants to a winning record next season because he is coming into a program that has a lot of talent, but destroyed with injuries this season. I believe Manning still has some left in the tank, especially with all the weapons coming back to the team. The thing people seem to forget, is that the Giants were in the playoffs just last season with a lot of the same weapons that they have now. I think Shurmur can take this team and make them even better. Former head coach Ben McAdoo had trouble motivating the team and keeping them under control. I believe Shurmur will come in with a much better, hard working attitude that Giants fans are looking for, similar to what Zimmer has done for the Minnesota Vikings. Shurmur can easily bring this team to the playoffs as long as he changes the culture and makes sure the players are behind him. Now, they all must earn their spot, no matter how popular they are in the organization. He is taking over a team with a lot of talent and potential for success. As long as Shurmur puts the right culture into this team, they will no doubt be a playoff team next year.
Miguel: I just hope Shurmur can get a hold of Odell Beckham Jr. and Eli Apple. The Giants need to invest more in draft picks and new talent to transition after Eli Manning eventually retires. As long as Shurmur doesn’t insist on looking at the tape at press conferences, I think he can get the Giants back on track.
Matthew gets 3 points for dissecting Shurmur’s coaching history. Philip gets 2 points for alluding to the Giants’ playoff team. Miguel gets 1 point for mentioning key players.
3. Has head coach Tyronn Lue lost control of the Cleveland Cavaliers?
Matthew: The Cavaliers once again find themselves struggling, only this time their defense is the worst its been in a long time. Players are also consistently in the media for all the wrong reasons. While getting blown out by one of their Eastern Conference rivals, the Toronto Raptors, LeBron James was visibly irate on the sidelines, yelling at players and coaches. He seems to be the de facto general of this Cavalier’s team. Combined with player-only meetings and rumblings in the locker room of players like Isaiah Thomas being selfish with the ball have led me to believe that there is a drastic lack of order and discipline on this Cavaliers team. LeBron has made it quite apparent through social media that he is heavily considering making the move to the Los Angeles Lakers next season. As Thomas and Kevin Love under-perform in their respective roles, this Cavaliers team under Tyronn Lue is certainly in more trouble than they have been in the past.
Philip: I believe Tyronn Lue has lost complete control of the team. After taking over the team from former head coach David Blatt, he was put in the driver seat of a great team with a good vibe around it. I believe they are beginning to lose it because they do not know how to play with each other and Lue is unsure how to adapt to the different team. It is hard to get them motivated during January games when they know they will make the playoffs. Since Kyrie Irving left, this season has been the first test for Lue to truly show how good of a coach he is. Currently, he is showing he has no response when it comes to adversity within a team. A coach is supposed to be in charge of changing the team and making adjustments when it is not working, but it is clear that Lue has no control and cannot change the team atmosphere because whatever he does is not working. I believe that once meaningful games come closer to the playoffs, the team will turn it on again. With LeBron on your team, it is easy to turn a switch on because he is the best player in the world and I believe their team will eventually come together.
Miguel: Yeah, without a doubt. LeBron is leading a sinking ship right now. The Cavaliers are the epitome of big egos and selfish players. Kevin Love isn’t feeling the love anymore. Isaiah Thomas has not performed well. Lue ain’t got a clue what he’s doing.
Phillip gets 3 points for elaborating on Lue’s lack of adaptability. Matthew gets 2 points for dissecting the failing Cavaliers. Miguel gets 1 point for his play on words.
Matthew wins ATD 8-7-3
“Don’t put your dick in the shark tank if you don’t want to catch a few fish.”