Monday Morning Locks

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011 at 11:50 PM
Monday Morning Locks by Alex Sibley

A week ago, Rex Ryan and the New York Jets crippled my chance at an undefeated week.

This week, it was the Miami Heat.

Despite dropping 34 points in his return, LeBron James and the Miami Heat lost to the Atlanta Hawks in overtime 93-89. Yes, the same Atlanta Hawks that lost to Orlando by 41 a few nights later.

But 4-1 isn’t too shabby. You can’t win’em all, just ask Jay Cutler.

Sitting at 13-7 heading into this week, we’re without football, as the Packers and Steelers earned another bye week before battling in Dallas Feb. 6.

Unbeknown to some, there are other sports out there besides football. But just to get the die-hard football fan his or her fix for the week, we’ll start of this week’s edition of Monday Morning Locks with NFL Pro Bowl.

It might not be smart to bet this one, because you’ll force yourself to watch it, which is about entertaining as reading a chapter of Snooki’s new book.

Lock No. 1 – The AFC
Really no need to go into full detail on this game, considering the fact that none of the players go hard and for all intents and purposes, this is a waste of a good afternoon in Honolulu. I can assure you, if you took a poll, every single player would rather be resting on the beach rather than suiting up for another game of football.

But it’s common knowledge that the AFC is just better than the NFC. If you don’t agree, take one look at the NFC West and you’ll change your mind.

Take the AFC, but do yourself a favor, catch the highlights on SportsCenter, don’t watch the game, it’s terrible.

Lock No. 2 – The Pitt Panthers
This may come as shock to, well, probably nobody, but in case you haven’t noticed, the Big East is once again the best conference in college basketball.

And despite an unexpected loss to Tennessee, the No. 4-ranked Pitt Panthers are solidifying themselves as the Kings of the East.

The Panthers are the only unbeaten left in the conference, with victories over Syracuse, UConn, Texas and Georgetown, while holding a 13-0 record at home, where they will play the Fighting Irish tonight.

No. 16 Notre Dame is 5-3 in the conference, but just don’t have the weapons to knock off Pitt.

Take the Panthers, and look out for this team come March.

Lock No. 3 – Brigham Young University
If you had BYU in the Top-10 at this point in the college basketball season, you need to get your butt to confession, because your lying.

Better yet, if you had BYU’s Wednesday night opponent – San Diego State – in the Top-10, ask the priest for another session.

In a battle of Mountain West powers that have won a combined 39-of-40 games, this is the game of the week for hoops fans.

But don’t count on it being close.

BYU averages 85 points per game, which is fifth best in the nation. Jimmer Fredette leads the high-powered Cougars offense by averaging 26 points, while connection on 41 percent from behind the arc.

SDSU is a good team, but average just 73 points, while only going over 90 points twice this season – against UC Santa Barbara and Occidental.

Expect Fredette to play his most inspired game of the season and take the Cougars.

Lock No. 4 – Tiger Woods (Top-5 finish)
It’s a new year, and if you’re like me, you can’t wait to see what Tiger Woods will do this season on the PGA Tour after a year which saw him play way below average.

His 2011 season will begin Thursday at the Farmers Insurance Open, which is being played at the Torrey Pines in San Diego.

With his world turned upside down after he went too far with a Perkins waitress and a handful of other women, you can’t blame him for struggling.

But that was last year. There is no way Woods will have another terrible year, he’s got way too much pride for that.

I’m not expecting a win, thought I wouldn’t be surprised. But fully expect Tiger to be competitive and finish in fifth or better.

Lock No. 5 – The Cleveland Cavaliers
OK, so Dan Gilbert, the loudmouth owner of the Cavs, predicted that his team would win a title before the Miami Heat when LeBron took his talents to South Beach.

It’s not going to be this year, as Cleveland has just eight wins and is on a 16-game losing skid and have lost 25 of their last 26 games. But whoever said one player doesn’t make a team is obviously r­ight.

The last win came Dec. 18 at Madison Square Garden against the Knicks -- until tonight.

The Cavs travel to New Jersey to take on the 12-32 Nets. I have a hunch that the losing ways will take a night off.

They can’t lose them all, right?

Take Cleveland.

~Alex Sibley covers sports for the Erie Reader. You can contact him at , or you can follow him on Twitter @ErieReaderSport.

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