Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What a week on tap!

From bowl games to basketball, to the end of the NFL regular season, to hockey, it's a huge week. Make sure you check out Sports Night every night at 10 to get caught up with all of it!

OK, Charlotte Bobcats made their debut under new interim coach Paul Silas on Monday, beating Detroit 105-100. It all sounds good until you realize, the Bobcats led by as many as 23, and saw that trimmed down to 3 in the closing seconds.

I'm not criticizing. For a team on a four-game slide, any win is pretty. They will get the errors cleaned up (all agreed there was no quick fix after Larry Brown's departure), but the thing that is most noticeable is the fact the team PLAYED the4 game, rather than worked through 48 minutes. I mean no disrespect to Larry Brown, but there was a huge difference in the way the Bobcats played Monday as opposed to the 28 previous games . They were relaxed, they were flying up and down the floor, they were above the rim, they were taking shots. They PLAYED the game. Certainly a welcome sight for those watching, and I'm guessing an even better feeling for the guys in uniform.

They still have work to do to get into the playoffs, but this was a giant step in the right direction, if for nothing else, than believing they can do it.

Carolina Panthers are officially on the clock. They hold the number 1 pick in next April's NFL Draft. We all know who the experts would take if he were available, and since there is no guarantee he will be, I'll not mention him by name. He has to declare his intentions before January 15th. No point in thinking about it until he makes up his mind.

I'll be in Atlanta this weekend for the season finale for the Panthers. If for nothing else, to see how this team plays in their final game of a 2-13 (to date) season. This has been fascinating to watch, and frustrating to cover. What amazes me the most is the way the players just don't stop. They haven't stopped giving effort. Good effort. It's astounding that in a game like baseball, if a team is eliminated from the playoff chase early (like the Chicago Cubs historically), the guys in uniform can just kinda mail it in. You never really know how hard a guy is trying in baseball, unless it's obvious. In football, there is nowhere to hide. The Panthers of 2010 will be remembered for a losing season, but they should also be remembered as a team they fought until the end, no matter what the standings said.

Lots going on with bowl games--4 games in 4 days involving North Carolina. Tuesday, NC State v. West Virginia in Orlando, Wednesday, ECU v. Maryland in Washington DC., Thursday, UNC v. Tennessee in Nashville, and Friday, the Meineke Car Care Bowl between Clemson and South Florida. We'll have you covered, so don't miss a thing on Sports Night!

Mike Solarte

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