Charles Barkley is a cool dude

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Thunder blow golden opportunity

The sleeping giant has awakened.

The Oklahoma City Thunder were poised to pull of an epic upset as they sat on a 3-1 lead on the 73-win Golden State Warriors. That now seems like a long time ago.

The Thunder had an incredible opportunity to close out the series last night as they nursed a lead in the fourth quarter, but Klay Thompson went wild with 11 three-pointers, which seemed to inspire Steph Curry to return to MVP form as well.

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Charles Barkley flips off Miami Heat fans [video]

After enduring a “F*#K YOU CHUCK” chant for about a minute, Charles Barkley finally told the Heat fans how he felt about them.

Apparently, Heat fans are taking it personally that Barkley picked the Bulls in the series. Get over it, people. You already have LeBron and Wade — what else do you want?

Side note: Remember, when taking a video on your iPhone, always hold it horizontally.

Charles Barkley debates Rick Pitino about the Big East [video]

Rick Pitino joined the March Madness coverage and got into a little debate with Charles Barkely, who obviously isn’t a big fan of the Big East.

I love Pitino’s statement at 0:50 that “Notre Dame will not lose tonight” (to Florida St., whom they did lose to…badly).

The Big East is currently 9-9 in the tourney with two teams still alive (UConn and Marquette). Based purely on seeding, we would expect the conference to be 14-6 with five teams (Pitt, Notre Dame, Louisville, Syracuse and UConn) still alive. Barkley is right that the Big East didn’t have a powerhouse team like the Big Ten (Ohio St.) or the Big 12 (Kansas) does, but it is a good conference top to bottom. Marquette is a good example. They beat a solid Xavier team and then upset Syracuse. Sure, it would be more impressive had they beaten a non-Big East team to make it to the Sweet 16, but it’s still an impressive run for an 11-seed.

If UConn and Marquette go quietly into the dark night against SDSU and North Carolina, respectively, then we can really wonder about the conference’s strength, but if UConn wins and Marquette gives the Tar Heels a good game, isn’t that enough?

It’s interesting — when Barkley made that comment about the Big East having solid but unspectacular players, I looked at a first round mock over at, and the only Big East player projected to go in the first round is Kemba Walker. (There are six Big East players projected to go in the second round.) DraftExpress also shows one first rounder (Walker) and six second rounders.

Jay Bilas probably summed it up best on Twitter:

Charles Barkley vs. Billy Packer [video]

A few weeks ago, longtime NCAA Tournament announcer Billy Packer sounded off about the plans by CBS to cover the 2011 tournament on four networks: CBS, TNT, TBS and TruTV.

ESPN would be better, he says, partly because it has announcers doing college games all season. He likens using NBA announcers to when he used to turn down requests to work NBA action by saying, ” ‘I’m not qualified, it’s a different sport.’ ” This, he says, is like CBS’ Verne Lundquist calling SEC football all year “and then having somebody who just did the pros come in to call the SEC title game.”

But with CBS’ old regionalized coverage now gone, isn’t it good for viewers who want to see a specific NCAA game to not have to worry about missing it because they’re in the wrong local TV market? “What percentage of the total audience does that represent,” says Packer. “Has all this been changed for the .01% of viewers who really want a specific game?”

And viewers, warns Packer, will miss the old system of being switched to the hottest action. Recalling working regional sites where “none of the games were really good,” he says the old way “enabled the product to never have to show them (widely) by going to exciting buzzer-beaters instead.”

One of those “NBA announcers” Packer refers to is Charles Barkley, who didn’t take the criticism very well:

I’m picturing Packer sitting on his porch in an 80s-era jogging suit, nursing a watered down iced tea and every so often yelling at the neighborhood kids to get off his lawn. He was grumpy 10 years ago, can you imagine how grumpy he is now?

I don’t know if CBS plans to bounce around to the best action on the main CBS feed, but I like the fact that I can switch to any of the four games on the four different channels, so I guess I’m in Packer’s .01% of viewers who want to be able to watch whichever game they want. I’m not exactly sure where he got that number — it sounds like he pulled it out of someplace very, very dark — but clearly the guy is old school, so he’s used to the days when a program director decided which game the audience would see instead of giving the audience that choice.

I would like to see CBS start with a game but then go to better action if the game gets out of hand. This would appease those viewers who don’t want to flip around on their own, while the rest of us would still have the option of watching whichever game we wanted.

As for Charles Barkley providing commentary for NCAA action — I don’t have a problem with it. Sure, he’s not going to be as educated as a Seth Davis or Clark Kellogg, but those guys will be providing their own commentary as well. Barkley is nothing if not entertaining, and he can bring a ton of levity to what otherwise has been a pretty humorless production.

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