Philly March Madness: (3) Brian Dawkins vs. (14) Scott Rolen

Philly March Madness: (3) Brian Dawkins vs. (14) Scott Rolen

Over the next few weeks at The700Level, we'll be posting poll matchups as part of our Philly March Madness competition. Examine the cases of the two fine Philadelphia athletes below, and cast your vote at the bottom as to which you think should advance to the next round. And as always, feel free to explain your selection and/or debate the choices in the comments section.


(3) Brian Dawkins

Before there was Ed Reed, before there was Troy Polamalu, there was Brian Dawkins. Dawkins joined the NFL in 1996, when John Lynch and Rodney Harrison—a pair of great players in their own right—were just becoming starters, but no safety from that period was the total package like #20. All three were ferocious tacklers, yet Dawkins had superior range and a nose for the football. He could do everything—blitz, run support, hit, and cover. The Clemson grad was an instant starter, but when Jim Johnson joined the Eagles in 1999, his career took off. That first year, Dawk finished with 4 interceptions, 6 forced fumbles, 1.5 sacks, and a trip to Honolulu. That line became typical over the next decade, as he appeared in eight Pro Bowls all together and was voted a first team All Pro five times. A member of the 2000s All-Decade Team, Dawk became just the tenth player ever to join the "20/20 club" for sacks and interceptions, and in one of his most famous performances, he became the only player in NFL history to record a sack, interception, forced fumble, and touchdown catch in a single game, returning a shovel pass on a fake punt 57-yards against the Texans in 2002. So much success on the field could only be overshadowed by the man's love for the fans in Philadelphia. It has been speculated if one were to cut Brian Dawkins, he would bleed midnight green. Sadly, he had to finish his illustrious career elsewhere, but the man nicknamed "Weapon-X" will always be a Philadelphia Eagle. -Kulp


(14) Scott Rolen

Once upon a time, before there were WFCs or "The Machine," there was Scott Rolen. Reaching the big leagues in 1996, Rolen was the first in a line of players who were saddled with the expectations of restoring the Phillies as one of the teams to beat in the National League. A former second-round pick, Rolen went on to win the Rookie of the Year Award in 1997, and the following season he won his first Gold Glove, something he would soon become known for. While he was a power-hitting third baseman, Rolen wasn't as flashy at the plate as he was in the infield. He held his own at the dish, batting .282 with 150 home runs and 559 RBIs in seven seasons with the Phillies. His defense is what really turned heads though, and he would claim Gold Gloves in 2000, '01, and '02, en route to eight for his career. Some observers have even suggested he may well be the best fielding third baseman in Major League history. Unfortunately, Rolen wasn't happy with the Phillies. Only once during his tenure did the club finish above .500, and as a result he criticized management's willingness to win. Eventually he got his wish to be traded, and in the midst of the '02 season—his first year selected to appear in the All Star game—the Fightins shipped him to the Cardinals for Placido Polanco, Mike Timlin, and Bud Smith. While Rolen played the prime of his career with another organization, Phillies fans have imagined Rolen back in red pinstripes from time to time, but a lengthy career here just wasn't meant to be. -Kulp

Who should advance to the next round?online surveys

Results So Far:

East Bracket:

(1) Julius Erving (91.8%) over (16) Von Hayes (8.2%)
(8) Simon Gagne (77.9%) over (9) Seth Joyner (22.1%)
(5) Eric Lindros (70.3%) over (12) Eric Allen (29.7%)
(4) Randall Cunningham (77.6%) over (13) Shane Victorino (23.4%)
(11) Cole Hamels (82.1%) over (6) Mark Recchi (17.9%)
(14) Tug McGraw (51.1%) over (3) Moses Malone (48.9%)
(7) Darren Daulton (74.0%) over (10) Andrew Toney (26.0%)
(2) Chase Utley (93.5%) over (15) Andre Waters (6.5%)

Midwest Bracket:

(1) Mark Howe (60.2%) over (16) David Akers (39.8%)
(9) Rod Brind'Amour (73.6%) over (8) Rick Tocchet (26.4%)
(5) Brian Westbrook (93.3%) over (12) Jayson Werth (6.7%)
(4) Mike Richards (85.1%) over (13) Trent Cole (14.9%)
(6) John LeClair (89.2%) over (11) Clyde Simmons (10.8%)
(3) Jimmy Rollins (75.8%) over (14) John Kruk (24.2%)

NBA Power Rankings: The Sixers remain in the bottom third of the NBA

NBA Power Rankings: The Sixers remain in the bottom third of the NBA

The most recent NBA power rankings have the Sixers dropping further or remaining in the lower third of the NBA. 

Recent news of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons’ injury situations have the experts assuming the season is a lost cause and the team is focused on this June’s draft.

A trade of Nerlens Noel confirms the Sixers are banking on building around Embiid and wanted to get a return on Noel instead of letting him walk at the end of the season.

Last week
The Sixers split their only two games of the week: A 120-112 win against the Wizards Friday night and a buzzer-beater 110-109 loss to the Knicks Saturday night.

Against the Wizards, Robert Covington recorded a double-double with 25 points and 11 rebounds – both team leaders. The Sixers had seven players in double-digit points including Dario Saric and Gerald Henderson both pouring in 20. The Sixers did not give up the lead after the beginning of the second quarter. 

Carmelo Anthony drained a game-winning shot on Saturday for the Knicks. Jahlil Okafor led the Sixers with 28 points while Saric added 19 and Covington tallied 20. 

This week
• Tonight, the Sixers face the Warriors in Philadelphia (7 p.m./CSN)

• Wednesday against the Heat in Miami (7:30 p.m./CSN)

• Friday they face the Knicks at home (7 p.m./CSN)

• Saturday they stay at the Wells Fargo Center for the Pistons (6 p.m./CSN)

What the experts say
John Schuhmann of NBA.com was gracious only dropping the Sixers from 21 to 22 this past week. Maybe he trusts the process. 

He makes a good point about Okafor's situation after the Noel trade:

“The Sixers have been at their worst offensively with Okafor on the floor, but he scored 28 points on 11-for-19 shooting on Saturday, getting two huge, final-minute buckets in the post before Carmelo Anthony hit the game-winner. He may not be the better fit, but he has two more years on his rookie deal.”

Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report dropped the Sixers to 24 on his list, three spots lower than last week. 

He took a look into Embiid’s efficiently in the post and found some interesting numbers from Chris Herring of ESPN's FiveThirtyEight:

“The 7-footer has really been in a giving mood near the basket, where he's coughed the ball up on nearly 22 percent of his post-up looks, the highest turnover rate among NBA players with at least 100 plays, according to Synergy. And his turnover rate jumps up to a whopping 32 percent when teams aggressively send a second defender to double Embiid in the post."

Hughes ended his piece by saying the Sixers look to be on a downturn for the rest of the season. 

Jeremy Wood of Sports Illustrated moved the Sixers one spot from last week which leaves them at 26 on his list. 

He questions “trusting the process” stating that there are many questions surrounding Bryan Colangelo and the front office after the Noel trade. 

“It’s a longer-term question, but there will be short-term clues.”

Couldn’t have said it any better. 

Finally, Matt Moore of CBS Sports drops the Sixers from 22 to 26 this week. Moore is starting to see a repetitive story with the Sixers and it’s struggles. 

“Usually if a team loses both its top picks in a rebuilding year, you feel awful for them and their fans. With the Sixers, you're left just feeling like this is the status quo, forever.”

Villanova keeps No. 2 ranking despite another loss to Butler

Villanova keeps No. 2 ranking despite another loss to Butler

Villanova remained the No. 2 team in the nation in Monday's AP poll after a 1-1 week.

'Nova split its two games against a pair of ranked teams, losing by eight points at home to No. 22 Butler on Wednesday before rebounding for a 16-point win over No. 23 Creighton Saturday.

The Wildcats are 27-3 and 14-3 in the Big East, losing to Butler two times by eight points apiece and to Marquette by two.

Butler moved up from 22 to 13.

Villanova kept its No. 2 ranking because of a loss by previous No. 1 Gonzaga. The Zags moved down to fourth, while Kansas jumped up from No. 3 to No. 1.

Kansas received 58 first-place votes. Villanova and Gonzaga received two apiece, with the remaining three going to No. 3 UCLA.

Villanova has just one regular season game remaining Saturday at Georgetown.