Wednesday's List of 13:
Doing some thinking out loud.......
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-- Miami made 11-19 3's, including 2-3 in last 0:30 of regulation to get to an overtime where they beat the Spurs and forced a Game 7 Thursday.
-- Ginobili had eight turnovers and was -21, meaning Spurs were +18 in the 18:00 he was off the floor. Will he start Game 7?
-- By way of comparison, in their Game 1 win, Spurs had a total of four turnovers for the whole game. Only time Miami can really run is after San Antonio turns the ball over.
-- Miami held Danny Green to 1-7 from the floor in Game 6. Parker missed 17 of 23 shots and looked exhausted in the overtime period.
-- Spurs led 71-58 with 3:10 left in third quarter; Lebron James missed a trey with 0:23 left and Miami down 5, but Spurs couldn't finish the deal.
-- There is no metric that measures heart, resiliency or mental toughness; to win Game 7 after coming so close Tuesday, the Spurs will have to refresh some old legs, reboot their brains and try to forget Game 6 happened.
Quote of the Day
“I have no clue how we’re going to be reenergized. I’m devastated. But we have to. There’s no Game 8 afterwards. We’re going to have to play our best game, even better than today. Shoot better, better defense, less turnovers in my case, but, yeah. There’s no secret recipe for bouncing back.”
Gregg Popovich used to be a college head coach; where?
Lurch was the butler in the old TV show The Addams Family.
Peter Jacobsen won the fictional US Open in the golf movie Tin Cup.
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Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud..........
13) Mets/Braves finished three games on Tuesday, the first one at 1:23am, the last two in a day/night twinbill; last team to do that were the ’96 Reds, who followed up a late night in Atlanta with a doubleheader in Miami the next day.
12) Speaking of the Braves, Tuesday they became last MLB team to use a sixth starting pitcher this season; always nice to have healthy hurlers.
11) Home team is 14-1 when Tim Hudson starts; Braves are 7-0 in his home starts, they're 1-7 in his starts on foreign soil.
10) Mets' radio voice Howie Rose called BJ Upton "Ike Davis South" late in first game of Tuesday's doubleheader, referring to Upton struggling with the bat a lot like Davis, who is now hitting .204 at AAA Las Vegas.
Unusual for an announcer to call out an opposing player like that.
9) In NBA nickname news, New Orleans Hornets are now the Pelicans; the Charlotte Bobcats are going back to being the Hornets, but word out of Washington is that the Wizards won’t go back to being the Bullets- they used to have cool bright orange uniforms, back when Earl Monroe/Wes Unseld made them a formidable team.
8) DePaul hired an AAU coach from Washington DC as an assistant coach, a recruiter; he has strong ties to the DC Assault AAU program, which produces a lot of excellent players. Strange that a Chicago program would want to establish a presence in Washington, but maybe its because they're in the big East and will still play lot of games in the northeast.
7) Missouri hired former Drake coach Mark Phelps as an assistant; he was 77-86 at Drake, but more notably, has also assistant Herb Sendek at Arizona State/NC State, so he is a tactician. Every staff needs a couple recruiters and at least one strong tactician.
6) Georgetown F Greg Whittington may have torn his ACL, which means he could miss next basketball season; he was the Hoyas’ second-leading scorer LY, before grades derailed him midway thru the season.
5) A basketball player from NC-Asheville transferred to LSU? A guard who scored 15 ppg this season will have two years to play at LSU after he sits out next season. Where was LSU when he came out of high school?
This poaching needs to stop; bigtime schools stealing kids is hurting mid/low majors. Its a free country, but it stinks.
4) Kansas City has had zero starts this season from a pitcher signed/ drafted by the Royals, although Yordano Ventura could end that streak later this season- he’s made three starts in AAA, and looks pretty good.
3) Baseball favorites of -$150+ went 2-5 Tuesday; big night for dogs.
2) Bigger day for the Mets, who swept day/night twinbill in Atlanta, with Harvey/Wheeler beating the Braves. Wheeler put nine Braves on base in his six innings, but none of them scored and thats what counts. Mets are building a solid starting rotation; their outfield still needs some work.
1) New Arkansas football coach (former Wisconsin coach) Bret Bielema wants to legislate against no-huddle offenses, making it mandatory for offenses to wait 15 seconds after getting a first down. Ol’ Bret ain’t in the Big Dozen anymore, he’s in the freakin’ SEC. Get used to everything happening fast buddy and no, there are no Indianas in this league.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) You have to check out SportsCenter to see a great catch Will Venable made to save the game for San Diego late Monday night; Padres won 5-3 in 13th inning, but not before Venable made one of the best catches you will see all season. Fact that it saved the game makes it even better.
12) Dillon Gee blanked Atlanta for eight innings and knocked in Mets' only run, but when manager Terry Collins gave Gee the chance to pitch a complete game, Freddie Freeman broke Gee's heart with a walkoff homer as the Braves won 2-1 in highly dramatic fashion, in a game that started at 10:53 eastern time, because of rain. It ended at 1:23am, and teams have a day/night doubleheader starting at 1:00 today.
11) There is a television show on the Learning Channel called “Best Funeral Ever” and boy do I wish I was making this up.
Apparently there is a company that does themed funerals. I want to see someone do the Chuckles the Clown theme; remember, “….a little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants…..”
10) George Brett is getting credit for Royals' recent 10-2 surge, but fact of matter is, KC's pitching is what has improved; during this 10-2 streak, KC has allowed a total of only 26 runs.
9) Former Pats’/Chiefs’ GM Scott Pioli, another one of the men Tom Brady has made very rich, signed on as a studio analyst for NBC’s Sunday Night Football. Pioli is married to Bill Parcells’ daughter; it is great to see a bald man with glasses get a good job, so we wish him well, even if he did get to his current position in part because Bill Belichick is a cheatin’ bast--- oh wait, I said I wouldn’t bring that up anymore.
8) Then there is the whole karma aspect of Russian President Putin stealing Robert Kraft’s Super Bowl ring; Kraft’s employees chea—damn, I can’t say it, but you get the idea. Can’t complain about losing something you cheated (whoops) to get in the first place. Why the hell would he bring a Super Bowl ring to Russia anyhow? Why was he even in Russia?
7) Mets’ pitcher Carlos Torres pitched the 6th/7th innings in his 2013 big league debut Sunday, after he got to NYC at 9am, after an all-night trip from Las Vegas. Now Torres is in Atlanta for the week; does the team set him up with a place to live when he gets back to the Big Apple?
6) Former Oklahoma State QB Wes Lunt, who was the Cowboys’ starter before getting hurt LY, has landed at Illinois, meaning he must really like orange. Wonder how hard the Illini coaches recruited him, since they took heat for aggressively pursuing Penn State’s potential transfers last spring, after the whole Jerry Sandusky debacle hit the fan.
5) Name of the Day: Odediah Church, a 6-7 10th grader who will be visiting Bradley this week. Hopefully he has a game to match his name.
4) Wonder what its like to be Clipper guard Eric Bledsoe; you’re coming off a good season playing for a good team, but every trade rumor your team is involved in has you getting traded. Its good to be wanted by other teams, but you’d think your own team would want to keep you, too.
3) A guy I follow on Twitter actually wagered on the Miss America pageant Sunday night; he and his girlfriend plunked down a few sheckels on Miss Utah, which apparently looked like a solid wager until she opened her mouth and began to speak, then it all fell apart very quickly. Go figure.
2) Wonder what Lane Kiffin got his father for Father's Day? I mean, what do you get for your dad after you fire him to save your own butt?
1) At the risk of being Captain Redundant, Miami is now 12-0 vs spread (all double digit wins) in game following their last twelve losses. Their pointspread results the last 11 games? LWLWLWLWLWL. If you take the Spurs, bet ‘em on the money line.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend...........
13) Spurs outscored Miami 27-12 in the first 2:00 of all five games in the NBA Finals; question becomes now, can they finish the job in Miami?
12) San Antonio shot 60% Sunday night, the first Finals team to make 60% of its shots since the Magic did it in Game 3 against the '09 Lakers.
11) Danny Green was the 46th player taken in the 2009 NBA Draft; he was cut by the Cavaliers, cut twice by the Spurs, had stops in Erie, Reno, Austin and Slovenia-- now he's an overnight sensation. It is good to see people work hard, then find success.
10) If you owned an NBA franchise, and your money/reputation rode on whether your team won/lost, would you hire Patrick Ewing as your head coach? I'd hire JR Ewing first, and yes, I know Larry Hagman is deceased.
Good Lord, there are three free agent coaches who all won 56+ games this year, and Ewing is complaining about not getting a job?
9) Buck Showalter is doing yet another tremendous managing job with the Orioles; very underrated manager. Baltimore is 40-30 after going 93-69 LY, and they don't have great starting pitching. You have to go back to the mid-90's for the last time the O's were good before Showalter took over.
8) Puig-onometry-- Yasiel Puig is now 23-48 in the big leagues.
7) Milwaukee Brewers became the last team to record a shutout this year when they blanked the Reds in Cincinnati Saturday.
6) Tampa Bay Rays called up hitting prospect Wil Myers Sunday night; he is hitting .342 in his last ten AAA games, after a slow start. He used to be a catcher, but is now an outfielder. Rays could use some offense.
5) Toronto Blue Jays have a new scouting director; he fired eight of their amateur scouts, and is bringing in his own people, as the organization goes in a new direction. Major league Jays have turned things around the last few days, am curious to see if they can stay hot and contend for the playoffs.
4) If Chris Paul stays with the Clippers, he can sign a 5-year deal worth a total of $107.5M; if he goes elsewhere, he'll leave $30M or so on the table. What rational human being is doing that?
3) Heard someone on TV feeling sorry for Phil Mickelson Sunday night; the guy won $696,104 this weekend, has earned $71,062,682 in his tremendous career, with 41 wins, and he earns a lot more off the course than he does on it. So he's finished 2nd in the US Open six times; you know how great you have to be to do that? I'm thinking his life is pretty darned good.
2) You can bet on the Miss America pageant? Who knew? Girl from the Nutmeg State won, so if you bet on Miss Connecticut, you're a winner.
\1) Miami is still -$125 to win the NBA title, the Spurs +$105.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday..........
13) You watch these Stanley Cup playoff games, you admire the great effort these players give, and you see how fine a line the difference between winning and losing is. The first two games lasted the length of three, with all the OTs; it is just great entertainment.
12) Last night's Bruin win was the 26th OT game of these playoffs.
11) Indiana pitcher Joey DeNato threw a 136-pitch complete game as Indiana blanked Louisville 2-0 in the College World Series; kid is undrafted as a junior, so he may not be a pro prospect-- is 136 pitches abusive? As I sit here and type this, I'd say no, if the kid isn't a pro prospect.
10) For the recvord, the most pitches thrown in a major league game so far this season is 132, by Clayton Kershaw.
9) Pretty cool of Indiana hoop coach Tom Crean to go to Omaha for the College World Series; according to Mapquest, its 650 miles from Omaha to Bloomington, so not an easy road trip.
8) ESPN's Orel Hershiser, who is very good on TV, said baseball teams in the Big Dozen are getting better because schools have become more liberal about letting coaches pull (partial) scholarships from failed players who don't play up to expectations. Well, alrighty then....
7) In their last 14 home games, Pirates have won three 1-0 games.
6) Trouble for the Bronx Bombers, with Mark Teixeira headed back to NYC to see a doctor about his injured wrist. He didn't even wait until after the road trip ends Sunday; he's flying back before the game.
5) Jeremy Guthrie allowed five runs in seven IP in a 5-3 loss at Tampa Bay Saturday; he faced 31 batters, who swung at 41 of his 114 pitches, and didn't miss any of them. Thats not good for Mr Guthrie's fantasy owners.
4) Speaking of fantasy baseball, I'm in a 16-team keeper league, with 25-man rosters where you can draft minor leaguers. I'm typing this at 4am, and while I've been typing, a guy in our league just picked up a third baseman from the Class A South Atlantic League. At 3:40am. Pretty fun league.
3) Cal Bears must have a damn good golf team; three of their kids made it to the US Open, and two of the three made the cut.
2) Last time the Stanley Cup finals were 1-1 after two games was 2004, when Calgary-Tampa Bay were being ignored by most of America; coach of the champion Lightning that year? John Tortorella, just canned by the New York Rangers-- he's a pretty darn good coach.
1) If you're over 50 like me, you remember cigarette commercials on TV; now it is electronic cigarettes they're peddling, and the commercials are all over TV. Commercials for tobacco cigarettes were outlawed decades ago. It is still odd to be in Las Vegas and see people smoking in casinos, since here in New York, smoking indoors in public places isn't allowed.
Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with the weekend here.....
13) There have been 111 extra inning games this season; all-time record is 237, set two years ago- no other year had more than 220.
12) I like to find unusual trends, so I was disappointed to see in the 11 games this year where a pitcher had 30+ called strikes, there was a different home plate umpire in all eleven games.
11) You watch a replay of the Arizona-Dodger brawl the other night, and I watched it live too, and you wonder how Yasiel Puig didn't get suspended for at least a game? Puig threw a couple haymakers; whether he got drilled by a pitch or not, thats worth a game's suspension.
10) Jockey named Ramon Dominguez was told to retire by doctors after he got hurt in a spill at Aqueduct this winter; you forget how dangerous it is to ride a racehorse-- last time I rode a horse was in 8th grade, and it scared the hell out of me, probably the horse, too. We wish Mr Dominguez well.
9) Diamondbacks' pitcher Patrick Corbin wears a mouthpiece when he pitches, which is a good idea, just highly unusual.
8) Arizona signed hoop coach Sean Miller to an extension thru 2018; funny how these extensions always go five years out, and are signed just before summer recruiting season starts. Thats a coincidence, I'm sure.
7) Why would the Bengals agree to be featured on HBO's Hard Knocks? How does this help them get better?
6) Alabama landed a hotshot QB from Norman, Oklahoma? Don't they have any good college teams in Oklahoma? What are the odds that Nick Saban will still be in Tuscaloosa five years from now-- I mean, if they keep winning national titles, won't the expectations become to great to meet?
5) Good news, bad news for UConn basketball this week.......
Good news: Huskies qualified academically for the NCAAs next year, after they werre ineligible this past season.
Bad news: assistant coach George Blaney retired after 43 years as a coach. Highly respected by all, Blaney was a steadying influence.
4) Milwaukee put Ryan Braun (thumb) on the DL for this first time in his career. Braun is hitting .304 with 36 RBI, big loss for the Brewers.
3) What medical treatment is there that is legal in Germany that is illegal here; now Jermaine O'Neal is going there for treatment? This would be a good story for 60 Minutes; is our government overprotective, or does the German government not care? I'm curious about this.
2) Does Chris Berman get to choose which events he covers? Because if he doesn't, why on God's green earth would ESPN let him near a golf course, let alone the US Open?
1) If the golf course at the US Open is so hard, how come there are two amateurs in the top 12? Shouldn't it be really hard for them, too?
Friday's List of 13: Happy Armadillo Day, everyone...........
13) Happy Armadillo Day to everyone!!!
12 years ago today we started this project and amazingly, we’re still going strong. Thanks to you guys for reading.
Also would like to wish a Happy Birthday to the Big Dawg, who turns 29 again today.
12) I’ve been really lucky and have done a lot of fun things, but #1 on my Bucket List is 2-3 baseball games at the Oakland Coliseum.
Will be great to be in a stadium with so much history in it, and to see a place where I’ve spent most of my life rooting for the home team, without ever having been there. I’m thinking next summer.
11) Patrick Ewing can whine all he wants about getting passed over for NBA head coaching jobs, but he turned down a chance to coach in D-League, where he could actually learn how to be a head coach.
Ewing was Dwight Howard's position coach in Orlando; how many post moves does Howard have? If Ewing was serious about becoming an NBA coach, he should go to the D-League, earn his stripes, instead of sitting on Charlotte’s bench and collecting a paycheck.
10) October 5 Rutgers visits SMU, in what will be the only series meeting in the AAC between these football lightweights. How they ever wound up in the same league, even for only a year, is quite baffling.
9) Former Duke hooper/Syracuse QB Greg Paulus is expected to be named a full-time assistant for Ohio State’s basketball team, replacing Chris Jent, who moved on to the NBA.
Paulus has done a lot of stuff for a guy who is only 26, and he’s paid his dues in coaching, working as Ohio State’s video guy this past winter.
8) Football players from U of Cincinnati are hurt by the school’s quarter system, since NFL draftees aren’t allowed to attend mini-camps until the school year is over, and the school year at Cincinnati runs later than most places. Cincy kids usually wind up missing one of the rookie mini-camps, which puts them behind the learning curve for training camp.
7) Legendary writer Dan Jenkins tweeted Thursday that he hasn’t missed a US Open since 1950; that’s amazing!!!!
6) Chiefs/Jaguars are latest NFL teams to go with IPad playbooks; must be nice to have money!!! IPads are a growing trend in the NFL.
5) Wonder if fact that Jason Kidd/Deron Williams have the same agent helped the Nets decide to hire Kidd as head coach; think it helped their chances of keeping Williams? I’m guessing yes.
4) Only nine baseball games Thursday, but three of them went 13-14-18 innings; A's are first team since '71 Washington Senators to play two 18+ inning games in same season, and they won them both.
3) Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki broke a rib, is out 4-6 weeks.
2) Dwyane Wade shot 14-25 in Miami's 109-93 win; when Miami gets production like that from someone other than James, they ain't going to lose. Heat is 12-0 vs spread in game following their last 12 losses, but are 0-7 vs spread in game following their last seven wins.
1) I look forward to Year 13 of this site starting today, as we head into summer; football season is only 11 weeks away. Thanks again for reading!!!
Thursday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.........
13) New rule that takes getting used to: When a pitching coach goes to talk to his pitcher, if the pitcher doesn't speak English, the coach is allowed to bring an interpreter to the mound, which makes the visit longer.
12) Coming into Wednesday's baseball, there had been 960 games played in 2013, so thats 1,920 starting pitchers: of those 1,920, only 23 threw 120+ pitches in a game, as pitchers are protected by their teams.
11) Turn to college baseball, there is a kid at NC State named Carlos Rodon who has made 33 starts for the Wolfpack,. and threw 120+ pitches in 15 of the 33 games. College coaches aren't as protective as pro teams.
10) Monday-Tuesday was first time EVER the Tampa Bay Rays hit 4+ HRs in consecutive games. Ever.
9) Is the NHL the only pro league where teams announce trades while the playoffs are going on? Flyers-Islanders announced a trade; you don't see that in other sports, they wait until the season is over to announce deals.
8) Former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine is suing ESPN for $11M for defamation, after ESPN ran a story over and over about Fine being an accused pedophile, which was never proven to be true. Fine's career was ruined nonetheless, therefore the lawsuit, which is in federal court.
7) Louisville Cardinals are playing five non-Saturday football games this fall; tremendous national TV exposure should amp up their recruiting.
6) Toronto Blue Jays used 12 starting pitchers in their first 63 games.
5) Five road starts for Barry Zito: 0-4, 14.51.
Eight home starts for Barry Zito: 4-1, 1.93. Go figure.
4) A's 1B Brandon Moss is only 5 for his 40, but all five hits were HRs.
3) Arkansas' football schedule in a 4-week stretch from September 28 to October 19: Texas A&M/@ Florida/South Carolina/@ Alabama. Yikes.
2) Wow, its really been five years since Eldrick Woods won a major?
1) Dodgers-Arizona had major brawl Tuesday, so of course the next day MLB announces the teams will open the 2014 seasion by playing a couple games that count in Australia. Hope they take separate planes.
Wednesday's List of 13: 13 ways I know I'm getting old(er) ...........
13) I remember having to get up to turn the channel on the TV, up until 1973, when cable and that brown rectangular remote control box made life much easier. After the wheel, one of life's great inventions.
12) I remember NCIS star Mark Harmon playing quarterback for UCLA; he wore #7. I'm not nearly old enough to remember his dad Tom playing for Michigan, though I do remember some of the commercials he made.
Tangent: I grew up a huge USC football fan; my favorite player, and I can't remember why, was Al Cowlings, a defensive end who years later became famous for driving OJ Simpson around LA during the infamous police chase in the white Bronco. I remember telling my future ex-wife that story, and she just looked at me like I had six heads-- it wasn't the only time she did that.
11) I remember playing in Little League with wooden bats; aluminum bats were introduced when I was 12 years old. Let it be known that the only year I used an aluminum bat, I made the All-Star team, so I consider metal bats to be one of the great inventions of our time......lol
10) I remember hockey players playing without helmets; even a few goalies playing without masks; crazy bastards!!!!
9) I remember World Series games all being played in daytime; the first night World Series game was 1971. Orioles-Pirates.
8) I remember going to the movies every Sunday night during football season, after the NFL games ended- NFL didn’t used to have a game every Sunday night. Now I'm a little bit behind on my movie watching.
7) I remember when Catfish Hunter pitched a perfect game against the Twins, he also knocked in three runs that night; it was five years before the DH, which was first used in 1973.
6) I remember not seeing west coast boxscores until 4:00 the next day, when Albany's afternoon paper, the Knickerbocker News was delivered to our house; how I looked forward to seeing them!!!
Now I follow boxscores in real time, even on my phone.
5) I remember when college basketball teams had to win their league to get into the NCAA tournament; in 1974, Maryland was #3 in country, but lost ACC tournament final in OT to NC State (#2 in country) and the Terps didn’t even go to the NCAAs. Today, they would’ve been a #1 seed.
4) When I was in college, the drinking age was 18; bars used to be a lot more crowded back then, especially ones near colleges.
3) I remember life before ESPN, when there were only maybe 1-2 ACC basketball games on TV in a season here in New York; the Big East really is a creation of ESPN. Holy Cross turned down an invitation to be a member of the Big East when it started; how much money has that cost them?
2) I remember if you weren’t home and you needed to make a phone call, you had to find a phone booth, where calls were a dime, later a quarter. Now you see gaps in hallways in buildings where phone booths used to be. How many people don't have a phone in their pocket now?
1) There used to be three TV channels in Albany, plus PBS, which never had anything good on; now I have DirecTV with 800 or so channels, with specialized channels for the weather, stock market, golf, NBA, NHL, tennis, NFL, baseball, you name it. I can remember people laughing when MTV first started, that it was a dumb idea. Now look……..
Good thing I don’t have to get up to turn to all those channels.
Tuesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud...........
Shootings in Santa Monica over the weekend remind me that I spent a day on that campus in October 1990, watching a football game between the Santa Monica Corsairs and West LA Junior College.
Not much of a field, just couple hundred fans on metal bleachers (Miami-Notre Dame was the big game back then, and that was on TV at same time that day) but it was obviously high-caliber football. Warren Moon played for West LA years before that.
12) Five years later, I’m watching the Rams on the satellite dish, thumbing through their media guide, and it occurs to me that Isaac Bruce played for West LA that day in 1990, that’s how high quality the football was.
Memphis hired a coach named Chuck Stobart who brought a lot of JC kids with him from California, and that’s how Reverend Ike became a Memphis Tiger. Hopefully he’ll get in the Pro Football Hall of Fame someday soon.
11) Not enough people read the baseball page on this website, because Nevada sportsbooks made $6.4M booking baseball bets this past April. Studying trends can help you win in baseball.
10) Tim Duncan is shooting 3-16 in Finals when Udonis Haslem is on the court, 8-16 when Haslem is off the court.
9) Indiana Hoosiers are first Big Dozen team to make College World Series since Michigan did it in 1984. Hoosiers beat perennial power Florida State twice to get to Omaha.
8) Last year, Cubs’ 1B/OF Bryan LaHair made the All-Star Game after a hot first half of the season; his stock with the Cubs fell so fast that LaHair now plays for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in Japan, where he makes $2.25M a year. Cubs got $900,000 to transfer his contract to Fukuoka.
7) If you go to a Rockies’ game and Jhoulys Chacin is pitching, give the babysitter a little extra cash; Chacin’s last four starts all went into extra innings.
6) Former Miami, OH hoop coach Charlie Coles passed away last week at age 71; at one time in Oxford, his coaching staff was Herb Sendek/Thad Matta/Sean Miller. Not a bad coaching staff there.
5) New Northwestern coach Chris Collins is going to try and run with his Wildcats, a team that has run the slowish Princeton offense for over a decade; C Alex Olah has already dropped 15 pounds, just since the season ended- that has to be a directive from the new coach.
4) Potentially good news for Miami Heat fans: NBA teams that opened the Finals L-W at home have still won eight of 13 NBA Finals series.
3) There is actually a pro golfer named Ryan Yip; he was the last guy to qualify for the US Open this year.
Insert your own putting-related joke here.
2) Was reading some stuff Monday; the 1977 NBA Draft, the same month I graduated from high school, was held on June 10, 17 days before this year’s draft will be held. TV pushed the NBA Finals’ schedule back into June, since May is a Sweeps ratings month and back then, the NBA didn’t do very good ratings, so TV didn’t want the Finals played in May.
Anyway, Milwaukee took Indiana center Kent Benson with the first pick, while Bernard King (Nets) went #7 and Jack Sikma (Sonics) went #8. Whoops. Current Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan was the 33rd pick that year.
1) Chris (Birdman) Andersen was signed by Miami off the street to two 10-day contracts in January of this year in this his 11th NBA season (7 of 10 previous seasons with Denver, three with New Orleans).
Credit to Pat Riley for finding a key piece to this team and signing him when any team could’ve had him. Andersen is a little like Dennis Rodman used to be; he’s a career 5.4 ppg scorer, but he provides energy to his team and he agitates opponents, and that’s a good thing.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend........
Miami went on a 33-5 run, whacked the Spurs 103-84, and evened the NBA Finals 1-1; Heat forced 16 turnovers, after Spurs had only four in their Game 1 win. Game 3 is Tuesday in San Antonio.
12) Rumors are rampant that Jason Kidd wants to be the new coach of the Nets; it would've seemed outlandish at this time LY, but Mark Jackson's success with Golden State makes a head coach with zero experience a little more plausible than before.
11) Dodgers have a 25-year TV deal worth $9 billion???? Thats $360M a year? Where does all that money come from?
10) Puig-onometry: Yasiel Puig is 13 for his first 28 in the big leagues as the Dodgers' leadoff hitter, but the only four runs he scored were on the four home runs he hit. Just seems a little weird.
9) Major league teams that walked more hitters than they struck out are 18-80 (.184) so far this season.
8) Would it kill ESPN to put the Pirates on a Sunday night game? Bucs are 37-26 and would be a playoff team, if playoffs started today.
7) It bugs me that teams prod fans to vote for the home team's players for the All-Star Game, no matter how crummy the team is. Every team will be represented at Citi Field; the worse teams will only get 1-2 guys. Would it be so awful to just vote for the best players?
6) Detroit Tigers are 11-0 in the first game of a home series; 10 of those 11 games went over the total.
5) The CFL will have a ninth team next year, when the Ottawa Red Black begin play. Terrible nickname, awkward scheduling with a 9-team CFL, but good to see the nation's capital getting a team.
4) Of the last 11 NFL QB's drafted in the second round, Andy Dalton of the Bengals was the only one who started in Week 1 of his rookie year, so thats good news for Mark Sanchez, since Geno Smith is a 2nd-round pick.
3) Dodgers and Angels are a combined 54-71 this year; thats a lot of money being wasted in southern California on two bad baseball teams.
2) Miami Marlins are 5-12 in their last 17 games; 5-0 against the Mets, 0-12 vs everyone else. As a result of that.........
1) Finally, at long last, the Mets sent Ike Davis to AAA, along with two other guys; Davis is batting .161 with 16 RBI- this move is long overdue.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.........
13) From the Elias Sports Bureau: Saturday marks the second time in MLB history that there have been a pair of 18+-inning games in the same day. The other instance was August 15, 2006 Diamondbacks beat Rockies, 2-1 in 18 innings, Cubs beat Astros, 8-6 in 18 innings.
12) Rangers used only five pitchers in their 4-3, 18-inning loss to the Blue Jays in Toronto; reliever Wolf threw 82 pitches, more than three starting pitchers Saturday, but not as many as the 105 Marcum threw or 94 Slowey tossed in relief in the 20-inning game at Citi Field.
11) Mets prodigy Matt Harvey left after hurting his back while batting in the 7th inning; he has only one win in his last nine starts, despite a 2.66 ERA in those nine games.
Zack Wheeler is supposed to get his first MLB start in a June 18 twinbill at Atlanta, unless injuries/rainouts change their timetable again.
10) Tampa Bay Rays drafted Dalton Martinez in the 31st round; his dad Dave is Joe Maddon's bench coach.
9) Angels have had so much success with Mike Trout, they went out and drafted Mike Fish, an outfielder from Siena College here in Albany.
8) 10 of the A's first 14 draft picks were pitchers, with eight of the ten hurlers from college programs. They're loading up for when their current crop of young starters bolt for greener pastures in free agnecy in 3-4 years.
7) Pirates will promote Gerrit Cole, their top pick in the 2011 Draft, to start against the Giants Tuesday night. Cole is 5-3, 2.91 in 12 AAA starts for Indianapolis, so it'll be interesting to see how he does against the Giants.
6) Miami Marlins are 7-3 against the Mets, 10-41 vs everyone else.
5) Phil Steele's college football magazine is the bible of college football, and it'll be out next week, but there's an interesting little note on their website:
"We do not ship to correctional facilities"........alrighty then.
Apparently inmatemags.com handles such orders. Seriously.
4) Former Oklahoma State QB Wes Lunt transferred, but hasn't picked a new school yet; Cowboys made it harder for him by blocking him from going to any Big X, SEC or Pac-12 school, 37 schools in all.
Its normal to block a kid from transferring to a league rival, but very unusual to rule out 37 of the other 125 I-A schools, which happened here.
3) By the way, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy has an 8-year contract worth $30.3M. College football is very big business.
2) Mike Scioscia has a $5M a year contract that runs thru 2018, so he ain't getting fired, no matter how awful his Angels play; plus, if the Angels fired him, the Dodgers would probably hire him, which wouldn't sit well with Halos' owner Arte Moreno, who sees the Dodgers as competitors.
1) Friday night, Dodgers had winning run on second in 10th inning, but it was catcher Ramon Hernandez on second, a slow runner. They didn't pinch-run, which is fine because you might not want to leave yourself with only one catcher, but after Luis Cruz ground a single thru the SS hole, then LA ran for him, with Skip Schumaker, a move so odd even Atlanta's TV announcers made note of it.
Dodgers got lucky because Varvaro then threw a wild pitch and Dodgers won the game, but it showed that Mattingly is an indecisive manager- with such an expensive roster, I'm guessing the people who are footing the bill will want a more decisive manager, a better manager in 2014. A guy like Mike Scioscia.
Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff on a rainy day.........
13) Early lines have Alabama a 6-point favorite to avenge LY’s loss to Texas A&M; every other Crimson Tide game, they’re favored by at least 11.5 points. Bama has now been favored to win its last 41 games, an amazing streak of excellence.
12) From a scheduling standpoint, the strangest college football game this coming season might be Boston College at New Mexico State November 9 in Las Cruces. Its not that weird that the teams are playing, but why is BC travelling and not the Aggies?
11) Bruins’ center Greg Campbell broke his fibula while blocked a Penguins’ shot in Game 3; because he’s a hockey player, he finished his shift before going off the ice. Hockey players are true tough guys.
10) Last time Miami Heat lost consecutive games was January 8-10; they’ve won the game after their last ten losses, all by 10+ points.
9) Not only is Rutgers basketball coach Eddie Jordan working hard to put his program together, he’s also going to class to get his undergraduate degree, which he never got when he played at Rutgers in the late 70’s. Jordan says he’s a little less than a year away from getting his degree.
8) SMU hoop coach Larry Brown ran two more players off the team this spring, telling them they’d never play if they stayed.
One kid went to Penn State, another to Boston U. Athletic scholarships are one-year renewable deals, so if a kid underperforms (or is poorly coached), coaches can get rid of them and get better players. Its an underreported story by mainstream media.
7) Weird situation with the White Sox; because their kids are graduating from high school this weekend, manager Robin Ventura and bench coach Mark Parent are missing time, meaning Chicago will have three diffferent guys managing in three nights against the A's Thursday-Saturday.
Parent managed the team Thursday; pitching coach Don Cooper managed Friday's game and Ventura will be back on Saturday.
6) Carmelo Anthony has still taken the most shots in this year’s NBA playoffs, and the Knicks haven’t played since the second round.
5) Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies, Cubs’ TV announcers, worked Friday’s game from the outfield bleachers and were joined for a while by Cub owner Tom Ricketts, who really is trying to make the team better.
4) Am curious to see the Marlins’ lineup when Giancarlo Stanton gets activated Monday; will they bat him ahead of or behind Marzell Ozuna? Miami should score some more runs with those two together in the lineup.
3) Speaking of the Marlins, their ownership is so hideous, so greedy, they’ve ruined the team so badly that attendance in their beautiful new domed ballpark is only 984 fans a game above where it where was two years ago, when they played 15-20 miles away in Dolphins Stadium, with the threat of stormy weather a lot of days.
2) Sounds the Eagles have a QB controversy, and the first game is still 13 weeks away. Coach has the right to decide who the starting QB is on his timetable, but rookie head coach Chip Kelly is going to be tested by this situation.
1) Looks like its going to be a sloppy Belmont Stakes today; wonder if that will keep crowd down? They usually pack ‘em in Belmont Day.
Friday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.......
13) Denver Nuggets fired George Karl, who had one year left on his contract but wanted an extension, which Nuggets weren’t prepared to give him. Getting out of the first round of the playoffs once in nine years doesn’t give you much leverage, but if the Clippers have an ounce of sense, they’re all over Karl and will make him an offer.
Brian Shaw may be a excellent head coach someday, but if you’re choosing between him and Karl right now, who you taking?
12) Rumors have Sacramento Kings seeing if Larry Bird wants to run their team; for $5M a year and an ownership stake, he probably would be, though I’m guessing he would rather have hired his own coach. Kings already hired Mike Malone as their new coach.
11) Speaking of Karl, way back in 1989, Duquesne hired a guy named John Carroll as their head coach, passing over both Karl and Bob Huggins for the job. Whoops. You wonder why some teams never win. Karl is from Penn Hills, Pittsburgh’s second-biggest suburb.
10) Oregon-Georgetown will play hoops on a yet-to be-named Army base November 8 to kick off the college hoop season.
9) Guy named Jon Gordon writes books/gives seminars on team building for companies; he talks about companies having a no-complaint rule, where people aren’t allowed to bitch unless they come up with a solution to what they’re bitching about. Interesting concept.
8) A football jersey worn by Kathy Ireland in movie Necessary Roughness sold at auction this week for $262; Ireland played a kicker for the Texas State Armadillos, yes the Armadillos-- what a movie!!!!.
Scott Bakula was the team’s QB, Fred Thompson the school’s President.
7) North Carolina governor Pat McCrory says kids in public schools “…take too many tests.” Where was this guy when I was in school?
6) Football handicapping contest at the LVH Superbook will play off the top 30 spots this year; registration begins July 1. You pick five NFL games a week, think the tab is $1,500.
5) Former Oklahoma QB Rhett Bomar was trying to land a spot in the CFL, but tore his Achilles tendon, so he’ll be coaching QBs at Orange Grove HS in Texas (his alma mater) this season, as he rehabs his leg.
Bomar played for the Sooners, got booted for having an illegal summer job, then played at Sam Houston State and was with the Giants for a while. Its hard to make it in the NFL.
4) White Sox-Mariners played that bizarre 16-inning game Wednesday; Seattle played same eight position players the whole game. That’s DH-baseball; no need to ever make a double switch or employ much strategy, and with Justin Smoak on the DL, Seattle hasn’t been platooning as much either.
One piece of strategy Seattle used was to walk Adam Dunn intentionally three times; Dunn is batting .158 this season.
3) There have been 39 complete games pitched in major leagues this year; Cardinals have five of them. 14 teams don’t have any CGs, including the Pirates, even though they’ve tossed nine shutouts.
2) Random statistics:
Pittsburgh pitchers have plunked 32 batters, most in MLB; Seattle pitchers have hit the fewest (9) hitters.
Miami has issued the most intentional walks (28), Red Sox the least (3).
1) You watch an NHL playoff game on TV, and you’re hearing the best play-by-play man in sports, Mike Emrick; no one captures the excitement of an event better than Emrick. It must be fun to be that good at your job.
Thursday's List of 13: Random stuff on a spring day.........
13) A 22,000-seat high school football stadium in Allen, Texas cost $60M to build. 60 million dollars, for a high school football facility; guess we know where the greedy bastards in the oil industry live- that’s probably part of why gas is $3.71 a gallon around here.
They’re the Allen HS Eagles, by the way.
12) One of the cool things about college sports is how schools like Rice and Cal State-Fullerton are really good at one sport (in this case, baseball) and doormats in most everything else. Fullerton-UCLA should be a good series this weekend.
11) Pairings for Jimmy V Classic December 17, both games on ESPN-Pitt-Cincinnati (no longer a Big East rivalry) and Florida-Memphis. Pretty good college basketball twinbill.
10) Over last four years, Long Beach State has ranked #2-4-2-1 in non-conference strength of schedule. Wonder if they think its helped them, on the court? Their program probably made lot of money doing that, but its not like they made any noise in the post-season. They probably use it a lot in recruiting.
9) Thoughts and prayers to Cardinals’ QB coach/former Alabama WR Freddie Kitchens, who had emergency heart surgery this week; stuff like that is scary.
8) Next week’s US Open is going to be really tough; word is that Rory McIlroy hit a ball in the rough during a practice round and couldn’t find it, and they’re still fertilizing the rough this week.
7) Big Dozen signed an 8-year deal with the Pinstripe Bowl, clinching that a Big Dozen team will get sent to the Bronx for a bowl game for the next eight years. Not sure the kids involved will be all that excited—its damn cold in NYC in late December.
6) Speaking of the Bronx Bombers, if they get out of paying the rest of ARod’s contract ($80M or so) I’m going to puke- a 100-game suspension nets them about $18M in savings, but getting out of the last three years would be a huge bonanza for them, and allow them to poach more stars from other teams in free agency.
5) Arizona State is playing USC/Notre Dame on consecutive Saturdays this year; that doesn’t happen too much. Todd Graham might want to have a little talk with whomever is doing his scheduling.
4) Kentucky is playing Western Kentucky in its football season opener, but in Nashville; why would these Kentucky teams play a game against each other in Tennessee?
3) Pitcher named Duke von Schamann leads the Class A California League in wins (7-2, 4.32); he is the son of former Oklahoma/Dolphins’ kicker Uwe von Schamann, who kicked in Miami for six years.
The dad once made a last-second FG to beat Ohio State in Columbus; when the Buckeyes called timeout to ice him, von Schamann pretended to be the conductor for the band playing music during the timeout. Yup, those were Barry Switzer’s Sooners.
2) Heard this at work today: “Its bad luck to kill a spider during the day.” Never heard that before; anyone else have any insight on this?
1) An 84-year woman in Florida was the winner of the $590M Powerball jackpot; how happy are her freakin’ kids?
If I’m her, first thing I do is hire a person to taste my food, make sure none of the kids are trying to off her to collect the cash.
Wednesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but..........
13) Great college baseball game on TV late Monday night, FAU-North Carolina, but in 12th inning, Tar Heels bring in lefty reliever to face one better, the day after he threw 90 pitches as a starter!!! If you don’t think college coaches abuse their pitchers, check the next item, written by a current major league pitcher……
12) Last night’s Tweet of the Night, from Arizona Diamondbacks’ pitcher Daniel Hudson: “Almost just want this UNC regional game to end. These are the types of games where college pitchers get absolutely abused.”
Thats a major league pitcher talking..
11) If you’re a parent, and your kid is about to get drafted Thursday and sign maybe a half a million dollar contact, how do you sit by and watch his college coach put his arm in jeopardy like that? There have to have been some interesting confrontations over the years.
10) Former Arizona Cardinal HC Ken Whisenhunt is the new OC in San Diego; sounds like Philip Rivers will wear gloves this year, to try and reduce his turnovers; a similar tactic worked well for Whisenhunt when he coached two-time NFL MVP Kurt Warner with the Redbirds.
9) This is the 10th week of what has been a very poor season for my fantasy baseball team; it’s a 16-team, 25-man roster keeper league.
Having Carl Crawford on my team has been frustrating; the six weeks he was active, he had a .320 OB%. The three weeks he was inactive, he had a .402 OB%. If I’m frustrated by his sporadic and erratic play, what about the people who are paying him $20.8M this season? How must they feel?
8) Miami Heat is -$220 to win the NBA Finals; Spurs are +$190.
7) If I had my choice of three people to go to dinner with and pick their brains, they would be: Bill James-Steve Martin-Bob Uecker.
6) JaMarcus Russell is getting a workout with the Bears Friday, which should be interesting. He'd be an interesting project as a backup.
5) Ohio State President Gordon Gee got the gate Tuesday; if you believe he "resigned", you're naive. People don't quit $1.9M a year jobs, when you live in a big mansion and have a huge expense account. His mouth got his overeducated butt fired, bow ties and all.
4) Nine of 14 baseball games Tuesday were decided by one run or in extra innings. Lot of late inning heroics, aka bad relief pitching.
3) Los Angeles Kings stayed unbeaten at home in NHL playoffs, beating Chicago 3-1; Blackhawks still lead series 2-1.
2) Eagles WR DeSean Jackson fired agent Drew Rosenhaus, who then sued Jackson for $400,000; no shortage of drama with those receivers.
1) RIP David (Deacon) Jones, one of my boyhood heroes, and one of the great defensive ends of all-time. Being a Ram fan in the late 60’s was fun because they had a great defense and a coach (George Allen) who was one of the first coaches to really stress special teams play.
Jones used to slap opposing tackles in the head to get by them, a move that was later outlawed. He was a bigger-than-life personality and a great, great player. RIP, sir..
Tuesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.........
NBA salary cap is only going up to $58.5M next year, from the current $58.044M. Not much growth there.
12) Oakland University is moving up from Summit League to the Horizon next year; sharpshooter Travis Bader announced he was staying with the Grizzlies, fueling speculation that bigger schools tried to poach him, since he’s already graduated from Oakland, could play anywhere next season.
Oakland is a horrible defensive team, but they can score, and Bader is their #1 shooter; he gets credit for being loyal, which in today’s world, is becoming a less common trait. Good for him.
11) Since joining the NBA in 1976, Indiana Pacers have never played Game 7 of a playoff series at home- they're 2-4 on the road in Game 7's.
10) In fairness, we present the Ike Davis update. Sunday was a big day for the Mets’ struggling 1B; he had a homer, 3 RBI and is now hitting .168. If he has a hot week, he'll be hitting his weight by Saturday.
Speaking of the Mets, there was an article in the Wall Street Journal that made two basic points:
a) No MLB team wants their AAA team in Las Vegas.
b) No AAA city wants to host the Mets' farm club.
Therefore, the Mets' AAA team is in Las Vegas.
The former longtime GM of the Tidewater Tides pointed a finger at Mets' COO Jeff Wilpon, blaming him for the end of the Mets' run in Norfolk with the Tides as their AAA team.
Wilpon is a nitwit with a rich daddy; the Mets will struggle to be good as long as he is in charge.
9) ESPN college basketball writer Dana O’Neil actually called Rutgers leadership “imbeciles” Monday; she is fairly even-keeled as a writer, so those are damning words, albeit accurate.
8) Dunkin’ Donuts starts selling glazed donut sandwiches nationally this Friday; I’ll have to take a pass on those.
7) The most common password people used on their computer in 2012? “Password”. Good grief.
6) Yadier Molina got suspended for a game for his antics with an umpire on Sunday, but because its baseball, he appeals the suspension and played Monday night, homering agaiunst Trevor Cahill. Only in baseball does the player get to pick which game(s) he gets suspended for.
5) Memphis Grizzlies, coach Lionel Hollins might be parting ways over philosophical differences, as the new ownership favors analytics and more statistical answers to basketball questions, while Hollins is old school.
He even made a snide comment last winter that caught my attention-- when asked a question about analytics and Moneyball, he replied, “What have the Oakland A’s won recently?” which annoyed me to no end, being an A’s fan. Hollins will have five job offers ten minutes after Memphis fires him, but he should know better than be raggin’ on the A’s.
4) Our thoughts and prayers go to Jim Kelly, who will have an operation to remove a cancerous growth from his upper jaw later this week. One of the best QBs in NFL history, we wish him well.
3) Dodgers had biggest Opening Day payroll of alltime, but this is the lineup they fielded Monday night against the Padres: 1) Puig 2) Punto 3) Gonzalez 4) Hernandez 5) Van Slyke 6) Ethier 7) Hairston 8) Cruz 9) Fife.
Ramon Hernandez cleanup? Yikes.
2) You look at the Bruins leading 2-0 over Pittsburgh in the NHL's Eastern Conference finals, and you have to think the people in Toronto are sick; the Leafs had Boston down 4-1 with 11:00 left in Game 7, but collapsed and lost in OT, the worst Game 7 collapse ever.
1) Think Pacers' coach Vogel wishes he had Roy Hibbert on the floor in the last 0:10 of Game 1? That wound up deciding the series.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up the sports weekend.........
Five years ago, Roy Hibbert was taken 17th by Toronto in the NBA Draft, behind such luminaries as Joe Alexander (8th), Brandon Rush (13th) and Marreese Speights (16th). Pacers got Hibbert in a trade for Jermaine O'Neal; its worked out pretty well for them.
12) Last five times the Astros were underdogs of +$200 or more, they won the game- Bo Porter is doing a good job making them competitive.
11) There is a 10th-grade high school QB in Jacksonville who committed to Florida State already; the kid has a brother who is three years younger, and this weekend, Vanderbilt offered the 7th grader a scholarship!!!
10) Coaching in the NBA has to be insane. Clippers/Memphis both won 56 games this year, Atlanta won 44, but all three teams are likely to have new coaches next year. Even George Karl is feeling uneasy with Denver's GM moving on to Toronto- the Nuggets were 57-25 this year, but failed to get out of the first round of the playoffs for 8th time in last nine years.
9) Jeremy Bonderman made his first MLB start in three years Sunday; if you read the book Moneyball, it was the A's drafting Bonderman with their first pick in the 2001 draft that caused Billy Beane to change how the A's do their business. Bonderman now has a 67-78 career record.
8) Dodgers brought up prospect Yasiel Puig from AA to take Matt Kemp's place in outfield; he was hitting .313 with 37 RBI in 40 games in the AA Southern League.
7) Minnesota hoop coach Richard Pitino poached a kid from Drake, Joey King, who scored 6.9 ppg as a freshman for the Bulldogs-- he's mainly an outside shooter right now. Bigger schools are doing this more and more to mid-majors. Supposedly King does really have a sick relative and wants to be closer to home, but Iowa isn't that far from Minnesota.
6) A store in Lawrence, KS is already selling Andrew Wiggins t-shirts, as colleges rake in money off of kids who might not even have graduated from high school yet. Landing Wiggins was a huge get for Bill Self.
5) Domonic Brown hit 12 HRs, knocked in 25 runs in May, all without drawing a single walk. He's hit eight homers in his last ten games.
4) Joey Chestnut polished off 25 pastrami sandwiches to win an eating contest Sunday; the Nathan's hot dog contest is only a month away!!!!
3) Why it was stupid for the Twins to build a stadium without a roof on it; they had a walk-up crowd of 2,400+ Sunday, since the weather was nice. If you have a domed stadium, all those people are buying tickets beforehand. If Milwaukee has a dome, why not Minnesota?
2) 31-year old rookie Ed Lucas went to that baseball factory Dartmouth; he had four hits in his second major league start Sunday, and is 5-8 so far with the Marlins, who seemingly have new guys every week.
1) Rutgers paid a consultant $35,000 in their coaching search that landed them former NBA coach Eddie Jordan, but Jordan is a Rutgers alum-- they couldn't have found him all by themselves?!?!?!?!
Sunday's List of 13: Some late spring college hoop knowledge........
Its never too early to start thinking college basketball; the rankings we use in this article are from www.kenpom.com. Here are some conference-related notes we came up with this weekend:
13) Over last 12 years, the eventual national champ is 11-1 vs spread in its second tournament game, with ’07 Florida Gators (W74-67, -11.5) the only exception to that trend.
12) Big East has become more of an NBA-style league, ranking 26th in offensive efficiency LY, by 2nd in offensive rebounding %age, meaning there’s lot of brute force on display under the basket, and less skill on the perimeter. This was the 4th year in row Big East ranked in top 2 in offensive rebounding.
11) Losing VCU hurt the CAA, as it slipped to the #18 league (out of 32) its lowest ranking in over a decade; 28 of its 99 games were decided by 4 or less points or in OT, the highest %age of close games of any conference.
10) Six of 108 Pac-12 games were decided by 20+ points, a surprisingly low number.
9) Mountain West home teams were 51-21 SU LY; they had so many good teams, they were all tough at home. MWC took a huge hit with graduation this spring though- lot of those teams will be rebuilding this fall.
8) Atlantic Sun lost Belmont to the OVC and slipped from #15 to #24 league, even with Florida Gulf Coast’s fun run to the Sweet 16.
7) Look at it this way though; if Belmont stays in the A-Sun, they probably win that league again, and Andy Enfield still lives in Fort Myers, while USC has a different coach. Funny how USC’s fortunes were indirectly tied to Belmont (Bruins of all people!!!) switching leagues.
6) I’m surprised the Ivy League has played slowest games in country two years in a row; why hasn’t one of those teams adopted the Paul Westhead run-‘n-gun style and tried to create a unique niche for itself? Ivy teams made 72.8% of their FTs this year (#1 in country), 36.9% of its 3-pointers (#2 in country).
5) Only three of 56 Ivy League games were decided by 20+ points. I’m telling you, if one of these teams committed to a breakneck pace, they could make a dent in this league.
4) MEAC teams press a lot; they played 2nd-fastest games in country. 22 of its 90 games were decided by 20+ points, indicating a lack of balance, but the #’s 1-4 teams in MEAC all lost their first conference tournament game, so go figure.
3) WCC home teams were only 36-36 SU; talent gap in this league, with Gonzaga/St Mary’s so dominant, they win just about all their road games too.
2) Patriot League jumped to the #16 league this year, first time in 12+ years it has been in top 20. Only 8 of their 56 games were close games, decided by 4 or less points or in OT.
1) Ken Pomeroy’s ratings favor teams that protect the ball well, so its no surprise the Big Dozen ranked #1 in the country for third year in a row; for the 8th time in last 10 years, Big Dozen games ranked last or 2nd-to-last in average tempo.
Saturday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.........
13) Royal-Cardinal game Thursday had a 4:36 rain delay (that’s 4 hours, 36 minutes); it resumed at 4:04am ET (even I was asleep) and the umps who did the game (Joe West’s crew) had the Arizona-Cub game in Wrigley ten hours later. Chicago is 300 miles from St Louis; you do the math.
Had the umps called the game early, the Royals would’ve lost, but they got a 4-2 comeback win in George Brett’s first game as hitting coach.
12) Kid who won the spelling bee on ESPN gets a $30,000 scholarship; he says he’s going to study physics all summer.
Vernon Wells makes $148,148,15 a game, and he isn’t even any good.
11) Good luck winning Games 6-7, Indiana. Last time the Miami Heat lost consecutive games: January 8-10.
10) Heat is now 9-0 vs spread in game following its last nine losses, with three of those wins in the playoffs.
9) Ownership change in Sacramento also means new coach/GM; wonder if that helps Jimmer Fredette’s chances of getting more playing time?
New coach is from Golden State, where they’ve generally tried to play fast, so that could help Jimmer, who is from Glens Falls, 45 miles north of Armadillo World HQ.
8) Memphis Tigers will have seven new players this winter, including three of the top 37 on ESPN.com’s top 100 list; there hasn’t been official word yet, but rumors are the first AAC basketball tournament could be in downtown Memphis. Its going to be a good league, for sure.
7) Rutgers hoop coach Eddie Jordan has already signed six new players, and he’s only been on the job since April 23; couple of those kids are in the Class of 2014, but the former NBA coach has hit the ground running, recruiting-wise.
6) Detroit Tigers lost all three games Tuesday-Thursday, despite giving up a total of seven runs; they’re first team since 1958 to lose two extra-inning games by a 1-0 score in a 3-day span.
5) Former UTEP/Nebraska hoop coach Doc Sadler (149-107 career record) has been hired as an assistant at Iowa State, after being Director of Ops at Kansas LY; Fred Hoiberg lost an assistant to Washington, so he hired Sadler to take his place.
4) Pete Rose still earns over $1M a year signing autographs in Las Vegas; last time I saw him out there, in the Forum Shops at Caeser’s Palace, it was $69.99 a pop, but that was a couple years ago.
3) An Australian golf pro named Andrew Dodt, ranked #561 in the world, had two aces four holes apart on the European Tour this week, but still trails the leader by 11 strokes.
2) How different teams think: Buffalo Bills drafted Florida State QB EJ Manuel with the #18 pick in the first round; Dallas Cowboys gave Manuel a 4th-round grade. Curious to see the young man play.
1) Just this week, Jerry West turned 75, Gale Sayers and Joe Namath turned 70. Not sure about me, but my childhood sure is getting old in a hurry.
Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with the weekend here........
13) From reading New York papers, its clear Rangers’ GM Glen Sather wasn’t going to fire his coach until exit interviews with players indicated a widening gap between the players and coach John Tortorella. Given that scenario, the coach almost always goes, especially if the unhappy players are the core of the team.
12) Given the NHL’s condensed 48-game season this year, its seems a little unfairto fire a coach this spring, especially one who has had success, but when did life become fair? Tortorella has won a Stanley Cup (Tampa Bay) and will get another job. He would probably be real good on TV, given his outspoken nature, but sadly, you can’t curse on live network TV.
If you saw HBO’s footage of Tortorella a couple years ago when he was miked while coaching, he says some funny stuff when he’s mad.
11) This is first time since 2007 (Detroit/Buffalo) that both #1 seeds made it to the Conference finals; that year, they both lost.
10) This was the last year for the Red Wings in the Western Conference; they trade places with Winnipeg next year; I think Columbus goes to the east, too. Only took NHL two years to get Winnipeg out of the Southeast Division, so kudos to them for that.
9) CFL training camps started this week. In May. Football is getting closer; the Phil Steele College Football bible is scheduled to hit newsstands June 18. Always a big day.
8) Chicago’s Brent Seabrook is only the 4th defenseman ever (first since 2001) to score an OT goal in a Game 7.
7) Rory McIlroy birdied the first hole Thursday, then played the next 11 holes in 7-over par; how does someone that good play so badly? Muirfield isn’t supposed to be that hard a course.
6) Rhode Island hired Luke Murray as an assistant basketball coach, which wouldn’t normally be that big a deal, except that Luke has a pretty famous dad, comedian Bill Murray.
\5) LSU-Wisconsin are negotiating a 2-year football series, with a 2014 game in Houston, then another game (probably in ’17) at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. Would Les Miles chew grass pulled from the frozen tundra?
4) The last seven Super Bowl champs combined to win a total of zero playoff games the year after they won their title.
3) Royals hired George Brett as hitting coach; what they need are players who play like Brett, but they don’t come along that often. Will be interesting to see if he can spark an improvement by their offense. There are also rumors that Brett will be the Royals' manager by the All-Star break.
2) National Spelling Bee is on ESPN this week; you talk about kids who play too many video games, how about these kids? Hide their books for an hour or two every day and make them go outside and do stuff. Seriously.
1) Lance Stephenson is 6-27 from floor in Miami's three playoff wins, 13-27 in two games Pacers won.
Thursday's List of 13: Random thoughts on a warm spring day
13) World Series of Poker started Wednesday, the first two of 62 events tipping off. Main Event starts July 6; I’ll be out there when the Main Event ends, maybe I’ll drive over to Rio and get on ESPN!!!
12) Miami/Indiana split their last six games; during that time, Heat is 45-3 against the rest of the NBA.
11) Steve Kerr basically dared the NBA to fine guys for flopping in Game 4 at Indiana Tuesday night, calling the game “….a flopfest.” All refs have to do is stop calling offensive fouls, and flopping will end, and quickly.
10) Pacers are hurting Miami on the offensive boards, grabbing 39.9% of their misses; that’s either very good offensive rebounding, or bad rebounding by the defense. Or a little of both.
9) Brewers SS Juan Segura went 6-7 Tuesday night, first MLB player with six hits in a game since Adrian Gonzalez four years ago.
8) Former Oregon State PG Ahmad Starks transferred home to Illinois; he would like to play this year, and stunningly, he has a sick grandmother to use as an excuse to become eligible right away. Funny how that works.
7) Colorado fired AD Mike Bohn, who had a contract that ran thru 2017; bad news for new football coach Mike MacIntyre, who came in from San Jose State. A coach never wants the AD that hired him to leave, especially before he ever coaches a game. The new AD just isn’t going to be as invested in a coach he didn’t hire.
6) Colorado P Jorge de la Rosa has made 11 starts; Rockies scored exactly two runs in six of the 11 games, and won all five when they scored more.
5) LA Kings’ forward Justin Williams is first NHL’er ever to scored a goal in his first four Game 7’s; odd thing is, those Game 7’s were played for three different teams over a 10-year span. Home team won all seven games in LA-San Jose series.
4) Oakland’s starting pitching has gotten a lot better this month, which explains their recent hot streak; in his first seven starts this year, Jarrod Parker was 1-5, 7.60. In his last four starts, Parker is 2-1, 2.96.
If the A’s get to their bullpen with a lead in the 7th inning, they’re generally pretty strong- their starters had struggled finishing six innings in the first 5-6 weeks, but are doing it now.
3) Here’s why Katin Reinhardt can't play point guard for Andy Enfield at USC; of the 148 dunks Enfield’s Florida Gulf Coast team had LY, PG Brett Comer assisted on 65 of them. You think Reinhardt is that good a playmaker? If he was, he would’ve played PG for UNLV, which desperately needed a playmaker like Comer.
2) Our thoughts and prayers to Argentinian basketball legend Oscar Schmidt, one of the most prolific gunners in basketball history. I’m serious, he made Allen Iverson look like John Stockton, he shot the ball so often. He could’ve played in the ABA with Bo Lamar and Machine Gun Grant. Great fun to watch; we pray/hope he gets better soon.
1) So the Internet and newspapers are going nuts about Amanda Bynes getting arrested over the weekend and I’m sitting there like, “Who the hell is Amanda Bynes? Seriously, I don’t know.”
Seems like some of these “celebrities” get in trouble on purpose just to keep their names in the news, otherwise, they’d become, you know, ordinary and in this day and age, that would be the biggest crime of all.
Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.........
13) 2014 NFL Draft will be the second weekend in May, pushed back three weeks from this year; I think eventually, once this concussion lawsuit is settled, the NFL will go to an 18-game regular season, with the Super Bowl being played Presidents’ Day weekend.
12) Going into Tuesday night’s games, Mike Napoli (4.48) and AJ Ellis (4.41) have seen the most pitches per plate appearance.
11) Four of the top six on this list are/were catchers; three of the top eight play for the Indians.
10) On flip side, Steve Lombardozzi (3.03) and Nolan Arenado (3.18) have seen the fewest pitches per plate appearance.
9) Monday night’s crowd of 32,911 was smallest ever for a Mets-Bronx game. New York City, like most places, is a town for frontrunners now and not the great baseball city it once was. The hideous Wilpons have beaten the joy out of baseball for a lot of Met fans.
8) Want to feel old? I know I did when someone told me Tuesday was Jerry West’s 75th birthday. Ever see the NBA logo? That’s Jerry West, 40+ years ago, when he was a great player and before he became a great, great executive.
7) New Hofstra coach Joe Mihalich (a sharp guy) hired Speedy Claxton as a special assistant to the basketball program; Claxton is probably Hofstra’s best-ever basketball player who had a fairly long NBA career.
6) Over the last 16 years, under is 13-3 in the Tennessee Titans’ first road game of the season. Just thought you’d like to know.
5) How does Rutgers hoop coach Mike Rice get fired but the new AD and school President keep their jobs?
From what you read, the AD was more abusive as a coach than Rice, but now she gets hired to oversee an entire program? How does this happen?
4) Sunday against the Cardinals, Carl Crawford was 3-4 with two doubles, a terrific game; Monday, he sat out the first game of Freeway Series because CJ Wilson was pitching. Crawford is 3-18 with a HR vs Wilson in his career, but he is hitting .308 with an OB% of .369 this year. He's a good player.
Crawford makes $20.8M a year; Dodgers didn't play on Thursday, so he had only played three days in a row. How does he not play vs Wilson? Dodgers are floundering badly; they need all hands on deck, especially the hands that are filled with serious amounts of cash.
3) Last time there was an NBA postseason without a 4-0 series sweep was 2000.
2) San Antonio Spurs are most underrated franchise in all of sports, but you get feeling they like it like that; they’re also a kick in teeth to American basketball, as nine of their 15 guys were born outside the United States. Maybe that’s why Greg Popovich hasn’t been the Olympic coach.
1) Should Spurs play Miami in NBA Finals, it’ll really be the first time the starting 5’s have met this season. First meeting in November was the night the Spurs openly gave Parker-Duncan-Ginobili the night off, still led in the 4th quarter, before losing by 5.
NBA fined them six figures for blatantly tanking a nationally televised game. Rematch was night Miami said Wade/James “were injured” so they didn’t play, and Heat won by hoop, led by big night from Bosh. Miami didn’t get fined because they were politically correct. Will be lot of mind games if this series takes place.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but...........
13) Lot of college basketball players transfer, but usually because of a lack of playing time or they don't shoot as much as they would like. UNLV had a kid transfer this weekend who was second in minutes played and second in shots taken. He wants to play point guard, since he (or his father) see that as his meal ticket to the NBA. Interesting story to follow.
12) Problem for the kid is this: UNLV didn't have a true point guard this past season, and they still wouldn't use him there; what does that say about his floor general skills? Two of his three landing spots are USC/Oregon; if UNLV didn't want to play him at the point, why would a Pac-12 team?
11) Kid's name is Katin Reinhardt, and he played high school ball at Mater Dei HS in southern California, a perennial basketball power; NBC Sports reports that since 2007, of the nine Mater Dei alums who were ranked in the top 150 nationally, eight of them transferred from their original college.
Kid at Colorado named Xavier Johnson is the exception, and he's only been in Boulder for one season. Plenty of time for him to make it 9-for-9.
10) USC/Oregon both have good coaches, smart guys. Andy Enfield was a celebrity this past March because he's smart; his offense requires a point guard who can play fast and distribute the ball. Guy worked in the NBA and on Wall Street; he went to college at Johns Hopkins, he's not going to play a kid at PG unless he's really good at it.
Dana Altman has won everywhere he's been; he already has PGs on his roster, so why would he play Reinhardt there, if Dave Rice wouldn't?
9) Reinhardt's best bet to play point guard in college is to go to Cal-Irvine and play for former Golden State assistant Russell Turner, but in the Big West, a lesser league than the Pac-12 or Mountain West.
8) One other transfer story; kid named Sheldon Jeter wants to transfer from Vanderbilt to Pitt (he is from Beaver Falls, PA), but Vandy won't sign his release to go to Pitt. he could still go there, but would have to pay his way next season, before going on scholarship in 2014-15.
Sometimes a coach gets annoyed with how the kid breaks the news about his transferring, or thinks the kid was tampered with; curious to find out how this winds up. Coaches can look bad when they block a transfer request.
7) Charlotte Bobcats hired Steve Clifford as head coach; not that long ago, the guy was coaching at Woodland HS in Maine and later spent a year as an assistant coach at Siena College here in Albany. Quite a leap to the NBA, where he's been an assistant for well over a decade.
6) Mariners sent 2B prospect Dustin Ackley down to the minors, based on his anemic .206 batting average. The way the Mets treat Ike Davis, if Ackley was on the Mets, they'd give him a contract extension and a raise.
5) Beating a dead horse: Davis is hitting .155; not only should he be sent to Las Vegas, the Mets' AAA team, maybe he should be parking cars at Bellagio instead of playing baseball for a living.
Seriously, the Mets are doing him a disservice by not putting him on the DL, at least. He needs some time off to clear his head.
4) Tony Parker dismantled the Grizzlies and Spurs swept Memphis four straight, with Games 2-3 in overtime. Seeing how Memphis traded Rudy Gay to get under the tax threshold, not sure how they get better this summer- it had a good enough team to win the NBA title before they traded Gay.
3) Blackhawks scored three third period goals, beat Detroit 4-3, forced a Game 7 in the Windy City Wednesday night; good deal for the NHL, which also has a Game 7 in the Staples Center tonight.
2) NL teams are now 9-24 at AL teams in interleague play, where they have to use the unfamiliar DH; interesting to see if that trend holds up.
1) I like interleague play in baseball, but I'd like geographic realignment a lot better; less travel, more rivalry games. Just think it would be better.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend..........
13) If I had my way, baseball would lose the DH; placate players' union by expanding big league rosters to 27 guys, just get rid of the DH. Union likes the DH because DH's generally make more money than the average player.
12) Pretty big day in Indianapolis Sunday, with the Indy 500 and the Pacers' game; too bad Indiana forgot to play defense-- Miami had 70 points at the half, committing just one first half turnover.
11) St Louis Cardinals are 14-3 this season in game following a loss.
10) Redbirds won World Series two years ago; only nine of the 25 players from that team still play for St Louis.
9) Cincinnati's Shin-Soo Choo has been hit by a pitch 13 times this season; thats what happens when you crowd the plate. He has been a very good leadoff man, with an OB% of .441 this season.
8) If you had Phillies-Nationals under 6.5 Sunday, thats a bad beat, as game was 0-0 after 6.5 innings, before Nationals scored five times in bottom of 7th on their way to a 6-1 win. Cole Hamels is 1-8 this season.
7) A's haven't had a position player make All-Star team since Ramon Hernandez did way back in 2003.
6) Minnesota Twins have been outscored 52-21 in first inning this year.
5) Memphis transfer Antonio Barton stays in-state, will play for the Tennessee Volunteers, where he could be an upgrade over the previous PG, Trae Golden.
4) Memo to Oriole manager Buck Showalter; Do not bat JJ Hardy behind Chris Davis. Toronto walked Davis intentionally three times Sunday to get to Hardy, who responded with three outs. Not sure I've ever seen the same guy walked intentionally three times in one game, other than Barry Bonds, and Davis is certainly no Bonds.
3) Last season the Buffalo Bills allowed 14.7 ppg in their six wins, 34.7 ppg in their ten losses.
2) After 50 games, the Pittsburgh Pirates are 31-19; this is third year in row they've gotten off to a good start, but their rotation looks sturdier this time around. They might contend all season.
1) Full slate of interleague play the next four days, with two-game series in all 30 cities. Interesting new twist on interleague play this season.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday..........
13) Lot of stuff happened after midnight Saturday; first, the word out of Notre Dame is that QB Everett Golson is gone from the school, supposedly due to an academic violation. This isn't good, on many levels, for the Irish program; will be interesting when the whole story comes out.
12) Kid named Gunnar Kiel has been a prized recruit for a while; his uncle Blair played for the Gerry Faust Irish in the mid-80's, but this kid is a piece of work, committing to Indiana (where his brother played), then LSU, then Notre Dame, and finally to Cincinnati, where he is committed to now, but according to recruiting rules, Kiel could go back to South Bend and play there this fall, if he wanted to and Brian Kelly took him back. Stay tuned.
11) Notre Dame is a holier-than-thou institution that pretends not to be a football factory, but their buyout of former coach (current Kansas coach) Charlie Weis will wind up being $18,966,867, according to Yahoo! Sports.
You pay a fraud like Weis over $20M, you're a football factory, just not a very smart one.
10) Then there is Rutgers, which canned its AD and basketball coach because the coach is a bastard who mistreated players. They brought in a new AD, Julie Hermann, a highly-regarded administrator who at one time was the women's volleyball coach at Tennessee. Whoops.
Turns out she quit the Tennessee job because the players hated her and hated playing for her; she fired an assistant coach for getting pregnant, and the school had to pay the assistant $150,000 after a lawsuit.
This is the person you hired to clean up a mess? Its like hiring Lindsay Lohan to teach Driver Ed-- what are they thinking about?!?!?!?!
9) North Carolina beat NC State 2-1 in an 18-inning game in semifinals of the ACC baseball tournament; Tar Heels play Virginia Tech Sunday.
8) Everth Cabrera was a triple short of the cycle in San Diego's 10-4 win at Arizona; 345 times a Padre has come within one hit of the cycle, with 247 of those coming a triple short. No Padre has ever hit for the cycle, with Tony Gwynn missing it by a hit in 22 different games, even once getting taken out when he was a single short.
7) Spurs are up 3-0 on Memphis, but last two wins were in OT, where San Antonio outscored the Grizzlies 26-11 in those two extra frames. Spurs are 5-1 on the road in the playoffs- they know how to win big games, which is how you win four NBA championships.
Memphis led this game 29-13 after the first quarter but couldn't finish the deal; Parker/Duncan combined for 50 points in the win.
6) Golfer Jeff Overton was DQ'd at Colonial Saturday because he used a practice aid on a putting green while his group was backed up on the 10th tee. Golf rules say you can't use any practice aids once a round starts.
5) Anibal Sanchez' last six starts:
-- April 26, 8 IP, no runs, 17 strikeouts, 121 PT, W10-0.
-- May 24, 9 IP, no runs, 12 strikeouts, 130 PT, W6-0
-- In between: 1-3 with a 5.82 ERA. Betting baseball ain't easy.
4) Pretty good 4-game event in Dallas November 8 to mark the start of the college basketball season:
Baylor-Colorado, TCU-SMU, Texas-LSU, Alabama-Oklahoma. Sounds like it would be a good way to spend an autumn Friday.
3) Sounds like Jeff Hornacek drew the short straw, and will be named new coach of the Phoenix Suns. Not the best organization to work for; over last three seasons, Suns are 98-132. Maybe they should've kept Mike D'Antoni.
2) The guy with the white beard on latenight TV who makes you feel guilty for not giving money to poor kids overseas? His tab just went up, from $18 a month to $28 a month-- he didn't offer an explanation why. Go figure.
1) Angel Pagan hit a 2-run, walkoff, inside-park HR in the 10th inning, as the Giants pulled out a 6-5 win over Colorado. Pretty exciting play to see, even on replay. Last one of those was Rey Sanchez in 2004.
Saturday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.........
13) Tremendous win by the Pacers Friday in Miami, evening series 1-1 and grabbing the home court advantage as the series goes back to Indiana. Lot of mental toughness for the Pacers when they were down 88-84.
12) Big homer by Chris Young in front of friends/family in Houston, as Oakland scored three times in the ninth inning to beat the Astros 6-5.
11) Braves-Mets was suspended after eight innings, tied 5-5; game will be resumed at 6:10 Saturday night.
10) Pat Riley calls it “The Disease of Me”, when a team wins title(s), then struggles because everyone wants to take credit for the successes; seems like that’s what happened with the Red Sox, when the team stupidly canned Terry Francona because of a lateseason collapse in 2011.
Now Francona is writing another success story in Cleveland, when he should have a statue of himself standing outside Fenway Park. Francona ended The Curse of the Bambino; will there now be a Curse of Tito?
9) New Jersey governor Chris Christie reports that 80% of the Jersey Shore has been rebuilt after Hurricane Sandy wrecked it last fall. Lot of people spend their summer vacations on the shore.
8) If I was a TV network that showed NBA games, I’d think about signing Phil Jackson as a studio analyst, even if it meant he did reports from his home in Montana. Seems like the ol’ coach has a lot to say these days. Either that, or he’s just trying to sell copies of his new book.
7) Rams signed a free agent defensive lineman from Ole Miss named Terrell Brown who is 6-10, 403, almost as big as the late Andre the Giant; they moved Brown to offensive right tackle and might use him to try and block some field goals this fall.
6) Pirate pitcher Jason Grilli’s dad Steve pitched in the majors in late 70’s/ early 80’s; he was the losing pitcher in a 33-inning AAA game when he was playing for the Syracuse Chiefs in 1981, the longest pro baseball game ever played.
5) Heading into Friday’s play, batters who had come to the plate with the most men on base: Brandon Phillips 166, Prince Fielder/Miguel Cabrera 15, Jay Bruce 155.
4) Batters (minimum 100 PA) who knocked in the highest %age of baserunners in their AB’s: Ryan Zimmerman 26.3%, Freddie Freeman 26.1%, David Ortiz 25.3%.
3) Nick Punto has driven in six of seven runners from 3B, best %age in MLB; Freeman has knocked in 15 of 20. Zimmerman has knocked in nine of 21 runners from 2B (42.9%) best %age in MLB, Travis Snider has knocked in five of 14 (35.7%) from first base, which leads MLB.
2) Miguel Cabrera is first major leaguer with 55+ RBI in his team’s first 45 games since Manny Ramirez in 2001.
1) Pac-12/DirecTV standoff is still going on; would like that resolved this summer, so I can see some more late night ball this season. Only reason I get DirecTV is for the NFL Sunday Ticket—if I have three soccer channels, you’d think they’d find a way to show Pac-12 stuff, which college football/ basketball fans want to see.
Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with the weekend here........
13) ESPN hired southern radio icon Paul Finebaum to be its daytime voice on the new SEC Network, whenever that debuts; Finebaum talks about college football about 364 days a year, and I’m not kidding.
He is a polarizing figure but if you’re going to have an SEC Network with a show simulcast on radio, he’s the guy they needed to sign.
12) Miguel Cabrera is really, really good; so far this year, he has 27 extra base hits, 23 walks, 25 strikeouts.
11) Major League baseball would be wise to copy the NHL’s replay system, where honchos in the league offices make the calls and take heat off the umpires; system would be quicker and more efficient.
Firing Angel Hernandez would also help, but that ain’t happening.
10) I’m thnking our country would be better off with President serving one 6-year term, rather than a maximum of two 4-year terms. Agree?
9) Another Presidential thought; the Electoral College has to go. How can someone get the most votes and lose? That could happen.
8) Perry’s chocolate chip ice cream is tremendously tremendous, thats my food endorsement for today.
7) Now that the Vikings are going back with an outdoor stadium, the Lions will be the only NFC North team with an indoor stadium. I’ll be curious to see how the league hands out those late season Detroit home games.
6) Miami Heat have lost three games since the Super Bowl, which was in early February. Makes the concept of them losing a best-of-7 series a little remote.
5) Speaking of which, NBA playoff series should be best-of-3, with all three games in the arena of the higher-seeded teams, the exception being series between 4-5 seeds, where the 5-seed would get one home game. Finals could be best-of-5, but best-of-7 series are tedious. The better team always wins, except in case of injury. Upsets are more interesting.
4) Diamondhead Classic basketball tournament in Hawai’I around Christmas: Akron, Boise State, George Mason, Hawai’I, Iowa State, Oregon State, St Mary’s, South Carolina. Not sure about this coming season, but would have been a hell of a tournament last year.
3) Red Sox won two World Series under Terry Francona; they're 97-113 since he left. Who fires a guy that won two World Series?
2) The drinking age in this country should be 18; you’re old enough to go to war, you’re old enough to have a beer.
1) Every high school basketball player should take a trip to see the Las Vegas Summer League in July, so you can see how many really, really good basketball players there are, who are fighting like hell just for the chance to get invited to an NBA training camp. Its extremely competitive!!!!
So instead of jerking around only playing AAU tournaments, work on your skills too, do the grunt work to make yourself better, then you’ll be more likely to excel when you play against other really good players.
Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.........
13) Big East basketball named Albany’s John Cahill as its supervisor of officials; he’s a good man, once ran for DA of Albany County. Big job in the first year of the new league- he’s one of the best officials in the country.
12) Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets had a 19.9% chance of getting the #1 pick in the draft, instead got the #4 pick, which may not be as bad a break as it usually would be. No real clear cut #1 pick this year, with Nerlens Noel out until Christmas with his knee injury.
11) Cleveland Cavaliers have the #1 pick, then three more in the top 33; will be interesting to see if all four picks make their roster, or if they make trades or select a foreign player for the future.
10) I think Georgetown’s Otto Porter will be a very good NBA player; think he’s been prepared properly, and has excellent fundamental skills.
9) Washington’s Adam LaRoche is a pretty good hitter, but he’s faced San Francisco’s lefty reliever Javier Lopez eight times, and struck out seven of them. Wednesday's flyout was his first fair ball against Lopez.
8) Astros’ 2B Jose Altuve dumped agent Scott Boras, who lost Robinson Cano as a client earlier this season. Boras’ family will still be able to eat and all, but losing clients isn’t a trend he’d like to see last very long.
7) ESPN just spent $77M on rights to the US Tennis Open for 11 years, but then they cut 250 staffers, mostly in their digital operations. It had been a while since ESPN laid people off.
6) They had 12 inches (a foot!!!) of rain in Bahamas Tuesday. Wow.
5) Baseball is cool because games take all different forms; there was a 17-inning game in the California League this week, where a SS pitched the last two innings, then hit a walk-off home run to win the game.
4) There was a 17-inning game in the SEC tournament, with Miss State beating Missouri; I’m a little surprised college baseball doesn’t get more play on TV, but it doesn’t until the NCAA tournament starts, which is next week, by the way. Extra inning baseball games are excellent.
3) Atlanta’s Evan Gattis has four home runs this year that tied the game or put the Braves ahead in the 8th inning or later; no one else in major leagues has more than two of those so far this season.
2) There is a bar in Adelaide, Australia with an American theme called Jack Ruby’s; Ruby is the guy who killed Lee Harvey Oswald, after Oswald shot JFK in Dallas in 1963. Weird name for a bar.
1) If you have a real need to know whether the roof at Miller Park is going to be open for a Brewers’ home game, call the Miller Park Roof Hotline, at 1-800-774-8587. Just thought you’d like to know.
Wednesday's List of 13: Random thoughts on a stormy night.........
13) When I was in Las Vegas, wasn’t happy about A’s getting hosed out of a game-tying HR because crew chief Angel Hernandez wouldn’t overturn an obvious error made by his umpiring crew. I wondered how Hernandez was a crew chief, since he doesn’t appear to be a very good umpire. Turns out he isn’t a crew chief; he was a temporary crew chief while Dana Demuth was on vacation that week. So that clears that up.
12) Pac-12 commish Larry Scott makes over $3M a year; that’s a lot of money to run an amateur sports organization. Its also very big business, I get that, and if I didn’t get it, Mr Scott’s salary sure hammered the point home.
11) Clayton Kershaw allowed three or less earned runs in his last 22 starts, longest such streak since Pedro Martinez had a 23-game streak in 1999-2000. No once bitches about Don Mattingly’s game management skills when Kershaw is on the hill.
10) Tony Romo had minor back surgery (is there such a thing?) and is out of action until training camp starts. I’m assuming that means golf, too.
9) I was driving on Everett Road in Albany a while back and stopped in the Red Cross facility there to donate some money, since they do so much good work, but the people there said they couldn’t take cash, you had to donate on your phone or online. You’d think they would have some mechanism to accept contributions in person.
8) Read Tuesday where some agents aren’t happy about the NFL Draft getting pushed back into May; will increase their expenses, since they front money for workout facilities and stuff like that. Somehow, I’m guessing they’ll figure a way around all that.
7) Supposedly the draft is being pushed back because Easter is late next year and it creates a conflict with Radio City Music Hall; wouldn’t that be a great chance for the league to move the draft around, the way the NHL does? The draft doesn’t have to be in Manhattan every year, does it?
6) Cleveland won the NBA Draft Lottery, which used to be the night we checked in with former Laker great Elgin Baylor every year, when he was running the Clippers; Clips have been in the lottery 22 times, more than any other team, so it figures they did something stupid on Lottery Night, the year they won 56 games, most in franchise history........
5) Clippers had their best regular season ever, 56-26, so of course they fired their coach, Vinny Del Negro.
Someone needs to tell these nitwits that at one time, Phil Jackson hadn't won a title and Pat Riley was a radio announcer until Jack McKinney fell off a bicycle and Riley got hired as an assistant coach, then got promoted to head coach because Magic Johnson got Paul Westhead fired.
Point is, everyone starts somewhere, and Del Negro didn't deserve this.
4) Barclay’s Arena in Brooklyn has this college basketball tournament for next fall: Pitt-Stanford-Houston-Texas Tech. Not exactly Final Four caliber, though Stanford is supposed to be much better next season, with a veteran cast returning.
3) There is a QB guru named George Whitfield who works with players in the offseason; he is said to be very, very good at improving skills. One of the things he does is have QBs pass while blindfolded. That would be an interesting feature for ESPN to pursue.
2) Michael Vick fumbled 32 times in his last 35 games, losing 10 of them; Chip Kelly showed him a different way for him to tuck the ball, so he wouldn’t fumble as much. No one did this with Vick before? He’s 32, for the love of God. We’ll see if it’ll help; for sure, the Eagles will be an interesting team to watch this fall.
1) Who gives a rat’s ass what Jim Boeheim thinks about the Knicks? Carmelo Anthony paid for his practice facility at Syracuse, so the coach has to defend his former star, what else is he going to say? Please be quiet.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but..........
13) Miguel Cabrera is a tremendous hitter; he’s on pace to knock in 181 runs (the all-time record is Hack Wilson’s 190, baseball’s most underrated milestone). He’s not exactly Brooks Robinson at 3B, but boy can he swing the bat.
12) Before Clayton Kershaw's complete game win Monday night, Dodger starting pitchers had been 0-3, 3.68 in their previous 13 road games; you’d think with that good an RA, they’d win a game or two, but the LA bullpen is 5-13 so far this year. $230 million doesn’t buy as much as it used to.
11) While we’re on this subject, if I own the Dodgers and I’m shelling out $230M for a ballclub, I want a top-flight manager, not Don Mattingly, who may or may not turn out to be good, but he is in no way experienced enough to be a top-flight skipper. His body of work so far says very average, not more, not less.
10) If I’m the Orioles and I have a big home series with the Bronx Bombers starting last night, an eyebrow gets raised when Toronto-Bronx game got rained out fairly early Sunday afternoon, which freed up CC Sabathia to pitch the opener of the Baltimore series.
Ballclubs have say-so on whether a game is started or not; once it starts, then its in the umpires’ hands. Big benefit to a banged-up Bronx team to delay games until later in the season, when more of their highly paid (currently injured) stars will be back in the lineup.
9) If you bet college football with 5Dimes, Alabama is -23.5 over Virginia Tech in the season opener; if you play with BetOnline, the Crimson Tide is -16. Pretty sizeable 7.5-point middle right there.
8) Indiana Pacers are first NBA team since ’94 Utah Jazz to make it to the conference finals with no players who were top 5 picks in NBA Draft.
7) All four teams still alive in the NBA playoffs finished in the top five in team defense. The Knicks were #17. Draw your own conclusions.
6) None of NBA’s Final Four was in the NBA before 1976; Spurs/Pacers are old ABA teams, Heat and Grizzlies were expansion teams. Spurs were originally known as the Dallas Chapparals.
5) Why do the Spurs-Grizzlies play two games before Heat-Pacers play one? TV dictates all this, so TV people must think Miami will make short work of the Pacers.
4) Giants' P Ryan Vogelsong broke finger on pitching hand Monday night and is out 6+ weeks; this was his first good start this season, too.
3) Guard Malik Smith, who scored 14.1 ppg under Richard Pitino at FIU LY, is following his coach to Minnesota and can play this coming season, since FIU is banned from the postseason because of poor academic performance under former coach Isiah Thomas. Bet the folks at ol’ FIU just love that one.
2) Sounds like the NFL Draft might get pushed back into mid-May starting next year. I have absolutely no opinion on this; whenever it is, I’ll watch it.
1) Under Florida law, if the person who won the $590M Powerball jackpot wanted to remain anonymous, he/she could not, since if someone asks, the law says the winner’s name must be disclosed, undoubtedly to lessen the chances of chicanery.
I’m developing a list of things I would do if I hit the lottery; when its finished, you’ll be the first to know.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend...........
13) We did some research this week, and posted a table on our baseball page about how many times each team scores in the first inning, home and away. Its under the daily baseball info-- hope it helps you.
12) Orioles lead major leagues, scoring in the 1st inning in 18 of 43 games; Mets/A's are worst, scoring in 1st inning in only nine games.
11) '02 Pirates were last team to start season 13-13 in save opportunities; Rangers got there last night.
10) In their first 41 games, seven different Mets have batted leadoff.
9) Indians got their seventh shutout of the season Sunday; they had six all of last season. Tribe has now won 17 of its last 21 games.
8) For those of us who care about such things, over is 30-25 in interleague play so far this season.
7) You could hear a conversation between shortstop and runner on second base in ninth inning of Tiger-Ranger game last night; where was the mike? In the base? On the ump? On one of the players?
6) In 1976, Frank Sinatra got an honorary degree from UNLV; Sunday, Las Vegas native/comedian Jimmy Kimmel got one.
5) Over the last 25 years, 16 QBs have won the Heisman Trophy. Only one has won a NFL playoff game: Tim Tebow.
4) Good grief; Pat Boone was once a big star, a singer who was famous for wearing white shoes; he had 38 top 40 hits, appeared in 12 movies. Now he's doing commercials on latenight TV for walk-in bathtubs. Yikes.
3) Seven weeks into baseball season, and my fantasy team adds a catcher who has one walk, 35 strikeouts this year. The Wellington Castillo era will be interesting; he swung at a 3-2 pitch Sunday that was two feet outside.
You don't want your fantasy guys playing on teams that platoon; John Jaso getting traded to the A's from Seattle hurt his production bigtime.
2) Miguel Cabrera swatted three home runs Sunday, but the Tigers lost 11-8 to the Rangers, and dropped three of four games in Arlington.
1) If the baseball playoffs started Monday, they'd look like this:
AL: Bronx-Cleveland-Texas. Wild Card: Red Sox-Tigers
NL: Atlanta-St Louis-Arizona. Wild Card: Pirates-Reds
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday...........
13) Some lucky human in Florida bought the winning Powerball ticket; hope it was one of your relatives. Hope the person changes his/her cellphone number as soon as they can, otherwise they'll wind up with new friends and new relatives they've never heard of. Guaranteed.
12) Pacers took 46 foul shots, Knicks 18 in Indiana's 106-99 win that KO's New York from the playoffs. JR Smith killed the Knicks with a dreadful shooting night (4-15)- its a victory for fans who like real basketball, as opposed to "clear out and watch two guys shoot" basketball-- Heroball.
11) Home teams are now 7-1 in second round of NHL playoffs after Red Wings upset Chicago 4-1; Sharks scored a power play goal in OT to beat the Kings 2-1. San Jose had a two-man advantage in OT, just before the winning goal was scored. The loss snaps LA's six-game winning streak.
10) Who is the major leagues' most durable player? Try Prince Fielder, with 385 consecutive games played; in his whole career, Fielder has been the DH only 22 times. He's highly productive and dependable.
9) Indians won 13 of their last 17 games after an 11-13 start.
8) In the playoffs so far, Indiana Pacers are +73 when George Hill is on the floor, -37 when he is on the bench.
7) Rays' pitcher Alex Cobb grew up in Vero Beach, FL and was often a batboy at Dodgers' spring training.
6) UCLA basketball coach Steve Alford (still feels weird typing that) has to pay New Mexico, his last employer, $625,000 as the settlement for him to break his contract with the Lobos.
5) OK, so Pauley Pavilion seats less than 14,000 people? For whatever reason, I always thought it was way bigger than that.
4) Why do the Mets insist on batting Ike Davis 4th? Its bad enough he still starts, but cleanup? He's pathetic; there are rumors the Mets will look at Daric Barton as a replacement if Davis gets sent down. Oakland DFA'd Barton Saturday, when Chris Young came off the DL.
3) Guess the weather in Toronto has been cruddy; Saturday was first time in 2013 they ran horse races on the turf course at Woodbine Park.
2) Let me get this straight; Charlotte Bobcats were once an expansion team in the NBA- they moved to New Orleans, and changed their name to Pelicans. The new team in Charlotte is called the Bobcats because their original owner's name is Bob, but he's gone now, so they want to become the Hornets.
Strange this is, at this late hour, it all makes sense.
1) Why isn't Greg Popovich our Olympic basketball coach? He's won four NBA titles, he went to US Air Force Academy, he is highly respected as a leader. Seems like he deserves a chance to do it.
DDLohaus handicaps the Preakness.........
Two weeks sure go by fast….and I bet the horses coming back after mixing it up over the Churchill Downs muck are wishing it went by slower….thus the rationale for my column.
We certainly got our money’s worth from Normandy Invasion in the Derby and his absence only strengthens my position; that race took a lot out of the horses that ran in it! Of the 20 horses entered only six are coming back this weekend in the 138th Preakness.
Orb ran a great race and is strictly the one to beat here. The Derby field was solid and the weather proved to me he is a gomer and I believe this is not a very strong field. The problem is there is no value in betting an even money horse. Those horses that are coming to Maryland from the Derby are sure to be weary AND really never had a shot in the race. The second, third and fourth place finishers are all passing and the newcomers weren’t in the Derby for a reason.
One caveat; Goldencents didn’t really do much running so maybe he bounces back here and gets brave on the front end and holds on for second. He showed more coming into the Derby and I am willing to give him a pass.
As I look at the field and try to come up with a wager I must admit that I am less than enthused and at a loss for how to make a worthwhile wager. I will be rooting for Orb so that we have a shot for a Triple Crown Winner in three weeks in New York.
After much consideration here is my one wager:
$20 Exacta Orb/Goldencents
Saturday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud........
13) Other NBA owners have to be excited that the Kings sold for $535M; Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson can now go back to being doing mayorly things. The former NBA star worked his butt off to keep the Kings in town, and he has succeeded. Hope the voters appreciate his efforts and re-elect him.
12) Damn, Bernie Madoff’s victims lost a total of $65B, that’s billion, with a B. Where did all that money go?
Prison is too good for this evil bastard; they should let him loose on the street and let his victims have at him.
11) When Stephen Strasburg went eight innings at Petco Thursday, it was the first time in his big league career he threw eight innings in a game- that took me by surprise.
10) Syracuse is already making noise about wanting the ACC tournament in Madison Square Garden; wonder what Coach K and Roy Williams think about that?
Didn’t the Big East keep MSG as the site of its conference tournament? The ACC is Tobacco Road country; Orange alums better get used to it.
9) New Zealander Steven Adams, who will be a first round draft pick next month, has 17 siblings—17!!!!! No wonder he left Pitt after one year, although one more year would’ve helped his game thrive in the professional ranks.
8) Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel not only is out until at least December with a knee injury, he weighed in at 6-10, 206. Historically, skinny forwards haven’t fared that well in the NBA. Another kid who could’ve used some extra time to let his body mature and his knee heal, but if he’s a top-5 pick, $10M guaranteed is awful hard to turn down. Not sure Adams will get picked that high, but Noel will.
7) One of the underrated difficulties for Japanese baseball players coming over here are the long plane flights. Japan is a smaller country; the teams travel by train. A coast-to-coast plane trip takes some getting used to. Apparently Daisuke Matsuzaka had a real problem pitching on the first day after a long plane trip.
6) Atlanta Braves played 26 of their first 40 games on road, so they’ll have lot of home games coming up-- they got Jason Heyward (appendix) back this weekend, so they’re hopeful of putting a win streak together.
5) Twins pitcher Vance Worley once had a sneaker collection of around 400 pair that was worth $28-30,000; now he’s down to about half that, but he says the collection is still worth $20,000 or so. I have six pairs and haven’t bought a new pair since 2010.
4) 14-year old Guan Tianlang made cut at his first two PGA Tournaments, but he shot 70-77 this weekend and missed his first pro cut.
3) Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel threw out the first ball at Petco Thursday night, after shooting 79 at Pebble Beach earlier in the week; he seems to be getting around an awful lot. The sophomore-to-be at Texas A&M is playing in Marshall Faulk’s charity golf event this weekend; hope he’s not neglecting his football preparation—he’s going to be a marked man this fall.
2) “Always assume you’re being videotaped.” In this day and age, you just might be. If the mayor of Toronto had followed this advice, his life might be a whole lot simpler these days.
1) Dick Vitale hosted his gala for the V Foundation in Florida last night; the V Foundation has raised over $100 million over the last twenty years to combat cancer. Vitale is a tireless, enthusiastic worker for this cause and deserves a lot of credit for doing so much, even if at times, it seems like its all he ever talks about. It’s an important cause, so good for him.
Friday's List of 13: Random thoughts with weekend here......
13) Powerball tonight is worth over $550M, almost enough to buy the Sacramento Kings; I’ve never bought one of those tickets, don’t think I’m starting now. Wonder if its that much fun to be rich? Probably is.
12) 6-5 freshman Royce O’Neale scored 11 ppg for Denver last season; now he’s transferring to Baylor, as the trend of BCS schools poaching from mid-majors continues.
11) Whats up at Tulane? Yesterday we talked about their best player transferring to San Diego State; today, a seldom-used freshman transferred to Florida Gulf Coast. Green Wave is in the new AAC, which is really similar to Conference USA; too bad they won’t have as good a roster as they had LY.
10) Knicks took advantage of George Hill's absence (concussion) to beat Pacers by 10 and stay alive- they still trail Indiana 3-2. Game 6 is Saturday night at Conseco. Carmelo Anthony had 28 points but still shot under 50% (12-26) from floor- he took 28 shots, had zero assists. Great teammate.
9) Mets have played 13 series this year; for what its worth, over is 21-5 in the first two games of those series, 3-8-1 in all other games.
8) Media outlets were reporting the Atlanta Hawks (44-38 this season) were going to fire Larry Drew, but they've committed to Drew for one more season. Why would you fire a guy who had a winning record? Then again, the Clippers might fire Vinny Del Negro, and they were better than Atlanta. Coaching in the NBA has to be a crazy existence.
7) Other than Marlins/Astros, two glorified minor league teams, the Angels have the worst record in baseball, which is amazingly bad.
Plus, they’re paying most of Vernon Wells’ contract, and he’s doing way better in the Bronx than he ever did for the Halos.
6) Keegan Bradley shot a 60 Thursday, 26th PGA Tour pro since 1960 to shoot 59 or 60 in a tournament. Bradley is the only one of those 26 who shot a 60 with more than one bogey.
5) ESPNU is carrying the NBA Draft Combine this week; interesting to see what they put prospective draftees through. I’m looking forward to going to NBA Summer League at UNLV in mid-July; that’s always a fun couple of days to sit there and watch guys try to earn professional jobs, either in the NBA or overseas.
4) Why do the Mets keep batting Ike Davis cleanup? Why does Davis start? Why is he still in the major leagues? All fair Met-related questions. Even my 87-year old dad has turned on Davis, and he is very loyal Met fan.
3) Rockies led San Francisco 6-0 in 3rd inning, but lost 8-6, their 10th loss in a row to the defending world champs.
2) 41-year old Reid Ryan, Nolan Ryan's son, is new President of Houston Astros; you wonder if his father will eventually leave the Rangers and join his son in Houston.
1) Jeff Van Gundy took an indirect slap at Derrick Rose in first quarter of Spurs-Warriors last night, commending David Lee for playing while less than 100%, since he saw that his team was missing firepower. Van Gundy said it was selfless of Lee, which pretty much infers that he considers Rose to be selfish for sitting out until he feels he is 100% ready to go.
Thursday's List of 13: Random thoughts on a spring day.....
13) Tulane was improved on the basketball court this past winter, but when their move to the Big East fell apart, they had mass defections this spring. Green Wave’s best player, 6-8 Josh Davis (16 ppg, 11 rpg), has transferred to San Diego State and will be eligible to play this fall.
Good for Steve Fisher; not sure its good for college basketball.
12) In Stephen Strasburg’s eight starts, Nationals scored more than three runs once. Strasburg played college ball at San Diego State, is pitching at Petco tonight.
11) Tennessee poached the punter from Wyoming; Australian kid has to sit out a year, but he was #4 in MWC, #27 in country in punting LY and will help the Vols, who are rebuilding under yet another new coach, Butch Jones.
10) Harrison Barnes is first player in NBA history to score 25+ points in consecutive playoff games, when he had never scored 25+ in a regular season game. He's been better in the NBA than he ever was in college.
9) In six games since he got suspended during the Celtic series, JR Smith is shooting 27.2% (25-92) from the floor.
8) Eldrick Woods earned $7.8M on the golf course LY, $33M off it. Phil Mickelson actually earned more ($36M) than Woods off the course LY.
7) Long day in Baltimore Saturday; the first race at Pimlico is 10:45am; Preakness Stakes goes off around 6:20pm.
6) Bad news for the Rays: David Price left his start last night with a triceps issue; team started Wednesday wth a six-game win streak, ended it with a crisis on its hands. .
5) 38-year old Jamey Wright replaced Price; he has gone to spring training as a non-roster invitee the last six years, and made the major league roster all six times, which is really hard to do.
4) Jets brought David Garrard in to be one of their QBs this season, so of course he retired, because the Jets are dysfunctional. This pretty much guarantees that Mark Sanchez stays with the Jets and creates a controversy as to when rookie Geno Smith gets his shot at running their offense.
3) Home teams are 3-0 in second round of NHL playoffs after Chicago beat the Red Wings 4-1. Last second round series gets underway tonight with the Rangers visiting Boston.
2) Grizzlies dumped Oklahoma City out of the NBA playoffs with an 88-84 win, ending the series in five games, and turning the James Harden trade into a disaster for the Thunder. Once Russell Westbrook went down, OC was lost for a consistent second scoring option.
1) What does the NBA have against Seattle? League moved the Sonics out of there, because they wouldn't build a new arena (they had a perfectly fine 15-year old arena, didn't need a new one) and now the NBA won't let the Sacramento Kings move to Seattle. Doesn't make a lot of sense.
Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) If you want to bet next February's Super Bowl, the AFC is favored by a point, with a total of 51. Yes, you can bet on it today, if you like.
12) Carmelo Anthony was 9-23, JR Smith 9-22 in Knicks' dreadful 93-82 loss to Indiana; Smith's recent play doesn't justify his taking 22 shots, many of which were wide-open, quality shots that he just didn't make.
11) San Antonio held Curry/Thompson to 6-22 from the floor in Spurs' easy 109-91 win in Game 5 of that series; Mark Jackson is a young coach, at some point, he may regret calling his guards "....the best shooting backcourt ever." It seemed to motivate the Spurs.
10) Home teams won both Game 1's in NHL's second round, as Penguins, Kings posted wins Tuesday night. LA handed the Sharks their first loss this postseason with a 2-0 decision at Staples Center.
9) Pretty cool video of Michigan football coach Brady Hoke poking fun at Notre Dame for ending their rivalry with the Wolverines. We don't get to see that side of coaches very often.
8) Speaking of which, college football magazines will be out in 2-3 weeks and then we'll start getting down to serious work. I'm back from my vacation tonight and its time to pick up the pace of our research.
7) Miguel Cabrera is hitting .375, with 41 RBI in 37 games. Ike Davis is he Mets' cleanup hitter most days; he's hitting .169 with nine RBI. Mets have also used six different leadoff hitters in their first 36 games.
6) A's had runners on 1st and 2nd and one out in close game Tuesday; while the Texas pitching coach visited the mound, Oakland pinch-ran for both baserunners at same time, in effect making a double switch in the lineup. Pretty sure I've never seen that before. Interesting strategy.
5) Barry Zito has allowed 23 runs in 12 IP in three road starts; he's allowed two runs in 33 IP in five home starts. Go figure.
4) Buffalo Bills' GM Buddy Nix quits now? Why? There's more to this than meets the eye. Not good for the Bills at all- Buffalo was 16-32 in his tenure, but you'd think they'd switch GMs before the draft.
3) Hard to believe the Jets would just cut Mark Sanchez, but this is a strange world, and weirder things than that have happened.
2) #1 high school basketball recruit Andrew Wiggins declared for the Kansas Jayhawks, which caused the Jayhawks to drop from 25-1 to 10-1 to win the national title in Dallas next April.
1) You sit in an airport terminal waiting to fly home, some nitwit makes 10-12 calls on his cellphone and by the time I get on the plane, I know more about his life than I do about most of my relatives. Its all a little strange.....lol
Tuesday's List of 13: My 13-man all-time NBA team..........
C-- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar-- The most dominating player of all time, if you count his high school and college career, when he almost never lost.
C-- Wilt Chamberlain-- Went to college on a track scholarship, thats how great an athlete he was.
C-- Hakeem Olajuwon-- Won two NBA titles while Jordan was "retired".
F-- Bill Russell-- Great defender, has more rings than fingers.
Lebron James-- His legend is still growing, everywhere but Cleveland.
F-- Rick Barry-- Most underappreciated great player of all time.
F-- Larry Bird-- Also led Indiana State to a national title game.
F-- Tim Duncan-- Four NBA titles in San Antonio, not bad.
G-- Michael Jordan-- Hard to believe he was the third pick in the draft.
Earvin Johnson-- Great PG, but could play any of the five positions.
G-- Oscar Robertson-- Won title in Milwaukee, played best ball in Cincinnati with the Royals.
G-- Jerry West-- Hall of Fame player, maybe best executive ever, too.
G-- Kobe Bryant-- Still going strong in his late 30's.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.........
13) Stuff like this makes NHL seem bush league; two teams down 3-2 win Game 6's on Sunday, and they have to play Game 7 on Monday? What imbecile thought this was a good idea?
12) To make matters worse, the Bruins' plane had a mechanical failure, so the team had to stay in Toronto overnight and will travel home the day of a Game 7. Conspiracy theorists can now begin; did an overly-avid Leafs' fan mess with the Boston plane? Stranger things have happened.
11) Sergio Garcia was tied for the lead at the PLAYERS Championship, then went all Tin Cup and played the last two holes in +6, hitting two balls in the water on the famous 17th hole. Not his finest moment.
10) Cubs gave 1B Anthony Rizzo a 7-year contract worth $41M; pretty big leap of faith on what Rizzo has done in his first 604 ABs (142 K's, 25 HRs, 85 RBI, .770 OPS). At least Mr Ricketts is spending money.
9) It is an honor to listen to Hubie Brown broadcast NBA games, its a lot like attending a basketball seminar. I was lucky enough to meet Coach Brown once when he coached the Knicks. Very intense about basketball, good guy.
Seriously, friend of mine and I watched a Knick walk-through at Glens Falls Civic Center before a preseason game; we were sitting on the end of the bench, like we belonged there. Knicks played the Bulls that night; Chicago had a pretty good rookie that year, kid named Michael Jordan. Fun stuff.
8) Home side won all six games in the Ranger-Washington series; Rangers scored 0 or 1 goal in four of the six games and are still alive. Interesting.
7) Think about John Farrell leaving Toronto to manage the Boston Red Sox, a divisional rival, and you just know this rivalry will become personal. Throw in the Clay Buchholz/foreign substance kerfuffle, and it just adds to the fun. Very impressed by how Baltimore is above .500 again this year, as no one in the AL East seems strong enough to pull away from the pack.
6) NL teams are 5-13 when playing at AL parks, where the DH is used; think it is a tougher adjustment than AL teams not using a DH at NL parks.
5) Bad week to be the agent for former Lions WR Titus Young, who was arrested three times in eight days; however, its an excellent week to be his bail bondsman. Young had the world by the tail and couldn't handle it. Sad.
4) Atlanta Braves are 5-11, 5.52 as a team in their last 16 road games.
3) You cannot smoke indoors in public places in New York; you can smoke in casinos here in Las Vegas. Its just unusual for me to see people lighting up cigarettes, never understood why people smoke anyway.
2) Arizona took Brandon McCarthy out after eight innings Sunday with a 2-0 lead, when he had thrown 85 pitches.
White Sox left Chris Sale in after eight innings with a 3-0 lead Sunday night,, and he wound up with a 98-pitch complete game.
Arizona's bullpen blew the game, which didn't make the move a bad move, just highlights an interesting contrast in philosophy.
1) Penn State's former school president Graham Spanier earned $2.9M last year, including $1.2M in severance pay; must be nice. It is a crime if you're in Spanier's position and know an employee is a pedophile and you don't turn him in. Not a lot of criminals get $1.2M in severance pay.
Sunday's List of 13: Things you hear in a casino..........
13) You hear lot of stuff in casinos, such as "Hi, my name is Toi. Want to play with me?" as a not-that-young woman handed me a business card with her cell number on it. Yes, hookers have business cards now.
12) Some nitwit was explaining to his friends why Wilt Chamberlain was the most overrated player in NBA history; had to bite my tongue and change locations-- this guy was loud and ignorant, a dangerous combination.
11) This is the same guy who (Friday night) was loudly boasting how he had the Bulls +8.5 and wasn't going to lose. Except that he did, as Miami led by 10 points for only 13 seconds the whole game- the last 0:13.
10) "%*#(%$)%*)!!!!!" People who bet the Bulls Friday night when they fouled while down eight and getting 8.5 points at the end of the game. Would have like to have heard the above nitwit's explanation for that.
9) Colorado Rockies went 49 consecutive batters without getting a hit, from first inning Friday to the 8th inning Saturday; couple of guys who bet on the Rockies to beat St Louis weren't very happy, to put it mildly.
8) Suncoast Casino has a ton of security guys around; was asking why, and apparently there was a shooting outside there a couple years ago, so they tightened up on security. Shootings tend to be bad for business.
7) One woman was in town for a family wedding, but wasn't too happy about it. "I just want to go upstairs and read my book. Last night I had to sit on the toilet and close the door so I could read without disturbing anyone."
No one was too disappointed when she left the bar and went to read.
6) They have a movie theater here, right next to the sportsbook; the move is a bag of popcorn and large Coke for $7.25, then take it in and watch the games- they encourage you to do that. Good food value, and it is excellent popcorn, Orville Redenbacher. I'm easily amused.
5) Lot of foreign languages spoken here. No idea which ones, since, well, they're foreign to me.
4) "I get paid every day. Its too easy. They pay me every day." One bettor who apparently was riding a hot streak. Believe me, it ain't easy.
3) I listened to a bartender negotiate price with a local on selling a classic car, want to say a '68 Barracuda, but I could have the year wrong.
The local says the car is worth $120,000 if it gets fixed up, but the car isn't in good shape. He doubted if the bartender had enough cash to make the deal.
2) "What, you don't trust me?" The local says that to the bartender when he asks to see a picture of the car. Nothing says mistrust like someone selling a used car. Even the local laughed when he said it.
1) "I bought a $900 ticket and they gave me the wrong team. My team won, the team they gave me lost." I was riding up in the elevator with this bettor, who probably didn't notice the mistake because his date was a 6-foot blonde with knee-high black boots on.
Either that or because he was wearing sunglasses indoors. At midnight.
She didn't say a word, just smiled; ya gotta love Las Vegas.
Saturday's List of 13: Random thoughts with the weekend here:
13) First of all, thanks to Ken Thomson and Chuck Edel for having me on their radio show at the Palms Casino Friday night; if you want to learn about sports and handicapping, sportsxradio.com is a valuable tool. Monday thru Friday, from 10-12 ET. Good program.
12) MLB suspended umpire Fieldin Culbreth two games for screwing up the rules in Houston Thursday night; seriously, the Astros should suspend manager Bo Porter for not knowing the rule, either.
11) Order was restored in the NBA, with road teams that are favored to win their series taking charge Friday night.
10) Our food recommendation today is the Earl of Sandwich, America's best place to have a turkey club sandwich; there is one at Palms and one in Planet Hollywood. Good stuff.
9) Why does ESPN employ Stephen A Smith and Skip Bayless? They're professional nitwits. ESPN should be embarrassed to have them on their air.
8) Georgia Tech loses guard Brandon Reed, who started 43 games the last two years for Tech after transferring from Arkansas State. Reed lost lot of his playing time LY to a freshman, so he is reading handwriting on the wall.
7) Eight of thirty starting pitchers Friday didn't finish the 5th inning.
6) Last thirteen Tampa Bay Ray games went over the total.
5) Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija is 0-5, 5.31 in his last seven starts since throwing eight shutout innings on Opening Day.
4) Soph QB Wes Lunt is transferring from Oklahoma State; he started five games LY, but lost the starting job after he got hurt.
3) Odd fact that bothers me: in December 1989, Washington waxed Florida in the now-defunct Freedom Bowl in Anaheim; since then, there has been only one bowl game between Pac-12/SEC teams. One in 23 years. Why?
2) Rough year to be a baseball manager in LA; Angels are 13-22, even after winning their last two games. Dodgers are 13-21, losers of their last eight games. Who gets canned first, Mattingly or Scioscia?
1) Palms Casino has tremendous video boards to watch games on; big screens with very bright colors. Good place to watch a ballgame.
Friday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind..........
13) I went to the minor league ballgame here in Las Vegas last night, so I missed the 4:07 Angel-Astro game, where the Halos rallied late for a 6-5 win, after the unpires screwed up another administrative issue.
When you put a relief pitcher in, he has to face a batter before you can take him out, unless he is hurt; somehow, Wesley Wright came into the game and then left without throwing a pitch-- thats against the rules.
12) So had the Angels lost, they probably would've won their protest and would've had to go back to Houston to replay the last couple innings. Very bad week for the umpires' union.
11) Astros have now played 35 games, and lost 19 of them by more than a run, so if you like to lay 1.5 runs, betting against Houston could work.
10) Bucs' DB Ronde Barber retired after 16 years with Tampa Bay; he is only player ever with 40+ INTs and 20+ sacks.
9) Minnesota Vikings are getting a new stadium, will use Minnesota Gophers' stadium in 2014-15, or until the new stadium is finished.
8) Batters who have come to bat with most men on base this season: Prince Fielder 123, Miguel Cabrera 121, Dustin Pedroia 119.
7) Batters who knocked the highest %age of baserunners in, with minimum of 80 AB's: Freddie Freeman 30.4%, Allen Craig 26.7%, Alex Gordon 26.0%.
6) Batters who knocked the lowest %age of baserunners in, with minimum of 80 AB's: Alex Avila 2.7%, Darwin Barney 3.8% BJ Upton 4.3%.
5) 106 minutes have been played in Warrior-Spur series; Golden State led for 95 of those 106 minutes.
4) Gary Barta is AD at Iowa; he thinks its a good idea for the Hawkeyes to play I-AA teams in football, which is another way of saying he endorses xharging his fans I-A prices to see easier wins, glorified scrimmages. For the love of Pete, go play a Sun Belt team- you'll still win.
3) Carl Crawford makes $20M a year; he has hit five solo homers, but has also come to bat with 53 men on base, knocking in three of them. I'll repeat, he makes $20M a year, and ranks 226th out of 234 players who have 80+ plate appearances, in terms of the %age of runners knocked in. Does Theo Epstein get drug tested? He gave Crawford $140M for seven years. .
2) Knicks are getting Amare Stoudemire back for Game 3 Saturday night at Conseco; will his presence screw up New York's chemistry? I'm just asking, not saying it will.
1) How is Angel Hernandez the chief of an umpiring crew? Don't you have to be one of the better unpires to be a crew chief? Hello?!?!?!?
Thursday's List of 13: Random thoughts from the desert.........
13) Umpire Angel Hernandez has some 'splainin' to do after he refused to overturn an obvious mistake on a ball Adam Rosales hit over the fence in a 4-3 loss at Cleveland Wednesday. The ball was ruled a double.
What good is instant replay if an umpire doesn't have the onions to make the right call that decides winning/losing in the last inning?
If you read this space a lot, you know I'm a big A's fan, so this annoys me beyond belief. This wasn't a difficult call.
12) Today's Las Vegas food recommendation: Steiner's Pub on 1750 North Buffalo in Summerlin; one of the best hamburgers I've ever had, and I've had a lot of them. Tremendous service, friendly people, excellent place.
11) Suncoast Casino has the Astros 50-1 to win AL pennant; how about making them like 5,000-1, because they have absolutely zero chance?
10) Draymond Green is 9-18 behind the arc in eight playoff games for the Warriors, after making 20.9% behind the arc during the season. Golden State ended a 30-game (30 games!!!) losing streak in San Antonio Wednesday. In his last two years at Michigan State, Green made 37.8% behind the arc, not a bad number at all. Player development is underreported by the media- lot of teams have coaches dedicated just to that part of the game.
9) Davidson is heading to the Atlantic 10 in 2014-15; I've got no idea how many teams are in this league right now- they had 16 last year. The road trip from Charlotte to Olean for Davidson-St Bonaventure tilts should be fun.
8) In five home starts, Barry Zito has allowed two runs in 33 IP; in his two road starts, he's allowed 15 runs in 6.1 IP.
7) Shane Battier was +42 in 22 minutes Wednesday night, which means Miami was outscored by 5 points in 26 minutes he didn't play. Only reason I bring this up is that I've been dealing with plus-minus stats for 34 years, and very, very few players have ever been +42 in a game.
6) Denver Nuggets won Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year, which really makes no sense when you think about it, especially when you think they got eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
If the executive was so great in building his roster, then how did the coach do such a great job? Maybe Tom Thibodeau should've won Coach of the Year for the job he did with the Derrick Rose-less Bulls.
5) I love hearing media nitwits who know nothing criticize Mark Jackson for playing Steph Curry 58:00, or Frank Vogel for calling a timeout, which was followed by a huge New York run; they have this thought process......
a) Steph Curry played 58:00 b) Golden State lost in double OT.
a) Indiana called a timeout when they were ahead b) Knicks went on a run.
a) and b) are both true. Therefore, a) caused b), which of course, is total BS.
4) Roy Halladay is out 3+ months with shoulder issues; he needs surgery; ESPN had a stat that said pitchers his age with shoulder problems averaged less than 60 innings for the rest of their careers, a figure skewed low by a lot of retirements. They won't know how serious the problem is until they get inside his shoulder.
3) It is amazing how much coverage ESPN gives to football; it is freakin' May, and they have daily shows for both the NFL and college football. Not a complaint at all, just an observation.
2) If I'm the Dodgers, I'm trading for Ricky Nolasco; he is the Marlins' highest-paid player, which means he will eventually gets traded.
1) They showed a stat on the Padre game Wednesday that said in the history of Petco Park, longest Padre hitting streak was Adrian Gonzalez hitting in 14 straight home games in 2007; it just seems low.
Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud........
13) February 1, 2008, Marc Gasol was traded by the Lakers with Kwame Brown, Jarvaris Crittendon (indicted on nurder charges last month), a 2008 1st round pick (Donte Greene) and a 2010 1st round pick (Greivis Vasquez) to Memphis for Pau Gasol and a 2010 2nd round pick (Devin Ebanks).
No one thought that the Grizzlies got the better of this trade, but they did; they traded Vasquez for Quincy Pondexter, and the younger Gasol might be the best center in the NBA. Who knew?
12) You don't see many 30-2 runs in NBA games, especially ones that start late in the third quarter with the team that is losing going on the run, but the Knicks did that and evened their series by crushing the Pacers 105-79. It was so one-sided Carmelo Anthony even had three assists.
11) Phil Jackson said he had no interest in the Nets' job. No, really? He's not coaching again unless the Heat come calling, and that ain't happening. He is 67, and isn't going to coach a team that is struggling to win a title.
10) Phoenix Suns hired 33-year old Ryan McDonough as their GM; he is the son of the late sportswriter Will McDonough, and the brother of ESPN voice Sean McDonough. Not entirely sure the Suns' owner knows what he is doing. They've gone in the dumper since they canned Mike D'Antoni.
9) UNLV star Michael Bennett has to have shoulder surgery before the draft; if his stock were to slip out of the first half of the first round, then he made a big mistake not going back to school for his sophomore year.
8) The Angels are 11-21, 2-8 in their last ten games- they've got a huge payroll, and you wonder how long before they change managers. Losing to the Astros in Houston ain't good for your job security.
7) Going to be a long summer in Vancouver, after the Canucks got swept by the San Jose Sharks, going 0-7 this season vs San Jose. Not often a team has home ice advantage and loses a series 4-0.
6) KL Wheat was at the Penguin-Islander game on Long Island Tuesday night and reports it was the most fun he's ever had at a hockey game. Series is tied 2-2 heading back to Pittsburgh.
5) ESPN shouldn't be showing a kid dunking in an AAU tournament, and then mocking the kid he dunked on; whatever nitwit aired this should pretend it was their son getting dunked on, and see if they would think it was funny then. These are high school kids; find your highlights somewhere else.
4) Matt Harvey's first seven starts for the Mets: 4-0, 1.28, with 22 hits allowed in 49.1 IP. He's going to be in the All-Star Game at CitiField.
3) After three nights of the second round of NBA playoffs, underdogs are 5-1 against the spread, with dogs 3-3 SU.
2) Golden State has now lost its last 30 games in San Antonio; 30!!!! In order to win this playoff series, Warriors have to go 3-0 at home, and win one game in the Alamo. When you're up 18 with under 5:00 to go and lose, it gets really, really difficult to win a short series. Damn near impossible.
1) When you come to Las Vegas, I strongly advise you to eat at Battista's, which is across Flamingo from Bally's, behind where Bill's Gambling Hall used to be. Old-fashioned Italian restaurant. Excellent.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Warriors-Spurs Monday night was one of the best basketball games ever played; tremendous drama, Steph Curry playing 58:00, scoring 44 points in a superior performance. Odd thing is Manu Ginobili was the hero, and he shot 5-20 for the game. Last one of those five makes won the game.
12) Klay Thompson was +14 in last night's game for the Warriors; his fouling out wound up being the most important event of the game.
11) Its great fun watching ball in a sportsbook; last night, there were two NBA games, four NHL games, nine baseball games going on. Lot of action.
10) I will never understand how Steph Curry went to Davidson; his dad was a good NBA player; no ACC team or Big East or SEC program took a chance on him? Same thing for his little brother; this is why coaches get fired.
9) Horrific loss for Tampa Bay last night; they scored seven runs in third inning, took 7-0 lead, but lost 8-7 in a game Hellickson started. When you're bad on the road, losing a home game like that stings badly.
8) In last two days, I've seen three instances of batters blatantly showing up umpires after ball/strike/check swing calls; its only May 7, and tensions are running high between players/umps.
My guess is the commissioner will quietly send out a memo telling both sides to cool it; doesn't look good at all.
7) Wal-Mart has revenues of $469B, most in America; #'s 2-4 on this list are all scummy oil companies. Speaking of which, gas is 20-25 cents a gallon cheaper here in Las Vegas than back home in Albany. Terrific.
6) I keep weird hours when I'm here in Las Vegas, so while I'm writing, I'm watching TV shows I never watch otherwise. Morning Joe on msnbc is a pretty fun program to watch. Just thought I'd throw that out there.
5) The Albany Times-Union is now printed on a much smaller piece of paper than it used to be; cost-cutting, no doubt. I don't even read the local paper anymore, but when you see it, the difference is noticeable.
4) It didn't take long to find out who the jackass is who didn't vote for Lebron James for MVP (he voted for Carmelo Anthony), but after reading his response, I've decided he's using this to promote his own career, so there is no freakin' way will I mention his name, no matter what. So there.
Self-promotion and attention junkies annoy me.
3) Odd baseball stat of the day: Josh Hamilton has swung at 41 pitches outside the strike zone this year- no hits. Not one.
2) A movie named Iron Man 3 took in $175M this weekend, just in this country; somehow, I missed Iron Man 1 and 2. Go figure.
1) A mother of four in California accidentally bought a lottery ticket and won a $14M prize. Thats what I call a good day. Wonder if she is single.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend........
13) 121 people vote for the NBA's MVP; 120 of them voted for Lebron James; Kevin Durant finished second in the voting, but didn't get the 121st first place vote- that went to Carmelo Anthony. The NBA won't say who cast that 121st ballot, but hopefully, someone will leak the info. The nitwit deserves to be identified.
12) Tough duty for the Bulls Monday night, playing Game 1 in Miami 48 hours after winning Game 7 in Brooklyn; Luol Deng will be there, but how well can be play after spending a few days in a hospital?
Its not my place to comment, but I will anyway; just can't believe Derrick Rose sits there and watches his teammates bust their butts without at least trying to play. It is understood he would be at less than 100%, but whatever he gives them might be the difference between winning and losing.
11) JR Smith was an awful 4-15 from floor in Knicks' 102-95 loss to the Pacers in Game 1 of that series; in five games this season with Indiana, Smith is 11-36 from floor in Pacers' three wins, 12-21 when the Knicks win.
10) Game 2 is in NYC Tuesday night; for some reason, Game 3 isn't until Saturday at Conseco Fieldhouse. Considering that Indiana's bench played a total of only 39 minutes Sunday, the strung-out series schedule could help them more than the older Knicks.
9) Oklahoma City's bench was +26 in their 93-91 win over Memphis in the first game of that series; Kevin Martin came thru with 25 points off the bench to give the Thunder a solid second scoring option.
8) A week ago, Derek Ernst was ranked #1,207 in World Golf Rankings; he was 4th alternate to get into the Wells Fargo event in Charlotte this week, but once he got in, he proved he belonged by winning.
7) Roy Halladay got hammered by the Marlins, is now 2-4, 8.65 and is headed to see a shoulder specialist, not a good sign. Sadly, the week he went up against my fantasy team, he allowed three hits in 15 IP. Go figure.
6) Then there is Kevin Slowey, who beat Halladay Sunday, and now has a 1.81 ERA in six starts, albeit only one win. He's headed to the All-Star Game at this rate, and who would've ever thought that back in March?
5) Blue Jays are 11-21, Dodgers 13-17; the winter's big spenders' managers are already on the hot seat, especially Don Mattingly, who is in the last year of his contract. LA's big trade with Boston last summer ain't looking too good right now, but its still fairly early in the season. Fairly early.
4) If the baseball playoffs started today, and they don't for five months, the teams that make it would be......
NL-- Braves-Giants-Cardinals; Wild Card: Reds-Rockies
AL-- Boston-Detroit-Texas; Wild Card: Royals-Bronx or Orioles
3) Brooklyn Nets dumped interim coach PJ Carlesimo, who went 35-19 as coach of the Nets; they'll go after a big name condidate, then they'll settle for someone similar to Avery Johnson, who they canned last winter.
2) Wild hockey game in Ottawa Sunday, with 236 penalty minutes and nine game misconducts. Senators spanked Montreal 6-1, now lead this series 2-1. Ottawa called a timeout with 0:17 left, which stirred the pot just a little bit more, and makes Game 4 a more interesting game to watch.
1) Next time we talk, I'll be in America's favorite city, Las Vegas, for spring vacation. Lot going on; baseball, NHL/NBA playoffs. We'll take a look at NFL betting lines for Weeks 1-16, and anything else that might pop up. I might even have a cheesesteak in the LVH Superbook. Or two.
Sunday's List of 13: Random stuff on a Saturday night........
13) Every high school/college basketball player should watch Joakim Noah play and model their approach towards his; he plays his butt off-- all he cares about is winning. Must be fun to coach him.
12) Nationals-Pirates on FOX Game of the Week? I liked it.....
11) Not sure what TNT sees in Shaquille O'Neal as a studio analyst; maybe its me, but he adds very little, and he takes airtime away from Barkley and Kenny Smith. Its a great example of subtraction by addition.
10) In franchise history, St Louis Blues are 10-0 in playoff series if they won the first two games; we'll see if they can make it 11-0 against LA.
9) Every once in a while, a horse runs in Kentucky Derby that didn't run the previous year, as a 2-year old, but last time one of those horses won the Derby was in '82-- thats 1882, not 1982.
8) Oldest jockey in the Derby was 52-year old Jon Court, who rode Will Take Charge. Not as easy as it looks to be a jockey; very physical job.
7) Baltimore Ravens hired Steve Spagnuolo as a defensive assistant; after he became a hot property with the '08 Giants winning a Super Bowl, things haven't gone too well for Spagnuolo- he was dreadful as HC of the Rams, and then got stuck in a bad situation with the Payton-less Saints LY.
6) It rained so much in Florida the last few days that the walkway to the island green on the famed 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass was under water-- this is where the PLAYERS Championship is being played next week, so they're going to have to do a lot of work on the course before Thursday.
Cantor Gaming released betting lines for Weeks 1-16 of the NFL season this week; here are some tidbits National Football Post came up with..........
5) Patriots are favored in 13 games, pick 'em in two others; they're only team that isn't listed as an underdog in their first 15 games.
4) Arizona is pick 'em in three games, underdog in 12; Jacksonville is dog in 13 games, pick 'em in two, only two teams that aren't favored to win.
3) There are six pick 'em games in Week 16, but no road favorites. Yet.
2) Seahawks are favored in 13 of 15 games, including -1 at Houston in Week 4, which surprised me; people are on the Seattle bandwagon.
1) Only time the Broncos are underdog is their Week 12 (+1.5) visit to New England. It'll be fun to track how different these early spreads are than the actual spreads are when those weeks come around.
Saturday's Den: DDLohaus analyzes the Kentucky Derby...........
2013 Kentucky Derby Analysis
To quote one of my favorite movies “What a day”.. Well maybe Mother Nature isn’t going to cooperate but nevertheless, 20 horses will be going to the post for the 139th Run for the Roses.
The controversial point system appears to have sorted out the top 20 and away we go….
As I write this the weather appears to be less than ideal yet somehow I believe the 100,000+ fans will still make the best of what promises to be a great day of racing (and wagering!).
As I go over the field I see an excellent opportunity to get value and with the uncertain forecast makes the race even more appealing, if not more difficult to handicap.
Orb has done nothing wrong leading up to this race and there is no reason to believe he won’t fire his best shot here. He seemed to have something left in the tank in last which should have him primed for a big race. Top veteran jockey points to a lot to like.
Verrazano heads a group of five (yes five) from Todd Pletcher. He is undefeated and we all know he is being handled right. While a winner in last, I am not convinced it was that good an effort. Don’t know if it was the distance but I think he may not be at his best at ten furlongs. With that said it is awfully hard to pick against him.
Revolutionary is another out of the Pletcher stable and one that I think moves up on a wet track. Nice wide move in last and gets a jockey who knows his way around Churchill Downs (and the winners circle). Castellano picking another is a question mark and I question some of his competition but this guy would not be a surprise.
Normandy Invasion ran second to Verrazano in the Wood but the way he did it has me a little excited. He closed well into a slow pace and galloped out strongly. This guy hasn’t won in a while and has trouble at the start; which in this field may not be a bad thing if he can save some ground and tuck in behind the first flight. Third off the layoff and a very talented trainer says that if he is good enough he can take it all.
Goldencents ran a real nice race in the SA Derby but it seemed to be the perfect set-up. Listen, Pitino is king of the world right now and Doug O’Neil knows how to win the big ones. Ran second to Shanghai Bobby last year and that one was a monster…tough call…
Itsmyluckyday: Solid horse who may have run his best race in last…maybe he can fire again but must beat a better field along with likely more traffic in front of him.
Java’s War: Bluegrass winner has some appeal but little success at CD and a history of gate/start troubles tells me he won’t be ready when the gate opens
Vyjack: Handled grade III company and made a nice showing when stepped up to grade I
caliber horses. Since I like Normandy Invasion I like this one a little too. Use in exotics.
Mylute: Last was really nice effort but earlier races a bit too inconsistent to give me a lot of confidence in this guy. Ambitious jockey means they will be trying.
Frac Daddy: Has danced with the big boys on more than one occasion and has had very good success at CD; may like home course advantage…
I really liked the last race of Normandy Invasion. I tend to favor horses that were moving well late in a race leading up to a stakes race. He closed into a slow pace and I think he was screaming for a little more distance. Orb is strictly the one to beat. No knock here as he seems to keep getting better and better…can’t win them all (can they?). Revolutionary moves up on wet surface and Borel knows how to navigate this oval…
I think there are a legitimate ten (10) horses that can win this race and a lot depends on track condition, position, trip and luck. The value is ALWAYS there and I know I say this every year but if you like a horse and have your reasons, it’s a good bet. Listen, if we knew the winners in advance we’d all be rich…the race must be run and no-one really knows…
$20WP Normandy Invasion
$5Exact Box Normandy Invasion/Revolutionary/Orb
$1Trifecta Box Normandy Invasion/Revolutionary/Orb/Frac Daddy
$.10c Superfecta Normandy Invasion/Revolutionary/Orb/Frac Daddy/Vyjack
See you in a couple of weeks!
Friday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Starting in August 2014, there is going to be an SEC Network, which will basically be run by ESPN. If you like college football, this is very good news, as long as DirecTV picks the damn thing up (it doesn't carry Pac-12 Network, but does carry the Big Dozen Network).
12) Back in the late 60's/early 70's, NBA teams got three shots to make two if their opponents were over the foul limit. An amazingly bad rule, but one Dwight Howard would probably be in favor of.
11) Its never too early to start thinking about college basketball: Here is the field for next November's Alaskan Shootout: Tulsa vs Indiana State, TCU @ Alaska-Anchorange, Pepperdine vs Green Bay and Denver vs Harvard.
10) What was left unspoken when the Alaska field was announced is that the Iowa Hawkeyes pulled out of the Shootout, so they could play in an event in the Bahamas that also includes Kansas, Tennessee, Villanova, USC, Wake Forest, UTEP and Xavier. Makes Iowa's schedule a little bit better.
9) Pitt coach Jamie Dixon brought former Manhattan head coach and former Pitt assistant Barry Rohrssen back as an assistant coach. Rohrssen is very good at recruiting in New York City. Pitt needs better players.
8) Somehow, Robert Morris coach Andy Toole didn't get a better job after his team upset Kentucky in the NIT, getting gifted with a home game due to Kentucky hosting the NCAA tournament, but Toole did get an extension to his contract, he is now signed thru 2018.
7) Rory McIlroy shot a 5-under 67 Thursday, first time this year he broke par in the first round of a tournament.
6) Duke graduate Nate Smith also shot a 67 Thursday; he shot a 63 Monday just to get into the tournament. He is ranked #1,306 in the World Golf rankings; in other words, its really, really hard to get on the PGA Tour.
5) Colorado Rockies signed veteran pitcher Roy Oswalt, who obviously does not like spring training, since he never goes. Oswalt is 4-0, 2.25 in his career at Coors Field.
4) NCAA turned a $71M profit in 2012, not bad at all. With this in mind, I'd be in favor of every kid who makes the mens'/womens' Final Four being allowed to bring two guests along, at the NCAA's expense. Its only fair.
3) Jacoby Ellsbury saw 8-7-8 pitches in his first three ABs for the Red Sox in Toronto Thursday, and against a lefty, JA Happ. Not too impressive for the Jays, as their pitching belies the team's preseason predictions.
2) UNLV is in negotiations to sell its football home opener to Arizona; this is very bad news for UNLV's coach, when you start selling home games, especially to Arizona, its the beginning of the end.
Not like its Michigan/Alabama/Nebraska for a big payday. Game would be played at U of Phoenix Stadium, where the Cardinals play.
1) Golden State led by 18 points with 8:20 left in the 4th quarter, survived a wild comeback by the Nuggets to advance to the second round with a 92-88 win that saw Denver miss a point blank putback that would've tied the game in the last 0:15. Warriors looked like a bad high school team at times during the Denver rally, but they win this series in six games.
Thursday's List of 13: Random thoughts on a spring day.......
13) Was reading an article today on how bad the Marlins’ hitting has been this season; it mentioned how over the last 40 years,, the team with the lowest OPS was the ’72 Texas Rangers, in their first year in Arlington after moving from Washington. Manager of the ’72 Rangers? Ted Williams, one of the best hitters ever, if not the best.
12) NBA Draft is two rounds, sixty picks; there are 77 early entries to the draft, 46 from American colleges, 31 from other countries, plus all the college seniors. Going to be a lot of disappointed people on June 27. Lot of kids are getting terrible advice.
11) Looks like former Oklahoma/Indiana basketball coach Kelvin Sampson has a pretty good chance to be an NBA head coach next season, either in Charlotte or Milwaukee.
10) Pirates had a pretty good April, but their starting pitchers threw the least innings of any NL team, which is a red flag going forward. Got to keep the strain off your bullpen over a six-month season.
9) Kentucky Derby has rain in the forecast for Saturday; Rick Pitino owns part of a horse called Goldencents, which won the Santa Anita Derby and will be running Saturday.
8) Former Kansas State PG Angel Rodriguez has surfaced at Miami, a good get for Jim Larranaga, with the Larkin kid leaving early for the NBA. Hurricanes will be down some next year, but are now looking a lot better for 2015. Not sure yet if Rodriguez can play next year or if he has to sit out.
7) Surprised to see the A’s scored 20 more runs in April than any other American League team.
6) According to Sports Illustrated, University of Tennessee spent $360,000 on six different coaching searches, just since 2005- they hire search firms to find them the right coach. Whoever told the Vols to hire Lane Kiffin should give them a refund on that search.
5) Since 2001, 30 of 42 (42%) of teams that led their division on May 1 wound up winning that division.
4) Online poker is legal in Nevada, if you play with Stations Poker. I’m predicting a gambling boom in this country over the next decade, where you’ll be able to play poker online anywhere, and bet on sports in states other than Nevada.
3) The last time Colorado had this much snow this late in the year was 1947. Glad I’m not there. Its supposed to snow in Kansas City today, too.
2) Horse racing note from TVG: This is first time since 1997 that no horse from the previous year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile race will run in Kentucky Derby. DD Lohaus will have his Kentucky Derby analysis in this space on Saturday, so make sure you log on and take a look.
1) Turns out the TV viewer who called in to point out Eldrick Woods’ improper drop on the 15th hole on Friday at the Masters was a guy named David Eger, who plays on the Seniors Tour. I’ve never been a big fan of TV viewers calling in violations, since it favors players who are never on TV. Interesting that the caller was an actual touring pro, though.
Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Late Monday night was filled with interesting baseball action; Mets went ahead of Miami in 15th inning because Marlins walked Ike Davis on purpose to face Ruben Tejada; Davis is hitting .159, Tejada .259.
According to retrosheet.org, which keeps a database of such things, neither hitter had faced Jon Rauch before, so why walk the befuddled Davis to pitch to Tejada, who already had two hits Monday?
Long story short, they walk Davis, then throw a wild pitch, then Tejada gets an infield hit and the Mets go ahead. Horrific managing, but Miami rallies for two in the 15th to win anyway, a weird end to an odd game—there were no more than a couple hundred people left in that beautiful new ballpark in Miami at game’s end.
12) Monday’s game was supposed to be a Harvey-Fernandez showcase of two of baseball’s best young pitchers, but the two combined to throw 202 pitches while lasting a combined 9.1 innings- not very good. Harvey threw 5.04 pitches per batter, and had 35 balls fouled off, a ridiculously high number. Fernandez threw 4.76 pitches/hitter and was lifted after four IP, allowing two runs. These two have plenty of better days ahead of them.
11) Out in Oakland, Angels led 7-2 in 8th inning, before things got bizarre. The A’s tied the game in the 9th (Cespedes is the A’s version of Kelly Leak from The Bad News Bears), fell behind in the 12th, tied it again (Rosales with a huge hit), then finally won the game at 4:41 ET when Brandon Moss homered in the 19th off a guy named Enright who used to pitch for Arizona.
Longest game in history for both Angels and A’s. For a minute, thought I was going to have to call in late to work to watch the end of the game.
10) Weirdest part of the A’s game was that Brett Anderson was scratched from the start (ankle) but wound up throwing 5.1 innings in relief, before he re-injured the ankle and had to leave in the 18th inning.
As much fun as winning these close games is, there is a huge red flag for Oakland: if their starting pitching doesn’t revert back to LY’s strong level, they’re going to fall apart this summer, because too much strain is being placed on their fine bullpen. Its as simple as that.
Sunday/Monday was first time since 1941 the A’s won consecutive games, when they trailed by 5+ runs in both games.
9) Injuries, injuries and more injuries; Stanton-Crisp-Bourjos-CYoung all got hurt running from home to first Monday night. Four starting OFs in one night, some of the better athletes in the game. Anderson re-injured his ankle when he turned to try and field a ball hit up the middle- he is always hurt. Baseball players are paper mache, its unbelievable.
8) Phil Jackson has never run an NBA franchise and is 67, which makes the Raptors’ push to hire the Zen Master as Team President a little odd. Maybe they’re just looking for some free publicity before the NHL playoffs start. Maybe they're serious, which will be very expensive if they're wrong.
7) While Creighton’s Doug McDermott will play another year for his father, Ray McCallum Jr is leaving his dad at U of Detroit and is bolting early for the NBA. Detroit never enjoyed the success that was expected once young McCallum committed to the Titans, but he is expected to be a good NBA player. Its a big hit to his dad's team.
6) Baylor gets center Isaiah Austin back for another season because the big man hurt his shoulder and wouldn’t have been a first round NBA draft pick, so he smartly returned to school. Good break for Scott Drew.
5) Luol Deng is 1-18 on 3-pointers in the Bulls-Nets playoff series; at what point do you stop shooting them? He is a career 33.4% shooter behind the arc who made 32.2% this year; I’m just asking.
4) ESPN’s draft coverage got its best ratings in these three cities:
New Orleans-Birmingham-Kansas City.
3) Geno Smith already fired his agent? He got drafted four days ago!!! Smith has to wait five days before he can hire another agent. Hope he doesn’t hire the guy who advised Tyler Bray to leave school early.
2) There are 347 Division I college hoop teams; this spring’s transfer list is already over 350 kids. Last year’s wound up over 450. The average transfer rate for all college students, athletes or not, is said to be around 33%.
1) Oklahoma City owner Clay Bennett is head of the NBA’s relocation committee; he is the guy who stole the Sonics from Seattle, which makes you wonder how much of a shot Seattle had in the first place, as far as getting the Kings to leave Sacramento for the Pacific Northwest.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) This is a free country; a lot of brave people risk their lives to protect our freedoms. Jason Collins is entitled to do what he wants, when he wants. He shouldn't have to call press conferences to explain himself.
12) Pacers-Hawks have played eight times this year; home team won every game. Hasn't even been a close game in this playoff series.
11) More bad news for Seattle, as the NBA recommended the Kings stay in Sacramento. No clue about whether Sacramento deserves to keep its team, but Seattle got screwed badly when the league took the Sonics away because the city wouldn't build yet another new arena- they had a perfectly suitable 15-year old building, but the NBA tried to extort a new arena out of the city, and when the city declined, the NBA moved the Sonics to Oklahoma.
Seattle supported the Sonics and deserves a term, but it doesn't look good.
10) If you saw ESPN’s 30 for 30 on the ’83 NFL Draft, one of the main story tellers was agent Marvin Demoff, who represented both Dan Marino and John Elway (how about those commissions??) Demoff’s son Kevin is now the COO of the St Louis Rams.
9) Speaking of the Rams, second first round draft pick Alec Ogletree. a LB from Georgia, blocked six punts for the Dawgs, so he should help the St Louis special teams.
8) Mets have played five home series, all three game series; over is 9-1 in Games 1-2, 0-5 in Game 3’s.
7) In their franchise history, Nuggets have been down 3-1 in a series twelve times; they’re 5-7 in those Game 5’s, but have never rallied to win a series. They get another chance this week.
6) Raiders took Houston DB DJ Hayden despite fact the kid hasn’t been on the field since suffering a bizarre injury in practice last fall that almost killed him. Hayden collided with a teammate, broke a blood vessel near his heart; he lost 25 pounds, had all the blood replaced in his body more than once, and damn near died.
You wonder how he’ll react the next time he gets on the field; Raiders must be pretty sure about Hayden, to use the 12th pick in the draft on him. .
5) Odd blowup Sunday between David Price and umpire Tom Hallion; Rays say that Hallion cursed at Price, who vehemently denies it. Things got pretty heated; Tampa pitcher Jeremy Hellickson was thrown out of the game, and he wasn’t even in the game.
There has to be a field mike somewhere that picked up what Hallion said to Price. If MLB fines the umpire, they probably won't tell us.
4) Since 1994, only one time have both #1 seeds in the NHL gotten to the Stanley Cup finals; that was 2001, when Colorado-New Jersey played each other. With a short season this year, would expect more chaos in this year's playoffs.
3) Mets-Marlins played until after midnight in Miami Monday, with the Marlins winning 4-3 in 15 innings, scoring twice in the 15th after Tejada put New York ahead with an RBI infield hit in the top of the inning.
2) Second day in a row, A's rallied back from a 5-run deficit, but as I type this, game is 8-8 in 19th inning at 4:20am Tuesday. Longest game in Oakland A's history, but I'm turning off the computer and watching end of the game in the dark. Hopefully it'll end before I go to work.
1) The whole Tim Tebow episode brings up many questions:
a) How on God’s green earth was he ever a 1st round draft pick?
b) How did Josh McDaniels get two more NFL jobs after his dismal performances in Denver and then St Louis? McDaniels was the only person in America who would’ve picked Tebow in the first round.
c) Why the hell did the Jets trade for Tebow last year?
d) How is Matt Simms still on the Jets’ roster? He couldn’t beat out Tyler Bray at Tennessee, and Bray didn’t get drafted this weekend.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend........
13) Very classy of Dwight Howard to get tossed from the Lakers' last game of the playoffs; whomever pays him serious money this summer gets what they deserve. He ain't worth it. Not even close.
12) State of North Carolina wants to put in mandatory background checks for anyone who owns a pitbull. At what point do the people draw the line at having their civil liberties taken away? I'm just askin'.....
11) There are nine members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who were drafted in the 7th round. Drafting is an inexact science, to be sure.
10) I read this week that when a team plays a doubleheader, it is common practice for the veteran pitcher to pick which game he wants to start, unless you're the Marlins and the owner decides himself. Must be lot of fun to be on that team, either as a manager, coach or player.
9) Gary McCord said on CBS that Mark Calcavecchia holds PGA record for most consecutive birdies, with nine in a row at the Canadian Open.
8) Carmelo Anthony has taken 35+ shots three times in his career; his team lost all three of those games. In four series games with Boston, he has taken 113 shots from floor, 37 from foul line, with four assists. Four.
7) With JR Smith suspended, the Knicks bench went 3-12 from the floor in their overtime loss Sunday.
6) In three home starts, Barry Zito: 21 innings, allowed no runs.
In two road starts, Zito: 6.1 innings, allowed 15 runs. Go figure.
5) Four games in Fenway this weekend, Houston starting pitchers gave up 33 hits, 22 runs in 17 innings. Other than Bud Norris, they don't have a starting pitcher of major league quality, except maybe Travis Blackley.
4) Phillies' 1st base coach is Juan Samuel, 3rd base coach is Ryne Sandberg; could be the best set of base coaches ever, in terms of their playing careers.
3) I know this will never happen, but I'm an advocate of below .500 teams being left out of the playoffs; the Bucks were 38-44, shouldn't Utah have been in the playoffs instead of them?
You play for six months; if you don't win half your games, you don't deserve to be in the playoffs, simple as that.
2) Four weeks down, 23 to go in baseball season, the Royals are in first place in the AL Central. They mortgaged their future (Myers/Odorizzi) for this season (Shields), the only way the GM could save his job. Its working.
1) Dell Curry was an excellent player at Virginia Tech who played a long time in the NBA; how did Tech not recruit either one of his sons? Steph went to Davidson, younger one went to Liberty, before Duke poached him away. No wonder Seth Greenberg got fired.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.........
13) Bulls 142, Nets 134, triple OT-- Just 8th triple OT game in playoff history; Nets led by 14 with 3:00 left, got beat by Nate Robinson, who scored 29 points in last 27:00 of play. I'm seriously not sure how Derrick Rose sits there and watches these games and doesn't at least try to play.
12) They had Reggie Jackson Bobblehead Day in Oakland Saturday, the same day that a different Reggie Jackson took Russell Westbrook's place starting at guard for the Thunder, who won 104-101 at Houston behind Kevin Durant 41 points, 14 rebounds. Looking at the boxscore: Oklahoma City ain't winning the NBA title. This is where they'll regret trading James Harden.
11) Tennessee was 5-7 LY, but had two WRs picked in the top 40 of the draft; QB Tyler Bray wasn't picked, though reports late Saturday night have him signing with the Chiefs as a free agent. Bray got horrendous advice to leave school early; now he'll have to make an NFL roster the hard way.
This is how much teams don't trust Bray as a team leader; the Chargers took a QB from Southern freakin' Utah in the 7th round, over a kid who started 2.5 years in the SEC. Who advised Bray to leave school early? Anyone?
10) SEC had 63 players drafted, with Ole Miss only one of the 14 schools without a player picked; ACC and Pac-12 combined had 59 kids taken.
9) Florida State (11) of the ACC had the most players drafted.
8) 58% of Tom Brady's completions LY went to players who are no longer Patriots; they drafted WRs from Marshall/TCU. Think they're going to regret letting Wes Welker get out of town.
7) Interesting article in the New York Post late last week about New Jersey Giants wanting their offensive tackles to have an arm length of at least 33 inches, to ward off opposing pass rushers.
Kid they drafted from Syracuse, OT Justin Pugh, has arms that are only 32 inches long, so they made an exception for him- they also drafted the QB from Syracuse, which coincidentally is coach Tom Coughlin's alma mater.
6) I'm a firm believer that the NFL should team up with Arena Football and use the AFL as a development ground for young QB's; the quick decisions and smaller playing field help develop a QB, I am totally convinced of it.
5) In his last 12 years as a college coach, Nick Saban has had 22 players picked in the first round of the draft; think that comes up during his recruiting home visits?
4) It is still odd hearing, "and the new coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, Andy Reid." Really think the Philly fans are going to miss Reid.
3) Odd Fact of the Draft: the 173rd pick in the draft, which wound up being , Denver taking OT Vinston Painter of Virginia Tech, was at one time owned by five different teams before the pick was actually made.
2) If every American did his job as well as Mel Kiper Jr does his, this would be a better country; the man is an information machine.
1) Lets be honest; many of the attributes that make a great NFL QB are not measureable, which is why Tom Brady got drafted in the 6th round, Ryan Leaf with the 2nd pick, while Kurt Warner never got drafted. Scouts have to use measureables to explain their suggestions/ratings, but there is still no way to measure a man's heart, or to determine whether teammates will follow him when he tries to lead them. It is why the draft is so interesting.
Saturday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) How have the Cowboys not drafted Matt Barkley? Tony Romo is in his 30's, its time for Dallas to draft a developmental QB. Barkley would've been the #1 pick had he come out last year; now he's a 4th round player?
12) Phillies are amazingly 0-6 in Roy Halladay’s starts this year, but that will change soon; Halladay allowed three hits in his last 15 IP.
All he needs is some run support.
11) Mets started their 8th series of the season last night; so far, over is 13-2 in Games 1-2 of each series, but 2-4 in Game 3’s. I don’t have a reason why, just reporting the facts.
10) Charles Barkley has come out and said he would like to be GM of the Phoenix Suns; would he work hard at the job, or treat it like a fantasy team he toys with after he plays golf ever day (see Bobcats, Charlotte)?
Playing/coaching/personnel are three distinctly different jobs, all unique in their own way, all very difficult to do well.
9) Fordham signed the best senior NYC high school basketball player this week, pretty big breakthrough for the Rams, as they try and rise from out of the basement of the A-16. This is a big step for them, no matter how good the kid is or isn’t. He’s from the Christ the King HS; the private school league is generally better than the public school league in NYC.
8) Carl Crawford has always been a pretty good player, but only pretty good; how he ever got $20M a year out of the Red Sox is beyond me. Seems as though Theo Epstein (now running the Cubs instead of Boston) should have to carry Crawford on his roster until the ridiculously high $140M contract (this is the third of seven years) is over.
7) Say a big league ballplayer gets 600 at-bats and hits .280; if that player added one more hit a week, say because he was an expert bunter, that .280 average becomes .325. How a speedy lefthanded hitter like Crawford never became an expert bunter is beyond me; might have made him a Hall of Fame-type player.
6) I wonder how much total money is spent on beer advertising on TV and radio during games? Has to be a staggering amount.
5) Western Michigan had the MAC Freshman of the Year this winter in 6-9 Darius Paul, but now he is transferring out of Kalamazoo, a disturbing trend that has increased lately (Seth Curry from Liberty-to-Duke, for example). Mid-majors have to watch out for bigger schools poaching their own players, almost like baseball players leaving smaller markets for the big money. Curious to see where Mr Paul winds up.
4) If you’re planning a vacation for next spring and don’t know where to go, Wrestlemania is going to be in the Superdome in New Orleans. They had it outdoors at Swamp Stadium in New Jersey this year.
3) Its funny how you can actually wager on where kids get picked in the NFL Draft; makes the whole evening a lot more interesting.
2) Seniors-to-be Russ Smith (Louisville), CJ Fair (Syracuse) are coming back to school next year, as those teams head into the ACC for the first time. Very good news for both teams.
\1) If the Lakers played the Celtics best-of-7 right now, would either team win a game? They both look like they've given up.
Friday's List of 13: Notes while watching the NFL draft.......
13) Four offensive linemen were taken in the first seven picks of the draft for the first time ever; unclear whether these linemen are that good, or everyone else is just so subpar this season.
12) Watching TV people bash the Raiders' drafts for the last 10-15 years without mentioning the late Al Davis by name is always funny, even as they show Davis' brother manning the Raiders' phone at Radio City.
11) Raiders have started 15 different QBs over the last decade. Yikes.
10) Jets' first round pick Dee Milliner has had five surgeries and has a rod in his leg; he had shoulder surgery in March. He also played for Alabama, so he's well-coached and used to winning.
9) USA Today reports that when Dolphins' pick Dion Jordan was a senior in high school, he set himself on fire in a bizarre accident.......
".........Jordan was watching a friend as he tried to siphon gas from a car while using a vacuum cleaner. When the friend finished, Jordan walked over to the vacuum to turn it off. When he flipped the vacuum’s “off” switch, it released a spark, spreading flames onto Jordan."
You can get gas out of a car with a vacuum cleaner?
8) Patriots got four draft picks from Minnesota for the #29 pick; who did the Vikings want so bad? WR Cordarrelle Patterson of Tennessee. They'll be comparing this to when the Falcons traded up to get Julio Jones, in what was an excellent trade for Atlanta.
7) Nine offensive linemen were taken in the first round; one QB, not one running back, in what was a very unusual first round.
6) Bad night for Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib; not only wasn't he drafted, but his old college coach, Doug Marrone, took EJ Manuel for his new team, the Buffalo Bills. If Marrone didn't draft his old QB, who will?
5) Lions' draft pick Ezekiel Ansah, #5 pick in the draft, had never started a game until last fall. Last time a BYU guy went in Top 10 of draft was 1982, when the Bears took Jim McMahon.
4) NFL Network's Mike Mayock is never surprised by anything. Ever.
3) When the three Alabama kids went with picks 9-11, it was the first time ever three college teammates got picked in succession.
2) Rough night for Geno Smith, Manti Te'o, Matt Barkley, as none of them got picked in the first round Thursday night. There's always Friday.
1) Last time Rams drafted a WR in first round (Torry Holt, '99), they won Super Bowl that year. I'm just sayin'...........
Thursday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind........
13) The players I’m most interested in at the NFL Draft this weekend are: Marcus Lattimore, the South Carolina RB who has injured his knee twice; CB Honey Badger Mathieu, who is just under 5-9 and has failed multiple drug tests, but was a proven big game performer at LSU, and of course LB Manti Te’o, the most enigmatic of all of this year’s candidates.
12) Ted Lilly’s start Wednesday made him the 8th different Dodger to start on the mound in LA’s first 20 games.
11) Hey Twitter users: if you see something posted from The Onion, its not real, it’s a joke, a parody. They post outrageous things in the name of humor and people who don't know them overreact, and then they have a good laugh at the expense of others.
They’re the Twitter version of the fake-to-third, throw-to-first pickoff move that used to be legal and had everyone in the stands yelling “Balk!!!”
10) So far this season, the Braves have out-homered opponents 35-13.
9) Stephen Strasburg's last four starts: 0-4, 5.55. Washington scored total of seven runs in those four games, but still.....
8) Matt Brady is just 88-82 in four years at James Madison, but he made the NCAA tournament, so he got a 4-year contract extension; Buffalo fired Reggie Witherspoon, who had generally done better than that at Buffalo (92-66 in his last five years there), but never made the field of 68. That’s the reality at a lot of these mid and low-majors programs.
Getting into the NCAAs excites the alumni, and they in turn contribute more money to the school. In the end, its always about the money.
7) Glad to see Brandon Inge back in the big leagues, in Pittsburgh; he is a tough, gritty guy and a good teammate who was a big help to the A’s before hurting his shoulder LY. We wish him well.
6) White Sox have already played 11 one-run games (5-6); the Bronx Bombers have only played two (2-0).
5) Six of eight NBA playoff series are 2-0. Not a lot of drama there.
Surprised the Sporting News had Les Miles ranked #9 amongst current college football coaches; he’s done an excellent job in Baton Rouge, is better than #9. So what if he wears his hat funny and chews grass? He has to go up against Nick Saban (at Alabama) and Saban's ghost (at LSU) and he does pretty darn well. No way there are eight programs better than LSU's.
3) Why did Cleveland give Mike Brown $20M to come back to coach the Cavaliers?
Wouldn’t Alvin Gentry be just as good, if not better, for a lot less money?
2) Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com reports that of the all defensive players drafted since 2003, 36 made the Pro Bowl; of those 36, only seven were drafted after the second round.
1) When you’re listening to expert after expert break down the NFL Draft over the next few days, remember that Tom Brady was once taken 30 picks after Marc Bulger, and Kurt Warner was never drafted.
Not a lot of expertise there.
Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud..........
New Jersey Jets have the 9th/13th picks in Thursday’s draft, first NFL team since 2000 to have two picks in the top 13; lot of negativity surrounding Gang Green right now, curious to see how they draft this week.
12) Speaking of the Jets, former Jet/new Buccaneer CB Darrelle Revis threw out the first ball at the Rays-Bronx game Monday night; his presence didn’t help attendance. Only 15,331 at The Trop for a quality Sabathia-Moore pitching matchup, 17,544 for Tuesday's game.
11) NFL Network had an interesting piece with USC QB Matt Barkley showing off the USC football facility; amazing how nice it is, especially the lobby area. Obviously designed to impress recruits, one word came to mind; excess. But Trojans recruit well, they know how to play that game well, so the lobby must be an effective tool.
10) Speaking of Barkley, betting over/under on where he gets drafted is 33.5. QB-needy Jacksonville has the 33rd pick.
9) Good news for Central Florida’s football team, which had its NCAA violations overturned by whatever committee does such things.
I’ve lost track, but I think UCF is headed to the new AAC, which is really the old Conference USA, plus Cincinnati/UConn/Temple.
8) Interesting article in USA Today about what it takes to fire a coach; Southern Mississippi went 0-12 with a first-year head coach LY after 16 straight winning seasons, and they wound up selling a home game to Nebraska for $2.1M to raise money to buy his contract out.
Wish someone would give me a couple million to go away.
7) Speaking of going away, big blow to Kansas State’s basketball team, with PG Angel Rodriguez leaving the program, supposedly to be closer to his family. He says it has nothing to do with the coaches, the team or the school, but if he winds up at South Carolina with former K-State coach Frank Martin, you’ll know that was a bunch of bunk.
Bruce Weber is now going to have to pull a point guard out of a rabbit’s hat, or else. Bad time to lose a solid PG with two years left to play, but obviously, there is no good time for that.
6) Stanford is beefing up its basketball schedule; they’ve got home/home with UConn coming up, and are coming to Brooklyn to play Michigan next year. Johnny Dawkins has a veteran team next year, and this aggressive scheduling shows that he thinks he has a very good team.
5) Its painful watching Albert Pujols run; he has plantar fasciitis, same thing Joakim Noah has, and its painful as hell. Not sure how his feet get better, other than rest.
4) I’m in a 16-team, 25-man team keeper league in fantasy baseball; Ichiro Suzuki got released this week and hasn’t been picked up, which could indicate his career is just about shot. I mean, there are kids in Class A ball on rosters in our league. Very few starting OFs are free agents. Ichiro has had a great career, for sure, but it might be over soon.
3) If Montreal-Toronto square off in the NHL playoffs, it would be the first time since 1979, and it would be a very big deal in Canada.
2) I just got an e-mail asking if I wanted tickets for a Denver-Clipper NBA preseason game next October at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. I have no clue what I’m doing after work today, much less six months from now.
It is something to think about, though.
1) Three most expensive tickets so far for the ’13 season at NFL Ticket Exchange: Broncos @ Colts, Giants @ Dallas, Giants @ Bears.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but...........
13) Creighton basketball star Doug McDermott has a decision this week; go to the NBA and make a few million bucks, or stay in college and play his senior year for the Bluejays. Not as simple as it sounds.
One thing complicates a seemingly easy decision; Greg McDermott (Doug’s dad) is the Bluejays’ coach and Creighton isn’t a top 25 team next preseason unless Doug comes back to play.
12) If you don’t think there is pressure to win at Creighton, consider this: Bluejays drew more fans per home game this season than 14 teams in the NBA. People don’t come out to watch losing teams.
Like I said, interesting decision for the kid.
11) Florida Gators didn’t hold a spring football game because they only had six healthy offensive linemen for spring practice. Going to be freshmen and JC kids backing up the starters on the line this fall.
10) Employees of NFL Network and ESPN won’t be tweeting draft picks this weekend, to protect the integrity of the broadcasts. I’ll probably choose NFLN over ESPN the first day, then go with ESPN when Mel Kiper is on more, in the later rounds; I’ve soured on Chris Berman’s act the last few years. He won’t be around for Day 3.
9) In 1976, kid named Gregg Popovich tried out for the Denver Nuggets, who were coached by Larry Brown; trying to guard David Thompson helped send Popovich on a path to coaching, where he has become one of the NBA’s all-time greats. Only other team he coached was a D-III college club.
8) People forget just how great a player David Thompson was, before his off-court troubles ruined his career; in lot of ways, he was the NBA’s version of Dwight Gooden, a prodigious talent whose career got derailed by life in the fast line. But boy, what a great, great college player.
7) Donald Trump tweeted Monday that he thinks the Boston bomber will eventually ask for a Presidential pardon; if that happens, the answer damn well better be no, and an emphatic no.
6) Big Dozen approved a nine-game conference football schedule, but that won’t start until 2016; until then, teams will fatten up on MAC and the lame I-AA teams with that extra game.
5) We need the Carl’s Jr hamburger chain to come east; apparently they’re now testing out a Pop Tarts ice cream sandwich; who wouldn’t be in favor of that? Come on Carl’s people, be greedy, open up some new places in the east, specifically upstate New York, say, surburban Albany???
4) Krispy Kreme has come up with Key Lime cheesecake donuts, which sounds like a little too much, even for me. I prefer Dunkin’ Donuts because they serve bigger donuts, and its all about quantity, not quality…..lol
3) Someone got to the official scorer in Seattle Monday and got a Victor Martinez E-6 changed to a single, which raises his batting average from .167 to .182, making his off day the best day he’s had this season.
2) Consensus on Twitter Monday afternoon was that no Big Dozen players will be taken in first round of the NFL Draft Thursday night. Zero. Not any Michigan guys or Ohio State or Nebraska. Wow.
1) Alabama/Auburn combined to draw 161,716 fans to their spring football games; its really an amazing thing. Vanderbilt drew an estimated 14,000 to theirs, and they’re in the same league as the two Alabama schools.
Two schools of thought here:
a) Its unfair that Vandy’s resources are so much less than the big boys or
b) With equal revenue sharing of TV money, Vandy’s administration is making a killing and they could care less if they win or lose, as long as those big fat revenue sharing checks keep rolling in.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend........
13) Pacers 107, Hawks 90-- Indiana outscored Hawks 30-7 on foul line, as George was 17-18 by himself at charity stripe. Every Pacer starter was +13 or better for the game, and Hawks even shot 50% from floor. George dished out 12 assists and recorded a triple-double.
12) Spurs 91, Lakers 79-- San Antonio shot under 39% for third time in four games vs LA this season, but won easily. Dwight Howard had 15 rebounds, but none on offensive end. Laker bench had two hoops (2-8) in a combined 56 minutes. Spur bench was 13-31 in 79 minutes.
11) Heat 110, Bucks 87-- Milwaukee was -13 in 15:00 Brandon Jennings was off court, -9 in 33:00 he played. It would be really surprising if the Heat loses a game in this series. Bucks are now 38-45 this season. Miami's only worry in this series is avoiding getting someone hurt.
10) Thunder 120, Rockets 91-- No chance #1 seed Oklahoma City takes it easy on Rockets, not with former teammate Harden star of Houston team; in four meetings this season, OC has scored 120-124-119-120 points vs Rocket team that just doesn't match up well here. It would help to defend a little.
9) Not sure what the Mets see in Ike Davis; he was pathetic for the first half of last year, but started hitting once they fell out of the race, so people were still high on him. This season, he has come up with 45 men on base, and knocked in three of them, thats three out of 45.
He's knocked in two of eight runners from 3rd base, and a combined 1 of 37 from 1st and 2nd base; this is a corner infielder we're talking about!!!!
8) By way of contrast, John Buck has knocked in 15 of 46 runners (32.6%), David Wright 12 of 45 (26.7%) and Daniel Murphy 10 of 38 (26.3%).
7) In case you were wondering, Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips has come up with the most men on base (73); he's knocked in 16 of them (21.9%).
6) Mets had Ron Darling Bobblehead Day Sunday, on a day when their former pitcher/current TV analyst was out of town working a game on TBS. Shouldn't you have the day when Darling is actually there, seeing as he is there most of the time? Just seemed odd.
5) I'm a big fan of the Brewers' alternate gold jerseys, which I think they only wear on Sundays at home. Very sharp.
4) Ryan Howard's lack of mobility at first base hurts the Phillies, to the point of being a glaring weakness. He just doesn't move well at all.
3) From 2005-08, Jose Reyes played in 161-153-160-159 games for Mets; since then, starting in '09, he's played in 36-133-126-160 games, and now is out until the All-Star break in Toronto. Part of being great is durability; Reyes' latest injury was his fault because he was indecisive on a slide and his ankle collapsed. His lack of durability is undermining his career.
2) Barry Zito's starts this season:
April 5, vs St Louis-- 7 IP, three hits, no runs, W1-0.
April 10, vs Colorado-- 7 IP, seven hits, no runs, W10-0.
April 16, @ Milwaukee- 2.2 IP, eight hits, nine runs, L10-8.
April 21, vs San Diego-- 7 IP, five hits, no runs, W5-0.
I'm thinking he prefers pitching at home.
1) NFL schedule makers know stuff: Jets-Buccaneers in Week 1 is no coincidence, as Bucs acquired Darelle Revis from Gang Green Sunday, for the 13th pick in this week's draft, and a conditional 2014 pick. Nothing like little added intrigue to the league's opening weekend.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.........
13) First thing I thought of when Daniel Nava hit his game-winning 8th inning HR Saturday was when Mike Piazza hit a similar game-winner for the Mets after baseball resumed in September of 2001. Just an outburst of emotion from an excited crowd; quite a moment.
12) Astros' starter Philip Humber gave up eight runs in the first inning Saturday, third time this week Houston's starter didn't finish second inning. Going to be a very long summer for Astro skipper Bo Porter.
11) Bad night for Indian starter Scott Kazmir, making his first big league start in two years, and in his hometown; when your team gives you a 14-0 lead in second inning and you don't last five innings to get the win, its a bad night. Kazmir allowed six runs in 3.1 IP, throwing 89 pitches.
10) Knicks 85, Celtics 78-- Boston bench was 0-7 from floor, scored total of four points, had plus/minus of -18; New York bench was 13-32, 33 points, -4. Knicks were -9 in 5:00 Felton was off floor, they miss steady Prigioni. C's scored only eight points in the fourth quarter, 25 in second half.
9) Nuggets 97, Warriors 95-- 37-year old Andre Miller is probably the best player coached by the late Rick Majerus, who would have been proud of his former star Saturday. Miller scored 18 4th quarter points as Denver won for 39th time in 42 home games, including last 24 in row.
8) Nets 106, Bulls 89-- Derrick Rose made $6,993,708 LY; I'm assuming he made more than that this season. Rose has been practicing 5-on-5 for over a month, would be nice if he actually played in a game. Willis Reed he ain't. I actually watched the 19-6 Indians-Astros game instead of this mess.
7) Clippers 112, Grizzlies 91-- Wonder what Mark Cuban thinks when he watches Lamar Odom try? Odom had to go to three high schools before he found one that would give him a diploma, he went to URI for ten days or so, but he's made over $110M in his NBA career. He is very talented, but seems more comfortable as a supporting role player. He helps the Clippers.
6) Made me sick listening to ESPN announcers say that Vinny Del Negro might have to get Clippers to Western Confeence finals in order to keep his job; when have the Clippers won more games? If LA loses to the Thunder in the next round, he's not a good coach? Who will they hire who is better?
5) Memphis coach Lionel Hollins is also a free agent after this season is over, but people seem to think the Grizzlies will bring him back, so at least someone has ounce of sense. Firing Hollins after they traded Rudy Gay would be an example of epic stupidity.
4) Dodgers lost their last six games, have been outscored 33-13.
3) Interleague play is an everyday thing because there are now 15 teams in each league, fueling speculation that the NL will adopt the DH; so far this season, NL teams have an 11-9 edge, with over 5-2 in games without the DH, 6-7 in games with a DH. Go figure.
2) Gonzaga big guy Kelly Olynyk, who started four games in his first two years but blossomed into a 17 ppg scorer this year, is bolting Gonzaga for the NBA- we wish him well, but have seen far too many kids like him leave school and disappear off the basketball map. Is he ready? Is one strong year enough to make him an NBA player?
If the kid is promised a top half of first round selection, then he's guaranteed $10M for three years and has to go, for the most part, but what if he stayed in school and sharpened his skills one more year? We'll never know.
1) Rutgers hired alum/former NBA player/coach Eddie Jordan this week, but his top returning scorer Eli Carter is transferring anyway, making it four of Knights' top six scorers who won't be back next season. Rutgers was 4-9 in Big East play with Carter playing, before he broke a bone in his leg, so not like he's Kevin Durant or something. Lot of these kids get bad advice and always think the grass is greener on the other side. It isn't.
Saturday's List of 13: Random thoughts on a spring Saturday.....
13) Thanks to Ken Thomson and Sportsxradio for having me on as a guest Friday night; you can check the archive here. If you're interested in being a better bettor, this show is a great place to get the education to improve your handicapping. I know it helps me.
12) So while I'm on the air, I'm watching Colorado-Arizona, and Jhoulys Chacin is throwing a shutout for the Rockies and my fantasy team; then he pulls an oblique, and I have to bite my damn tongue so I don't curse into the phone. Baseball players get hurt an awful lot.
11) Stumbled across this fact today and it hit me; this is how great Lebron James is: four years ago, the Cavaliers were 66-16. Now? Not so much. In last three years, thats three years, they're 64-166.
10) When you see a game with no walks, 19 strikeouts, you know the umpire helps the pitchers. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Doug Eddings. Under is 13-8 in his last 21 games behind the plate.
9) Dwight Howard is a free agent this summer; there is no way on God's green earth I would pay him max money to be the best player on my team. My best player has to make his teammates better, has to be coachable, and in a perfect world, would make at least half his free throws.
8) I'm a little behind with my movie watching, because all I watch are games and CSI reruns, but saw The Bucket List while I was writing tonight, and it is a very good movie. Well worth two hours of your time. OK, so its a six-year old movie, I told you I was behind on my movie watching.
7) Cleveland Browns have been around for 14 years since NFL gave them an expansion team; they're been 1-0 once. Once. 2004. I'm thinking they can beat the Dolphins this year and make it twice, but we'll see how they draft next week. New OC Norv Turner will improve their quarterback play.
6) Cam Cameron is the offensive coordinator at LSU? NFL guys are way ahead of college coaches, right? Zach Mettenberger for the Heisman?
5) Duke promoted Nate James to replace Chris Collins as assistant coach of the basketball team; all of Coach K's assistant coaches are former Duke players, except for his Director of Ops, who is his freakin' son-in-law. Is this a good idea? Who would ever say no to him if it was necessary?
Before you tell me it would never be necessary, I'll point you to State College and Penn State-- Joe Paterno needed a strong voice to point him in the right direction and he didn't have one when he needed one most.
4) Good grief, ESPNU has run out of decent programming; they're actually showing Duke's spring football game. Would be better TV if they showed the Manning brothers working out at Duke with Wes Welker this spring.
3) At risk of being Captain Obvious, policemen/firemen are extremely courageous humans. Imagine being the guys who found the bomber hiding in that boat in Boston? Quite a story they have to tell.....
2) Speaking of that boat, if the people who own it wanted to sell it to a collector, how much you think they could get for it? Its a piece of American history, for sure-- I'm thinking they could get a small fortune for it.
1) The poor people who lost relatives/friends this week, both in Boston and west Texas, how do you come to grips with all this? Why does it happen? Who does stuff like this? I mean, an 8-year old died, for the love of Pete.
Its been a wild week, and I hope I never see another one like it.
Friday's List of 13: Initial thoughts on NFL Draft..........
13) Defending champ Ravens are already a 9.5-point underdog at Denver in their season opener; Baltimore is opening on the road because the Orioles wouldn't move their Sept. 5 game to a day game to accomodate parking near the two ballparks in downtown Baltimore.
Ravens have one home game between Sept 22 and Nov 10, with four road games, a bye and a home tilt with Green Bay in there. Three of their last five games are in primetime.
12) Chip Kelly will be the most interesting rookie head coach this year, as he replaces Andy Reid in Philly and inherits a QB controversy. Eagles are opening the season with the Redskins; tough stretch for them is Weeks 4-6, when they're on road three weeks in row, at Broncos-Giants-Bucs. If they go 1-2 in that stretch, its not so bad.
11) Reid's return to Philly won't take long; Chiefs have a Week 3 Thursday night game on NFL Network at Lincoln Financial Field.
10) NFL must think Jets are trading Darrelle Revis to the Bucs, because those two teams play each other in season opener at Swamp Stadium, second year in row former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano brings his team to the Garden State.
9) Six divisional games in Week 1; Eagles-Redskins are the first of two Monday night games, along with Texans-Chargers.
8) Eight of the Thursday night games are divisional matchups, which is a good idea, given the short prep time. Chargers-Broncos Dec 12 is a possible snow game in the Mile High City, bad news for San Diego.
7) Bills-Patriots start and finish the season against each other, as all Week 17 games are divisional rivalry games. New England has the maximum five primetime games, including Sunday night games with Atlanta/Denver.
6) Networks wrestle over these marquee matchups; FOX won the battle for the RGIII-Peyton (Denver-Washington) matchup, probably only one there will ever be, which is also Mike Shanahan's return to Denver in Week 8.
Shanahan, by the way, is 15-4 in season openers. Redskins don't play the Giants until Week 13.
5) Steelers won their last ten home openers (8-2 vs spread); they open with the Titans this season, should be hefty favorites.
4) How anxious you think Sean Payton is to get back on the field? Saints open with division rivals Falcons/Bucs. New Orleans-Carolina don't play until Week 14, then play again two weeks later.
3) Week 4, Dolphins-Saints. Once upon a time, Drew Brees was going to sign with Miami as a free agent, but the Dolphins' coach at the time decided to sign Daunte Culpepper instead. Whoops.
You may have heard of that coach, who has since moved on.
2) Week 12, Colts at Cardinals. Bruce Arians coaches Arizona now, but he was interim coach of the Colts LY, when Chuck Pagano was ill. Indy filled Arians' spot with Pep Hamilton, who was Andrew Luck's OC at Stanford.
1) Thanksgiving Day is always fun; this year, its Packers-Lions, Raiders-Cowboys during the day, then Steelers-Ravens at night.
Next week its the NFL Draft; pro football doesn't have much of an offseason anymore. Who do you think the #1 pick will be?
Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud........
13) I’m a 53-year old guy who loves the NFL; to me, Pat Summerall is and always will be an icon, a man whose calm demeanor graced the TV airwaves for decades, on football, golf and tennis.
When he called a Ram game, I knew the game was more important than most games. He called action with enthusiasm and humor while allowing the game to be the thing, none of this “Look at me!!!” BS that’s way too prevalent nowadays. RIP Mr Summerall. Thanks for everything.
12) NFL releases its 2013 schedule Thursday at 8; always interesting things to talk about after that comes out, and we’ll be doing that in this space on Friday. Speaking of which.......
11) ....... Friday night at 10:35 ET, yours truly will be a phone-in guest on Sportsxradio.com, America’s finest radio sports talk show, heard in 12 states and British Columbia on 50,000-watt KDWN 720 in Las Vegas. Host Ken Thomson and Chuck Edel are very knowledgeable handicappers—it’ll be a fun, informational segment of sports radio.
10) When one of your fantasy pitchers is on the hill with umpire John Hirschbeck behind the plate, it’s a good day for you. Hirschbeck called 31 strikes for Doug Fister Tuesday night, two more called strikes than any other pitcher has gotten a game this season (see table above).
9) Cancellation of Pacer-Celtic game Tuesday night also canceled season over/under win tickets on wagers purchased at some casinos in Las Vegas, which state that all 82 games have to be played for the wager to be valid. Other casinos stipulate that teams only need to play 80 (out of 82) games for action to be good.
8) Interesting story on cbssports.com about how USC’s new basketball coach Andy Enfield was commenting to a co-worker and a reporter how he wished his office was a little bigger, so he could have recruits’ families visit in there, and before the day was over, workers were knocking a wall out to give his office added space. Must be nice to have resources.
7) Loyola-Chicago is replacing Creighton in the MVC; not much recent tradition at Loyola, but they were a national power in the early 60’s and the school is in Chicago, so they should be able to recruit well. Then again, so is DePaul and look what a mess they are.
6) FIU replaced Richard Pitino with Norfolk State’s Anthony Evans, the guy who beat Missouri as a 15-seed last year. Evans recruits a lot in New York City; he will be FIU's third head coach in three seasons.
5) Loyola, Md replaced Jimmy Patsos with GG Smith, son of Tubby; Greyhounds are moving into the Patriot League, which is probably at least part of why Patsos jumped ship.
4) UNLV lost assistant coach/recruiter Justin Hutson to San Diego State, which is where he used to work. Hutson thought going to UNLV would help him land a head coaching gig, but it hasn’t worked out.
3) Oklahoma State became a top 15 basketball team for next year when Marcus Smart (somewhat surprisingly) announced he’ll be back in Stillwater next winter. Very good news for Travis Ford, not such good news for the rest of the Big X. Good news for college basketball.
2) Lakers beat Houston in OT, so they'll be the #7 seed in the west and play San Antonio in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
1) Good ending to a 14-inning game in Seattle, with Tigers throwing out the tying run at the plate to end the game after a double by Dustin Ackley.
Wednesday's List of 13: Some of our favorite events of the year........
There are certain things we look forward to each year which give our year a rhythm, a pace we’re used to. Here are some of my favorite sports-related events each year………
13) Australian Open on TV, January—When you’re up late at night writing about and handicapping basketball, always good to have some live TV on to keep you company. This is probably the only tennis tournament I’ll watch all year, but it is good stuff.
12) NFL schedule getting released—the old Viking coach Bud Grant always said, “Its not who you play, its when you play them.” Seeing the regular season, who gets what primetime games, the difficult schedule spots the league puts the better teams in, its always an interesting night when the schedule comes out.
Its also fun when the Las Vegas sportsbooks put lines out for every game from Weeks 1-16, so people can speculate in the spring/summer what will be happening in the fall. Not as easy as it sounds.
11) When our keeper league fantasy baseball draft starts, whenever they drop the green flag at the Daytona 500 (unrelated events, just a milestone that winter is almost over).
The original 18-team, 24-player per team draft took 82 days to complete eight years ago; the shorter drafts now last a week or so.
10) You can make a solid argument now that Thanksgiving weekend is the best sports weekend of the year: late season NFL games, rivalry games in college football, some of the better pre-conference college basketball games, plus coconut custard pie and cranberry sauce. Whats not to like?
9) British Open—My favorite golf tournament because I’m out in Las Vegas that weekend and the TV coverage comes on at like 4am out there and it totally ruins whatever sleep patterns have existed until that part of the trip. By time tournament ends, I’m clueless as to what time it is, what day it is, but I know vacation is almost over.
8) NBA Summer League—Same July trip in Vegas is the showcase league for both NBA teams and all the overseas leagues that sign American players. Usually spend 2-3 full days watching games.
Underrated and surprisingly inexpensive fun.
7) Daily routine of baseball—From 7pm-1am Monday-Saturday from April until Labor Day, you’ll probably find me in front of the TV/laptop following baseball; in September football joins in too.
Something about the daily routine of it that makes it special, gives life a timeline to follow every day.
6) College football Saturdays—From noon til 2am every Saturday from Labor Day until early December, listen to bands and watch lot of football. Vegas casinos are great during college football; people coming from all over to back their favorite teams. I’ve been to games at Penn State, Tennessee, South Carolina; the tailgating experience is really something, and by that I mean its way better in warmer weather!!!!
5) Stanley Cup playoffs—Any overtime game in hockey is tremendous drama; this sport is best suited for the best-of-7 format, unlike the NBA, which would be better off with a best-of-3 format. Hockey playoffs are great fun, especially if you’ve ever hung out in a sportsbook with women from Vancouver watching the Canucks play.
4) Minor league baseball is underrated fun, whether over the river here in Troy (Astros’ Class A team) or Las Vegas (Mets’ AAA team). Inexpensive tickets, hot dogs; what could be better?
3) College basketball Championship Week—Wall-to-wall game for 3-4 days, all with tremendous meaning. In some ways, Championship Week is more fun than the NCAA tournament; certainly has lot more action.
2) NFL Sundays—When the Rams are good, NFL Sundays are the pinnacle of any week for me, but even in lean years, they’re great fun. Only reason I have DirecTV is so I can have the NFL Sunday Ticket in my house, that’s how much fun it is.
First weekend of NCAA tournament— the best four days of the sports year, simple as that.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) What would inspire some jackass(es) to set off bombs in a public place? An 8-year old kid was killed in Boston Monday, after two bombs went off near the Boston Marathon. Why?
12) People like that deserve to be executed on national TV; would that be a deterrent? Couldn't hurt.
11) One of the stranger customs in sports is 11am Patriots’ Day game at Fenway Park every April. Patriots Day is a state holiday in Massachusetts and Maine; they run the Boston Marathon that day, the Bruins usually play a home game that night and the Red Sox play at 11 that morning.
I’m wondering if the visiting team has to approve that on the schedule before they’re slotted in to play that day?
10) Interesting debate on Twitter Monday as to who the best #10 in NFL history is; most said Fran Tarkenton; some had Eli Manning and a few down south had Steve Bartkowski. Eli still has some work to do, could wind up as the #1 guy there, but I’d go with Tarkenton right now.
9) Mets got snowed out for second day in a row; their day/night twinbill might get snowed out Tuesday in Denver.
8) You know you're on tilt when Peter Bourjos homers against you in Fantasy baseball; thats just not right. Guy can't hit.
7) Masters TV ratings were up 26% from LY; have to think Eldrick Woods’ drama helped bigtime on Saturday, then the closeness of the finish late Sunday, coupled with gloomy conditions, made for interesting viewing. Wonder what ratings would’ve been if Eldrick withdrew Saturday morning?
6) Nike is actually selling “Leon Sandcastle” Chiefs jerseys before the NFL Draft. Sandcastle is the fictional character played by Deion Sanders in Nike commercials this past winter/spring. Who would buy one?
5) Nerlens Noel, Otto Porter are latest college stars to bolt school early; no one stays in school long anymore. I’m thinking kids should be able to go right from high school to the NBA. Seems like a better system that way.
4) Jeff Van Gundy was saying Sunday how there is a stigma attached to NBA prospects who play four years of college ball; in other words, if you were any good, you’d have come out of college early. If that’s true, and he would know, then that’s pretty freakin’ sad.
3) If the Utah Jazz miss the playoffs by a game, they’ll look back on two home games they lost to the Clippers by total of three points, games they led at one time by 14-19 points. It’s a long NBA season, has to sting to miss the playoffs by such a narrow margin.
2) A 42-year old fan shot and killed himself on the infield at the NASCAR race in Texas Saturday, a race that was sponsored by the National Rifle Association. Damn.
1) As if this world isn’t bizarre enough, my father reports that at church this week, the priest asked women to bring their purses with them when they came up to the altar for communion, since thieves are pilfering purses during Communion at various churches around town. Seriously.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.......
13) If I was adivising Eldrick Woods Saturday morning, and was being totally selfish as to what would help Woods the most in the long run, I would've told him to withdraw this weekend. Would've helped his public image a great deal, and how he is viewed by other players.
Obviously, that stuff doesn't matter to him, but it might someday.
12) Those green/white umbrellas you saw all over Augusta Sunday?: $45 a pop in the pro shop. In fairness, food concessions are way cheaper there than at most sporting events, maybe cheaper than at any other event.
11) HBO Real Sports should do a feature next year on what Gary McCord does during Masters week; he's been exiled off air because he made fun of the speed of some of the greens. Free speech doesn't exist at Augusta.
10) Anaheim Angels moved print media from behind the plate to down the rightfield line, which has upset the media. Angels are putting a restaurant behind the plate, where the press area used to be. Don't want to be annoying the media when you're off to a 4-8 start.
9) Miller Park in Milwaukee has a retractable roof; it really helps attendance in a cold weather area; why the hell didn't the Twins put a roof over Target Field? Conditions were dreadful for baseball this weekend, and they would've avoided a Sunday rainout with the Mets.
8) Phillies gave Jimmy Rollins the day off Sunday; it is odd to me that some teams put the sub into the same spot in the batting order as the regular. For instance, Rollins bats second for Philly; Freddie Galvis batted second in Sunday's game. Why would you want him batting second, just so the other players are always batting in the same spot in the order? Wow.
7) Speaking of the Phillies, Roy Halladay won his 200th game Sunday; next up for 200 wins is Tim Hudson, one of my favorites from when he pitched for the A's. Halladay has 102 career losses, Hudson 104.
6) Cincinnati led 5-0 in 7th inning Sunday, lost 10-7 to the Pirates, as Bucs swept the weekend series in Pittsburgh.
5) Cardinal pitcher Shelby Miller induced 70 swings on his 113 pitches vs Milwaukee Friday night; 42 of the 70 swings resulted in foul balls, more foul balls than I've ever seen one pitcher get. 70 swings is also a lot; of the 14 balls Milwaukee put in play, only one was a hit. Wow.
4) Miami's Kevin Slowey has a 2.09 ERA in three starts, but teammates scored a total of one run in the three games. Same thing for Philip Humber in Houston; Astros scored one run in losing his first three starts.
3) Chicago Cubs threw five wild pitches in one inning Sunday, then blew a lead in the 9th inning, losing 10-7 to the Giants. Hunter Pence hit a homer with two outs/two strikes in top of 9th to tie the game.
2) Atlantic-16 lost Temple/Charlotte and will likely lose Dayton/Saint Louis, but they've added George Mason, are likely to add Davidson as a member for the 2014-15 season. This conference juggling may never end.
1) There were odd stories flying around Sunday how former Rutgers coach Mike Rice was coaching his daughter's 7th grade AAU team, and giving refs a ton of grief during the game, like he was coaching a Big East game. One ref told a reporter he would've given Rice two technicals, if it had been a high school game. Someone needs to send Rice on a relaxing vacation somewhere.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday........
13) Listening to The Masters on TV has become disturbing, since there is obviously a gag order on any criticism of the course. Gary McCord made some wiseass comments (thats what he gets paid to do) a few years back, and hasn't been seen at Augusta since.
When you can almost hear the announcers walking on eggshells so they keep their jobs, it makes for bad TV, to the point where the mute button is the preferable option. Nick Faldo spoke his mind Saturday morning on the Golf Channel, but by 3:10 on CBS, he was towing the company line that letting Eldrick Woods play was the right thing to do.
At least Saturday morning was good TV, when it was out of the hands of some of the strangest people in America, the members at Augusta National.
12) Bottom line is this: TV ratings would've crashed if Eldrick Woods had WD or been DQ'd, and no one benefits from that, not CBS or the PGA Tour or the nitwits at Augusta. But from this point on, spare me the BS that golf is a game of honor moreso than other sports. Saturday proved otherwise.
11) Albert Pujols hit a walk-off double as Angels scored twice in the 8th, twice in the 9th to nip Houston 5-4, avoiding a 2-9 start, and also ending the Astros' three-game winning streak.
10) This is how my sports weekend has been: one of the ballgames showed a graphic with these three faces on it:
-- Jose Reyes, my fantasy SS, out three months (ankle).
-- Giancarlo Stanton, my fantasy RF, out for weekend (shoulder)
-- Yoenis Cespedes, A's LF, on 15-day DL (hand).
9) Indiana has 14 basketball players signed up for scholarships for 2013-14; problem is, they can only give out 13, so before next fall, someone will have to get the boot, or magically become ineligible. Last year at this time, Indiana had 15 kids for 13 spots; one sub transferred out, another flunked out.
Its a shady way of doing business, but also generally accepted.
8) Cullen Neal was all set to play PG for St Mary's next year, until his dad Craig became the head coach at New Mexico, so now the younger Neal will also be a Lobo. Bad news for the Gaels, who lose Matthew Dellavedova to graduation and need a point guard.
7) Philip Humber pitches for Houston Sunday; Kevin Slowey pitches for Miami. Its third start of season for both guys; their team was shut out in each of their first two starts. Hope they get some support Sunday.
6) Only six of 30 starting pitchers finished the 7th inning Saturday, with both Shields/Wainwright tossing complete games.
5) When I was a kid in the 70's, starting pitchers went much deeper into games, and closers generally got more more than three outs a game, so there were roster spots in the bullpen that weren't that important.
Nowadays, middle relievers are critical to a team's success, since starters generally only last six or so innings (100-110 pitches) and closers rarely are asked to get more than three outs. Those six outs in the 7th-8th innings are gotten now by guys who wouldn't have been on the mound 30-40 years ago, especially the 7th inning guys.
4) Glad Diamondbacks hired analyst Bob Brenly away from the Cubs; he's a regular guy who explains the game well-- never got that much of a chance to listen to him when he was in Chicago, since they play so many day games. The best TV broadcasts have a little laughter, a little discussion about current hot topics and a little silence to let the game breathe.
3) I love watching football. Spring football? Not so much.
Still think they should play exhibition games in full uniform and make some more money off the kids in the spring. Then I'd watch.
2) I can say it now: Papa John's pizza is the best pizza I've ever had.
1) Odds to win Masters, as of late Saturday night:
Snedeker 2-1, Scott 7-2, Cabrera 5-1, Woods 11-2, Day 7-1, Kuchar 10-1.
Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind..........
13) Ugly incident in San Diego late Thursday night, when Carlos Quentin charged the mound after being hit with a 3-2 pitch by Zack Greinke, who wound up with a broken collarbone.
Seeing as Greinke makes $147M over the next six years and Is an outstanding pitcher, this one won’t die down soon.
12) Earth to Mr Quentin: Pitchers don’t drill you with 3-2 pitches.
He may have hit you on purpose before, but not Thursday. No way. For the record, Quentin gets hit by pitches a higher percentage of the time than any other player in baseball.
11) We’ll find out who MLB thinks its best umpiring crew is Monday, when the Padres visit Chavez Ravine. Quentin got 8-game suspension from MLB, but is appealing, so as long as he doesn't drop the appeal before Monday night, he'll be in leftfield Monday. Tensions will be high.
10) Looks like the SEC is about to join the Big Dozen and Pac-12 by having its own TV network. Hope DirecTV picks this one up.
9) Police in Dubai drive Lamborghinis and BMWs as patrol cars. Just thought you should know.
8) In his Masters career, Sergio Garcia is -14 on Thursday/Friday, +21 on the weekend. Not the best trend for his chances this week.
7) Someone on ESPN had this stat: Carmelo Anthony had 53 touches Thursday in Chicago, only passed the ball 12 times, for one assist.
If you want the ball on that team, you better rebound his missed shots, and there aren’t that many of those. Either that, or be on the floor when Anthony is sitting out.
6) There is a terrific shot blocker who is a high school junior named Goodluck Okonoboh. Kid’s parents actually named him Goodluck. Yikes. Better than no luck at all, I guess.
5) Rutgers may have landed on its feet if they hire alum/former NBA head coach Eddie Jordan as its new basketball coach. Makes you wonder why didn’t go after him before.
Hope the new AD approves, since it looks like they may hire the coach first, which would be an unusual step, but a necessary one, with recruiting season well underway.
4) Saint Louis Billikens finally hired Jim Crews as its fulltime basketball coach, after he served as interim coach this season after the death of Rick Majerus. Took them long enough, which gave off the impression that they might not have been that enthusiastic about hiring the guy.
3) In a 52-card deck, there are 2,598,960 possible poker hands.
2) Texas PG Myck Kabongo, who didn’t become eligible this year until February 13, is going into the NBA Draft. How about staying in school and working on your craft and becoming good enough so that you’re a top 15 pick? Longterm, that’s the better plan. Who advises these kids?
1) Greedy bastard update: OK, so the Mobil station on corner of Wolf/Sand Creek in beautiful downtown Colonie is $3.85 a gallon; a half-mile down the road, the Hess station charges $3.72.
Is the Mobil gas that much better? Are the greedy bastards at Hess that much less greedy than the very greedy bastards at Mobil? Why is this? As lazy as I am, even I would drive a half-mile each way to save 13 cents a gallon.
Friday's List of 13: Thinking out loud with weekend here........
13) Not a big fan of The Masters; they jettisoned Gary McCord from CBS’ coverage years ago because he had to nerve to make a wisecrack about the course at Augusta National.
Think anyone else on this week's telecast will be anything but glowing in their reviews of the course? Me either. Get over yourself people, it’s a golf course, a really, really nice one, but still, that’s all it is.
12) Funniest thing any of us will see all week is the guy in charge of Augusta National pretending to be happy about the two female members the club has now, the first two females in club history. People at Augusta aren’t big on progress; they still use the same graphics they used 30 years ago, unlike all the other CBS golf telecasts.
11) In his career at The Masters, Eldrick Woods is +16 on the first hole, so he had to be somewhat happy to par the hole Thursday.
10) Dunkin’ Donuts is trying out a glazed donut egg sandwich; not even sure if I would eat that. Sausage/egg/cheese on an english muffin is excellent. Glazed donut might be a little bit too much, plus your hands get all sticky. Wasn’t crazy about the McGriddle, which sounds similar.
9) Of the 124 Division I-A college football teams, 45 have their spring game this weekend; 24 other teams have already had their spring game.
8) OK, so Lipscomb College beat FGCU twice in Atlantic Sun play, so you’d think they were pretty good right? Well, the Bisons went 12-18 this year and fired their coach the other day. Whoops.
7) Rutgers is highest-profile basketball coaching job still open, since Saint Louis looks like it will retain interim coach Jim Crews (but they haven’t made it official yet). Rest of the open jobs are low-to-mid majors, with FGCU the one that will most interesting to see who gets hired.
6) Dallas Mavericks are going to miss the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2000.
5) A’s backup 1B Nate Freiman is 6-8, played baseball at Duke; his wife (Amanda Blumenherst) plays on LPGA Tour. Nate has caddied for her eight times; imagine seeing a 6-8 caddy walking down the fairway?
4) Umpire Gerry Davis worked first base in Anaheim Wednesday, 4,000th career game in his 32 big league seasons. You know how I know he’s a good ump? He’s worked for 32 years and I have no idea what he looks like. Doesn’t get in a lot of arguments, is well-respected. The cruddy umps are always in arguments, always on TV, you know what they look like.
3) Barry Zito (3) has more hits than Jason Heyward (2). Surprising.
2) Over the last four years, umpire Laz Diaz has worked 38 games where the road team is favored; the favorite won 32 of the 38 games. Wow.
1) As bad as the Astros are, I see their plan; they’ll start to get better next year and in 2-3 years, will have built a quality foundation for the future. Look at the Marlins and Pirates and tell me what those teams’ plans are, especially Miami. Clueless. Feel bad for those fan bases; at least Marlin fans have those two World Series titles they can look back on.
Thursday's List of 13: Random thoughts on a spring day......
13) Arizona State basketball coach Herb Sendek got a lot smarter this week, when PG Jahii Carson announced he’s going back to ASU for this sophomore season. Sun Devils will be in the NCAA’s next March.
12) John Calipari is probably the best recruiter ever, right?
Kentucky already has an 8-man recruiting class for this year and if Andrew Wiggins, the country’s #1 recruit signs on with UK, it’ll be nine guys. I’m thinking anyone who was on this year’s team is going to have to fight like hell just to get minutes next year.
11) There is a movie being made where Kevin Costner is the GM of the Browns and Denis Leary the Browns' coach.
Leary as a football coach will be worth the $10 by itself.
10) Memo to DirecTV: I’ll trade you three soccer channels, two tennis channels, and a whole tier of Spanish language porn channels if you give us the Pac-12 Network. Please?
9) San Diego State assistant coach Tony Bland was making $120,000 with the Aztecs; now he’s moved on to work with Andy Enfield at USC and he’ll be making $300,000. Enfield was making $157,000 at FGCU.
8) Speaking of Enfield, he was a guest on The Tonight Show last night; his supermodel wife didn't come with him, maybe because one of the other guests was Charlie Sheen.
7) NBA scouts are unanimous that college basketball is more physical than the NBA; that needs to change. Wouldn’t take much, just call more fouls on the defense.
6) Par-3 tournament at Augusta on Wednesday of Masters week is pretty cool; Rory McIlroy had his girlfriend caddy for him, pretty good athlete in her own right, tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.
5) Indians manager Terry Francona lives two blocks from Progressive Field, the Indians ballpark, but he got lost walking there for the home opener Monday. Once he found his way to the park, Terry caught the ceremonial first pitch from his dad Tito, a former Indians player. Good moment.
4) The betting over/under for Eldrick Woods’ finish at Augusta this week: 4.5th place.
He finishes 4th and you play over, you win; he finishes 5th, you lose.
3) If you go to a Diamondbacks game at Chase Field and catch a homer hit by an Arizona player, you can have ball signed by him- pretty cool idea.
2) Red Sox' sellout streak of 820 games at Fenway Park came to an end Wednesday when 30,862 saw Boston lose to the Orioles 8-5, with Manny Machado hitting a dramatic three-run homer in the ninth inning, off Boston's new closer, Joel Hanrahan.
1) Kobe Bryant had 47 points as the Lakers won for only the third time in their last 15 visits to Portland, a pivotal win for their playoff hopes. Utah Jazz was rooting hard for the Blazers, but Lakers won 113-106.
Wednesday's List of 13: Random mid-week thoughts.....
13) Huge blow to the Angels, with Jered Weaver breaking his left elbow Sunday night while avoiding a line drive hit back through the box. He’s out 4-6 weeks. Halos have very little pitching depth.
12) If you have Speed Channel on your TV (think it is 607 on DirecTV), in August, you’re going to have FOX Sports 1, which FOX hopes will be a competitor to ESPN. They’re going to have a Monday night boxing program on Monday nights- ESPN used to do a lot of boxing.
11) Say It Ain’t So Dept: On the list of potential new coaches at Florida Gulf Coast is former Manhattan/Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez. Eagles don’t want to be going down that road, especially when former NBA coach Eric Musselman is also on the list. He'd be a pretty good choice. .
10) Most popular selling jersey in NFL last year? Rookie Robert Griffith III, with new Bronco Peyton Manning #2 and the retiring Ray Lewis #3.
9) Only once in the last 24 years (Michigan State ’00) has the Big Dozen won a national title in basketball.
8) Hofstra is hiring 56-year old Joe Mihalich as its new basketball coach, after Mihalich coached Niagara for the last 16 years. Iona had first tried to hire Iona coach Tim Cluess, a Hofstra alum, but he turned them down.
7) Jay-Z is selling his shares in the Nets and will be a working as an agent, basically recruiting players for the CAA agency. Not like he's going to be the guy negotiating contracts, but he will help in recruiting the talent.
6) Colorado pitcher Adam Ottavino wears number 0; can't remember a pitcher wearing that number before. Alex White/Kyle Drabek both had single digit numbers as pitchers, but both are hurt. Last big leaguer I can remember wearing #0 was the great hitter Al Oliver back in the 80's.
5) Sometimes you need to look more closely at stats; we see that Kevin Slowey is the first pitcher since 1988 to lose ten consecutive starts, which isn’t good, but if you look at his two starts this month, he is 0-2, 2.19, pretty good. The hideous Marlins got shut out both games, so Slowey loses both despite pitching well.
4) Cliff Lee has walked zero or no batters in each of his last 19 starts; its not only a record, its five starts longer than the previous record.
3) An average of 131.2 ppg were scored in NCAA tournament games this spring, the lowest average since the 3-pointer was legalized in the 80's.
2) Nation-wide, teams made 43.3% of their field goal attempts for the season, the lowest percentage made since 1965.
1) NCAA said that Louisville couldn’t take the men’s hoop team to New Orleans for the finals of the womens’ tournament Tuesday night, which made me think: How much does Werner Ladder pay to be the official ladder of the NCAA tournament, and who gets that money?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
Louisville 82, Michigan 76-- Really fun game to watch; teams went at it to the point where it became a tough game to officiate. The eight subs who played in this game combined to 9-11 from the arc. Kind of amazing.
12) I'm not big on cameras in locker room at halftime of a game; Michigan doesn't need that kind of exposure for recruiting. Also hoping the good part of John Beilien's halftime talk was off-camera, because what CBS showed wasn't very impressive. CBS has five guys sitting at a table waiting to talk at halftime- let them talk, let the teams make adjustment out of the public eye.
11) CBS has to do something about Clark Kellogg, let him work games during the week on CBS College Sports or something, because working one game or week, he's become a terrible analyst who does nothing but try and yell like Dick Vitale. Seriously, I didn't listen to the second half, just hit the mute button and listened to a radio sports talk show with earplugs.
10) When you’re watching the draft, remember that Tom Brady was taken in the 6th round, Joe Flacco was taken #16 in the ’08 draft, Dan Marino was the 6th QB taken in ’83, Kurt Warner wasn't drafted. Despite all the time and money that goes into it, scouting/drafting remains an inexact science.
9) Major league baseball teams who walk more batters than they strike out are 1-10 so far this season; teams that don’t walk any batters are 7-4.
Just like any other sport, teams that win make opponents earn whatever they get. Teams that lose give away a lot.
8) According to some database I saw on Twitter today and forgot to write down where it was from, Mike Krzyzewski earned $2.3M more ($7.2M+) than any other coach in America this year; Rick Pitino, at around $4.9M, was second. Top six earners are listed in the box on top of this page.
7) Hall of Fame basketball classic next fall: Louisville-North Carolina. Pretty good game. Defending champs against a rebuilding Tar Heel team.
6) Oakland Raiders, thanks to the ill-fated Carson Palmer trade, have one draft pick in the first 65 selections this year. Things start getting better financially for the Silver and Black after this season.
5) If the AD at Rutgers got $1.2M to leave, why did he take his IPad too? Is there something on there he doesn’t want people to see? IPads cost $500 or so; he got $1.2M to go away. He could afford another one.
4) Lebron James earned $17.6M from the Miami Heat LY; he earned another $40M off the court. Wow.
3) They packed 80,676 humans into Swamp Stadium in New Jersey Sunday night for Wrestlemania 29, with fans from all 50 states and 34 countries (how do they know this?). Amazing.
2) Want a sleeper QB for the NFL Draft in two weeks? Mike Glennon of NC State; after all, Tom O’Brien put his coaching career on the line (and eventually lost his job) when he cut Russell Wilson loose before his senior year so that Glennon could start for two seasons. Have to think the kid has pro ability—O’Brien got fired after a 7-5 season that wasn’t the QB’s fault.
1) Went out at noon Monday to the park in front of the building where I work to buy some lunch; 30-ish guy hands me a pamphlet and says “God loves you.” Pamphlet says, “Hope for Hard Times.”
Dude must’ve followed my college basketball picks this winter. Go figure.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend........
13) Rick gets Richer Dept: Not only did Louisville win Saturday, and not only did Rick Pitino get elected to the Naismith Hall of Fame this weekend, but a horse Pitino co-owns named Goldencents won the Santa Anita Derby and collected a cool $750,000, becoming eligible for the Kentucky Derby.
12) Excellent idea by the NCAA, having the D-II and D-III title games held on Sunday in the Final Four city. Kids at those levels work just as hard, maybe harder, and deserve to be in the spotlight more.
11) RA Dickey allowed five first-inning runs all last season; Red Sox had five runs Sunday, before Dickey got anyone out.
10) Is Rick Adelman the most underrated coach in the history of team sports? He is 1,000-703 as an NBA coach, coaching in Portland-Minnesota-Houston-Sacramento and Oakland, not exactly the Lakers/Celtics, but doubt most fans could pick him out of a lineup. Adelman played on the same team with the San Diego Rockets as another pretty good coach, Pat Riley.
9) Chances are Astros will deal ace starter Bud Norris later this summer; they're so awful right now, dealing Norris would further replenish their farm system- Norris can get them some significant young talent if they trade him, but if they let him throw 122 pitches many more times, way he did Saturday against Oakland, he'll get hurt before they can trade him.
8) Mets' Jon Niese has lasted 6+ innings in his last 22 starts, the longest such active streak in the major leagues.
7) Had my first-ever Papa John's pizza Saturday; they advertise so much on TV, but I hadn't had one until this weekend. Very good, way better than Domino's, better than the local independent pizza place, too. Thumbs up for the boneless chicken poppers they're selling.
6) Hard to believe, but in the ten years since the Raiders lost to the Bucs in the Jon Gruden Super Bowl, Oakland is 49-111. Now they have another new QB but at least they'll have the same coach this year. Hey, its a start.
5) NHL Winter Classic next January 1 in Ann Arbor- Toronto-Detroit, which figures to have the biggest crowd in NHL history.
A Michigan-Michigan State game in the Big House drew 104,173 back in '10; I'm guessing the NHL can figure out how to break that record.
4) Rough day for some star pitchers Sunday:
-- Matt Cain, 3.2 IP, nine runs allowed in a 14-3 loss.
-- Stephen Strasburg, six runs in 5.1 IP in a 6-3 loss.
-- RA Dickey, eight runs allowed in 4.2 IP in a 13-0 loss.
-- David Price, eight runs in five IP in another 13-0 loss.
-- Justin Verlander, three runs in 7.1 IP in a 7-0 loss.
-- Cole Hamels, eight runs in 5.2 IP in a 9-8 loss.
-- Jered Weaver, five runs in five IP in a 7-3 loss. Weaver also hyperextended his left elbow avoiding a line drive and left the game early.
3) Not sure where Rutgers will turn for a new basketball coach, but it apparently will not be to Rhode Island coach Danny Hurley, who said he is going to stay with the Rams. There are rumors that Ben Howland would listen if Rutgers called- no way they'll get a better coach than him.
2) If the NBA playoffs started today, matchups would look like this:
East: Miami-Milwaukee, New York-Boston, Indiana-Atlanta, and Brooklyn-Chicago.
West: San Antonio-Utah, Oklahoma City-Houston, Denver-Golden State and Clippers-Memphis.
1) Congrats to the Clippers, who won their first division title in franchise history Sunday, beating the Lakers for the 4th time in four tries this season. No one will remember they won the division, however, unless they advance far into the playoffs. People are funny that way.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.......
13) Louisville is either a 3.5 or 4-point favorite Monday night, depending on where you get your lines; should be noted that favorites are 10-3 against the spread in last 13 national championship games.
12) Since 1998, #1 seeds are 5-1 vs spread in national title games when facing a lower seed, winning all six games; last #1 to lose a final to a lower seed was when 4-seed Arizona upset Kentucky in '97 as a 6.5-point underdog.
11) Louisville 72, Wichita 68-- This game swung when Tim Henderson, a walk-on, hit a pair of 3's with 13:01, 12:22 left, cutting a 47-35 Wichita St. lead in half. Gorgui Dieng played 30 minutes, took one shot, didn't score.
10) Michigan 61, Syracuse 56-- Hardaway/Burke combined to go 5-24 from floor, Wolverines left door open for Syracuse in last minute, but scored the last four points to advance. This game was little disappointing. Syracuse got very little from Southerland (2-9 from floor).
9) My cousin KL Wheat is holding a ticket on Michigan to win the whole thing at 18-1, so good luck to him with that Monday night. Have to find out when he bought that ticket, because Wolverines were 6-6 in their last twelve games going into the NCAAs.
8) Michigan sub Josh Bartlestein never plays for the Wolverines; his dad is player agent Mark Bartlestein, who has lot of prominent clients, one of whom is two-time NFL MVP Kurt Warner.
7) Red Sox pitcher John Lackey hurt his arm in his first start since 2011, as Toronto beat the Red Sox 5-0. Lackey threw 76 pitches in 4.1 innings.
6) BJ Upton hit a game-tying homer in ninth inning, then his brother Justin hit a walk-off shot in same inning, as Atlanta beat the Cubs 6-5.
5) Phillies had three hits all night, but scored three runs in ninth inning off KC closer Greg Holland stunned the Royals 4-3.
4) A's have lost their last nine season openers, but at least this year they are having a good first week, raising their record to 4-2 with a 6-3 win over the Astros in Houston. Oakland is first team this year to use six starting pitchers, as Bartolo Colon was activated in time to pitch Saturday's game.
3) Mets' catcher John Buck is second in big leagues with nine RBI.
2) Can a player from the 29-47 Wizards be NBA MVP this year? John Wall had 37 points as Washington beat the Pacers by 19- they're 22-17 at home, and over .500 overall since Wall got healthy.
1) Underrated franchise; the Denver Nuggets are 35-3 at home this year.
Saturday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
Jerry Tarkanian will be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield in September; very much deserved, very good news. His UNLV teams were the face of college basketball in the early 90’s, and he also won big before that at Long Beach State.
You win over 80% of your games, it’s a no-brainer to get in the Hall of Fame. Took some people entirely too long to figure that out.
12) There are rumors afloat that Miami Marlins’ home opener Monday might only draw 15,000 or so people, in a brand-new domed stadium; not sure how, but former used car dealer Alan R. Selig has to rid baseball of Jeffrey Loria. He’s a menace.
11) Rutgers fired its AD Friday (technically, he quit, but seriously…….), which is horrible news for the basketball program, since you have to hire an AD before a coach and April is a prime recruiting month.
If a basketball coach isn’t in place 10 days from now, and chances are he won’t be, it sets recruiting back an entire year, and the last thing Rutgers needs is to fall further behind in recruiting.
10) Word has it Rutgers’ #1 coaching target will be URI’s Danny Hurley, but he’s only been at Rhode Island for a year, and not a very good year at that. Realistically, if you’re Hurley (a Seton Hall alum), if he coaches another year at URI, shows progress and Seton Hall doesn’t progress much next year, he can probably go back and coach at his alma mater.
9) Week 3, NFL preseason, Saturday night primetime: Rams at Broncos. This is good news, someone at CBS thinks the Rams have potential.
Either that, or they wanted an excuse to air more of those Peyton Manning commercials, as if there aren't enough on TV already.
8) This seems hard to believe but apparently it is true: ESPN.com says that Orioles’ 1B Chris Davis is first player ever to knock in 3+ runs in each of his team’s first four games. No one ever did that before? Wow. Davis hit a grand slam Friday, now has 16 RBI after four games.
7) Conference musical chairs isn’t limited to the big boys: Illinois-Chicago goes from Horizon League to take Creighton’s place in the MVC; Oakland takes UIC’s place in the Horizon.
6) TV ratings for the NCAA tournament are up 13% from LY, and are as high as they’ve been overall since 2005.
5) As far as I can remember, Thursday night was first time ESPN paired Bill Raftery/Bob Knight together in a 3-man booth at the NIT, in what was probably Knight’s last broadcast for ESPN (guy who originally hired Knight has left ESPN).
Raftery actually drew a small amount of personality out of the former Indiana coach, but Knight just wasn’t very good on TV. If he is indeed done behind the mike, he won’t be missed much.
4) Why do teams videotape practices anyway? Are there enough hours in the day to review them? Do these coaches ever sleep? Seems like overkill.
3) Transfer news: UNLV loses Mike Moser to Washington, NC State loses Rodney Purvis is off to UConn. Moser can play for U-Dub next season.
2) Somewhere out in the Arizona desert, former Arizona State football coach Frank Kush probably thinks Mike Rice was too easy on his Rutgers hoop team. Kush was infamous for not even letting his players have water breaks in practice, back in the old days when people didn’t realize (or didn’t care) that hydration is a necessity.
Speaking of football practices, why do college football teams practice more in the spring than NFL teams do? I’ve always wondered this. If they’re going to practice so much in the spring, why not play a couple of games, too?
1) Speaking of the Naismith Hall of Fame, how was Rick Pitino not in it already? I’m sure he’d much rather have a large wooden trophy handed to him Monday night, but he’ll take both. Could be a very excellent weekend for the Louisville coach.
Friday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.........
13) Is winning postseason NIT a predictor of future success? History tells us no. Of the last ten NIT champs, only three made the NCAAs the following year and of those three, only ’08 West Virginia team (lost in Sweet 16) won a game in the tournament the next season.
12) Wichita State won the NIT two years ago, but that was with a different group of kids than they have now. Shockers have six junior college players on this year's roster.
11) On the flip side, loser of the postseason NIT has made the NCAAs four of last five years, with ’10 Baylor and ’11 North Carolina losing in the regional finals.
10) Old Big East will now be called American Athletic Conference (the AAC), which puts it ahead of ACC in alphabetical listings, if that matters.
9) Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Cardinals in 16 innings Wednesday, game that ended around 3:15am in my house; then they flew all night and got to Milwaukee at dawn. Extra inning baseball games are excellent.
8) Houston Astros are only 4th team since 1910 with 15+ strikeouts in consecutive nine-inning games.
7) Courtesy of ESPN.com and Elias, most strikeouts for any big league team thru the first three games of a season: ‘13 Astros: 43, ‘66 California Angels: 36, ‘07 Braves: 34, ‘61 Phillies: 33.
6) We talked about Yu Darvish getting 27 swings/misses in his great game Tuesday; Matt Harvey of the Mets got 24 misses on 46 San Diego swings Wednesday night. That’s a lot of swings and misses.
5) Former Rutgers coach Mike Rice bagged a $100,000 bonus for finishing the season, even though he was suspended for a month during the season.
Seems like it the AD threw Rice a $100K severance package by not firing him in December. It might be hard for the AD to keep his job now, bad news for an athletic department heading for the Big Dozen next year.
4) OK, so if Jimmy Fallon is taking Jay Leno’s place, why does it have to wait until February? Why can’t they just do it next week? It’s a freakin’ talk show, just switch studios and be on with it.
3) Clippers have 50 wins for first time in franchise history; previous record was 49, set by the ’74-’75 Buffalo Braves, a team with Ernie D and Bob McAdoo, two bigtime stars at the time.
2) Tweet of the Day from CBSSports.com's Gregg Doyle: "Got a text from ex-Indiana manager under Knight: 'That same Rutgers video played out, over & over, at Assembly Hall.'" Alrighty then.
1) St Louis Rams need to retire Kurt Warner's #13 this season, maybe if they get a Thursday night home game on NFL Network, but #13 needs to be in the rafters at the Jones Dome.
Thursday's List of 13: Random thoughts on another cold night.........
13) Quick math; if an agent’s take on a baseball player’s salary is 3% and that player makes $20M a year, the agent rakes in $600,000 a year for that player. If its 4%, its $800,000 a year. How much freakin’ money does Scott Boras make a year?
12) Yu Darvish induced a ridiculous 27 misses on 64 Astro swings Tuesday night, coming one out short of a perfect game. Next highest amount of misses induced this week was 18 Felix Hernandez got in Oakland Monday.
11) Over last six baseball seasons, if you bet $100 on the home team every time Lance Barksdale worked the plate, you would be 126-70, for a profit on $4,076. Not bad.
10) Where does Rutgers go from here? Its a state university within driving distance of NYC/Philly, so lot of good players nearby. They have no recent winning tradition (made Final Four in '76) but there is potential there for the right guy. They're a Big Dozen team now, don't forget.
9) Loyola Md is moving to the Patriot League, but coach Jimmy Patsos is staying in MAAC, having taken the Siena job. Good move by the Saints.
8) Pitt freshman center Stephen Adams is off to the pros, well before he is ready. Guess no one told him about Patrick O’Bryant, who led Bradley to the Sweet 16 a few years ago, got drafted in the top 10 by Golden State and has seldom been heard of since.
O'Bryant is now playing pro ball in Lithuania. Nothing against Lithuania, but if O’Bryant had stayed longer at Bradley, he might’ve stayed longer in NBA.
7) Speaking of Pitt, seems like their whole team has transferred; between the Panthers and NC State, going to be some inexperienced teams in the ACC next fall. Jamie Dixon might wish he took that USC job.
6) Four players also transferred from Tulane, including leading scorer Josh Davis; not sure if its because they were promised to play in the Big East and now they’re not going to, but Green Wave had a decent season this year at 20-15. This has to hurt.
5) 44,000 season tickets requests are waiting for whichever NBA team moves to Seattle, if one does. NBA doesn’t do lot of dumb things, but pulling the Sonics out of Seattle was one of the dumbest.
4) I’m a sucker for sausage and egg biscuits at McDonald’s, but they were out of biscuits Monday, so I had one on a McGriddle; not so good. Too sweet. Love my biscuits, though.
3) Old Dominion hired former Virginia/American coach Jeff Jones. ODU is moving to C-USA after a dismal last year in CAA; always wary when a school switches leagues because of football. CAA seemed like the right place for the Monarchs.
2) A’s drew 36,067 for the season opener, only 15,315 for Game 2; Astros drew 41,307 for their AL debut; only 22,673 saw Yu Darvish’s near-perfecto Tuesday.
1) What Mike Rice did at Rutgers is bad, but what Ed Rush did at the Pac-12 tournament was way worse; encouraging refs to screw Arizona because Rush doesn’t like Sean Miller is a fireable offense, at the very least, and no, I don’t think he was joking. Bullies seldom tell jokes.
Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.........
13) Disturbing story out west about how Pac-12 head of officials Ed Rush (a former NBA ref) made some negative comments about Arizona coach Sean Miller in a referees’ meeting that took place before the Pac-12 tourney; joking or not, fact is, Miller got hit with a T in last 5:00 of the Wildcats’ loss to UCLA in that tournament.
Best case scenario, it still makes the league look very, very bad.
12) Good news for Miller this week: top recruit Aaron Gordon signed on with Miller’s Wildcats, especially since Gordon’s older brother played for (new UCLA coach) Steve Alford at New Mexico.
11) Robinson Caro fired scumweasel agent Scott Boras, signed on with Jay-Z, a signal that he wants to re-sign with the Bronx Bombers, rather than sign on with whomever (Dodgers?) offered him most $$$ next winter.
10) Wait, Jay-Z is an agent? When did that happen?
Not sure how Jay-Z owns part of the Brooklyn Nets and is also an agent; probably as long as he doesn’t rep any NBA players, he can do both, but seeing as Brooklyn Net games are televised on YES Network, owned by the Bronx Bombers, it still reeks of a conflict of interest.
9) Odd stat from the first night of baseball; in the first 26 games this season, starting pitchers induced an average of 11.04 swings/misses per start. Starting pitcher who got the least swings/misses? Steven Strasburg, who got only two misses on 36 swings.
8) Two years ago, Raiders traded 1st/2nd round draft picks to Cincinnati for Carson Palmer, who went 8-16 in 24 games as the Oakland starter. Tuesday, they traded Palmer to the Cardinals….for a 7th round pick. Ouch.
Not too hard to figure out why the Raiders lose all the time.
7) Compare Palmer’s 8-16 record to the oft-scorned JaMarcus Russell, who went 7-18 as the Raiders’ signal caller. Not lot of difference there.
6) That said, Palmer is a huge upgrade over the suspects that played QB for Arizona LY, just as he was an upgrade over the previous Oakland QBs when he went there. Larry Fitzgerald has to be happy today.
5) 28.2% of the players on Opening Day baseball rosters were born outside the United States.
4) I read this and wanted to puke: WFAN has re-signed obnoxious, rude, lazy Mike Francesa as its drive-time talk show host for another four years, at $5M a year. Seriously, it makes me ill.
You could go into any bar in America and find five guys who know more than Francesa, who used to be sharp but is now a lazy 59-year old who knows a decent amount about the NFL but is otherwise clearly mailing it in.
3) Sportsxradio's Ken Thomson had Long Beach State basketball coach Dan Monson on his excellent talk show Monday night; when he asked Monson who was going to get the open Cal-Northridge job, Monson obviously didn’t want to talk about it.
Turns out Reggie Theus is the new head Matador, which is bad news for the rest of the Big West. Theus was a great player at UNLV, a very good player in the NBA, and won quickly in his short stint coaching New Mexico State; he is a terrific recruiter and will win at Northridge.
Only question about Theus is whether he wants to use Cal-Northridge as a springboard back to NBA- he used to coach the Kings, is currently coaching in the NDBL. Lot of people in Las Vegas wanted Theus to get the UNLV job when Dave Rice got hired.
2) Took Andy Enfield less than 72 hours from the end of his season to capitalize on his success with Florida Gulf Coast and become the new coach at USC. FGCU had zero chance to retain Enfield, and they knew it. Money talks, often very loudly.
1) In a perfect world, when a small basketball school like Florida Gulf Coast loses its coach to a big money school like USC, it would be nice if the Trojans invited FGCU out to LA for a guarantee game, give them a fat payday for taking their coach away.
In this me-first world, that ain’t happening, primarily because next year, the Eagles would have a damn good shot at beating USC, since they lose only two players from this year’s rotation. Whoever takes Enfield’s place in Fort Myers inherits a nice team.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) There is a College Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City, but not sure what geniuses decide who gets in. No Rick Pitino, no Jerry Tarkanian, but Norm Stewart and Joe B. Hall are in. Rollie Massimino? Please.........
12) 14 of 30 major league baseball teams have payrolls of $100M+.
11) Oakland Raiders traded for QB Matt Flynn, will deal Carson Palmer to the Cardinals. Raiders seriously need some contunity one of these years; seems like they either have a new coach or QB every year.
10) Carl Crawford is wearing #25 for the Dodgers, same number Tommy John wore for LA. Crawford is recovering from Tommy John surgery- he had two hits, scored a run in his Dodger debut Monday.
9) Playing back-to-back in the NHL can be draining; so far this season:
-- Road teams who played at home night before: 14-29
-- Teams on road for second consecutive night: 30-44
-- Teams at home for second consecutive night: 20-9
-- Home teams who played on road night before: 17-23
8) I once dated a woman who tried to kill a spider by spraying hairspray on it; not only did the spider live, its hair looked tremendous.
7) Louisville has two national titles in basketball; both times, Indiana won the national championship the next season.
6) Michigan-Syracuse is the first-ever Final Four game with two 4-seeds meeting. Since 1987, #4 seeds are 2-9 SU in Final Four games, with last win by Arizona in '97. This year's meeting will make 4-seeds 3-10- Michigan is a 2-point favorite over the Orangemen in Saturday's nightcap.
5) Mets' 1B Ike Davis complained to a sportswriter about having to shell out $1,400 for six tickets to the Mets' opener. Davis made $507,000 LY; how does a regular guy who makes $60,000 take his family to a game?
4) The whole Ben Howland/Steve Alford at UCLA thing is fascinating; you look at Alford's 5-7 record in NCAA games and that includes two losses in first round as a 3-seed, to Harvard this year, to Northwestern State in 2006, when Alford was coaching Iowa. Thats not good.
UCLA fired Steve Lavin after he made five Sweet 16's in seven years; what exactly do they want? Its almost like the John Wooden era is an anchor on the current Bruin regime, no matter who is in charge.
3) Americans won the first 14 PGA tournaments this year, which is kind of unusual. We'll see if that holds up at The Masters next week.
2) In 106 years of competition, 32 different schools have been members of the Missouri Valley Conference, at one time or another; with Creighton on its way to the Big East, the MVC will be adding anothrr school, so that will be a 33rd league member. Pretty good basketball league, too, as Wichita State is showing this month.
1) Could someone please explain to me why the two baseball teams in New York played their season openers at the same time, eight miles apart?
Monday's List of 13: What we like about baseball starting......
13 reasons we’re glad baseball season is here………
13) Looking through boxscores is great fun for me, just like it is in basketball; lot of information to be gained by looking at columns of numbers. Its dorky but fun.
12) Love watching Giancarlo Stanton and Yoenis Cespedes hit.
11) At some point in the Dodgers’ opener, a runner will get to third base, and Vin Scully will immediately tell us how many wild pitches the pitcher had LY. Scully was doing this when freakin’ Harry Truman was President, and he’s still very, very good at it.
10) Sausage races in Milwaukee always make me laugh; who was the first person to suggest they would be a good idea, because they are.
9) Arguing with my father about the value of bunting vs playing for the big inning is an annual ritual, My dad is 87 and looks at me like I’m the dumbest person on earth. Imagine that?
8) Watching Joe Maddon manage a game, trying things other managers wouldn’t dare try. Its one of the advantages of managing in a small market; if some stuff doesn’t work, its no big deal, because most of what he tries work. In a big market, people stress out over everything, so its tough to try new things that might not work.
7) Like the black jerseys and black hats Diamondbacks wear for Saturday home games.
6) I love that Prince Fielder is one of baseball’s most durable players; guy looks out of shape, but what he is not is overtrained, so he doesn’t pull an oblique every time he brushes his teeth. Very productive, dependable player.
5) I enjoy charting umpires when they work home plate, and see what patterns develop, because they inevitably do. Its an interesting study.
4) Enjoy listening to Dan Orsillo/Jerry Remy doing Red Sox games on NESN; when Orsillo gets laughing, he has a hard time stopping and it sounds like 10-year olds working a game. Good stuff.
3) Watching Jose Reyes/Carl Crawford run out triples is lot of fun; a healthy Reyes will hit a ton of triples on artificial turf in Sky Dome.
2) 7th inning stretch at Wrigley Field is still very cool, when a guest singer does Take Me Out to the Ballgame. Must be quite a waiting list to do that.
1) For me, the best part of baseball season is watching all the A’s games; last September/October’s divisional race was the most fun I’ve had watching sports, other than the year the Rams won the Super Bowl.
12) Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.......
13) Steve Alford to UCLA? Wow. He gets $2.6M a year for seven years and his son Bryce, who scored 37 ppg in high school this year, gets an upgrade from playing in the Pit to Pauley Pavilion, while still playing for his dad. So UCLA wins the press conference, hiring a famous name to replace the fired Ben Howland, who made it to three Final Fours in ten years.
12) Like we said, Howland made it to three Final Fours in Westwood; he won the Pac-12 regular season this year, was 25-10 and he got canned. There are significant expectations involved with coaching the Bruins. Alford seems to be a good coach but his record in the NCAAs is 5-7. Uh-oh.
11) Alford is hoping his assistant coach Craig Neal replaces him with the Lobos, since New Mexico has everyone back next year and figures to win the Mountain West again. New Mexico gets tremendous crowd support and they recruit well, so its a good job that also has high expectations.
10) Alford recently signed a 10-year extension at New Mexico, but these days, contracts don't mean much-- the extension was going to start Monday, but instead, New Mexico is looking for its new coach, and Alford is house shopping and then recruiting. Coaching is an interesting profession.
9) Wichita State has six players who played JC basketball; all three of their assistant coaches also once worked at junior colleges.
8) Not sure why, but it bothers me when TV announcers call Syracuse "the 'cuse". So many of ESPN's play-by-play guys went to Syracuse, can't help but think they get preferential treatment from the media. Lets see how the media deals with it when they go on probation soon, and they are going to go on probation, if half of what is being written is true.
7) All minor league baseball players have to wear the two-flap batting helmets now, but major leaguers don't have to.
6) One of these years, would be nice if A's didn't open the season with the Mariners, so they didn't have to see Felix Hernandez in the opener. In 2012, they played Seattle over in Japan, so they had to face Hernandez in both the first and third games. Not the best planning there.
5) It never ends: a horse ran at Golden Gate Saturday: Trust in Tebow.
4) Kevin Kolb gets $13M for two years from Buffalo; what has this guy done to keep getting paid so much money?
3) Syracuse 55, Marquette 39-- Eagles shot 22.6% from floor. Gardner was 6-9, rest of team was a miserable 6-44. Marquette played scared.
2) Wichita State 70, Ohio State 66-- Shockers led 53-33 with 11:30 left in game, hung on for dear life to become first #9 seed to make Final Four in 64-team era of tournament. Penn was a #9 seed that made it back in 1979.
1) Its a cold world; weird seeing Johan Santana getting released in our 16-team fantasy baseball league, and knowing no one will pick him up.
Saturday's List of 13: Random thoughts with weekend here.......
13) How much money is enough? That’s a big question being asked now in these coaching searches; when a mid-major pays a guy $1M+ a year and he is happy and winning there, why would he uproot his family, move halfway across the country to rebuild a program in a harder league with worse players than he has at the mid-major?
A school like Minnesota is a small fish in a very large pond; no successful mid-major coach with an ounce of sense would go there unless he’s unhappy where he is now. You lose 2-3 years in a row, you're fired.
12) Then there’s UCLA, whose expectations are so stupidly high that no one they want will listen to them. They should hire Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to coach the team, be the face of the program, as long as he hires a veteran tactician to be his “bench coach” and a couple younger recruiters to bring in players. If Wake Forest had fired Jeff Bzdelik, he would’ve been ideal for the tactician role.
11) If UCLA wants former assistant Mark Gottfried as head coach, it won’t be cheap; he has a $3.25M buyout at NC State, which may be one of the few places where the expectations are as dumb as they are in Westwood.
10) Buster Posey/Justin Verlander signed lucrative extensions Friday. Giants have so much money tied up in Posey now you wonder if they’ll move him to first base to extend his career as a hitter. Catchers tend to fade out quicker than other position players.
9) According to Forbes Magazine, which I quote a lot but have never actually read, the average major league franchise is now worth $774M. Teams in my 16-team keeper fantasy league are $60 a year.
8) Maine Black Bears were 12-20 this year, are 23-36 last two years; their claim to fame is beating Florida Gulf Coast in December, but word comes out that Justin Edwards, their best player, wants to play “at a higher level” of Division I and will transfer out of Maine, similar to what Seth Curry did when he bolted Liberty for Duke a couple years ago. Edwards scored 16.7 ppg this year; curious to see where he winds up.
7) Louisville 77, Oregon 69-- Russ Smith has gone from Russ-diculous to Russ-tacular; he had 31 here. Game with Duke Sunday should be fun.
6) Michigan 87, Kansas 85, OT-- Jayhawks led 68-54 with 6:51 left; at no point watching this game did I think they would lose. Going to be a long summer for Bill Self. .
5) Duke 71, Michigan State 61-- Good thing Blue Devils pilfered Seth Curry from Liberty; he had 29 in this one. Duke bench took one shot.
4) Florida 62, Florida Gulf Coast 50-- Eagles led by 11 early on, but they turned ball over 20 times. Gators were too quick on perimeter, too big inside, just too good. Quite a run by FGCU, though, a fun team to watch.
3) "I think the referees got the calls right. I don't think it was a hard foul. I think the one involving LeBron against [Carlos] Boozer, that was flagrant. I think the officials got it right. I think that it's almost embarrassing that LeBron would complain about officiating." Celtics GM Danny Ainge, for whatever reason discussing the Miami-Chicago game this week
2) "Danny Ainge needs to shut the f--- up and manage his own team. He was the biggest whiner going when he was playing and I know that because I coached against him." Pat Riley, responding in a statement to Ainge's criticism of Lebron James. Riley doesn't like the Celtics much.
1) For what its worth, the Celtics play in Miami April 12.
Friday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind........
13) Not the best card of games Thursday night; three of the four teams that won led by 12+ points at the half. Over last three tournaments, underdogs are now 14-6 vs spread in regional semifinal games.
12) UCLA won the Pac-12 this year, lost conference tournament finals and fired its coach. Oregon State/Washington tied for last in the league, but both coaches will return next year. Those are schools that don’t want to eat money by firing one coach and hiring another.
11) Syracuse 61, Indiana 50-- Hoosiers needed to hit jumpers against the 2-3 zone; 3-15 from arc was fatal, including Hulls going 0-6.
10) Marquette 71, Miami 61-- This was an awful game, sad end to a great season for the Hurricanes. They just couldn't make a shot and missed inside presence of injured center Reggie Johnson.
9) Ohio State 73, Arizona 70-- Only interesting game of the night; Arizona led by 11 with 6:24 left in first half, but at this level, you cannot win without a PG, and Wildcats didn't have a true PG this year. Ross had 17 points in 18 minutes off the bench for the Buckeyes.
8) Wichita State 72, LaSalle 58-- Shockers are first 9-seed to make regional final since Boston College in '94. Good news for Wichita: over last 17 years, underdogs are 9-8 SU in the West Regional final.
7) Small forward Chase Fischer (no relation) has transferred out of Wake Forest, the ninth player to transfer out of Wake in the three years Jeff Bzdelik has been head coach. Much like Minnesota did with Tubby Smith last week, Wake fired its last coach, Dino Gaudio after he won a first round NCAA game. This coaching change has not worked out very well, but the AD is sticking with Bzdelik for another year.
6) High school kid from Dallas named Keith Frazier, a McDonald’s All-American, announced he wants to go to Texas Tech, so he must be pretty good, since Tech doesn’t have a coach right now, and a new coach could 86 the kid after a year if he isn’t what the coach wants. Interesting decision.
5) Speaking of Texas Tech, rumors late Thursday night had the Red Raiders interested in hiring Tubby Smith. He'd be a good coach for them.
4) Miami Dolphins got a new logo and for first time ever next year, will have white facemasks on their helmets, instead of aqua. Just thought you’d like to know.
3) This time next year, Bruce Pearl’s agent is going to be a popular guy; his services are going to be in demand. He wins and plays a popular, running style. He can't coach this coming season because of a show-cause order from the NCAA, for a violation that looks pretty puny now.
2) Florida Gulf Coast is finding out that it ain’t easy to raise funds when your oldest alumnus is a 37-year old nurse. School is 16 years old, so no blue blood alums driving Beemers around Fort Myers.
1) From what you read, Ben Howland will not coach next year, which means he’s going to surface somewhere on TV. I’m curious to hear if he’s any good on TV, since he seems like kind of a dour guy. Maybe he’s not, but we’ll probably find out next year.
Thursday's List of 13: Random thoughts on a spring day......
13) Shaka Smart signed an extension with VCU thru 2023 and UCLA is left scratching its head, wondering why no one they want wants them. You fire a guy after he wins a league title and no one thinks its that great a job.
According to SI.com.....
"A majority of what Smart asked VCU for was improvements for his staff and program. That includes more salary for his staff and a bevy of things like better meals for players, improved travel for the program and other perks for his staff."
12) Rick Pitino knows that deflections are a great indicator of how hard a team is playing. Every time a Cardinal tips a pass, blocks a shot, makes a steal, swats a dribble or grabs a loose ball, he gets credit for one. Doing little things help teams win, and few teams win as much as Louisville.
11) Life in the NBA isn’t always glamorous; Clippers lost in OT at Dallas Tuesday, didn’t get to New Orleans until 3:30 am, then had to play the Hornets 17 hours later. There are lot worse ways to make a living, but it ain’t always fun.
10) Pretty cool of Jeep to use Al Pacino’s “Life is a game of inches…” speech from Any Given Sunday in one of its commercials. Caught me by surprise the first time I heard it.
9) Jason Campbell better write a book someday; he signed on to play QB with Cleveland this year, his 4th NFL team in the last five years. When he was at Auburn, he played for four different OC’s in four years; he’s had one of the most dysfunctional careers ever, much of it not his doing. Would like to see him have some success before he’s through playing.
8) There are around 40,000 Subway sub shops worldwide, double what they had just ten years ago.
7) Northwestern hired Chris Collins as basketball coach; not sure how sitting next to (Chicago native) Mike Krzyzewski makes you qualified to be a Big Dozen head coach with no prior head coaching experience, but there he is with a big job in his pocket.
Of Coach K’s coaching tree, only Mike Brey has been successful- Johnny Dawkins is doing OK at Stanford, but not that great, plus he played over a decade in the NBA. Tommy Amaker couldn’t win at Seton Hall/Michigan; he’s doing well at Harvard because they loosened the admissions strings for him. We’ll see how young Collins does; Wildcats would’ve been better off hiring his father, but they probably couldn’t afford Doug Collins.
6) Up until six years ago, I used to spend two weeks every July in Florida at AAU basketball tournaments in Orlando; if you’ve read this site for a long time, you’ll remember me talking about various kids I saw play, or meeting Doc Rivers and Tubby Smith, among other coaches. One of the kids we wrote about in 2007 is now writing an unlikely story for himself at Southern Mississippi, after almost falling through the cracks of the system.
5) Dwayne Davis played AAU ball for my friend Joe Gill with the PA Red Storm in ‘07; he was an explosive scorer even back then, but washed out at Morehead State (academics), then played JC ball in Texas, before finally getting a chance this season with the Golden Eagles in this, his last year of college eligibility, and boy, has he taken advantage of that chance, scoring 16 ppg for a team that lost in double OT in the conference USA title game.
Dwayne is 6-5, plays some point guard and makes 42% of his shots behind the arc. Would be a special story if he could make it to the NBA, but at least we’re thinking he’ll make good money playing in Europe next year, or in the NDBL. 6-5 guards who can shoot aren't that easy to find.
Would be great to see him the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas this July.
4) Stanford's football team has players from 30 states and Canada.
3) Huge blow for Miami Hurricanes; center Reggie Johnson is out for this weekend. Takes a productive big body out of the middle.
2) Good news for people who watch baseball on TV: Tim McCarver is out at FOX after this season. Like most analysts, McCarver was way better when he was working every day. Doing games once a week, he's not as good.
1) Glad to hear that Marcus Lattimore did well in his workout at South Carolina’s pro day; kid has been through a lot with injuries. Curious to see who drafts him next month.
Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Kansas City Royals are 23-6 in the Cactus League, as they try to have their first winning season since 2003; does winning in March help you win during the summer? Rays’ manager Joe Maddon has said in the past that thinks it does.
12) Miami Heat has won 28 games in a row; when their playoffs start, who the hell is winning a best-of-7 series against them? No one, if Lebron James is healthy. That’s why the NCAA tournament is way more interesting than the NBA playoffs.
Could Florida Gulf Coast beat Georgetown/San Diego State best-of-7? When upsets are possible, the event is more interesting.
In case you were wondering, Miami Heat won 23 of last 29 games that Dwyane Wade sat out.
11) TV ratings for first weekend of NCAA’s were highest they’ve been in 23 years; being able to switch to any game you want to on free TV was an excellent move.
10) Bobby Hurley leaves his brother in Rhode Island, is new hoop coach at Buffalo. That should be interesting.
9) Why would Shaka Smart take the Minnesota job? He could get a way better job than that. Being a small fish in a deep pond is no fun.
8) Ravens signed Elvis Dumervil with money they saved by letting Anquan Boldin walk, so that all makes sense now, although they lucked into the Dumervil thing, since his former agent screwed up, which made Elvis a free agent.
Some notes on the regionals semifinal round of the NCAAs........
7) Since ’01, #1 seeds are 8-2 vs spread if facing someone other than a 4-5 seed, 15-18 if facing a 4-5 seed.
6) Since ’01, underdogs are 9-7 vs spread when a 2-seed plays a 3-seed.
5) Since ’02, underdogs are 7-4 vs spread when a #3 seed plays anyone but a #2 seed in this round.
4) Since 1987, underdogs are 15-9-1 vs spread when a #2 seed plays a #6 seed in this round.
3) Since ’02, #10 or lower seeds are 6-11 vs spread in this round, despite being 3-0 LY.
2) How important is having an NBA franchise to a city? Former Suns’ guard Kevin Johnson is the mayor of Sacramento, and he has worked his butt off to keep the Kings from moving to Seattle. Looks like he might succeed, too; I’m just wondering, is it worth it? I’m not saying it isn’t, I’m just asking.
1) Read something last night that said the 2013 NFL schedule is likely to be released April 16; that’s always fun, to break schedule down, because as Bud Grant used to say, “Its not who you play, its when you play them.”
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) All this talk about Florida Gulf Coast being founded in the 1990’s made me think; how much cash does it take to start a college? I mean, how do you hire teachers? Where do the students come from? Books? Computers? Cafeteria workers? Has to be a pretty big undertaking.
12) Ben Howland gets $3.5M as a parting gift from UCLA; wish someone would pay me to go away. Imagine how much someone dislikes your work to pay you $3.5M just to go away?
11) By the way, it seems unfair that Howland gets the ziggy while Shabazz Muhammad will be a first round pick in the NBA in June; he grabbed zero rebounds in 39 minutes against Minnesota Friday. Zero, as in none. John Stockton’s kid at Gonzaga, who is 5-11 maybe 170, has a better defensive rebounding metric than Muhammad this season. That’s embarrassing.
10) ESPN.com has 8.15M brackets filled out in its contest; four people had 15 of 16, 760 had 14 of 16, 1,046 had zero of 16. Zero? That’s not good.
9) Former Villanova coach Steve Lappas, a studio guy on CBS Sports Network, ripped the refs of Indiana-Temple game, saying “….they held Kashif (Wyatt) every play in the last 5:00.” Not often you hear a studio guy who wasn’t even calling the game be so outspoken about officials.
8) LA Angels ate $34M of the remaining $42M on his contract to send Vernon Wells to the Bronx; he’s been paid by three different teams on this contract: Toronto still owes him $15M for three years on the deal. Wells is the most overpaid person in America not named Kardashian.
7) Former Dallas Cowboy exec Gil Brandt, who knows stuff, posted these college football teams as his top six going into the 2013 season: Ohio State-Texas A&M-Oregon-South Carolina-Florida-Alabama.
6) If they’re going to have spring college football, why not let each team have one home scrimmage, charge admission and televise them? Wouldn’t that raise a lot of money?
5) CBS televises The Masters? Who knew? Good thing they run those commercials every half hour to remind us.
4) High school basketball players who want to play in college should forego AAU and instead spend their time
a) Improving their bodies as much as possible to become better athletes and b) become as good a shooter as humanly possible. Shooters are always in demand, always.
Look at Sherwood Brown on Florida Gulf Coast; pretty terrific player, right? he's a walk-on, as in, no scholarship offers. He made himself a player.
3) Its fairly obvious that CBS dictated that Creighton-Duke have a 9:40 tipoff time Sunday night, despite the game being in Philadelphia. Made for a dead crowd and a lackluster game. Kansas-North Carolina from Kansas City would’ve been my choice for the last game of the day.
2) You can actually make the argument that Albany gave Duke a stiffer test than the Bluejays did. Creighton was dismal on offense; obviously Duke played much better against them, but Great Danes were down 8 with 4:40 left, lost by 12.
1) You wonder if Florida Gulf Coast’s success has a trickle down effect on other coaches, making their jobs more difficult, as in “How come they can get to the Sweet 16 and we can’t even make the tournament?”
I’m especially thinking of South Florida’s Stan Heath, the other team on Florida’s gulf coast, up in Tampa. Not only are the Bulls bad, they play a slower style. Got to be easier to recruit kids when you play fast. Has to be.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up the best weekend of the year.......
13) Florida Gulf Coast 81, San Diego State 71-- Eagles shot 55% from floor against solid defensive team, become first #15 seed ever to advance to Sweet 16. They're the talk of the tournament-- good for them.
12) This Comer kid is terrific PG who should be playing in a much better league than the Atlantic Sun; if UNLV had him, they'd be a favorite to go to the Final Four. What tremendous court vision he has.
11) Apparently the only reason Florida Gulf Coast went Division I in hoops is because a D-II league in Florida turned them down. Multiple people have confirmed that story, which is a little amazing.
10) Ohio State 78, Iowa State 75-- Terrific game that swung on a marginal charging call against the Cyclones when they were up a point; Craft's heel appeared to be on that arc under the basket. Iowa State made 12-25 from arc, rallied back from down 13-- this was a very tough loss. .
9) Had no idea that Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg needs a heart valve replacement in the near future, no one knows exactly when; he played in NBA for ten years, had to retire because of the heart issue. Our thoughts and prayers are with him-- very popular figure in Iowa.
8) Indiana 58, Temple 52-- Three of Owls' five starters combined to go 0-21 from floor in this interesting game, as Khalif Wyatt carried Owls for 38:00, but got no help when he needed it most. Indiana-Syracuse this week means roughly 1,000 replays of Keith Smart's shot in 1987- terrific.
7) Florida 78, Minnesota 64-- Gators were up 21 at half, staggered thru the second half; Minnesota-UCLA might wind up as the worst first round game of the last 20 years. Should've automatically picked against the winner here.
6) Speaking of UCLA, they officially fired Ben Howland Sunday; question is, who are they going to get who is a better coach? If you fire a guy who got to three Final Fours in ten years, why is this considered a good job?
5) LaSalle 76, Ole Miss 74-- Much like VCU two years ago, Explorers are proving that going to the First Four isn't so much of a hinderence. It helps to have really good senior guards.
Last 13-seed in the Sweet 16? Bradley Braves, in 2006.
4) Kansas 70, North Carolina 58-- Tar Heels were up 30-21 at half, were +11 in turnovers for game, but shot only 30.1% and Jayhawks started running more in second half, going on 42-17 spurt to turn game in their favor.
3) Miami 63, Illinois 59-- Survive. Advance. This was a 50-50 game; Durand Scott scored only six points, but Hurricanes made key plays late for the win. Illinois team always seemed like they should've been better.
2) Duke 66, Creighton 50-- Awful game, with McDermott not scoring hoop in last 24:00; he was 12-12 from foul line, but Duke bludgeoned the Bluejays and move on to Indianapolis for the Sweet 16.
Krzyzewski, Pitino, Izzo in same region....with Dana Altman, who is a very good coach, but not exactly a media darling. Should be interesting.
1) Its great to see an unknown team like Florida Gulf Coast believe in its abilities, play with tremendous enthuiasm and shock the world; they've got guys who can run, pass, shoot, defend- well-rounded, athletic players. Next up are the Florida Gators, who wouldn't even scrimmage the Eagles last fall.
Florida Gulf Coast is a 12-point dog; you going to give them 12 points?
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.......
13) Wichita State 76, Gonzaga 70-- Naysayers are going to kill Gonzaga for losing, but this was an excellent game; Shockers made 14-28 from arc, seven in row at one point. When a good team hits 14-28 from the arc, they're going to win. Kind of wish Zags' 7-footer Kelly Olynyk would take less 3's.
12) Marquette 74, Butler 72-- Buzz Williams 2013, meet Jim Valvano 1983, as Marquette has survived two near-death experiences to advance to Sweet 16- they were down six with 1:10 left Thursday, were down 8 at half in this game Saturday. Tough minded group of kids.
11) Louisville 82, Colorado State 56-- Cardinals were so aggressive in this game on defense, it seemed like they had 8-10 guys on court at times. This is a very good Colorado State team that started five seniors- they had no shot.
10) Michigan 78, VCU 53-- Someone posted a stat on Twitter that VCU is 1-7 this year against teams that turn the ball over less than 18% of time, and Wolverines are #1 in country protecting the ball, so this makes sense. Guess the ease in which Michigan won is surprising.
9) Michigan State 70, Memphis 48-- Tom Izzo has a great record in these quick turnaround games; Spartans held Memphis to 29.7% from floor. Pod system the NCAA put in is to get bigger crowds, but it has made it so much harder to post a second round upset. These two games were true road games; seems like its too big an advantage for the bigger schools.
8) Izzo, by the way, has an amazing 30-4 tournament record when his team is the better seed.
7) Syracuse 66, California 60-- Orange made 26-41 on foul line playing in enemy territory in San Jose. Not sure what the deal is with Cal's best scorer, Allen Crabbe; seems like he's near a meltdown every time a call goes against him. Teammates are always talking to him, putting an arm around him. For record, Cal was 12-19 from the line in this game, Crabbe 3-9 from floor.
6) Oregon 74, Saint Louis 57-- Billikens picked bad time to play their worst game of the season. How did Arselan Kazemi get eligible right away after he bolted from Rice? He's from Iran, so he doesn't have any sick relatives on the west coast. Kazemi has played very well the last few weeks.
5) Arizona 74, Harvard 51-- Terrible game, but not as bad as four Harvard Quiz Bowl titles being vacated because they cheated. Thats the thing about people who always tell you they're elite; they don't believe it themselves, so they have to cheat to make sure they seem that way. Nitwits.
4) UCLA is going to fire Ben Howland today; Bruins were 25-10 this year, are 233-107 under Howland, with couple Final Fours, but they haven't been seeded higher than 6th in any of the last five tournaments, because he can't keep players in his program, either they're disgruntled and transfer, or they do well and bolt for the NBA. Same problem Texas is having.
3) Meanwhile, Howland disciple Jamie Dixon turned down USC, signed an extension with Pitt until 2023; if the Trojans would hire Dixon, why not try and see if Howland would stay in LA and coach at USC? I'm sure the brass at USC would be pretty happy if the Trojans went 25-10.
2) In five of its last seven games, Louisville has forced turnovers on 30.9% or more of opponents' possessions; this is postseason ball, impressive.
1) It dawned on me that Butler and Denver will both be playing in their third different basketball league in a three-year span next year. Butler and Denver, not Louisville-Missouri-Syracuse. College sports are crazy.
Notes from each of Friday's NCAA tournament games
-- Duke 73, Albany 61-- Great Danes made 9-15 from arc, won majority of loose balls, still lost by 12. Mike Krzyzewski actually did a TV interview at halftime-- can't remember the last time I saw him do that.
-- Creighton 67, Cincinnati 63-- Bluejays outscored Cincy 22-4 from foul line, made 7-15 from arc. Big East teams were 3-5 in first round of tourney. Creighton becomes a Big East team next year. Sometimes I watch Cincinnati play and I wonder if they use a basketball when they practice.
-- Ole Miss 57, Wisconsin 46-- Badgers shot 25.4% from field; Marshall Henderson went nuts in second half, then again on Twitter after. Henderson is wacky, but where would the Rebels be without him?
-- LaSalle 63, Kansas State 61-- Explorers led 44-26 at half, survived great comeback to win what was basically a road game in Kansas City. K-State was 9-17 from foul line, not good in a 2-point game.
-- Miami 78, Pacific 49-- Big divide in the 15-seeds; Iona has athletic guys who are nuisance if they play well; Albany was really a 16-seed but they had too many of those. Pacific overachieved to win conference tourney in a fading Big West. FGCU should've been seeded higher, a lot higher.
-- Illinois 57, Colorado 49-- Game of tremendous runs by both sides; Illini advanced on a day when they led by 16 at half, then trailed by 5 with 8:58 left. Former Illini coach Bruce Weber got upset in first round at K-State, so I'm guessing Illini fans happier with the coach they have now.
-- Temple 76, NC State 72-- Wolfpack lost despite making 64.1% of shots inside arc; they trailed by 16 at half, fought back, but a disappointing year ends in a fitting way. Wyatt was 7-8 inside arc, 12-14 on line, 1-7 outside arc as he scored 31 points to lead the Owls.
-- Indiana 83, James Madison 62-- Hoosiers crushed JMU, who loosened up in last 10:00, played better to cover spread- they scored half their 62 points in last quarter of the game. Glorified workout for the Hoosiers.
-- Florida Gulf Coast 78, Georgetown 68-- When players in this game were born, FGCU didn't exist yet. Hoyas get beat by a double digit seed for fifth year in row. Eagles only have two seniors in their rotation, too.
-- San Diego State 70, Oklahoma 55-- Steve Fisher is now 9-1 in his last ten games with Lon Kruger. Suddenly, Aztecs find a 15-seed in between them and a trip to the Sweet 16. MWC teams are 2-3 in tournament.
-- Ohio State 95, Iona 70-- Iona is fun to watch, but they got dismantled by a methodical Buckeye team that is as athletic as the Gaels. This kid Craft is a great college player, does all little, unglamorous things teams need to win.
-- Iowa State 76, Notre Dame 58-- Irish have slowish big men who look like they've never seen a pick-and-roll before, at least not run by great athletes. Cyclones were up 12 at half, pulled away from there. Second year in row Fred Hoiberg beat a Big East team in first round.
-- Florida 79, Northwestern State 47-- Deep Gators were bad draw for the Demons, who play 10 guys and try to wear you down. Game was 42-34 at the half, degenerated late. I'm still a believer in Florida going to Final Four.
-- Minnesota 83, UCLA 63-- There are rumors that Floyd Mayweather bet $7M on UCLA in this game; not sure if he knew Jordan Adams was out or not, but Mayweather could've played better himself than the Bruins did.
-- North Carolina 78, Villanova 71-- Tar Heels made 11-21 from arc as they handed the Big East yet another loss. Now UNC plays Kansas, where their smaller lineup is going to get a severe test. Over last four years, #1 seeds are 10-5-1 vs spread in this second round.
-- Kansas 64, Western Kentucky 57-- Jayhawks looked lifeless, so whatever ailed them in TCU loss is still inside them, somewhere. Next up is an old pal, Coach Roy Williams. If Kansas plays like they did Friday, Tar Heels will be glad to take their place in the Sweet 16.
Notes from each of Thursday's NCAA tournament games
-- Michigan State 65, Valparaiso 54-- Spartans grabbed 20 of their own 35 missed shots; their subs almost blew the 9.5-point spread in last minute. This game was nowhere near as close as the final score says.
-- Memphis 54, St Mary's 52-- Tigers blocked 12 shots, led by 15 late in the first half, then held on for dear life in last minute, as St Mary's got a shot to tie game. Congrats to Josh Pastner on his first NCAA tournament win; its a long way from sitting on a cafeteria table at Poinciana HS in Florida with me, watching an AAU game when he was an assistant coach at Arizona.
-- Louisville 79, North Carolina A&T 48-- Jesse Jackson was in stands at this game; kind of doubt he was rooting for Pitino. Hope he didn't take A&T and 26.5 points. If you added the first 10:00 of each half in this game, it was 43-13 Louisville.
-- Colorado State 84, Missouri 72-- You start five seniors, you're a live dog in this tournament. Dorian Green is a tough guy; he scored 26 points in 34:00 on a gimpy ankle. Only win in four games for MWC so far.
-- Syracuse 81, Montana 34-- This is all Weber State's fault; Wildcats were better than Montana this year, but couldn't finish the deal in Big Sky title tilt, so banged-up Griz got fed to an angry Syracuse squad here. This was ugly.
-- California 64, UNLV 61-- Dave Rice is going to have a rough summer in America's favorite city; Rebels have now lost last four first round games, and they were favored in all four (Rice only coached last two). He absolutely has to have at least one quality PG on his roster next year.
-- Marquette 59, Davidson 58-- Wildcats led 54-48 with 1:10 left; when the players and coaches on Davidson are in their 80's, they'll think of this game and be sad. Marquette hit last three 3's after being 1-12 from arc. Just one of those losses that will linger for weeks, months....
-- Butler 68, Bucknell 56-- Bison led 37-31 with 10:17 left, but then Butler put it in another gear, blew by them, outscoring Bucknell 25-5 on foul line.
-- VCU 88, Akron 42-- I'm not kidding; Saturday's game with Michigan might be most interesting matchup of the whole tournament. Not sure last night's walkover helped VCU very much, other than the win. This was ugly.
-- Michigan 71, South Dakota State 56-- Four Jackrabbits played the whole 40:00, and the fifth played 32. Predictably, they faded late.
-- Wichita State 73, Pitt 55-- Shockers were 33-41 from foul line and were the more physical team. Jamie Dixon is 11-9 in NCAAs at Pitt, despite being 3-seed or better in five of his nine NCAA appearances. Not really sure why USC would want to shell out big bucks for his services.
-- Gonzaga 64, Southern 58-- Survive. Advance. This game was 56-56 with 3:46 left. Southern was 10-23 outside arc, 8-23 inside it. Zags hit two huge 3's to pull ahead- they'll need to play better against Wichita State.
-- Arizona 81, Belmont 64-- Bruins are good example of how gap between the haves and have-nots has widened. Belmont wins its league most years, but only once have they come close to winning a NCAA tourney game, the gap in talent is just too wide.
-- Harvard 68, New Mexico 62-- Call me paranoid, but not thrilled about a coach signing a lucrative contract before a tournament; your lower-income kids start looking around, asking, "Where's mine?" and they play lousy and lose to an Ivy League team. Go figure.
-- Oregon 68, Oklahoma State 55-- Dana Altman was about the 7th choice to become Oregon's coach, but he's damn good. I'm thinking Ducks might be the best 12-seed in tournament history.
-- Saint Louis 64, New Mexico State 44-- Billikens are very good, plus they have players named Jordair Jett and Grandy Glaze-- tremendous names!!!!! SLU is very good defensively, took Aggies out of their game.
Thursday's List of 13: Welcome to the best four days of the year.......
13) Why do I get the idea that for the next four days, unless something really big happens, Joe Biden is running the country?
12) So when Robert Morris beat Kentucky at home Tuesday, it set off one of the better court rushes of alltime; ESPN interviewed coach Andy Toole on the court about what the win means. Would’ve been awesome if he had just looked into the camera and said truthfully,
“It means I’m getting a better job!!!”
This is the unusual case of a team being better off in the NIT than the NCAA’s, they got lot of extra publicity out of beating Kentucky.
11) Robert Morris’ win will set non-conference scheduling back, as the big boys will turn their nose up at true road games, even moreso than they do now. When was the last time Kentucky played a true road game in a gym that seats less than 5,000 people?
10) Since 1993, Louisville is 3-11-1 vs spread in its first tournament game; this is just their second #1 seed- they beat Morehead State by 20 (-20.5) in first round, the other time they were a 1-seed.
9) So couple years after the Carmelo Anthony trade, did one side get the better of it? Knicks are 39-26, but have oldest roster in league, they’ve lost four of last five games and are looking into signing Hawkeye Pierce to take care of their MASH unit full of injured players.
Denver is 47-22, has won 13 games in a row and appears to be a legit threat in the West. I’m thinking Denver got the better of the deal.
Feel bad for Mike Woodson though; he’s a very good coach saddled with an old team that ain’t getting healthier as the playoffs approach.
8) There are 21 Division I basketball schools in Texas, none made the tournament, first time Lone Star State got blanked since 1977, when it was a 32-team tourney. Damn, I was in high school back then.
7) Youngstown State made an astounding 18-35 behind arc in its 99-87 win over defenseless Oakland Tuesday. LMU made 21 treys vs Michigan in second round of the 1990 tournament, and from what I can tell, that is the most treys any team has made in a D-I college game.
6) Hockey legend Bobby Orr, who was Wayne Gretzky before Gretzky, but as a defenseman, turned 65 this week. Orr was one of my first childhood heroes; boy could he skate!!!
Knee injuries shortened his career. I met him in 1986; very nice man, but he could hardly walk, his knees were so bad. Orr turned the Bruins around almost single-handedly; he is still revered in Boston.
5) An umpire broke his hand in a spring training game, so one of the other umps went in to put his chest protector on to take his place behind the plate. Veteran ump Tim McClelland, in order to keep the exhibition game moving, called balls/strikes from behind the pitcher for four batters, until the other ump was ready to go. That’s what they do in Little League!!!
4) NFL might play the Pro Bowl by having captains choose up sides, like we did on the playgrounds as kids. Whatever, I’m still not watching. Choosing up sides would be intriguing for the NBA All-Star Game, though.
3) Listening to Bill Walton working SF Austin-Stanford NIT game Tuesday, it occurred to me that I’d love to be as positive about everything as he is. Not everyone can be that way, but I enjoy his TV work very much.
2) Stephen F Austin University is in Nacogdoches, TX; they lost Southland finals to Northwestern State, which is in Natchitoches, LA.
Say that three times fast.
1) The next four days are among my most favorite of the year; I plan on doing nothing but watching basketball, eating and talking to friends about basketball and eating. Enjoy the tournament!!!!
Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.........
13) One of the NFL’s newer traditions is that the Super Bowl champ opens up at home on the first Thursday night of the season, which this year is September 5; problem is, the Baltimore Orioles have a home game that night, so the Ravens asked them to move the game to an afternoon tilt, but the O’s are so far resisting doing that, since it’s the first game of a 4-game weekend series. Not good.
12) Kicker is the Ravens would rather open on the road September 5 than play at home that first Sunday night, because of the 3+-day advantage in preparation/rest for their Week 2 game, that comes with opening the season on a Thursday.
11) Orioles traded Joe Flacco’s younger brother to the Red Sox last week; he is a minor league third baseman who is a .252 hitter in four minor league seasons, mostly all in A ball. Wonder if that annoyed the Ravens, too.
10) Speaking of annoying, Bobby Valentine is close to signing a deal to be in SNY’s (Mets’ TV station) studios 10-15 nights this summer. Valentine just signed on as the new AD at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut.
9) NFL’s Hall of Fame game in Canton August 4: Cowboys-Dolphins.
8) Someone on Twitter actually researched this: of the 68 NCAA tournament teams, 52 wear Nike, 13 adidas, three Under Armour. Alrighty then.
7) ESPN figured out that Andrew Bynum is making $46,700 a day from the 76ers this season, and he won’t play a game for them. We need to invent the Blunder Hall of Fame, and give awards each year for stuff like this. Bynum would definitely be one of this year’s winners; either him or the guy who traded for him in Philly.
6) I’ve never had SPAM. It looks gross. Apparently people eat this stuff. I’m not sure why. Anyone out there who likes it or knows someone who likes it, please clue me in. I'm told its very salty.
5) Heat-Celtic game Monday night was ESPN’s highest-rated regular season NBA game, ever.
4) Maryland beat Duke two out of three this year; one of Terps’ players is Logan Aronholt, who spent the last three years playing for the Albany Great Danes, who play Duke Friday afternoon in Philly.
Wonder if Aronholt shared the Terps’ scouting knowledge on Duke with his former teammates. They’ll need all the help they can get.
3) It snowed all day Tuesday in beautiful downtown Albany, which is actually slushy downtown Albany; it is March 20, Opening Day is 11 days away and it snowed all day. That said, today is the first day of spring and spring will be welcome here this year, for sure.
2) It still boggles my mind that Super Bowl next February is in Swamp Stadium in New Jersey; what, the Arctic Circle was booked that day? San Diego isn’t good enough? Miami? Phoenix? It just seems wrong.
1) Robert Morris 59, Kentucky 57-- Wonder if this result pumps LIU up for its play-in game with James Madison tonight? Seeing a league rival have success on TV has to boost your confidence, no?
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Watching replay of the Giants-Rockies game over the weekend; Giant announcers were saying that Opening Day is a sellout, unless of course you buy a Giants 6-pack. In other words, the game is sold out unless you want to buy tickets for five other crummy games, then they’ll miraculously find you tickets for the home opener. Slimy.
12) Walt Weiss is the new manager of the Rockies; he wants Colorado to carry 13 pitchers on its roster for its home series, only 12 on road trips, due to the extra offense in games at Coors Field.
Interesting concept, not sure it is doable, since once a guy gets sent down he has to stay there for 15 days, except to replace an injured player.
11) Funny story in the NYC papers Monday about how the Saint Louis Billikens were stuck in traffic heading to the airport for their flight home from the A-16 tournament Sunday, so they stopped in a Best Buy in Secaucus, NJ to watch the Selection Show on CBS. Imagine being in that store and seeing 15-20 really tall people walk in the store, all dressed in sweats?
10) From 1987-98, #3 seeds were 38-10 SU in the first round, meaning one lost pretty much every year. From 1999 on, #3 seeds are 53-3 SU, as gap between big boys and low majors has widened.
9) Three of the four play-in game winners have to play day games in their second tournament game; that doesn’t seem right. You play on Tuesday night and then again Thursday afternoon? Would think play-in winners would all get night games in next round.
8) Didn’t know that NBA referees aren’t allowed to work the same team’s games within five days of each other. You learn stuff listening to Mike Breen on ESPN.
7) Of the 16 head coaches in the South region of the NCAA tournament, 10 have coached in a Final Four, and two of the other six are John Beilein and Keith Dambrot, who was Lebron James’ high school coach. Its a heavyweight region for coaches.
6) Four of the six oldest players in the NBA play for the Knicks; Kurt Thomas is the oldest player in the league, one day older than Grant Hill.
5) CBS put Steve Kerr in a 3-man booth with Jim Nantz/Clark Kellogg for the tournament, creating more work for the mute button. Kellogg never lets Kerr finish a sentence, always putting his stamp of approval/disapproval on every thought. I miss the days when Billy Packer was his old grumpy self as an analyst on the air. No one interrupted him.
4) CIT is one of the lesser postseason basketball tournaments; they have Loyola, Md-Boston U as a first round matchup, which doesn’t look like much, but those teams are both headed to the Patriot League next year, so from here on in, they’ll be league rivals.
3) Over the last six years, underdogs are 18-6 vs spread in those 8-9 first round matchups.
2) Odd baseball trade this weekend; as Phillies dealt minor league pitcher Mike Cisco to the Angels......for nothing!!! Cisco is 13-3, 1.73 the last two years in minors (AA/AAA); he pitched at South Carolina, is grandson of former big league pitcher Galen Cisco, so he isn't a stiff.
Officially, he was dealt "for no compensation". Alrighty then.
1) Rupp Arena is hosting NCAA tournament games this weekend, so they put Kentucky's NIT game on the road, at Robert Morris; big event for Colonials, who sold the game out already, then cancelled classes on Tuesday.
Thing is, its also a home game for John Calipari, who is from the Pittsburgh area. He grew up in Moon Township, went to Clarion State.
Monday's List of 13: First impressions on field of 68............
13) Hopefully ESPN or CBS will do a feature on how teams scurry for scouting video after the field of 68 is announced. Its an interesting process; the Charleston, SC newspaper ran an article that credited the sophistication of video scouting as a reason for the deep decline in scoring.
I mean, do you think New Mexico has a lot of film on Harvard? Marquette has to be scrambling for knowledge on Davidson, and how much does New Mexico State know about Saint Louis? Lot of scrambling going on.
12) My dad's comment while CBS showed the brackets Sunday: "Who the hell is Florida Gulf Coast?" Eagles beat a banged-up Miami team, way back on November 13, but they turn ball over 21% of time, have only two seniors, and are in serious trouble against Georgetown.
11) Lon Kruger went 1-8 in his last nine games vs San Diego State when he was coaching at UNLV; now his Oklahoma Sooners will try to solve this defensively-stout Aztec team. Should be low-scoring.
10) Oregon is a 12-seed? They wouldn't have been in the tournament had they not beaten UCLA late Saturday night? Wow.
9) No Pac-12 team was seeded higher than sixth. Yikes.
8) Northwestern State upset Iowa in a 3-14 game in '06, but this Florida team is a lot better than that Iowa team. Not a great draw for the Demons.
7) Miami is the first ACC team ever to win the regular season/conference tournament to not get a #1 seed in the NCAAs.
6) I'm tired of hearing how NC State underachieved this season; maybe the pundits did a horrible job picking them so high in the preseason, maybe the expectations in Raleigh are placed way too high, the same way they were before Herb Sendek bolted NC State for Arizona State in 2006, after he made the NCAA tournament five years in a row.
5) No national champion lost their first conference tournament game, which would rule out Duke; since 1985, only three teams won the national title after not being in the tournament the year before.
4) Hats off to Western Kentucky/New Mexico, who looked like they had huge crowds in their arena just to see the brackets unveiled.
3) Virginia (#27) has best kenpom.com rating to not make tournament; the lesson? ACC teams shouldn't go 0-3 against CAA teams.
2) I got tired of ESPN showing Joe Lunardi's Last 4 in/Last 4 out for a whole month, but dammit, he hit it 100% this year, has missed only 10 teams in the last nine years, so kudos to him on being really good at his job.
1) Here's an early Final Four pick off the top of my bald head:
Miami-Florida-Louisville-Gonzaga, with Louisville winning it.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.........
13) Media types whining all weekend about the end of the Big East fail to realize the Big East isn't going away, Syracuse is. Pitt, Rutgers started in Atlantic 10, Notre Dame was an independent, Louisville came over from Conference USA, so Syracuse's bolting for the ACC's football money is the only deep-rooted change here. That, and UConn being left behind.
Louisville's 44-10 run after trailing by 16 makes them the favorite to win the NCAA tournament; takes pressure off the other #1 seeds.
12) Pretty cool scene in Big West tournament, as Pacific beat Cal-Irvine, in coach Bob Thomason's last season coaching his alma mater after 25 years. Pacific is moving to the WCC next year, giving that league ten teams.
11) Refs called a horrible charge on Shabazz Muhammad in first half of UCLA-Oregon game, and Ben Howland made like Al Oerter, tossing his suit jacket into the second row of the stands. He got a technical, and his Bruins got drilled 78-69 by the resurgent Oregon Ducks.
10) Anybody who had North Carolina lasting longer than Duke in the ACC tourney, raise your hand. Put your hand down, you're lying.
9) Montana beat Weber State in the Big Sky tournament for the fourth year in a row, 67-64. Weber was the better team this season, with Mathias Ward out for the Griz, but the game was played in Bozeman, and the stripes gave Montana the benefit of the whistle.
8) With Stephen F Austin/Texas-Arlington both losing Saturday, it means that no teams from Texas will be in the NCAA tournament- when was the last time that happened?
7) These flagrant fouls on accidental contact are getting ridiculous. Game is becoming too babified. These games have three refs making $1,500 apiece; time to stop video reviewing every little thing. Let the kids play; if the three refs didn't see it, then it didn't happen, the exception being clock issues.
6) Memphis finished 19-0 in Conference USA, beating Southern Miss in double OT, 91-79. Eagles were hurt by 15-28 foul shooting.
5) Northwestern finally canned Bill Carmody, who was 192-210 in 13 years with the Wildcats; academics are no excuse for losing in basketball, for example, Vanderbilt has a good team most every year. And Duke, too. For a team that close to Chicago to rarely have a winning record, its just not good.
4) Why coaches get fired if they lose: they're expensive. Colorado State's Larry Eustachy has a base salary of $750,000; if the Rams win 20+ games and stay off probation, he makes another $100,000. Make it to the NCAA's, Eustachy bags another $250,000. Make the Sweet 16, $100,000 more.
If Eustachy doesn't cash that $250,000 bonus too many years in a row, he'll be looking for a job, just like Coach Carmody. Its a cruel business, but if you win, its pretty damn lucrative, which is why recruiting is so cutthroat.
3) Odd Stat of the Day, NBA version: Washington Wizards are 15-2 vs the spread this season if they're on back end of a back-to-back.
2) Team USA lost in WBC, tickets for the semis/finals in San Francisco Sunday-Tuesday have been discounted to as little as $8. You go to a baseball game in the Bronx, you can't get a beer for $8.
1) For bubble teams, Sunday is the longest of days; for most of the teams, just getting in the NCAA tournament is a win-- how many can really win six (seven) games in a row and the national championship?
We'll be here tomorrow with our first impressions on the field of 68.
Saturday's List of 13: Wrapping up a fantastic Friday of hoops......
13) Another 14-hour day of basketball, with evening part of the card just filled with good action. Last game of the night was one of the more emotional games, as Pacific gave coach Bob Thomason one last appearance in Big West title game with a dramatic 55-53 win over Cal Poly in Anaheim.
Thomason is retiring after 25 years as Pacific's coach; the Tigers are moving to the WCC next year. Pacific plays Cal-Irvine for the Big West title.
12) Kentucky got spanked 64-48 by Vanderbilt; they're still winless away from Rupp Arena since Nerlens Noel got hurt. Most pundits have Kentucky out of the NCAAs; couple even suggested that the Wildcats' body language Friday looked like they wouldn't mind if the season ended.
11) Maryland beat Duke 83-74, just second time in 11 years Blue Devils lost their first ACC tournament game; the other time, they were 8-8 in ACC that season. This year, they were 14-4. Very disappointing loss for Duke.
10) Which reminds us that no team has ever won the national title if they lost their first conference tournament game that season.
9) Wisconsin 68, Michigan 59-- Badgers scored 17 points in first half, 51 in second. Wolverines split their last 12 games after a 20-1 start.
8) Ole Miss 64, Missouri 62-- Rebels outscored Missouri 18-6 over final 8:48 to pull out a win and keep their NCAA hopes alive. Ole Miss will be favored to beat Vandy today and get to the SEC finals.
7) Southern Mississippi shot 58.5% against UTEP, not easy to do against a Tim Floyd-defense, as Golden Eagles advanced with a 85-67 win over the Miners. USM plays Memphis (18-0 in C-USA) today for the title.
6) UCLA beat Arizona for third time this season, 66-64, but lost freshman star Jordan Adams for season with a broken foot; he had 24 points for the Bruins Friday, 18 in the second half.
5) Three conference finals will be played within 3.4 miles of each other in Las Vegas Saturday, with New Mexico-UNLV hottest ticket of the three. UCLA-Oregon and New Mexico State/UT-Arlington are the other two. You like college basketball, Las Vegas is your town Saturday.
4) North Carolina sophomore PJ Hairston, who sparked a recent 7-1 UNC hot streak, tore up his hand in a bloody accident late in Tar Heels' 83-62 win over Florida State. Not sure what the injury is, but anything with the hand is obviously going to hamper his ability to catch the ball.
3) Zeke Marshall almost single-handedly saved Akron's season, with 18 points, 10 rebounds, 7 blocks, as the Zips held off rival Kent State 62-59, its first win since PG Alex Abreu was suspended indefinitely.
2) Flip side of winning is losing; Buffalo fired coach Reggie Witherspoon on Friday, after a 14-20/7-9 season. Bulls are 47-33 in MAC play over last five years, so Witherspoon did a pretty good job, but he hadn't made the NCAAs in 14 years, and in today's world, that gets you fired.
1) I'm thinking that the selection committee has a very hard job this year; moreso than usual. Not much separates these bubble teams, but if you don't want to be sad Sunday night, like we said earlier this week, then win more.
Friday's List of 13: Wrapping up one of the best days of the year....
13) Our day started just after noon with Charlotte-Richmond in Brooklyn, ended 14 hours later, with Oregon's OT win over Washington in Las Vegas. Quite a day of college hoop, with more to come today........
12) Richmond was up 63-60 with 0:06 left; they fouled on purpose so that Charlotte couldn't tie the game with a trey, but when Derrick Williams was called for a (shaky) technical foul while blocking out on the first foul shot, all hell broke loose, as Richmond coach Mooney got two more technicals and was tossed. Charlotte made 8-11 foul shots in the last five seconds, and got a 68-63 win, when they probably thought they were dead.
My view was that Williams should've been given a regular foul and not a technical, which would've kept the Spiders alive in the game.
11) Richmond lost because they fouled on purpose while up 3; Cal Bears lost to Utah because they didn't foul, and Utes tied game with a trey with 0:09 left, before beating Cal 79-69 in OT. Utah has now won four in a row.
10) WAC bracket is wide open, with top two seeds Louisiana Tech and Denver both losing already; Tech was 16-0 in the WAC, but has now lost its last three games. Very disappointing for them.
9) MEAC bracket is even worse; #1-4 seeds all lost to the #5-8 seeds, so seeds #5-8 play in the semis Friday. Winner of this tournment is definitely going to Dayton next week.
8) Baylor battled back from down 42-24 at half, tied game with 0:19 left, then lost on a cheesy foul call with 0:03 left as Oklahoma State edged Baylor, 74-72. Bears needed a run this week, are likely headed to the NIT.
7) UCLA was down 15 with 16:00 left to Arizona State, but ASU's lack of depth and their having played the night before wore the Sun Devils down, as Bruins survived 80-75. ASU only used seven players (7th played just 3:00).
6) Looking through all these boxscores, it surprises me that very few teams use more than three subs for 10+ minutes, and most only use two. So little depth means that one injury can wreak havoc, even with a team like Duke, which got a huge jolt when Ryan Kelly got healthy.
5) Halftime interviews are interesting; coaches who don't get on TV much are way more eager to talk than the guys who are on all the time. Cal-Irvine coach Russell Turner sounded like he would've talked the whole 15 minutes at halftime of his game with Hawai'i. Fact that he was up 22 at the time had to help. Turner has the Anteaters headed in the right direction.
4) Iowa State was down 37-29 at half to Oklahoma, but rallied to win 73-66, Cyclones' first conference tourney win in eight years. ISU survived a crummy day by star G Lucious (0-8 from floor), will play Kansas today.
3) Georgia Tech was up 15-0 over Boston College, then lost by 20, in one of the bigger tank jobs in recent memory. Freshman Olivier Hanlan scored 41 points, making 8-10 behind the arc; BC was 14-24 overall on 3-balls.
2) Syracuse made 12-19 behind the arc, dispatched Pitt 62-59; Panthers wound up with only one win in their last five Big East tourneys. Both Pitt and the Orangemen start playing in the ACC next year.
1) Friday night will be tremendous, with 26 games, 18 of them semi-finals in conference tournaments, after four quarterfinal twinbills in the afternoon.
Thursday's List of 13: Looking at baseball props for 2013........
If you like to wager on props in Las Vegas, LVH Casino is a great place to do it; here are some numbers they put out on the 2013 baseball season:
13) Over/under on home runs hit by any player, 43.5.
12) Over/under on home runs hit by Albert Pujols, 33.5.
11) Over/under on RBI by any player, 130.5.
10) Over/under on runs scored by any player: 124.5.
9) Over/under on hits by any player, 212.5.
8) Over/under on hits by Andrew McCutchen, 167.5.
7) Over/under on doubles by any player, 50.5.
6) Over/under on triples by any player, 15.5 (a healthy Jose Reyes will go over 15.5, the qualifier being he has to stay healthy).
5) Over/under on stolen bases by any player, 55.5.
4) Over/under on wins by any pitcher, 21.5.
3) Over/under on wins by Yu Darvish, 13.5.
2) Over/under on complete games by any pitcher, 6.5.
1) Over/under on strikeouts by any pitcher, 248.5.
Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) This question dawned on me today: Is Rick Pitino the greatest all-time coach of other coaches? Billy Donovan-Travis Ford-Marvin Menzies-Jim O’Brien-Richard Pitino-Herb Sendek-Tubby Smith-Reggie Theus-Jeff Van Gundy- Ralph/Kevin Willard-Sean Woods all worked for Pitino.
Its an interesting question, but I think the answer is yes.
12) Then there is Ole Miss, where there are rumors that Andy Kennedy will be gone if the Rebels don’t make the NCAAs. Are you serious?
You try competing in same league as Kentucky/Florida in basketball at a school where one of the primary mascots is still an old white dude carrying the Confederate Flag. Seriously.
If Kennedy gets canned, his agent’s cellphone will blow up with job offers from other schools. Good jobs, too.
11) Holly Madison is taking heat for naming her daughter Rainbow Aurora; maybe she’s just a fan of the knuckleball, and is naming her daughter after Toronto pitcher RA Dickey. Or maybe she just likes unusual names.
10) Sometimes its fun to grade the conferences during Championship Week by who announces the championship game of their tournament; for example, Bob Valvano did Summit League game, which puts them ahead of the MAAC, who had some guy I hadn't heard all year doing Manhattan-Iona Monday night. Bill Raftery used to do the MAAC game every year.
9) There is a TV show called Robot Combat League, kind of a life-sized version of Rock ‘em/Sock ‘em Robots. It is hosted by pro wrestler Chris Jericho, and its on the list with Amish Mafia of shows I’ll never watch.
8) Its that time of year; someone took an ad out in the Wake Forest student newspaper calling for the ouster of basketball coach Jeff Bzdelik, who is regarded as a superior tactician, but hasn’t recruited well. Can’t win without good players.
7) I truly enjoy the NFL, but how does an ESPN radio talkshow devote its whole show to NFL free agency in March, where there is March Madness, the NBA/NHL and spring training going on? I can see doing it the day the 2013 schedule comes out, but the few hours before free agency? No thanks.
6) That said, the I-heart radio app on my I-Phone is outstanding. Listen to a music station in Fort Myers and hear car dealer Billy Fuccillo yelling “HUGE!!!!!” into my ears during commercials. Fuccillo is everywhere, and his commercials are great fun, as commercials go.
5) One college AD was complaining over weekend that out of 31 basketball conferences that get an automatic bid, only one not concerned with some form of realignment is the Ivy League. Tough time to be an AD; you don’t want your school to lose out in this high stakes game of musical chairs. Even the Patriot League added Loyola, Md and Boston U for next season.
4) In case you were wondering, Saturday is National Meatball Day. Just thought you’d like to know.
3) The more I observe Indiana coach Tom Crean, the more I wonder: Do coaches ever get drug tested? He acts like he sucks down a gallon of Red Bull before every game. His outburst at end of the Michigan game was odd.
2) If you had Iona -4 Monday night, my condolences; Gaels led by 8 with 0:06 left over Manhattan; Jaspers go length of court, stick a 3 from left corner, clock stops with 0:00.1 left, and some combination of Iona players/ fans come on the court to celebrate, because they thought the game was over.
Now none of the celebrants made it onto the TV shot, so how far onto the court could they have gotten?
Refs called a technical, Jaspers made both foul shots, lost by 3 and covered the spread, scoring five points in less than a second. Very hideous way to lose a bet; seems like given the circumstances, common sense would’ve dictated just clear them off the floor and play the last 0:00.1, but that’s not what happened, maybe partly because the refs had given Manhattan coach Masiello a technical for being out of the coaches’ box earlier in second half.
1) “Someone is going to win the national title, but is any team capable of playing six good games in a row?”
Read someone ask that on Twitter this week, and its another fair question. Every team has a significant flaw; the eventual champ will probably have to grind out at least one game in the tournament, when they don’t bring their A game, which makes filling your bracket out so interesting.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but...........
13) Three weeks ago, if I had told you that Michigan, NC State and Butler would all miss out on byes in their leagues, you’d have called me nuts, but it happened. At one point, I thought Michigan was best team in the country, but now they’re the #5 seed in the Big Dozen. Go figure.
12) Good news: my alma mater Albany is playing on ESPN Saturday morning at Vermont in the America East title game.
Bad news: Vermont clocked them twice this season, 70-45 and 50-43. Great Danes’ coach Will Brown is a good guy and we wish him well.
11) Pet peeve: The term “student-athlete”. This annoying phrase is most always spoken by bureaucrats who makes hundreds and thousands of dollars off of kids, who are way more athletes than students, though many are both. Just call them “kids” or “athletes” or “players” or more accurately “athlete-students”.
10) UTSA-San Jose State are playing in first round of WAC tournament this week in Las Vegas; they were supposed to play last weekend in San Jose, but game got rained out because the roof in San Jose leaks and it was raining out-- since both teams are awful, they didn’t bother rescheduling it.
9) Over last two years, Western Kentucky is 17-19 in Sun Belt regular season games, 8-0 in conference tournament games- they beat Mississippi Valley State by a point in a First Four game in Dayton LY, then got beat by Kentucky by 15 in the next round. They could be going back to Dayton.
8) I was looking at a list of free agents for my fantasy baseball league (16-team keeper league, 25-man rosters) and one set of stats from last year stood out to me: Chipper Jones, but obviously he is retired.
Have to keep on my toes in case the Bronx Bombers try to weasel in and get him to unretire-- his initial response was no, and Bronx is apparently trying to sign Derrek Lee now.
7) So I’m watching the Dodger-Rockies game Sunday and Colorado brings in a pitcher named Parker Frazier, whose dad George happens to be Rockies’ TV analyst. Tough gig for George when his kid gives up two runs on his first three pitches. Thought he might make a joke, but he just said, “I’m not going to lie to you, its tough seeing your kid give up a home run.”
6) Score a victory for common sense; New York Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling overturned the un-American ban on 20+-ounce sodas put in by New York City's billionaire Mayor Bloomberg. When you start to restrict the civil liberties of people that much, where do you draw the line?
5) Tough day for my Rams; Seahawks traded for Percy Harvin, 49ers got Anquan Boldin from Baltimore, and my Rams, who desperately need any WR who can get open and catch the ball? Nothing yet.
Rams have two first round draft picks, so they'll make their moves, but the competition in the NFC West got stronger Monday.
4) Weird story about Miami Hurricanes’ basketball star Shane Larkin, whose dad is baseball Hall of Famer Barry Larkin.
When he was a little kid, Shane went to baseball practice and tried to bat like Tony Perez, another former Reds’ great. Whatever genius he had for a coach ripped young Larkin, saying whoever taught him to hit didn’t know what he was talking about. Um, OK.....
Shane went home in tears, and both elder and younger Larkin claim that to this day, Shane has never picked up a bat since then.
Miami hoop coach Jim Larranaga probably likes that story.
3) Not sure this is good news, but when David DeJesus won Cubs’ bunting tournament at spring training last week, guy named Nate Halm finished second. Don’t pick Halm up for your fantasy team; he’s an assistant in the Cubs’ video department who once played college ball at Miami, OH.
Maybe the Cubs should just play for big innings this year.
2) Bizarre graphic of the year: Oakland scored the first hoop in its game against Fort Wayne Sunday night; a small graphic appears on the bottom of the screen: “Oakland is 9-3 when it scores first.”
Now, kudos to a dedicated soul who researched that tidbit, but its basketball people, who cares?!?!?! When does scoring first matter in basketball? Not since the shot clock came in. Yikes.
1) My advice to any college basketball teams who aren’t in the top 25; don’t assume you have an NCAA bid locked up. Win as many games as you can. Take nothing for granted. Play with a sense of urgency.
Some of the longest days of your life are the days between losing in the conference tournament and waiting to see if you got an at-large bid. No one is going to be listening to the teams who are wailing Sunday night when they’re a top seed in the NIT instead of one of the 68 happy teams in the country. Its very simple: keep winning, and you’ll wind up grinning.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.......
13) 15-20 Liberty won the Big South tournament and will likely head to Dayton for the First Four next Tuesday/Wednesday; Flames started season 0-8, are coached by former Colorado State coach Dale Layer.
12) Big East wants $2.5M from Notre Dame for the Irish to leave for the ACC a year early. Seeing as those other seven schools are leaving to form their own league next year, not sure why Notre Dame would have to pay.
11) Los Angeles Angels used a designated runner for Albert Pujols when they played the Reds/Royals this week. Not sure if they had a keg on second base or not, but designated runners are highly unusual, even in the spring.
10) When Graeme McDowell double-bogeyed 18th hole at Doral Sunday, it cost him $172,500. Thats an expensive hole.
9) Speaking of the 18th at Doral, Luke Donald played it four times this week, and doubled it all four times. If he pars the hole all four days, he only makes an additional $32,500, thats how far back he finished (T43).
8) Quick question: How much money does Butch Harmon make? Anyone who coaches Phil Mickelson and used to coach Eldrick Woods has to make a small fortune teaching golf, no?
7) Middle Tennessee did it again; despite going 19-1 in Sun Belt regular season, Blue Raiders lost in Sun Belt tourney, this time to Richard Pitino's FIU Panthers, 61-57. Middle is 2-5 in SBC tournament the last five years, 66-20 in the regular season. Not good.
Some notes on upcoming conference tournaments..........
6) Big X-- Kansas is 16-2 in this event last seven years; Texas, which has to win the tournament to make the NCAAs, is just 4-4 last four years and has never won the tourney, going 0-6 in the finals.
5) Conference USA-- Memphis has dominated this event, going 20-2 last eight years, with both losses by a point- its useless to mention anyone else.
4) Big Dozen-- Indiana is 1-6 in this event last six years; Michigan went W-L in each of its last six tourneys. Ohio State is 15-4 last seven years.
3) Big East-- Louisville is 9-2 last four years, Pitt 1-4. Syracuse hasn't won this event since Gerry McNamara carried them in '06. This is the last time we'll see Syracuse in this event, which doesn't seem right.
2) Atlantic 16-- Temple won this event three years in row, 2008-10, but won only one game last two years, despite being 27-5 in regular season. Owls need to win a game or two this week to make the NCAAs.
1) ACC-- Duke won 22 of last 26 ACC tournament games, with two of four losses in OT; Virginia is 1-5 last five years- they might need a win or two to get themselves in the field of 68.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.......
13) San Diego State-Boise State was a physical, chippy game; these same teams will play in the 4-5 game at the MWC tourney in Las Vegas Wednesday, the midnight game. Both teams deserve to be in the NCAAs, but that midnight game Wednesday might be the game of the day.
Mountain West added a day off in between the first round and semifinals on Friday, so they don't have any games on Thursday.
12) First round of the Sun Belt tournament is weird; everyone is in Hot Springs, AR, but games are played in two different gyms at same time. I'm watching the Troy State game and without a word, they switch to the end of the South Alabama game. I liked that they try to show us everything, but it did confuse me some, which these days isn't all that difficult.
11) Memphis beat UAB by 15, finished 16-0 in Conference USA; it does not matter what league you're in, finishing unbeaten is an accomplishment to be proud of- they had to beat Southern Miss, UTEP twice each.
10) Valparaiso 70, Green Bay 69-- Top-seeded Crusaders trailed 68-64 with 0:10 left, but stuck two treys in last 0:08, including one at the buzzer to send the home crowd home happy. Bitter loss for Green Bay.
9) Kentucky 61, Florida 57-- Gators didn't score for last 7:36, as Wildcats probably got the marquee win they need to make field of 68.
8) CBS showed Florida-Kentucky at noon, UCLA-Washington at 2:00, then Notre Dame-Louisville at 4:00; why make west coast teams play an 11:00 am local tipoff, instead of 1:00? Makes very little sense.
7) Georgetown 61, Syracuse 39-- Orangemen head to their last Big East tournament 1-4 in their last five games, 5-7 in their last twelve.
6) These upsets all happened in the 6-8 timeslot Saturday:
-- Fresno State 61, UNLV 52-- Bulldogs swept the Rebels this season.
-- Air Force 89, New Mexico 88-- Improved Falcons are 17-12.
-- Baylor 81, Kansas 58-- This score defies description.
5) UNLV's loss puts them in the noon local time game Thursday against Air Force, which will hurt the home attendance and get them a much tougher opponent- Princeton offense is a pain to defend, and Rebels didn't fare well against Air Force this year, splitting a pair, with the win in OT.
4) Halftime score: TCU 44, Oklahoma 22-- Sooners rallied, lost by 3; if you are a bubble team, you cannot lose to TCU in March. Hard to defend in a meeting room when your name comes up in front of the committee.
3) I'd be curious to know the politics involved with Italy coming to Arizona to play in the WBC, with the Cuban team going to Asia; did the Cubans not want to come to America, and risk having players defect?
2) Little tired of hearing NYC media types complaining about all the injuries the Knicks are having. This just in: older players get hurt more, and no one has an older roster than New York.
1) They don't move the clocks ahead in Arizona, so on Saturday night it is a two hour time difference between them and the east, but for the next six months, they're three hours behind. Have no idea why that is true, but it is.
Saturday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) There was a crowd of 44,256 at Chase Field for US-Mexico, with walk-up crowd of 8,500. From looking at WBC website, cheapest ticket appeared to be $18, so someone made a freakin' fortune on this game.
12) Adrian Gonzalez was doing a lot of fist-shaking as he played 1B for the Mexican team; hopefully he will play with as much enthusiasm for the Dodgers this year as he did in this game.
11) US team is stupidly batting Giancarlo Stanton 7th, apparently they want a lefty (Eric Hosmer) batting between David Wright/Stanton, two righty hitters. How about this? Bat your best hitters higher in the order, so they get more ABs. Simple, yet sensible.
10) Fox Sports 1, which hopes to challenge ESPN as a college network, will television a primetime Thursday Night college football game every week and a football tripleheader on Saturdays. Just what my thumb needs, more exercise working the remote.
9) Gunner Kiel hasn't played a college football game yet; he's already reneged on commitments to Indiana and LSU and now is transferring out of Notre Dame (which makes sense because he ain't beating Everett Golson out, and Golson has three years left to play).
Question is this: What program will take a chance on Kiel to be a leader of their team, when he can't play until 2014, two years after his last game (in high school) action? You have to be able to depend on your quarterback, but over the last two years, Kiel has been anything but dependable.
8) New Jersey Giants kept ticket prices the same for fourth year in row, primarily because they made those same fans pony up big money for PSLs so they could buy new tickets for their new stadium that wasn't needed.
PSLs are legalized form of extortion. Nice to know the Giants feel bad about extorting their loyal fans. Oh, they raised parking price from $25 to $30.
7) Brewers/Twins have most players playing in WBC (13); that includes minor leaguers.
6) San Jose's home basketball game Thursday was rained out; leaky roof. Now Spartans have to hire a new coach and a roofer.
5) Pretty good commercial for CBSSports.com fantasy baseball, with Bobby Valentine poking fun at himself for getting fired several times as a manager. Valentine is the new AD at Sacred Heart, so he gets to fire people now- the baseball coach at Sacred Heart is Nick Giacquinto, who has been there for 25 years and who also played four years in the NFL.
4) Portland 136, San Antonio 106-- Game was tied at half, then Blazers scored 79 points in second half. Don't see Spurs get beat like that too often.
3) Blackhawks lost 6-2 in Denver, their first regulation loss in 25 games this season- they've also lost three games in OT/SO.
2) Atlanta Falcons are getting a new stadium? What? They won't play in the Georgia Dome anymore, the place where the greatest football game ever played (Rams 23, Titans 16) took place? I am appalled.
1) Apparently people who will elect the next Pope aren't college basketball fans, since they're doing it next week, during conference tournaments. Good thing I'm not involved in this process, or else I'd have to text in my vote.
Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with the weekend here.......
13) Brian Cashman makes $3M a year as GM of Bronx Bombers; we’re going to see if he’s worth it, as Bombers have been hit with a rash of injuries to their aging squad, so much so that the Big Apple talk show circuit was abuzz with panic late Wednesday.
ARod is probably out for the year, Granderson-Teixeira are done for at least April, and Rivera-Jeter are still recovering from major injuries. Right now, this isn’t a good team, and the way they rip their fans off for tickets, having a bad season isn’t really an option.
Lets see if Cashman can find replacements at 1B/LF and keep things pasted together until Granderson/Teixeira get healthy; that’s what general managers have to do now and then, when they don’t have a huge stack of cash to hide behind. Right now, Dan Johnson looks to be the Bronx 1B.
12) One jackass in NYC media already declared the Minnesota Twins to be “bums….guaranteed to lose 100+ games this season” and suggested the Twins trade Justin Morneau to the Bronx. That’s the Bronx mentality; the other 29 teams should serve as a farm system to their beloved Bombers, but that’s not reality. If Robinson Cano jumps ship after this season, and this is his walk year, it could be a steep decline for the Pinstripers.
11) Do people in China go to the movies? If they do, wonder what they thought watching Moneyball, then finding out Art Howe was the new hitting coach of their national team?
He was woefully misrepresented in the movie, but still, going from winning 100+ games as a big league skipper to being hitting coach of the Chinese National team is quite a drop down the career ladder.
10) Speaking of hitting, why would anyone bat righthanded? Why? What advantage is there to it? I know batting lefty, there is a 2-3 step advantage because you start off closer to first base.
Notice that most of the Japanese players bat lefty.
9) Asian baseball fans get fired up watching games; lot of chanting, singing, thundersticks, just a lot of noise and vocal support. And that’s before their team scores any runs.
8) If I ran the San Diego Padres, and no one thinks I should, I’d go back to the white uniforms with brown and gold trim, but that’s just me. Always liked those uniforms.
7) San Diego State has a basketball player named DeShawn Stephens who got cut from HS team his senior year at Chatsworth High, then played two years at Santa Monica College before joining the Aztecs, where he is playing an average of 21.6 mpg. Good lesson for kids to never give up; how many kids get cut as a senior in HS and wind up playing for a top 20 team?
6) Duke can’t be too worried about Ryan Kelly’s foot anymore; he played 31 minutes in a 30-point blowout win over Virginia Tech, after playing 32 vs Miami Saturday. Blue Devils visit Chapel Hill Saturday night.
Don’t want to hear TV types whining about Duke’s injury woes; if Kelly plays 31 minutes in a 30-point blowout, he is fine.
5) Atlantic 16 (not sure how many teams they’ll have next year, but it seems to go down every year now) has moved its conference tournament from Atlantic City to Brooklyn. Is this a good move?
Its an NBA arena, but for out-of-town fans, is this a better destination to spend a weekend than Atlantic City? I’m asking, I really don’t know, though off the bat, my first answer would be no.
4) I’m watching the crawl of spring training scores on ESPN and I see HR- Crawford (1) so I’m pumped up, figuring Carl Crawford finally batted in a game and hit a homer. Not so fast; turns out it was Brandon Crawford of the Giants. Carl Crawford, the $140M man, has yet to play this spring; he just started hitting off a tee this week. Take your time, big fella.
3) One of the best bosses I’ve ever had posted this on the corner of the whiteboard in his office: “If its not fatal, its no big deal.” More people should follow this advice, including myself.
2) There are rumors that DirecTV will drop the NFL Sunday Ticket after the 2014 season; if that’s true, then I’ll be dropping DirecTV too.
1) I get a text from my cousin during the day this week; it says, “In shock …. Bill Moody died.” Now I have no idea who Bill Moody is, but I assumed it was a friend of his who passed away, so I texted him my condolences.
Turns out that Bill Moody was the real name of the guy who played Paul Bearer, the Undertaker’s manager on the WWE telecasts. Alrighty then.
RIP, Bill Moody. Wonder who his pallbearers were.
Thursday's List of 13: Random Lists of Three............
13) Three best QB’s in 2:00 drill; in other words, my team is down three points, 2:00 to go, we've got the ball on our 20. These are the three QB’s I would I want on my side: John Elway-Kurt Warner-Tom Brady.
People who know me will howl because I’m a Ram fan, but in all three Super Bowls Warner played in, he led his team to the tying/go-ahead TD in the last 3:00. He has the three highest passing yardage games in Super Bowl history, out of 46 games. I rest my case.
12) If I could go back to age 17 and make my college choice all over again, I’d be a smart human and narrow it down to these three schools: Arizona State-Pepperdine-Cal-Santa Barbara. I mean really, only a damn fool puts Oneonta State down as a potential college destination.
As it was, I stayed home and went to UAlbany which worked out OK, just that with a little effort, I could’ve given myself a major weather upgrade.
11) My three favorite places to eat: Battista’s on Flamingo in Las Vegas (across from Bally’s), Delmonico’s here in beautiful downtown Colonie and any Steak ‘n Shake (one in Kissimmee, FL is good, as is the one in South Point Hotel in Las Vegas).
10) If I could invite any three people to dinner, so I could pick their brains, I’d choose Bob Uecker, Bill James and Billy Beane.
9) Three best helmets in the NFL: Rams-Chargers-Saints. Whoever decided San Diego should go back to the white helmets deserves a raise.
8) Three best events I’ve been lucky enough to see in person: 2000 NFC title game, Rams-Bucs in St Louis; 2008 World Series Game 3, Rays-Phillies; Alabama at Tennessee in Knoxville, in 2004. SEC football is an event unique in its intensity.
7) Vacation bucket list, and I intend to do all three of these after I retire from the day job: A’s spring training in Arizona; an LSU home night football game; a day at the 16th hole at the Phoenix Open golf tournament.
6) My three all-time favorite movie scenes:
Nick Nolte/Bob Cousy talking while Cousy shoots free throws in a dimly hit gym in Blue Chips. Some of the dialogue was ad-libbed and it was done in one take.
In the movie Dave, at the end, when Secret Service guy Ving Rhames tells Kevin Kline, who was an actor standing in for the President, that he would’ve taken a bullet for him. Dave is an underrated movie.
Al Pacino’s “Game of Inches” speech in Any Given Sunday. Actually, the scene with Pacino and Robert Deniro talking in a diner in Heat is also a very good scene, two heavyweights working together.
5) Three underrated sports rivalries....
-- Falcons-Saints-- They came into the NFL a year apart, and have best rivals in same division most of that time.
Richmond-VCU-- Teams are in same city, same league again, and they play contrasting styles.
-- Seton Hall-Rutgers-- Teams recruited against each other as they both tried to become relevant in Big East; now Rutgers is moving on to the Big Dozen, and they'll still recruit against each other. You can't win games on the floor until you win a few recruiting battles.
4) Three people I’d like to see get inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame: Charles Oscar Finley, former owner/GM of the A’s, Bill James, who is responsible for the increased use of numbers/analytics and Dr Frank Jobe, who pioneered Tommy John surgery in 1974.
Who has done more for baseball than that guy? (You could have a medical wing to the HOF with Dr James Andrews in it, too).
3) Three best college mascots: Chanticleers (Coastal Carolina), Anteaters (Cal-Irvine) and Horned Frogs (TCU).
2) Three best baseball caps: Oakland A’s (same hat since 1972), the black Arizona Diamondbacks batting practice cap and the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates hat, with gold crown and black brim.
1) My three favorite announcers to listen to on TV: Mike Tirico/Brent Musberger on play-by-play, Jeff Van Gundy as an analyst.
Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) In case anyone asks you, Winthrop 60, Radford 58 was the first final score of March Madness, in the first round of the Big South tournament.
12) Last year the CAA had four teams ranked in the top 90 in the country; this year, #140 George Mason is the CAA’s top-ranked team, and they finished T5 in the CAA regular season standings (17-13, 10-8).
11) Its only an exhibition game (repeat: its only an exhibition game) but the Dominican Republic had 28 hits and crushed the Phillies 15-2 Tuesday.
10) In 47 years of rooting for the Rams, Pat Haden was my least favorite player, a guy who divided his loyalty between his football career and going to law school at a time when the Rams were legit Super Bowl contenders every year (in the mid-to-late 70’s).
Now Haden is AD at his alma mater, USC, and word is out that he recently interviewed UTEP basketball coach Tim Floyd for the vacant Trojans’ hoop job, but there is one small problem- Floyd would be replacing Kevin O’Neill, who was hired to replace Floyd himself four years ago, after the NCAA came down on the Trojans for recruiting violations (Floyd was never directly implicated, which got him off the hook).
Maybe Haden should call Vince Ferragamo for advice on who to hire.
9) When Texas Longhorns have their pro day on campus for NFL prospects, an older alumnus will also be working out for NFL teams. Vince Young, one of the best Longhorns ever, is an NFL free agent and is looking to impress an NFL team.
He took classes in Austin this winter and is looking to impress someone. If JaMarcus Russell can get looks from NFL teams, Young should too.
8) Paul Konerko went 3-3 against Team USA Tuesday; now he's one of the candidates to replace Mark Teixeira in the team, after Teixeira sprained his wrist and is out of the WBC.
7) Think about the Bronx infield right now: ARod-Jeter-Teixeira, all hurt. Cano is playing in WBC. Tickets for Bronx spring training games run from $17-33. Who exactly are you paying to see? Francisco Cervelli?
6) Pitch counts in the WBC are as follows:
first round: 65 pitches. second round, 80 pitches, third round, 95 pitches.
If you hit the pitch limit during an at-bat, the pitcher is allowed to finish that at-bat.
5) On Jan 23, Southern Mississippi beat Marshall 103-46 in Hattiesburg; it was 53-17 at the half; Tuesday, the Golden Eagles lost 88-84 at Marshall, which basically kills their at-large hopes. Brutal loss.
4) Excellent ballgame in Las Vegas last night, as Boise State went into the Thomas & Mack and had a 10-point second half lead, but UNLV rallied and beat the Broncos, 68-64. UNLV's last three home wins are by a total of only eight points. MWC tourney is in Vegas next week.
3) Before you rag on Gonzaga's schedule, know that they're 5-0 against Big X teams this season. 5-0, against West Virginia, Baylor, K-State and both Oklahoma teams. Went unbeaten in their league. They're legit.
2) High school game with kid from New Rochelle hitting 60-footer at the buzzer to win the sectional final against perennial power Mount Vernon was great TV, it even made the NBC Nightly News, but I feel horrible for the kid from Mount Vernon who threw the last pass away, after stealing the original inbounds pass.
Kid holds onto the ball, his team wins, but now he’s an Internet sensation for the wrong reason. Mount Vernon has a proud basketball tradition, I just feel bad for the kid. New Rochelle doesn't make a 60-footer, no one notices.
1) Over last four years, Middle Tennessee is 56-14 in Sun Belt Conference games; they’re 33-3 the last two years, but they haven’t won the Sun Belt tournament during that time, which means that there will be just immense pressure on the Blue Raiders this weekend in Hot Springs, AR.
It’s the tough part of being a big fish in a small pond; you still have to win that conference tournament to make the Field of 68. Middle Tennessee will be a team to watch for the next week. If they get to the NCAAs, they can beat someone. Its a lot easier to be the underdog.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but......
13) Refs for Sunday’s NC State-Georgia Tech game: Brian O’Connell (working 5th day in row), John Cahill (6th game/7 days) and Doug Sirmons (4th game/5 days).
This is not to criticize them, because they’re all good refs and with 347 D-I teams, refs get spread very thin, but no way do NBA refs work this much, and this late in the year, it has to be tough for a guy in his 50’s to do that much running. (O'Connell worked again in Louisville Monday night).
At $1,500 or so for a TV game, it makes it easier, but still…….
12) Sirmons has worked 70 games this year (this data is on statsheet.com, by the way), so if he made an average of $1,000 a game, that’s $70,000 since Veterans' Day, or basically four months’ work. He probably averages more than $1,000 a game. Its not easy, lot of travel and constant limelight, but its very good money, especially for a second job.
11) Three non-athletes who should be in Baseball Hall of Fame: Bill James, who headed the revolution on how baseball views analytics, and two doctors, Frank Jobe and James Andrews, who have kept pitchers' arms in the game for a long time now. Those three people have added a lot to the actual game and how it is played.
10) 20 years ago when I used to go out to watch NFL games on the satellite, remember saying it was worth it, just to watch Barry Sanders run with the ball, and I’m not a Lions’ fan. I feel the same way when reading an article written by Bob Ryan in Boston; he is very sensible and he presents a strong opinion based on sound logic. Just a great writer.
9) This is how a lot of coaches feel about dealing with the media: John Calipari skipped this week’s SEC teleconference because he had to go to the dentist. At least at the dentist they give you novocaine, and hopefully don’t ask you about Arkansas.
8) Gonzaga is #1 in AP poll for the first time; some writer posted on Twitter that New Mexico, and not the Zags should be a #1 seed in the NCAAs. Given the chance, if New Mexico played Gonzaga on a neutral court and the game was pick ‘em, that writer would bet on the Lobos? If that’s true, I’d like the guy’s phone number, so I could make a few bucks.
7) Monday was 20th anniversary of the Jimmy V “Don’t Give Up” speech, one of the most memorable speeches ever televised. It does not like seem like 20 years, but ESPN and especially Dick Vitale have done great work since then raising money to fight cancer. Hopefully someday soon, a brilliant researcher will find a cure for cancer. We can only hope.
6) In a not-so-shocking development, the NRA is sponsoring a NASCAR race at the Texas Motor Speedway April 13. We had a NRA rally out in front of the building I work in last Thursday; 7,000 people in a misty, cold rain, a lot of them wearing camo, many holding signs promoting the second amendment. Looked like a lot of NASCAR fans to me.
5) In August, FOX is changing Speed Channel into Fox Sports 1, which it hopes will be a challenger to ESPN as a national sports network. They are expecting to sign the new Big East to anchor their basketball coverage.
4) Chicago Blackhawks are 19-0-3, an amazing start; they've trailed four games in third period, tying one game with 0:03 left. They're 7-3 in OT/SO, 12-0 in regulation time.
3) Florida is only SEC team in AP top 25; Missouri is only other SEC team getting votes. SEC tournament in Nashville is going to be excellent.
2) Good news, bad news: My tab at Dunkin’ Donuts was 55 cents lower than usual Monday morning; when I asked why, the woman looked at me and said, “The senior citizen discount, sir”.
Um, I’m not 55 yet, and won’t be for a while. Whatever…..lol If you work 225 days a year and save 55 cents every day, over the course of a year that’s $123.75. I’m saving money because I look older than I am. So be it.
1) At noon on Tuesday, Winthrop faces Radford in the first round of the Big South tournament, as March Madness officially gets underway. Should be a fun month. Charleston Southern/High Point are top top seeds there.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.....
13) UCLA coach Ben Howland put an end to the Shabazz Muhammad era in Westwood this weekend, saying the kid was going to the NBA next year. Muhammad has played well, UCLA is 23-8, for Howland to quickly send a star player on his way tells us one of two things.......
a) The kid is a pain in the butt, but considering UCLA had Reeves Nelson a couple years ago, this option is less likely than........
b) Had Muhammad returned, the NCAA would've come calling, and when the NCAA comes calling, often times the coach loses his job.
Either way, Howland has to recruit like a junior college coach; tremendous amount of turnover in his program.
12) Sunday night at 11pm, replay of a White Sox-Padre spring training game, with the great Dick Enberg on the mike. Thats quality entertainment.
11) Erik Compton is one of my heroes; guy has had two heart transplants, and he still plays on the PGA Tour. Compton finished T5 at Honda Classic this weekend in Florida, his first top 10 finish. Will somebody please make a movie about this guy?
10) Sportsbook.com posted 43.5 as the over/under for any major leaguer hitting home runs this season, the lowest such total since 1996. The bet is whether or not you think any hitter will hit 44 HRs this season. Anyone.
9) MAAC basketball tournament is next weekend in Springfield, MA, but there are no MAAC teams in Massachusetts, only one in Connecticut. What genius came up with this idea?
Geographic breakdown of the MAAC:
two teams in eastern NY (Marist/Siena)
-- two teams in Buffalo area (Niagara/Canisius)
-- two teams in New Jersey (Rider/St Peter's)
-- two teams in Westchester/Bronx (Iona/Manhattan)
-- Fairfield is in Connecticut, Loyola is in Maryland.
I am sure Springfield is a terrific place, but who is going to go to watch the MAAC tournament, when there are no local teams in it?
8) Further examination of Joe Flacco's contract show a $29M payment in 2016, which means the contract will get re-done after 2015, making it, in effect, a 3-year deal. Still a very lucrative deal.
7) There are bitter defeats, then there is Baylor's loss at home to Kansas State Saturday night. Game was tied with 0:01 left, Baylor had the ball out of bounds, 95 feet from the basket. Worst they can do is overtime, right?
Baylor throws a baseball pass length of court, but it goes out of bounds with no one touching it, so K-State gets it under their offensive basket- they set up a play, McGruder drains a 3 at the buzzer, and Baylor might be headed to the NIT as a result. Horrendous way to lose a game.
6) Since 1985, only two teams won the NCAA tournament without having had at least one winning streak of 6+ games during the season: Arizona in 1997, Michigan State in 2000. We'll monitor that later this month.
5) Virginia beats Duke, then loses at Boston College. Of course they did.
4) Providence won six of last seven games, after starting Big East play 2-7; credit to Ed Cooley, who seems to have things going in the right direction with his Friars. Have to win recruiting battles before you can win games, and Cooley is an excellent recruiter.
3) Was watching the European Tour on Golf Channel Sunday morning, and the 4th hole was a 685-yard par 5. 685 yards!!!! Hole wasn't too tough- the scoring average on it was something like 4.48.
2) Tampa Bay Buccaneers have 24 assistant coaches; three other teams have 23. NFL teams only have 53 active players each week. Seems like overkill, but in fairness, three of the 24 Buc assistants are strength coaches. Still, thats a lot of assistants. What do they do all winter?
1) Pretty good pair of games at Staples Center Sunday, with Thunder edging the Clippers and Lakers beating Atlanta by a point. Impossible to know, but wonder how many people were at both games?
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday........
13) Ryan Kelly was stellar with 36 points as Duke held off Miami 79-76, but if Kelly is just coming back from a foot injury, how smart was it to play him 32 stressful minutes in what was basically a meaninglesss game?
I'll chart his minutes played the rest of the way and keep you posted.
12) As much as Dick Vitale gushes over Duke, my lasting impression of this interesting, high-level game was this:
Sometimes the better team doesn't win. Miami is better than Duke.
11) VCU 84, Butler 52-- Bulldogs' first conference loss by 30+ points since 1986, against Oral Roberts. Lot of water under the bridge since then.
10) Angels renewed Mike Trout's contract at $510,000 for this season, $20,000 over the major league minimum, which annoyed agent Craig Landis, as it should have. Don't the Angels want to keep Trout long-term, or does it not matter in the long run? Trout will clean up later on no matter what.
As for Landis, will be interesting to see if Trout fires him. Scott Boras goes to most of the Angel home games, sits right behind the plate.
9) Creighton coach Greg McDermott said he has no voice in whether his Bluejays bolt the Missouri Valley Conference for the Big East; its going to be a basketball-driven league and you don't ask the coach, whose star player is also his son? Just seems odd.
In an unrelated rant, does the Big East need a team in Nebraska?
8) Oklahoma 86, Iowa State 69-- Sooners went 34-34 from foul line, tying all-time record for most FTs without a miss, a mark also held by Cal-Irvine ('81) and Samford ('90).
7) Virginia Cavaliers are doing well at 20-8, 10-5 in ACC, but they're 0-3 vs CAA teams, including a loss to a dreadful Old Dominion squad that fired its coach already. Trap game for Cavaliers against Boston College Sunday.
6) They have pitch counts in the World Baseball Classic, just like Little League; if you throw 50+ pitches, think you have to sit the next three days, but you do get a free freeze pop at the concession stand.
5) Not only do the Miami Marlins have a rookie manager, they've got 73 players in camp; seeing as only 25 make a big league roster, they've got their major league team, AAA team and AA team in major league camp. Sometimes you wonder if they know what they're doing.
A local kid named Mahoney from over the river in Troy homered twice for the Marlins Saturday; he's a first baseman who is a .274 career hitter in his 619 minor league games-- he had four ABs with Baltimore LY.
4) Watching Arizona-UCLA Saturday night, and one thing was very clear; Wildcats' coach Sean Miller has very little faith in his guards. He called one timeout when his point guard had ball in transition going full-tilt towards the basket. Arizona is 3-4 in its last seven games after a 20-2 start.
3) Three years ago, Erick Green scored 2.6 ppg in 12.6 mpg as a freshman at Virginia Tech; this year, Green is leading the country in scoring at 24.9 ppg. The lesson: Work on your game, improve your skills, and it'll pay off.
I'm convinced kids play too many games in the summer and do not work as much as they should on improving their skills. I sound old, I know.....
2) Saturday was the 51st anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain scoring 100 points in an NBA game, which for some reason, was played in Hershey, PA. How much money would the Big Dipper be getting paid in today's game?
1) Gonzaga has a certain amount of pressure on them this month; over last 11 years, Zags are just 2-6 in NCAA second round games, with one of those wins against a #12 seed that had posted a big first round upset. If you like to invest in basketball, know that Gonzaga covered only twice in its last nine games as an NCAA tournament favorite.
Sometimes its easier to be the hunter rather than the hunted; Gonzaga will be the hunted later this month, thats for sure.
Saturday's List of 13: College conferences by the numbers.......
For purposes of this article, know that there are 32 Division I basketball conferences, with 31 automatic bids given out (Great West is mishmash of teams that are really independents, but they play each other twice to make scheduling easier).
13) We’ve talked a lot this basketball season about how many close games there seem to be; SEC has had 30 of its 105 games decided by 3 or less points or in OT, the Pac-12 24 of 93. That’s 27.3% of games in those two popular leagues.
Before you suggest that a league with its own TV network will consort with officials to have close games, we point out the Big Dozen is last in close games, with only 13 of 91 this season.
12) Home teams are 43-17 SU in Mountain West, tops in country; Wyoming is one of worst teams in that league, and they were 13-0 when conference play started.
11) Home teams are under .500 SU in both WAC, WCC, which points out top-heavy leagues where the bottom dwellers aren’t keeping up with the contenders. Now that St Mary’s is on probation, maybe the WCC will begin to even out a little more. WCC (16 of 68), Big X (17 of 75) and Big Dozen (22 of 91) all have had lot of games decided by 20+ points.
10) Only four of 93 Pac-12 games have been decided by 20+ points, while 24 were decided by 4 or less points or in OT. Wow.
9) You look at leagues with low turnover percentages (Patriot-Summit-MWC-Big Dozen, you’re looking at slow tempo leagues that mostly just pack defenses in and make offense hit jump shots to win.
Oddly, Summit is 24th in tempo, 31st in turnovers, but 1st in 2-point and 3-point shooting. Maybe more of those teams should attack on defense.
8) High turnover percentages indicates the ball being pressured: MEAC-Mid-American, Sun Belt, OVC have highest percentage of steals.
7) Which leagues embrace 3-pointers the most? America East takes the highest percentage, but makes 3rd-lowest percentage; not good. Atlantic Sun takes 2nd-highest percentage, makes 35.1%, so that’s good, while Big West takes 3rd-most and makes 2nd-highest percentage, which is they way its supposed to be.
Southland, Pac-12, ACC take lowest percentage of 3-point shots, though ACC teams make 35.4% of 3’s, 9th-best in country.
6) Other hot-shooting leagues are Ivy (3rd on 3’s, 9th on 2’s, 4th on foul line), Big West (2nd on 3’s, 4th on 2’s) and OVC (4th from arc, 2nd on 2’s, 5th from foul line).
5) SEC leads America in offensive efficiency (or defensive inefficiency), followed by MEAC, Colonial and ACC. Least efficient leagues on offense: Big Dozen, Summit (despite being best shooting league- they turn it over a lot), Patriot and Southland Leagues.
4) Which leagues play fastest tempo games? NEC, Southland, SWAC and Sun Belt, all leagues off the beaten path and mostly off TV; that’s too bad.
Slowest games are two academic leagues (Ivy/Patriot), then two of the big money leagues (Big Dozen/Big East). Coaches in the fatcat leagues make so much money, almost no one has the onions (or enough good players) to go all Paul Westhead and try to push tempo (Seton Hall is trying, but they’re losing and unless they have a big recruiting year, Kevin Willard will be on the hotseat next year). Its safer to try and grind games out.
3) Best free-throw shooting leagues? Horizon-Missouri Valley-Big Sky-Ivy. Worst shooting leagues? MEAC-SWAC (whenever you discuss the two worst leagues that get automatic bids, always start with those two), along with MAAC and America East.
2) Here’s a look at how new Big East will look: Butler-Creighton-DePaul-Georgetown-Marquette-Providence-St John’s-Seton Hall-Villanova-Xavier; of those ten, only Butler isn’t religiously-affiliated.
1) Here’s a look at the other new league, which could be called the Metro Conference- Leftover Conference might be better, since its membership is still in flux a little:
Cincinnati-UCF-UConn-Houston-Memphis-Rice-South Florida-SMU-Temple-Tulane, with possibly East Carolina also joining.
This really could be a pretty good hoop league.
Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for in March........
March is one of the best months of the year; tons of college basketball, spring training, the weather around here usually gets better, lot of good stuff going on. We’re approaching this March with as sense of optimism….here are some things I’m looking for this month.
13) Just the sound of ball meeting bat means winter is almost over; so what if #98 is pitching to #87, in a matchup of two prospects destined to spend the summer in the California Penal League? Its baseball, and its always good when spring training starts up.
12) College basketball is our favorite sport, which makes March one of our favorite months; Championship Week is almost as much fun as the NCAA tournament itself, since for some teams, just getting in is the main thing. Love to see teams celebrate when they win their conference tournaments.
11) Teams that will be very, very nervous until they win their conference tournament: Northeastern-Louisiana Tech-Belmont-Long Beach.
These teams won their regular season in their leagues, but won’t be going to the NCAAs unless they win the league tournament, too. Tech is unbeaten in the WAC; would be a shame if they got upset out west.
10) VCU’s old league, the CAA, will only have seven teams in its conference tournament, as four of its 11 schools are ineligible for the tourney this year. Northeastern gets the #1 seed and a bye, so they’ll have to win two pressure-packed games to make the NCAAs.
9) With the NCAA field expanded to 68 teams, no one who is excluded has that much of a gripe, but whomever #69/#70 are will whimper for a while, then limp off to the NIT. Question is, can any of the First Four teams make a run through the brackets, the way VCU did two years ago? VCU’s run was a God-send for the NCAA, silencing any complaints about those first four games in Dayton. Can it happen again?
8) No #1 seed has ever lost to a #16 seed; is this the year? Who will those four #1 seeds be? This season, #1 teams have been getting bounced left and right, so it figures that this could be a year where a #16 seed pulls a shocker, but the talent different between those teams is so big, a lot of things will have to fall into place for the big upset to happen.
7) This time of year, I don’t want to see the name of any the guys on my fantasy baseball team in the news; its almost always bad news. No injuries this year, please? I'm looking at you, Carl Crawford.
6) They’re selling hats from World Baseball Classic teams for $35 a pop; not good. Do people watch the WBC? I’m not sure if I’ll watch it or not, I guess I will if its on when basketball isn’t. Just hope Jose Reyes doesn’t pop a hammy running out a grounder.
5) Speaking of which, Dodgers can’t be real happy that Hanley Ramirez is playing 3B at the WBC so Reyes can play short; LA needs Ramirez to gets used to playing a solid shortstop. Tom Gordon killed them with sloppy defense at short LY.
4) Pac-12 tourney is in Las Vegas for first time, at MGM Arena; with Bill Walton calling games on ESPN, this could replace Big East as the premiere conference tournament on TV.
Walton is capable of saying anything at any time; he really is fun to listen to, especially if it’s a good game- conference tournaments produce good games.
3) First major league baseball game that counts is March 31, Astros-Rangers, Houston’s first game as an AL team.
Opening Day is the next day. Interleague play will be every day now, with 15 teams in each league for the first time.
2) For every winner there is a loser, and in big-time college sports, losers get fired. The coaching carousel will start spinning faster in March; right now USC is the #1 job that could be open, but Old Dominion has a strong history too and that job is already open. By the time the Final Four rolls around, a lot more jobs will be open.
1) Common wisdom I’ve heard on TV is that around 20 teams have a legit chance to make the Final Four; that’s a lot. People’s brackets are going to have some diversity to them this year. Enjoy your March and good luck with your brackets!!!
Thursday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.........
13) Duke plays good teams outside of the ACC but seldom in that team’s gym; they did not play one true road game before ACC play started this season. Blue Devils are 4-3 on the ACC road, 4-0 vs teams ranked outside top 100, 0-3 vs teams ranked in top 60, which makes their visit to #17 Virginia tonight a very interesting game.
12) Enjoyed the article on SI.com this week about how a kid at San Diego State started the fad of making very large cutout heads of people to be used in student sections at basketball games, to distract opposing shooters. First one they did was one of Michael Jackson.
11) Its not supposed to be announced until March 12, but apparently the 49ers have dealt QB Alex Smith to the Chiefs, not sure for which draft picks. Curious to see what pick they'll get for Smith, since they obviously had to get rid of him, so they didn't have much leverage.
10) Covers.com reported that over last three years, Detroit Tigers had a 58-34 record in spring training games; Angels are 76-48 over last four years. I wouldn’t advise it, but there is wagering on spring training games in Las Vegas. There's also betting on NBA summer league games. Yikes.
9) When it snowed in Arizona last week, A’s let the Diamondbacks share their spring training facility for a day; in exchange, Arizona agreed to let the A’s use a DH in one of their spring training meetings next month. Normally, DHs aren’t used in interleague games in NL parks.
8) Took Bracket Buster format to get Idaho to play Idaho State in basketball this season; why would these teams not play every year? You’d think they’d play, just to save money on travel.
7) I almost never watch TV shows during primetime, I watch ballgames, but NBC finished 5th in January sweeps ratings period, behind a Spanish-speaking network named Univision; I had never heard of Univision before.
6) Did I see it right on TV, that a high school coach in Florida has his 4th-grader son on the varsity basketball team, and the kid isn’t bad? He’d be like 10 years old, right? How is that allowed?
5) No sport loses as much in translation from in person to TV as hockey; if you like sports, go see a pro hockey game in person. I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy it.
4) I’m not sure if ESPN had the crowd mikes turned way up for the Indiana-Minnesota game Tuesday, but it was loud on TV for that game; when they switched to Florida-Tennessee, a game with similar circumstances attended by 19,000+ in Knoxville, it sounded like a damn library, and Tennessee came in playing better than Minnesota had been playing. Was amazing how quiet that crowd seemed to be.
3) Surprised that Steve Novak has Knicks’ 3rd-best plus-minus rating, then I realized something; his and Iman Shumpert’s numbers are skewed, because when Mike Woodson platoons offense/defense, Novak plays offense, Shumpert defense, so Knicks can only score when Novak is on the court, can pretty much only be scored upon with Shumpert out there.
2) When I was doing basketball stats, if our team was subbing offense/ defense, I wouldn’t count sequences like that in the plus/minus for players involved; it was unfair to the two players subbing in and out, but I think the NBA does count them, which skews the figures.
1) What would happen if President Obama let it be known that he wanted to be Commissioner of the NBA after he left the Oval Office? Would Adam Silver have to give the job up?
Wednesday's List of 13: Going thru some NBA numbers...........
We spend a lot of time with college basketball numbers; here are some numbers that explain how NBA teams stack up:
13) FG% defense is a telling stat at any level of basketball; top three NBA teams are Pacers (41.3%), Thunder (43%), Bulls (43.3%). That’s how Chicago has stayed relevant without Derrick Rose—playing great defense.
Worst teams in that important category? Cavaliers (47.7%), Kings (47%), Suns (46.9%).
12) Who defends against 3-pointers the best? Pacers (31.4%), Spurs (32.5%), Bulls (33.6%), again all good teams. Teams that defend 3-balls the worst? Suns (39.1%), Hawks (38.3%), Cavaliers (38.1%).
11) Point differential; Thunder have an average 9.1-point differential, followed by the Spurs (8.5), Miami (7.1).
Worst teams in this category? Charlotte (-9.0), Sacramento (-7.2), Orlando (-6.0), Phoenix (-5.6).
10) Irrelevant stat, but I was curious: Clippers (76), Thunder (70) have by far the most technical fouls, with the Knickerbockers (55), Bulls (53) lagging well behind in 3rd/4th place.
9) Knicks (+3.1) lead NBA in turnover differential, followed by Miami (2.1), Milwaukee (1.8), Clippers (1.7).
Worst teams in this category? Orlando (-2.5), Lakers (-2.0), Warriors (-1.8).
8) What teams force most turnovers? Clippers (16.7), Bucks (16.2), Memphis (16.0), Celtics/Cavs (15.7).
7) Pacers allow 89.4 ppg, least in NBA, followed by Memphis (89.6), Bulls (91.3), Clippers (94.1).
6) Who scores most points? Thunder (106.6 ppg), followed by Houston (106.3), Denver (105.4) and the Spurs (104.3).
5) Miami makes 49.5% of its shots, best in league; Spurs (48.6%) are next, followed by Thunder (48.3%) and Denver (47.4%). Again, all of this is pretty basic. Make shots yourself, prevent the other guys from doing it, and you’ll win. All you need are really good players and a sound approach.
4) Which teams are best from the foul line? Thunder makes 83.3% from the stripe, Warriors make 79.8%, Dallas 79.7%, Spurs 79.0%.
Worst teams? Lakers (thanks, Dwight) 69.0%, Denver, 69.2%, Detroit 69.6%, Atlanta 70.4%.
3) What teams take the most 3-pointers each game? Knicks average 29.0 tries per game, followed by Houston (28.7), Lakers (24.0), Atlanta (23.8).
Which teams try the fewest? Memphis (13.6/game), Chicago (13.9), Charlotte (16.6) and Utah (16.7).
2) Which teams make the highest percentage of their 3’s? Thunder (39.2%) lead league, followed by Golden State (39.0%), Miami (39%) and the Hawks (38.4%). Minnesota trails NBA, making only 30% behind the arc.
1) Oklahoma City is +484 points with Kevin Durant on floor this season, which leads league; they’re +436 with Russell Westbrook (3rd).
Tuesday's List of 13: Random stuff on a winter day.........
13) Reason #4,153 why I’m glad I quit playing golf; Peter Jacobsen/Roger Maltbie had a 5-minute conversation on TV Sunday about how they putted differently according to how the wind was blowing.
All the times I played golf, and I was never good, but never once did I think about the wind while putting.
12) Delaware Blue Hens won four of last five games, all of which were decided by 1 or 2 points. I’m convinced there are a lot more close games than normal this season. Friend of mine thinks refs give calls to the teams that are behind, keeping games closer than maybe they should be. Interesting theory.
11) Pitt Panthers’ first ACC football game is Labor Day night, when they host Florida State. Going to take a while to get used to Pitt being in the ACC, along with Syracuse/Louisville.
10) Was surprised that out of 27 people in our golf pool, no one picked Lee Westwood or Sergio Garcia, and only one person had Matt Kuchar, who won the tournament. We weren't a very crafty group this week.
9) When Bulls’ coach Tom Thibodeau says that Derrick Rose “wasn’t left out of any drills” last week, I’m assuming he’s telling us that Rose will be playing in games soon.
8) With a couple of NBA games and the Oscars on TV Sunday night, ESPNU went obscure, showing LIU-Wagner at 8:00. The NEC has entertaining, wild, mindless games. I wish they were in the wagering rotation.
7) Nothing is more useless than a QB’s time in the 40-yard dash. About 15 years ago, fella named Brady ran 5.2 in the 40, which is dreadfully slow; he turned out OK. How often does a QB run 40 yards straight ahead?
6) Mets used their Opening Day lineup for the TV game Saturday (except for injured 2B Daniel Murphy); they need people to buy tickets to watch their potentially-sorry team play. Not a lot of teams wheel out the Opening Day lineup for their first spring training game.
5) Sure sign we’re not close to starting baseball season yet; one major league team was scheduled to use seven pitchers Monday, only one of whom had a number lower than 81.
4) Bronx TV announcer Michael Kay is a smug, condescending human; he actually said this Sunday, as if this has never been true before (and maybe it hasn’t been): “All five teams in AL East have a chance to make the playoffs this season!!!” Imagine an NFL announcer ever saying that?
3) You can’t buy a 20-ounce soda in New York City anymore? Where do you draw the line between looking out for peoples’ well-being and the state being way too controlling in people’s lives? OK, I’ll just buy two 16-ounce sodas instead. How does that help anything?
2) Golfers that lost in first round of the World Match Play championship got $46,000; now think about this, Phil Mickelson opted not to play, because his son was on vacation from school last week.
He couldn’t bring the kid with him to Arizona? Give the kid a $46,000 gift? Seems like there may be an underlying reason other than his son as to why Lefty bowed out last week. Politics is a funny thing.
1) Why isn’t there an NBA Hall of Fame? Wouldn’t that make sense? There technically isn’t an NFL Hall of Fame either, but the one in Canton really is just for the NFL. Basketball’s Hall is so random; how is Jerry Buss in the Hall of Fame and not Jerry Tarkanian or Eddie Sutton?
With all due respect, Buss was a freakin’ chemist; all he did was write (and cash) very large checks. He had nothing to do with contributing to basketball, other than bankrolling a very successful franchise.
Monday's List of 13: Things I'd change, if I could........
13) Designated hitter should be used for All-Star games, all exhibition games, but never in the regular season. Its a gimmick; if a guy can't play any position in the field, then he should just pinch-hit or retire.
12) Lower the drinking age to 18; you're old enough to go to war, you're old enough to have a freakin' beer.
11) No conceding putts in these match play golf tournaments; you're a pro, make a 2-foot putt. Someone has to explain to me why this happens.
10) We talked about this earlier this month: college basketball teams should get one timeout, per team, per half. Make the game flow better. Multiple timeouts at the end of games allow coaches to strangle the game.
9) NBA teams should be able to play any defense they want. Nothing in the sports world bothers me as much as defensive three seconds. NBA is all about protecting the star players, and that cheapens the product.
8) I'd legalize gambling on sports. Its going to happen; too much money involved for it not to happen.
7) I'd find a way to lower the price of gas in this country; people that own the oil/gas companies are corrupt, thieving bastards, and so are the politicians that allow it to happen.
6) Some enterprising human who wants to make a lot of money would bring In 'n Out Burger to upstate New York. Best milkshake I've ever had, and I take milkshakes very seriously.
5) College football's playoff system would be eight teams, three weeks, and it would generate a fortune. Thats why all this conference realignment is happening; everyone wants a piece of the pie.
4) When ESPN first started 30+ years ago, the first conference that let them air games was the Sun Belt Conference. Now? No Sun Belt games. How about giving them a weekly 9:00 timeslot some weeknight? Gratitude is a good thing, ya know?
3) I'd lower the price of concessions at movie theaters; these people are right behind the gas companies as thieves. How much can popcorn cost?
2) This is a little selfish, but A's would be allowed to move to San Jose; the baseball Giants got their new stadium, why can't the A's get one?
1) Kids should be able to go straight from high school to NBA, if they're good enough. Baseball players can do it; why not basketball? Think it would help college basketball; one-and-done kids are a joke- they're not students.
If you had to guess, what are the odds Shabazz Muhammad knows where the library is at UCLA? He's off to the NBA as soon as this season ends.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday..........
13) Wild day in SEC Saturday, with four of seven games going to OT, with Alabama-LSU going three OTs, Tennesseee-Texas A&M four OTs. Big win for Kentucky over Mizzou, as Wildcats are a bubble team without Noel.
12) Tennessee is now hottest team in SEC, winning its fifth game in row, but Florida Gators come to Knoxville Tuesday, which should be interesting. .
11) ESPN signed a new TV deal with whats left of the Big East, but for less than what each team makes now. Somehow, I doubt Big East will maintain its 8pm Saturday night slot during Championship Week, not with potential of a Tulane-Central Florida final. Big East will basically be Conference USA next year, with Cincinnati returning to its Metro/Great Midwest roots.
10) Iona's month from hell continued with a 65-64 loss at Indiana State; Gaels lost six of their last seven games, with three OT losses and three others by a total of six points. For a team that ranks #83 in experience, this isn't what is supposed to happen at the end of games.
9) New Mexico had a terrific 91-82 win at Colorado State, with Kendall Williams going 10-13 behind arc, scoring a ridiculous 46 points. Whole Syracuse team scored 46 points in its home loss to Georgetown.
8) They retired Carmelo Anthony's jersey in the Carrier Dome Saturday, despite fact that Anthony went to school at Syracuse for about 10 minutes. He did win them a national championship, then he paid for their new practice facility, so I guess thats what it takes to get your jersey retired.
7) Will be interesting to see if golfer Steve Stricker sticks with his plan to play in only 11 tournaments this year, skipping British Open but playing in the Quad Cities (John Deere) Classic. Must be nice to have money.
6) Interesting prop bet in Las Vegas; which team will win more games in 2013, Alabama (-$140) or the 49ers (+$120)?
5) There were 79 SEC players working out at NFL Combine this week, compared to 43 from the ACC, 38 from the Pac-12.
4) Eight Fridays so far in 2013; stock market went up all eight days.
3) On Mets' TV broadcast of its spring training game Saturday, Ron Darling/ Keith Hernandez inferred that it is easier to win a Gold Glove Award (sponsored by Rawlings) if you use a Rawlings glove. Go figure.
2) The jersey Mike Eruzione wore in the 1980 Miracle on Ice game sold for $657,250 on Saturday night. The stick Eruzione used was sold for $262,900 in an auction run by Heritage Auctions in New York City.
Other items Eruzione sold through the auction company included his jersey worn in the gold medal win against Finland ($286,800), the warmup suit he wore during the gold medal ceremony ($26,290), Eruzione-used Team USA gloves ($53,775) and used pants ($26,680).
1) Someone on Twitter posted a great video yesterday from 35 years ago, when Brian Billick was a contestant on Match Game PM, which was a popular game show at the time, with panelists like Charles Nelson Reilly, Fannie Flagg and Brett Somers. Good stuff. Not sure Billick would think so.
Saturday's List of 13: Looking at college basketball numbers.....
Looking at which teams excel in different statistical categories.......
13) Tempo: Northwestern (LA) State of Southland plays fastest games in country; other teams who play a fast pace: North Carolina (5th), Cal-State Fullerton (7th), UMass (9th), BYU (11th) and Iona (21st).
Some pretty good teams are amongst those that play slowest pace: Western Illinois (#347), Denver (346), North Dakota State (343), Virginia (339) and Pitt (334). All those teams are near the top of their league's standings.
12) FG% defense: This is best measured by eFG%, which counts a made 3 as 1.5 baskets made: SF Austin (40.5%) leads country and they lead their league in wins: other strong teams in this important category: Kansas (3rd), Florida (5th), Georgetown (7th), Syracuse (8th), Cincinnati (9th).
11) FG% offense: also measured by eFG%: Creighton (59.3%) leads the nation, followed by Florida (2nd), Indiana (3rd), Belmont (4th), Denver (6th), Air Force (7th), Michigan (8th), Gonzaga (9th). All really good teams, and yes, Air Force has a good team this season.
10) Free-throw shooting: Davidson (81.5%) leads country, followed by Fullerton (2nd), Northern Iowa (4th), Iona (7th), Montana (10th), You have a lead late in games, it obviously helps to make foul shots.
Among the worst foul shooting teams: Marshall (57.2%) is worst team in country on foul line. Also struggling are TCU (344), St Peter's (341), Vandy (337), SF Austin (335), Wisconsin (331), Arizona State (329). Vanderbilt hit on 69.9% from line last year; 60.8% so far this year.
9) 3-point shooting: Indiana (42.8%) leads country, followed by Creighton (2nd), Duke (3rd), Harvard (4th), Virginia (6th), NC State (7th), Austin Peay is #12 in country behind arc, but is still an awful team (7-21)-- not good.
8) Blocked shots: Syracuse blocks 19.7% of opponents' shots, followed by St John's (2nd), Kansas (3rd), Memphis (4th), Cincinnati (6th), Kentucky (7th, but they'll fall without Noel in lineup), Arizona State (9th). Having a defensive presence inside makes opponents beat you from outside, and not everyone has great shooters.
7) Schedule: Top four teams in strength of schedule all play in Big Dozen: Minnesota-Michigan State-Wisconsin-Illinois. Other teams who played hard schedules: Duke (6, but very few road games, none out of ACC), USC (7), Miami (9), Marquette (11), Colorado (12), Louisville (15).
Long Beach State played the hardest pre-conference schedule, UCSB (2nd), Oakland (3), Pacific (8), Davidson (14), Montana (16). Some of the better teams in lower-ranked leagues load up in pre-conference to help their seed in case they make the NCAA tournament. Others do it for guarantee checks from the big-money teams.
6) Easiest schedules: Houston/Texas Tech played two softest pre-conference schedules; how does Maryland justify playing the 3rd-easiest? Also on the easy non-conference schedule list are Arizona State (341), Iowa (339), Pitt (334), my alma mater Albany (333), Oregon (330), Clemson (329).
Some teams use soft pre-conference schedules to build confidence by learning how to win: Ole Miss (326), Oregon (330), Arizona State (341), LSU (325).
Some coaches create an easy schedule to save their jobs.......lolol
5) Size matters, not as much as quickness, but size is measureable: New Mexico State/Maryland/Kentucky are three tallest teams in country; USC, UCLA, Arizona State and Miami are also in the top ten. Gonzaga is 13th.
Southern Illinois, Fullerton are two shortest teams in country; Southern Miss is very good, yet they're 11th-shortest team in country. Denver is #328, but they run Princeton offense, so size matters little less than most teams.
4) Who uses their bench the most? Not lot of strong teams on top of this list; Northern Illinois-Sam Houston State-Yale play their bench most minutes in country. Middle Tennessee is probbably best team in top 20 on that list.
Teams that sub the least: Larry Brown's SMU team subs the least; subs on Arizona State (345), Oakland (344), Cal (338), Kansas (329), Michigan (326) play least minutes in country.
3) Who forces the most turnovers? VCU/Louisville force most turnovers in country with their pressure; Rams (force turnovers on 29% of possessions, Cardinals 27.4%. Denver forces 3rd-most with a less-aggressive approach; their games are 2nd-slowest pace in country.
Ohio/Southern Miss also force a lot of turnovers- they're also really good .
2) Teams that excel on offensive boards have superior athleticism and size: leading the country in this area are Minnesota, Colorado State, Pitt, Syracuse, Southern Miss, Indiana and Cincinnati.
You haven't stopped these teams on offense until you get the rebound on their missed shots and that ain't easy.
1) Experienced teams have an edge: Valparaiso-Middle Tennessee- Colorado State are three most experienced teams in country; Ohio, Miami and Western Illinois are also in top 10. All those teams are having solid seasons.
Disappointing Temple is 11th in experience; team with as much experience as the Owls should be doing better than they are.
Texas is least-experienced team and it shows; St John's (342), BC (341), Michigan (340) and Kentucky (337) are also very young.
Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with the weekend here.....
13) Back in December I touted the Minnesota Gophers as a Final Four sleeper, but Tubby’s team stopped making shots; they’ve lost seven of last ten games, made just 5 of 29 behind the arc in their last two games. Hard to beat good teams on the road if you do not make shots.
12) As of 1pm Thursday, the Colorado Rockies’ spring training field in Arizona was still covered by snow.
Rockies’ new manager is former big league SS Walt Weiss, who I’m pretty sure was a high school coach in the Denver area LY.
11) The whole Tim Tebow/preaching/church thing was boring to me, until I realized; there’s a church that seats 11,000 people? Imagine what the collection totals must be in that place?
10) Iowa-Nebraska basketball game was moved from Thursday night to Saturday afternoon because of a bad storm in the midwest.
9) Wichita had 14 inches of snow, apparently the 2nd-biggest snowfall in the city's history. That surprised me.
8) 5.7M people watched the NASCAR race on FOX last Saturday night, and that was an exhibition race. For some reason I like watching racing, even though I know almost nothing about it.
The FOX announcers are good, especially Darrell Waltrip, and sometimes its just more fun if you don’t care who wins.
7) ESPN has too much live airtime; if there is no news to report, they have their people make stuff up and speculate on “what would happen, if….”. Not a big fan of that; report what happened, and talk about consequences of what happened. Don’t be making stuff up that might happen.
6) NFL wants to push back its offseason schedule, shifting the draft into May, the combine to March, free agency to April. They need the Players' Union to agree before it can happen.
5) MLB Network is aring a reality show called “Next Knuckler” about guys in other sports trying to become a knuckleball pitcher in the big leagues; winner gets a tryout with the Diamondbacks.
One of the contestants was former LSU/Giants’ practice squad QB Ryan Perrilloux, who did not make it through to the finals of the series.
4) New Orleans Saints wind up forfeiting the 45th pick in this year’s draft because of Bountygate, the 13th pick in the 2nd round.
Considering that Joe Montana was a 3rd-round pick and Tom Brady a 6th-round pick, that’s not cheap.
3) Rick Pitino owns a colt named Goldencents that is listed as a Kentucky Derby contender. Would be interesting if he ran for the roses in May.
2) Saint Louis-Butler is an excellent game on TV Friday night- unusual to have such a good college game up against the Friday night NBA games.
1) Wednesday was the first time golfer Louis Oosthuizen had ever seen snow in his life. As in, ever. Lucky him.
Thursday’s List of 13: Things I’m watching for this baseball season
13) With Houston moving to the AL West, there are 15 teams in both leagues now, which means interleague play will be a daily fact of life. Hows that going to work out?
12) Josh Hamilton switched teams within the same division, which doesn’t happen a lot for star players, then he ripped the Dallas-Fort Worth area, not really sure why. Angel-Ranger games figure to be interesting this year.
11) Halos have Trout-Hamilton-Pujols in the middle of the lineup, and $24M Vernon Wells riding the pine; they should jog in the AL West right? They’re still lacking at 3B and in bullpen, so we’ll see about that.
10) Astros’ entire team makes less money than Alex Rodriguez this season, and ARod may not even play after hip surgery. Houston was terrible in the NL LY, now their roster is further stripped down and they’re in a better league. I think their management knows what they’re doing, but in baseball, a total overhaul like this takes some time- they figure to draft very high for the next couple years, at least.
9) Bronx Bombers owe ARod $114M over next five years; this is great on many levels, mainly that ARod appears to be washed up, or at least severely over-the-hill. If Robinson Cano jumps ship (Dodgers??) after this year, the new Bronx ballpark could become a very expensive mausoleum for a fading franchise.
8) Carl Crawford’s career numbers in no way suggest a $20M annual salary, but that’s what he makes; his agent’s 3% take ($600,000 a year) is more than what the President of the US makes. Very curious to see how CC does in Chavez Ravine, where he’ll undoubtedly be more comfortable than in Boston. Veteran players switching leagues don't always thrive.
7) Royals GM Dayton Moore knows he is gone if Kansas City sucks again this year, so he dumped prospects Myers/Odorizzi to Tampa Bay for James Shields, in hopes of winning enough games to save his job; this is the worst possible scenario for a franchise.
Shields has a lot of miles on him and while he’s effective, he’s not a big-time ace. Tampa Bay fleeced the Royals if Myers is what most scouts think he is, a big-time bat. Moore will get fired and the Royals will start yet another in a long line of rebuilding projects.
6) Pirates’ last winning season was 1992; they’ve had strong first halves the last two years, but then faded badly late in both seasons.
Bucs extended manager Clint Hurdle thru 2014; is this the year Pittsburgh has a winning record?
5) If the season started today, Mets’ starting OF would be Lucas Duda-Colin Cowgill-Marlon Byrd. Did I mention the Mets are a big market team, with a brand new stadium? How is this your starting outfield?
4) With enhanced instant replay tabled until 2014, will the umpires screw up as many obvious calls as they did last year? How hard would it be to put enhanced replay into place this season? Apparently MLB is not sure if they want to have a challenge system like the NFL or review anything close.
I’m in favor of the challenge system, only review things deemed important by one of the managers.
3) Which major league star gets hurt playing in the goofy World Baseball Classic? Its only once every four years, but still, how can any team allow its pitchers to compete in this?
2) Toronto Blue Jays are favored to win the AL East this year, after the Orioles made the playoffs LY; think about that one for a second. Lot of money being spent in this division, with not much return on the buck.
1) Then there are the Dodgers, who spent $100M to refurbish Dodger Stadium this winter, and will have the largest payroll to ever start a season. No pressure on Don Mattingly, who has yet to show much as a skipper. Pressure is squarely on him, but he has a lot of chips to play with.
He shouldn’t worry that Tony LaRussa is sitting out there without a job. Nope, not at all.
Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud..........
13) Kansas at Iowa State next Monday, ESPN’s first visit to Ames, IA for Big Monday in seven years. Hilton Coliseum seems like an awesome arena; this will be a good event.
Oddly, it will be Brent Musberger’s first-ever visit to Ames.
12) Big Ten Network ran interesting piece on Michigan State freshman Gary Harris, whose mother is one of Purdue’s all-time great basketball players, so much so that her jersey hangs from the rafters at Mackey Arena. Now that’s a bitter recruiting loss, when you can’t get a kid, when both of his parents went to your school.
11) Jerry Buss paid $67M for the Lakers-Kings-Forum in 1979. Lakers were valued at $16M back then; this season, three Lakers are earning $19M apiece!!! Lakers are now valued a $1B, that’s billion, with a B.
10) When you read that Derrick Rose went thru 5-on-5 workouts with the Bulls, it means he’s close to coming back, as long as his knee doesn’t have any setbacks. That’s good news for everyone except the Bulls’ opponents.
9) If you ran an NBA team, would you want Dwight Howard? Is he coachable? He makes $19M a year, and he can’t make half his foul shots. Is he a great teammate? Does he make his teammates better? For $19M a year, I want a damn superstar, but that’s just me.
8) Andrew Bynum hasn't played for the 76ers this year; he is hurt, but he hopes to play before the season ends. Why? He is a free agent after this season; hard to get paid if you haven't played.
7) My dad will be 87 Friday; he prefers the NBA to college ball, but he was glued to the Indiana-Michigan State game. It was that good a game.
6) Mets did the right thing and vetoed Johan Santana pitching in WBC; Santana will be 34 March 13; last thing he needs are high-stress innings in March. Make no mistake about, pitching for your country is an emotional thing and will be like mid-season games, or moreso.
5) This is the first time there were no arbitration hearings, which are no-lose propositions for the player.
4) On my 4.6 mile drive to work, I go through 30 stoplights; on way home, only 29. Thats a lot of stoplights in four miles.
3) Someone stole $50M in diamonds from an armed car in Belgium; now thats a bad day. How do you explain that to your boss?
2) Once upon a time, in the late 70’s, University of Detroit had a really good basketball team; their coach tried to recruit Earvin Johnson to play for the Titans, but Johnson went to Michigan State, evolved into Magic Johnson and the rest is history.
Whatever happened to that Detroit coach, the guy with the thick glasses and shrill voice? He went to the NBA but not for long, then drifted into a career in TV broadcasting. You may have heard of him.
Guy named Vitale, Dick Vitale.
How would the TV sports world be different now had Earvin Johnson gone to play for the Detroit Titans?
1) This has been a long, frustrating season handicapping games on this site, but stuff like that happens. Not an easy gig. We’re studying, grinding, trying to hit a hot streak to make the season a success.
Think its easy? With 6:06 left in the first half of a game a couple weeks ago, TCU led Kansas 12-3, and wound up beating the Jayhawks, 62-55. That’s the same TCU team that has one conference win all season- they were a 19-point home dog in that game, and Kansas scored three freakin’ points in the first 13:54.
We didn't have the Jayhawks in that game, but still, a 19-point favorite scoring three points in 13:54? Go figure.
Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but...........
13) I watch more college basketball than anyone you know, and I'll say this: it would help the game to reduce the number of timeouts coaches can use, say to maybe one timeout per team, per half. TV timeouts are enough for a coach to instruct his players. Seriously, let the players play!!!!!
12) Golfer Charlie Beljan played in same group as Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els Saturday; when round was over, Beljan had the two players sign his sun visor as a souvenir, unusual for a pro to do.
Sunday, when Beljan got to 18th tee to start his playoff with John Merrick, Jerry West was there as one of the tournament organizers. Surprised Beljan didn't get West's autograph to add to his collection.
11) The Dick's Sporting Goods commercial with Arnold Palmer narrating and telling golfers to "....swing their swing" is an excellent commercial.
10) The field of 64 for the Match Play tournament was set after last week, but the actual 1-64 seeding wasn't finalized until after Riviera; as an example, Fredrik Jacobsen jumped from 63rd seed to #47 with his excellent tourney this week, so he'll face Ernie Els in first round, not Eldrick Woods.
9) The new basketball league that will be formed by the non-football teams from the Big East could possibly include Siena or Richmond, if they wind up with a 12-team league. There would be two six-team, geographically based divisions. All schools would be religiously-affiliated, except for Richmond and Butler, if the Spiders are the 12th team.
8) John Farrell bolted Toronto to manage the Red Sox; Blue Jays went out and got lot of players, so they're favored to win AL East, with an 86.5 total for wins, while Boston's total is 79.5, 4th-highest in AL East. Was this move a good career move for Farrell, long-term?
Farrell is the Red Sox' third manager in three years; not an easy place.
7) Pitt led Notre Dame 19-3, then Mike Brey got a technical and the game swung completely in Brey's favor. Dreadful, ugly 51-42 loss for Pitt, which got beaten up physically by the Notre Dame big guys.
6) USC just fired its baseball coach; their football program is in disarray and they already fired basketball coach Kevin O'Neill this season; would be good if they removed the interim tag from Bob Cantu and made him basketball coach full-time. Trojans are much improved since the coaching change- their kids are just so much more relaxed now.
5) Amazing amount of attention was given to Michael Jordan's turning 50 last week; to me, when Jordan hit .202 in his one year of minor league baseball, it was an underrated feat. There are professional baseball players who don't hit .200 in AA. Jordan hadn't played baseball since high school.
4) We'll hear a lot about Daytona this week and Danica Patrick having pole position Sunday, but over the last decade, the average finishing position for the pole-sitter at Daytona is 19th, so its no guarantee of anything.
3) Baseball will not expand instant replay for this season, but they will for 2014, which is good news; not sure whay they can't do it this year, but better late than never. Too many missed calls last year on fairly easy plays.
2) You see those old clips from the 80's, of Jerry Buss getting trophies from David Stern after the Lakers won NBA titles, and then you realize the CBS announcer in those shots is Brent Musberger, and you realize what a great career he has had. He was a minor league umpire when he was 19, in the old Pioneer League. When I'm 73, I hope I have his energy.
1) Wednesday is one of our more underrated sports days of the year; all day long, Match Play golf is on TV, 32 first round matches, then ton of hoop on at night. Pretty good day for a Wednesday in February.
Monday's Den: Over/under win totals for 2013 baseball.......
|Detroit Tigers, 90
||Los Angeles Dodgers, 90
|Los Angeles Angels, 89.5
||Washington Nationals, 90
|Texas Rangers, 87
||Cincinnati Reds, 88.5
|Toronto Blue Jays, 86.5
||Atlanta Braves, 86
||San Francisco Giants, 86
|Tampa Bay Rays, 86
||St Louis Cardinals, 85.5
|Oakland A's, 83
||Arizona Diamondbacks, 81.5
|Chicago White Sox, 80.5
||Philadelphia Phillies, 81.5
|Boston Red Sox, 79.5
||Milwaukee Brewers, 79.5
|Kansas City Royals, 79
||Pittsburgh Pirates, 79
|Cleveland Indians, 77.5
||San Diego Padres, 74.5
|Baltimore Orioles, 76.5
||New York Mets, 74
|Seattle Mariners, 76.5
||Chicago Cubs, 72
|Minnesota Twins, 64.5
||Colorado Rockies, 71.5
|Houston Astros, 59.5
||Miani Marlins, 64.5
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