Thursday’s List of 13: 13 of my favorite sports movies…….

I do this list once a year or so; feel free to make your own list.

13) Major League— Still maintain that Bob Uecker should’ve won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Harry Doyle, the Indians’ radio announcer. To this day, when a pitcher throws a really terrible pitch to the backstop, chances are the TV guy will say “….juuuust a biiiit outside…” like Harry Doyle did when Wild Thing Vaughn was on the mound.

12) He Got Game— The only Spike Lee movie I’ve ever seen; its a good one, with Denzel Washington getting released from prison by warden Ned Beatty, on one condition— that he can get his son (Ray Allen) to play basketball at the warden’s alma mater, Big State.

Anyone who was surprised by Louisville’s problems last year didn’t see this movie.

11) Rocky— If only they hadn’t made all those awful sequels. Rocky is a classic; a fighter down on his luck gets a once-in-a-lifetime shot to fight for the heavyweight title back when boxing was a big thing. If you’re at a game in Philly now and they cue up the Rocky music, people still get fired up— its pretty cool.

10) Hoosiers— I’ve had this argument with a friend of mine for years, that Norman Dale was a horrible coach saved only by Jimmy Chitwood not missing a shot in the whole damn movie. Hickory High finished the first game he coached with four guys on the court; even his assistant coach, who wound up in alcohol rehab, knew enough to always give Jimmy the ball when it mattered. They did nail the scene at the end when Hickory wins the state title.

9) Any Given Sunday— Lawrence Taylor and Jim Brown as actors? Yes!!! Al Pacino coaches his Miami Sharks against four teams, all coached by NFL Hall of Famers.

8) Moneyball— The good guys lose in the end, but not before they win 20 games in a row and surprisingly make the playoffs. I won’t embarrass myself by telling you how many times I’ve seen this movie, but if you guess, chances are your guess is too low.

7) Bull Durham— Pitching coach Robert Wuhl delivered this inspirational piece of advice on a visit to the mound:

“……candlesticks always make a nice gift, and uh, maybe you could find out where she’s registered and maybe a place-setting or maybe a silverware pattern. Okay, let’s get two!”

6) Friday Night Lights— Of all the sports movies, Billy Bob Thornton does the best job of portraying a coach, in this case a west Texas high school football coach who gets his best player KO’d for the season by leaving him in a blowout too long. The townspeople aren’t pleased.

5) Blue Chips— Nick Nolte did his research for this by hanging out with Bob Knight’s Indiana Hoosiers for a year, so the thrown chairs and punted balls make more sense. Jerry Tarkanian’s cameo and Bob Cousy’s portrayal of the school’s AD are the underrated parts of this movie.

4) Invincible— True story about Vince Papale, who was a 30-year old bartender that tried out for and wound up playing special teams for the Eagles for three years in the 70’s. Mark Wahlberg plays Papale; Greg Kinnear plays Dick Vermeil.

3) Fast Break— Gabe Kaplan’s character quits his job in a New York City deli to become the basketball coach at a small Nevada college. The team he puts together is interesting- Bernard King and Michael Warren are two of the players.

2) One on One— Robby Benson plays a flashy small school point guard who gets recruited by a big time college program, but once he gets on campus, the coach thinks he made a mistake and tries to run him off the team.

1— For Love of the Game— Kevin Costner pitches for the Tigers, but is at the end of his career. JK Simmons is his manager; John C O’Reilly his catcher, Kelly Preston his girlfriend. Vin Scully is in effect the narrator of the movie.

Tuesday’s List of 13: Some college knowledge…….

13) Over the last 15 years, of the 60 teams who made the Final Four, 26 won their conference tournament. Over last six years, only 7 of 24 Final Four teams won their conference tourney; from 2004-11, 19 of 32 Final Four teams did.

12) 7 of the last 15 national champs won their conference tourney, but only one of the last six.

11) Since 2003, only 8 of 60 Final Four teams lost their first conference tourney game: Here are those teams:
2003— Marquette, Texas
2005— Michigan State
2007— UCLA
2009— UConn
2010— Michigan State (only team to do it twice)
2016— Syracuse
2017— South Carolina

10) Since 2006, two CAA teams have made the Final Four; George Mason in ’06 and VCU five years later. Weird thing is that neither of those teams won the CAA tournament that year. CAA ain’t getting more than one team in NCAA’s anymore, but they did as recently as 2011.

9) In 2011, UConn did something that will never be surpassed; not only did they win the NCAA tournament, winning six games, they had to win another five games to win the Big East tournament— they weren’t getting into the NCAA’s unless they won that tournament.

8) In 2006 and 2007, Florida finished the season by winning both the SEC tournament and the NCAA tournament— thats a very underrated accomplishment- 9-0 finishes both years.

7) In the last 15 years, 2008 was the only Final Four where all four teams won their conference tournament; in 2003 and 2009, none of the Final Four teams won their tournament.

6) Not putting pressure on Montana or anything, but the #1 seed won the last seven Big Sky tournaments. Most of those were at the home court of the #1 seed; they play the tournament on a neutral floor in Reno these days, but still…….

5) Fairfield has basketball players from nine different countries, plus Puerto Rico.

4) Eastern Washington’s Bogdan Bliznyuk has made 74 foul shots in a row, which is an NCAA single-season record.

3) Since the NCAA tournament went to 64, and then 68 teams, #2 seeds are 124-8 in their first round tournament games; here are the eight #2 seeds who lost in the first round:

1990— Richmond (+9) 73, Syracuse 69
1993— Santa Clara (+20) 64, Arizona 61
1997— Coppin State (+17) 78, South Carolina 65
2001— Hampton (+17.5) 58, Iowa State 57
2012— Lehigh (+12) 75, Duke 70
2012— Norfolk State (+21.5) 86, Missouri 84
2013— Florida Gulf Coast (+13.5) 78, Georgetown 68
2016— Middle Tennessee State (+18) 90, Michigan State 81

2) Since 2003, Big Sky teams are 1-14 in first round NCAA tourney games; over the last 11 years, they’re 2-8-1 vs spread in first round games.

1— Big West teams have also had problems in the NCAA’s recently; since 2006, Big West teams are 2-0 in play-in games,  but are 1-11 in first round games, 4-8 vs spread.