Tuesday’s Den: Nobody asked me, but…….

13) Wisconsin 77, Michigan 63:
I didn’t want to talk about this, but it has become a big thing, so here goes. 

Sunday, with clock winding down in a lost cause, Michigan is pressing with 0:15 left, even though the issue has been decided. Wisconsin calls time-out, to re-set the 0:10 clock to get the ball over half-court- they’ve got their subs in the game.

a) Michigan coach Juwan Howard didn’t know the 0:10 clock resets after a time-out
b) Howard was ticked off because his team is 14-11 and might not make the NCAA’s
c) Wisconsin’s coach tried to explain himself to Howard in the handshake line, but Howard was doing the breeze-by handshake thing— he was angry when Greg Gard touched him and tried to explain himself. Really angry.
d) One of Wisconsin’s assistants stuck his nose in the fracas and Howard slapped him in the head. Chaos ensued for few minutes.

Social media went crazy/is going crazy about this. Slow news day and all that. Howard had an anger issue last year too, after a loss to Maryland.

My thoughts:
— Howard needs to grow up and accept how to lose; it happens.
— Calling a timeout with 0:13 left when you’re up 15? Bad idea.
— Suspend Howard for a game or two and move on.
— And oh, it would be nice if Howard knew that rule about the 0:10 clock.

Update: Howard got suspended for five games, fined $40,000; he can coach again when the Big 14 tournament starts in couple weeks. 

12) Saw a clip this weekend of Secretariat winning the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths in 1973, wrapping up the Triple Crown— that was also the day I rose a horse for the one and only time.

For whatever reason, my 8th grade field trip was at some dude ranch up by Lake George; we played tennis (fun), we rose horses (not fun). Can’t remember much about the rest of the day.

So anyway, I get on this horse; ask the guy what the horse’s name is (mistake). He smiles and says “Jumper” which raised my blood pressure a little bit. Probably scared the freakin’ horse too.

The horse liked to stop and eat plants on the path, plants that were a few feet away from the path; the the horse started jogging, I looked like the guy in Abbott and Costello hanging on to the horse’s neck, praying he wouldn’t throw me off like one of those guys in the rodeo.

I was 13, hoping I’d live to be 14. Always had a lot of respect for jockeys after that; riding a horse ain’t as easy as it looks. 

11) I’m envious of writers who create these great TV shows, how creative they are, what a great skill to have. Billions had a big hurdle this season, overcoming the loss of their main character to keep the show edgy and interesting, and so far, they’ve passed the test.

I got really, really bored during the pandemic, went thru every episode of Billions and counted the f-bombs, sorted them by episode, by character. Like I said, really bored.

First five years of Billions, they averaged 30.4 f-bombs an episode, which is a lot, seeing how the average episode is 48-50 minutes. Lot of cursing. In one episode, they had 67. Thats 67 f-bombs in 48 minutes. Lot of anger in that episode.

But Mike Prince is the new main character, a cleaner-cut billionaire than Bobby Axelrod, and the writers have used cursing to emphasize the difference.

First five episodes without Axe, they’re down to 13.2 f-bombs/episode, a big change. They’ve changed the tenor of the show with so much less cursing. 

10) Pittsburgh Steelers hired Brian Flores as the linebackers’ coach; Flores is suing three NFL teams because they wouldn’t hire him as head coach, even though the guy coached Miami for three years and never made the playoffs. 

Not sure I’d want an assistant coach to be a distraction, as Flores obviously will be when he goes on the road next season, but the Steelers have a bigger issue- they need a QB for next season, with Ben Roethlisberger retiring. 

9) There was a car race on TV Saturday night; I’m told it was the Infinity Series, like a AAA race before the regular NASCAR race- there was an 18-year old kid driving one of the cars.

How the bleep does an 18-year old become a pro race car driver? I was also told that there are races where 8 and 10-year olds drive against each other, go-karts and stuff? Thats how they grow into being race car drivers at such an early age,

I didn’t get my drivers’ license until I was 19; years later, went to one of those indoor driving places where you race go-karts, and my friend’s 10-year old daughter beat me, so probably a good thing I never want to race cars for real. 

8) This weekend, MLB Network replayed a Toronto-Baltimore playoff game from 2016; seems weird that the Orioles were a playoff team only six years ago.

Last four years, Baltimore is a combined 178-368, that’s a .326 winning %age. No bueno. How long will it be before they’re contenders again? 

7) So far this season, D-I college basketball players are making 71.6% of their foul shots, the best %age ever for college basketball. Excellent!!!

I’m crediting Steph Curry/Klay Thompson for this; the success the Warriors have had the last ten years has helped make shooting cool again. Because of that, basketball is more fun to watch, because passing has benefitted— good passing/good shooting makes for attractive basketball. 

6) Safety Eric Weddle came out of a 2-year retirement to play in the playoffs for the Rams, and he helped them win the Super Bowl; now Weddle is retired again and will become a high school coach in the San Diego area next season.

Next year, Weddle will be an assistant coach at Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego, then he becomes the head coach in 2023. Weddle played eight years for the Chargers, was named to the 2010’s All-Decade team; he has a lot of expertise to pass on to high school players. 

5) Four guys in the NBA’s top 75 players played at North Carolina:
Michael Jordan, Billy Cunningham, Bob McAdoo, James Worthy

4) College baseball season started this weekend; Vanderbilt’s team was wearing pitch-selection devices, a watch-like device on their glove hand to receive pitch selection information from the coaching staff, which should largely eliminate sign-stealing and it is also expected to quicken the pace of play. 

3) When Dick Vermeil is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer, he’ll be the 28th head coach inducted. 

2) Saw a thing on Twitter where former UCLA/Bucks’ star Marques Johnson had his 66th birthday; to help celebrate it, he posted a video of him dunking a basketball in his driveway.

Thats excellent, dunking a basketball at age 66; I’m 62, only thing I can dunk is a donut. 

1) USFL Draft is tonight; 8-team league starts in April, with all the games to be played in Birmingham. If there is no baseball in April, USFL will have a terrific chance to establish a foothold in the spring sports landscape. 

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.