13) Gonzaga 88, BYU 78:
— BYU led this game 53-41 at halftime.
— Gonzaga outscored BYU 18-5 on foul line.
— Gonzaga made 12-26 on arc, BYU 11-28.
One of the first questions I’ll be asking myself Sunday night, after the NCAA brackets come out, is whether Gonzaga has been tested enough this season. They haven’t won a game by single digits since December 2 vs West Virginia. The WCC isn’t as good as it usually is, and the Zags have breezed thru this season, while other leagues are way more competitive.
Baylor-Michigan-Illinois have had lot of tough games; it has to make you a better team.
12) Dallas Cowboys’ QB Dak Prescott signed a 4-year, $160M deal, $123M guaranteed. By way of comparison, and without any editorial comment, here are some facts:
Prescott: 42-27 regular season record, 1-2 in playoffs
Jared Goff: 42-27 regular season record, 2-3 in playoffs, which doesn’t include his win in relief at Seattle in this year’s playoffs.
11) Interesting discussion on Mets’ TV the other day about whether a team can improve a lot on defense, without changing the players who are in the field.
Was reminiscent of Troy Aikman saying on NFL broadcasts how quarterbacks cannot learn to become more accurate passers. Aikman believes that once you get to the NFL level, you are what you are, though Buffalo Bill fans would bring up Josh Allen and dispute that.
Bottom line is, Keith Hernandez/Ron Darling didn’t paint an optimistic picture of the Mets’ defense for this season.
10) Last Friday, Troy State upset Texas-Arlington 91-86 in the Sun Belt tournament, which on the surface is no big deal, but there is an interesting back story.
From 2007-18, Scott Cross was Tex-Arlington’s coach; the last three years he was there, UTA went 72-33 overall, 37-15 in Sun Belt games. Damn good record, but they fired Cross because he didn’t win make the NCAA tournament— he made it once, in 2008, Cross’ second year there.
Since they told Cross to take a hike, Tex-Arlington is 44-47 overall, 31-26 in Sun Belt games. Not exactly an upgrade.
I’m guessing when Troy State beat UTA last week, their coach took special satisfaction in the win, seeing how that coach was Scott Cross.
9) I watched Hoosiers for the 50th or so time the other day; watching the credits at the end, they thanked the governor of Indiana, who at the time was a guy named Robert Orr.
Bobby Orr was the governor of Indiana? I thought he was a Canadian!!! (Its a joke)
8) Miami Marlins used 61 players in 60 games last year, 37 of them pitchers; their spring training must be a mess this year, trying to whittle down those 61 guys down to a roster of 26 players. Don Mattingly did a great job in a weird season last year; choosing the right guys for a 162-game season is a much different dilemma.
7) Angels’ broadcaster Jose Mota played one of the Detroit Tigers in the 1999 baseball movie, For Love of the Game, with Kevin Costner. Mota’s character makes a great play to preserve Billy Chapel’s perfect game; he and Mark Gubicza were talking about it on the Angels’ broadcast the other night. Mota said it was an easier play to make, since he read the script and knew where the ball was going to be hit.
Looking at the Angels’ website, they haven’t filled Victor Rojas’ play-by-play slot yet; they should choose Mota. He and Gubicza have a good chemistry.
6) Last season, 12 major league umpires opted out of working, because of COVID; at least three of them are back this year. The Athletic did an interesting article, talking to Phil Cuzzi, Gerry Davis and Brian Gorman about coming back to work and sitting out last year.
Davis has umpired 4.957 major league games; only three umps have gotten to 5,000 games, so that’ll be a big deal when Davis gets to 5,000.
Umpire Brian Gorman’s late wife was a Los Angeles Times staff photographer and picture editor who was a two-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.
5) Today is Wednesday of Championship Week, and there are already 300+ names in the college basketball transfer portal. People who sell game programs are going to clean up next year. Guys who write Blue Ribbon Yearbook are going to get headaches. Lot of kids jumping from team-to-team.
4) Colorado Rockies’ 1B CJ Cron is playing for his fifth team in the last five years; he started his career playing four years for the Angels, then went to Tampa Bay in 2018, Minnesota the next year, Detroit last year, and now Colorado.
He hit 55 homers in 2018-19; curious to see how many at-bats he gets this season.
3) NHL will be back on ESPN starting next season; curious to see if the league gets its own daily half-hour show, like the NBA has now. ESPN had forgotten about hockey since they last showed games in 2004. Good news for Steve Levy and Berry Melrose.
2) Turned on the TV when I woke up the other day, and all they’re talking about it is the royal family in England. I don’t give a rat’s ass about the royal family. Seriously, don’t want to hear one word about them, and I was an avid fan of Suits on USA Network, so I’m familiar with Meghan Markle’s work. She married a prince, good for her. Don’t want to hear about it.
Only Royals I care about are Whit Merrifield and Carlos Santana, Kansas City Royals.
1) I was fiddling around on the Interweb at 4am the other night when it dawned on me that in most years, this is my favorite two weeks of the whole year, conference tournaments this week, the NCAA’s next week. Watching basketball and eating pizza, good times.
The last year has seemed 10 years long; things are slowly getting better— several of my friends have gotten their vaccines and that’s a good thing. Watching basketball all week will also be a good thing— we didn’t get to do that last year. Getting back to normal will be the best thing.