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-- Why did the Texas Rangers pay over $100M for Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish? Why not just overpay for CJ Wilson, a known commodity?
-- San Diego State fell behind 10-0 in the Pit in Albuquerque, then came storming back for an impressive 75-70 win over New Mexico. Have to think Steve Fisher is in the top three for national Coach of the Year.
-- Impressive road win for Cincinnati, which is 3-0 on road in Big East play, winning 70-67 at UConn.
-- Wichita State/Creighton both came from behind in second half to win on the road, not easy to do in the Missouri Valley. Bluejays won by a point at Missouri State; Wichita won by 3 at Northern Iowa.
-- Poor Towson State has now lost 38 games in a row; the school is in Baltimore, where there are a lot of good players. Hard to figure.
-- Indiana couldn't stand prosperity; up 41-34 at the half, they let the lead slip and lost 70-69 at Nebraska, a big win for Doc Sadler.
Thursday's Dirty Dozen: Clearing out a cluttered mind........
12) Watched a tennis match late Tuesday night that took 4 hours, 41 minutes to play. Tremendous stamina these guys have, especially when you realize one of the players is 6-foot-9. Add tennis to the lengthy list of sports where the athletes are tougher than baseball players. You think Rocco Baldelli is going the distance in a fifth set tie-breaker? Hell no.
11) John Isner, the 6-9 guy, said after the match he played the last three points with a cracked racket. Are there rules against changing rackets during a game? Why would he play with a cracked racket?
10) Tennessee Volunteers have a new player; 6-8 Jamell Stokes, who is an early enrollee who really should still be playing high school ball. He looked good in his debut against Kentucky Saturday, but he is way behind the learning curve. His talent level seems really high, though.
9) Want a kid for your All-Glue Team, kids who enjoy doing the dirty work that helps teams win? Try Pierce Hornung, #4 on Colorado State; he’s a tough kid who has helped the Rams off to a fast start in the MWC this season. Good player, the kind every good team needs.
8) A Chicago Cub aficionado named Paul Sullivan points out that in the Cubs’ 81 home games LY, Geovany Soto hit the Cubs’ only HR onto Waveland Ave, behind the leftfield bleachers. Part of Theo Epstein’s new job is to find a bit more righthanded power.
7) Tim Lincecum turned down $17M a year from the Giants, is asking for $21M in arbitration; hope he gets it. Giants are the rotten bastards who are blocking the Oakland A’s from getting their new ballpark in San Jose. Hope Lincecum and Matt Cain take them to the cleaners.
6) Phillies already have $104M in salary committed to only six players for the 2013 season. Sounds like some young players are going to have a chance to make that team.
5) If I’m the Mets, I take David Wright’s spray charts and tailor the new, shorter fences to perfectly suit where he hits the ball, to help ensure that he puts up much bigger numbers in 2012. That way, you either maximize his trade value, or you help restore the confidence of your team’s most popular player.
4) Victor Martinez’ torn ACL means a hell of a lot of walks are heading Miguel Cabrera’s way this summer.
3) Atlanta Falcons will have two new coordinators next year, with Dirk Koetter replacing Mike Mularkey (Jaguars’ new coach) and Mike Nolan replacing Brian Van Gorder (off to be Auburn’s DC), so the Falcons will have a different look next season.
2) Early weather forecast for Candlestick Park Sunday; rainy weather. 40 years ago, Candlestick actually had artificial turf, only big league stadium in California that had fake grass.
1) Someone named Chris Gesper points out that Tom Brady has played five games against the Ravens; his 55.9% completion percentage in those games is his lowest against any team.
-- Miami Heat is 5-0 when Dwyane Wade doesn't play, a perfect example of: "A is true, B is true, but A didn't cause B."
-- Oregon State guard Ahmed Starks played high school ball in Chicago with Marcus Jordan, who plays at UCF and has a very famous dad.
-- Under-mentioned part of pro football; Rams wanted to interview the strength coach from the Titans, but Tennessee wouldn't let them. From sound of it, Rams are going to have a new strength coach fairly soon.
-- Ricky Rubio is averaging 10.7 ppg, 8.3 apg and 2.3 spg, dwarfing the numbers he put up in Europe last year. The kid can really pass.
-- Bishop Gorman-Findlay Prep play each other this weekend out in Las Vegas; two of the best high school teams in the country. Both won games in Springfield at the Basketball Hall of Fame last weekend.
Friday's List of 13: Random thoughts with the weekend here.....
13) Clemson paid its entire football coaching staff $2.7M this past season; next year, their two coordinators alone will make a total of $2.1M. Guess one of the wealthy boosters didn’t enjoy the Tigers getting 70 points hung on them in that bowl game.
12) Supposed to be a rainy day on Candlestick Point for the NFC title game Sunday night, which begs two questions:
a) what team will the wet field/ball help? and
b) will the lights work?
They had trouble with the lights during their Monday night home game with Pittsburgh last month.
11) If you’re talking college basketball Coach of the Year, its still a little early, but the two undefeated teams (Murray State/Syracuse) have to be mentioned, along with Steve Fisher of San Diego State, who is in the top 25 despite losing four starters from LY’s 34-3 team. Just a tremendous coaching job; his players play with great confidence.
10) Pitt is 0-6 in the Big East, which is totally unexpected; underdog covered all six games, with Pitt having been favored to win the first four. That Tuesday of the Big East tournament looks like it could have some well-paid coaches working that day.
9) Grant Hill is 39 years old, and in his fifth year with Phoenix Suns; he’s played in 325 out of a possible 340 regular season games for the Suns. The six years before that, he was employed by the Orlando Magic, but played in only 200 of a possible 492 games.
Are the Suns trainers that much better than everyone else? Some people say yes. If so, Knicks should be careful before they employ Steve Nash next year.
8) The father of the Suns’ Martin Gortat won a bronze medal boxing at the ’76 Summer Olympics in Montreal, losing in the semifinals to Leon Spinks.
7) 49-year old Jamie Moyer signed a minor league deal with Colorado; don’t think he signs there unless he thinks he has a legit shot to make the squad. Either that, or the Rockies were his only offer……
6) Why does West Virginia play Marshall in basketball every January? Seems like the game would be better played in December, when its not interrupting conference play.
5) Was lot of fun Tuesday night watching Michigan State-Michigan, with Wolverines’ QB Denard Robinson front/center in the student section, doing cheers with the rest of the students. Seemed like he was having lot of fun. Good to see.
4) Quietly, Vanderbilt has righted itself and is on an eight-game winning streak after the Commodores won easily at Alabama Thursday, 69-59.
3) Craig Robinson's Oregon State Beavers are fun to watch; they run like crazy, are obviously much better in Corvallis than on the road, but he has a good thing going and his recruiting should really benefit. Oregon State was just quicker than UCLA across the board in their 87-84 win.
2) 20-point underdog Wm & Mary lost in OT at VCU; 16.5-point dog LMU hammered BYU 82-68 in Provo and Jacksonville State's 63-62 win at Tennessee Tech, as a 9-point underdog in Cookeville, were the two big upsets of Thursday's card.
1) Apparently ESPN’s Jay Bilas doesn’t get along well with reporter Andy Katz; rumor is the two rarely speak, on air or off. Bilas seems like a condescending snob anyway; he should respect how Katz has worked his way up from a newspaper reporter to one of the better information men on TV. Not everyone plays at Duke, then walks into a TV job.
You don’t have to be a former player to know a lot about the game.
Saturday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Murray State is still unbeaten and doesn’t figure to lose the rest of the season in a weak OVC, which would make them the first team since St Joe’s in 2004 to get to the NCAA tournament unbeaten. They’re playing without one of their big guys right now (finger), but he is expected back in a couple of weeks.
12) You look at North Carolina’s 33-point loss at Florida State last week, and it is pointed out by John Clay that the worst regular season loss ever for an eventual national champ was a 27-point loss by UCLA in December of ’64. Tar heels have lost three of last four road games.
11) Mark Cuban’s Twitter icon is pretty cool; him sitting on an airplane, with the Larry O’Brien championship trophy in the seat next to him.
10) Bruce Arians has retired as Steelers’ offensive coordinator; this won’t happen, but wonder if Pittsburgh called Mike Martz and offered him the job, would he suddenly un-retire?
9) Rams will play one home game in London in each of the next three seasons, with next year’s New England game the first of the three. Ram owner Stan Kroenke also owns the Arsenal soccer team in England.
8) Speaking of the Rams, former coach Steve Spagnuolo landed on his feet, replacing Gregg Williams as DC of the Saints. He goes from 10-38 the last three years to a legit shot at a Super Bowl ring next season.
7) A’s-Mariners are opening baseball season with two games that count in Japan in late March; my problem with it is that everyone over there will root for Seattle because of Ichiro Suzuki, and fact that the Mariners are owned by Japanese interests, but the games are actually Oakland home games. That and it gives the weak-hitting A’s an extra game against Felix Hernandez, since the teams will play two more games a week later in Oakland,. after they return to America. Terrific.
6) Surprising college basketball fact; Summit League is now ranked 13th out of 32 college hoop leagues this season, with Oral Roberts/South Dakota State both in the top 100. Oakland is usually the top dog in this league, but they’re 4th or 5th this year. South Dakota State is no joke; they won by 19 at Washington.
5) If you’re a Pac-12 AD and you’re hiring a new basketball coach next year (say, at USC or Arizona State), please hire a coach who likes to play fast. Lot of Pac-12 games are on TV; they’re advertisements to your recruits. Why play slow? What kids like to play slow?
4) Indian pitcher Fausto Carmona may have been using an assumed identity and he might be three years older than the 28 he claimed LY. He got arrested this week in the Dominican Republic while trying to get a visa-- his status for this season is unclear.
3) Red Sox’ arbitration offer to David Ortiz is two years, $18M. Ortiz would like $16.5M for one year, an unusually large gap between the sides. Will be an interesting decision.
2) Would pro sports be more fun if every player on every team played under a one-year contract? I’m just asking.
1) There is a team in the NDBL called the Fort Wayne Fire Ants; they hired a new assistant coach Friday. Guy named Christian Laettner. Will be curious to see how well he does in the coaching industry.
-- Remember Baltimore Ravens were originally the Cleveland Browns? Browns' last coach before leaving Cleveland went 37-45-- guy by the name of Bill Belichick. Ravens are 1-6 against New England.
-- Danilo Gallinari had 37 points, 11 rebounds as Denver beat Knicks in OT. In hindsight, the Anthony trade looks like a huge blunder by the Knickerbockers, who seem to specialize in such things.
-- Somewhere, Bo Lamar, Machine Gun Grant and Fly Williams sit in their living rooms and say Carmelo Anthony shoots too much.
-- Dirk Nowitzki is the latest NBA star to get hurt; he'll miss the next four games with a sore knee. Not sure why the league is ripping fans off for the pay-per-view package; this year's product isn't even good.
-- Red Sox traded SS Marco Scutaro to Colorado for Mortensen, who isn't a very good pitcher. Have to figure this trade, other than it clears up $6M in salary and opens the door for another Boston move.
-- Boston media are saying that Scutaro's $6M will be directed towards signing oft-injured pitcher Roy Oswalt as a free agent.