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-- NC State led at Duke by 16 at the half, by 20 early in second half, but collapsed late and lost 78-73 in Durham. Tough loss.
-- Florida State was stuck on 37 points from 5:33 mark until the 1:13 mark, then scored 11 points in last 1:13, rescuing victory from jaws of defeat with an ugly 48-47 win over a snake-bit Virginia Tech squad.
-- Washington State's Brock Motum scored 28 points, but missed six of his last seven FTs as Arizona survived 76-72 in Pullman.
-- BYU won fast-paced, chaotic 85-84 game at San Francisco, as Dons were just 8-15 from foul line, which hurt in a close game.
-- Terrific game in Berkeley, where there wasn't a lot of defense either; Cal Bears held off a gritty Oregon team 86-83. Fun game.
-- RIP Gary Carter. A great catcher and leader. 57 is too young to go.
Friday's List of 13: Random thoughts with the weekend here
13) SMU lost 47-28 at home to UAB Wednesday; there were ten players in Division I who scored more Wednesday than the Mustangs did.
12) When was the last time, if ever, the Clippers were favored to win in Portland? Clips are now 17-82 in their history in Portland.
11) Odd story evolving out west, where the most important person in the Broncos’ offseason is a coach named Neal Mazzone, whose day job is offensive coordinator at UCLA. Mazzone is the guy helping Tim Tebow with his passing mechanics. Not sure of the connection there, but it seems like an unusual one, seeing as the Broncos have paid football coaches in Denver, some of whom even coach offense.
10) New Jersey governor Chris Christie is catching some heat for having state flags fly at half-mast Saturday, in deference to Newark native Whitney Houston’s funeral.
9) Then again, Governor Christie was front/center once again Thursday, announcing that Wrestle Mania 29 is coming to Swamp Stadium in April 2013; couldn’t one of his minions have done that? This guy almost ran for President? That might’ve been interesting.
8) Linsanity has knocked the odds of Knicks winning the NBA title down from 50-1 to 25-1. New York plays Dallas/Miami before All-Star break, which both should be very interesting games.
7) "He takes the time to get to know each individual player and what their strengths are and what makes them tick. He creates an environment for the players that instills self-confidence and allows them to play up to their talent level." Tampa Bay Rays GM Andrew Friedman, talking about his manager Joe Maddon.
Contrast this to former A’s manager Bob Geren, who seldom if ever talked to some players. Huston Street called Geren the worst person he had ever met in sports, which covers a lot of ground. How do some of these guys get managing jobs? Geren is now the Mets' bench coach.
6) Maddon signed 3-year extension this week; America’s coolest skipper has a 495-477 record in six years with Tampa Bay, which is a highly underrated record. He could be on his way to a spot in Cooperstown, if he keeps this up 4-6 more seasons. Seriously. The Rays were the worst franchise in sports before Maddon took the helm.
5) AJ Burnett rejected a trade to the Angels that would’ve brought Bobby Abreu to the Bronx; why would anyone trade for a guy who doesn’t want to play for a contender like the Angels? If winning isn’t a priority, who wants him? How hard would he try for an also-ran like the Pirates?
4) ESPN’s Jay Bilas is an elitist nitwit who writes the same article at this time every year, about how automatic bids should be eliminated, so the best 68 teams get into the NCAA tournament.
Bilas is really saying is that he wants mid/ low-major schools eliminated from the tournament, which will never happen, since two predominantly black leagues, the MEAC/SWAC, would raise holy hell. None of their teams would ever come close to getting in the NCAAs without an automatic bid. Bilas is a Dukie lawyer who should run for public office, that’s how out-of-touch he is with the average Joe.
3) It seems unfair for TV programmers to have Cupcake Wars on at the same time as Full Metal Jousting; how are people supposed to make that decision? At least they’re not up against Swamp People or Parking Wars.
2) CNBC.com had an interesting article on Modell’s Sporting Goods, which has 147 stores, 92 in NY/NJ area. They stand to make a killing off Jeremy Lin/Knicks products, which are selling like hotcakes. Last time Knicks were this popular was when Pat Riley coached the team in the mid-90’s. Modell’s is also cleaning up selling Giants Super Bowl stuff.
1) Buddy of mine sees all these Knicks #17 t-shirts/jerseys in the stands at games now, and he tells me he is touched they finally decided to honor the Nate Bowman era in Knick history. (Bowman was Willis Reed’s backup during the Knicks’ glory years). Funny guy, my friend.