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SPOOKY'S THATS A BAD HAT HARRY SWEET SIXTEEN EXPRESS
-- Seahawks signed Matt Flynn to a 3-year, $26M deal. How come no one wants to play quarterback for the Dolphins?
-- Luke Donald won the PGA event in Tampa this weekend, and for what its worth, he's back at #1 in the world rankings.
-- St John's freshman Moe Harkless, who scored 15.5 ppg this season for a bad team, will announce Monday that he's going pro. Hard to believe that another year in college wouldn't have increased his earning power.
-- John Cahill, one of the best college refs in the country who lives in Albany, has been out the last few weeks with a stress fracture in his leg. He's a good guy-- hope the leg heals up soon.
-- Cactus/Grapefruit Leagues hit their halfway mark this weekend. Wow, spring training seems like it lasts a long time (because it does.....lol).
-- It was 75 in Chicago Sunday, fifth day in row they set all-time high for temperatures in the Windy City. Strange weather we're having.
6 Straight Posted winners this weekend. So maybe that should be my six-pack for Monday.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.........
13) North Carolina easily beat a defense-less Creighton team, but in process lost its point guard, as Kendall Marshall broke his wrist on a fall midway in the second half. He is scheduled to be operated on Monday. Hard to believe he could play next weekend. Big loss for the Tar Heels.
12) Reality set in for a Norfolk State team that celebrated a little too much after upsetting Missouri. Spartans got shredded by Florida 84-50; it was an ugly 47-19 at halftime. Missouri people must've loved seeing that.
11) The other 15-seed to win Friday was Lehigh- they led Xavier 35-20 in the first half, but ran out of gas, missed 19 of 22 treys and got beat 70-58, the first game they lost by double figures all season.
#15 seeds that pulled first round upsets are now 0-6 in second round games, 1-4-1 against the spread.
10) Saint Louis fought their hearts out against Michigan State, but you can not shoot 35.3% (7-25 from arc) and win; Billikens did Tom Izzo one big favor by beating a Memphis team that was talented enough to beat State.
9) NC State took a long time last spring when they hired a new hoop coach; from everything we read, Mark Gottfried was nowhere near their top pick for the job, but he got the job and now everyone is happy. State is in the Sweet 16 despite shooting 37% from the floor, 19-31 from the line, beating Georgetown 66-63. Henry Sims' foul trouble doomed the Hoyas.
8) Florida State's mediocre guards doomed them down the stretch, as they were outscored 13-6 over the last 1:45, and lost 62-56 to the Bearcats. Was an excellent year, disappointing end for Leonard Hamilton's Seminoles.
7) We don't seee enough MAC basketball on ESPN; teams are athletic and play a fun style. Ohio Bobcats beat South Florida 62-56, the first team in dozen games to score 60+ against the Bulls. Now Ohio plays a UNC squad that won't have a D-I quality point guard playing with Marshall out.
Ohio is first MAC team in Sweet 16 in ten years; last team was Kent State, coached by Stan Heath, the coach Ohio beat Sunday.
Quick question: what does CBS do with Clark Kellogg if Ohio makes it to the Final Four with his son on the team? No way he could broadcast their game and be anything close to impartial.
6) Indiana's last-second shot that beat Kentucky in December was shown on ESPN so much that John Calipari actually thanked them for pissing off the guys on his team. We'll see the rematch in Atlanta this week; Atlanta, by the way, is SEC country. Kentucky fans call it Cat-lanta.
5) New Mexico's loss Saturday night left the Sweet 16 without any teams in the Mountain or Pacific time zones.
4) Four of the Sweet 16 are from Ohio; Cincinnati-Ohio State play next, and Ohio U/Xavier also advanced. Big weekend for the Buckeye State.
3) Conference breakdown: 16 teams left-- four each from Big East and Big Dozen; two each from ACC, SEC and Big X. One each from MAC/A-14. Three double digit seeds made it this far. .
2) When the dust cleared after an outstanding weekend of basketball, out of 48 games, favorites were 23-23-2 against the spread; 16-15-1 in first round, 7-8-1 in second round. Outstanding entertainment.
1) Read interesting article this weekend on how Indiana coach Tom Crean decided how to tweak his program after doing prep work for being on TV during last year's tournament-- Hoosiers reduced their foul rate from #333 to #114 in country, and won a hell of a lot more games. Of course, Zeller was a big reason why, too. At the end of any day, players win games.
12) Its funny how the biggest winner in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes might be the Jaguars’ ticket office, since it probably means the Broncos will trade Tebow to northern Florida, where he is a god.
Not sure if its good news for the Jags’ new coach, since he will be stuck with a project QB who is extremely popular with the home fans, and will spur a big boost in ticket sales, but isn't an accurate passer.
First big decision for the Jags' new owner, Shahid Khan.
11) 25% of the Sweet head coaches, that’s four out of 16, were student managers, not players in college. Mick Cronin/Scott Drew are coach’s sons; Tom Crean/Buzz Williams are the other two. I mention this because that’s how I put myself through college, and yes, it makes me feel good to see guys like that succeed.
10) Jamaal Tinsley is a 34-year old NBA veteran trying to extend his career as long as he can; he hadn’t been playing much for the Jazz, so as part of his game day training regimen, he ran twice a day before the game, runs totaling nine miles. That’s the kind of dedication it takes to be a professional.
9) Over the last five years, Georgetown is 2-4 in the NCAA tournament; teams they beat were 14-15 seeds; teams they lost to were 10-11-11-14 seeds. Not an impressive record there.
8) Manager of sportsbook at Ceaser’s Palace said the book made $300,000 Sunday, just on the Cincinnati-Florida State game, as bettors tried to get even with the last game of the weekend.
7) If you go to spring training games in Florida, you can go see the Rays or the Mets for as little as $9. If you go to see the Bronx Bombers play, tickets range from $20 to $40, for spring training games in a minor league park.
6) Rays’ OF Sam Fuld’s mom is a state senator from New Hampshire.
5) College basketball is such a long season. Cincinnati Bearcats are in the Sweet 16, their season is now a rousing success, but back on Nov 19, when they lost at home to Presbyterian, things weren’t looking quite as rosy. Lot can change in a couple months.
4) NC State coach Mark Gottfried was seen on camera celebrating with his players when the Wolfpack were shown as an 11 seed in the tournament. For the kids, it was their first shot at March Madness. For Gottfried, in addition to this season becoming a full-blown success, it meant he also bagged a $1.5M bonus. Not a bad day’s work.
3) Hard to believe that VCU scored on only two of its last 16 possessions Saturday. They had Indiana by the throat but let them get away, much to Kentucky’s delight. Wildcats will be out for revenge Friday night.
2) Mets’ ownership settled the Madoff case for $162M, very bad news for Met fans, since it means the inept Wilpons will likely stay in charge of the team. They’re both corrupt and stupid, always an excellent combination.
1) Seriously, how happy is John Fox today? He looked like a genius the way he milked a playoff spot out of the Broncos last year, now he gets handed Peyton Manning, supposedly healthy as ever. Rest of the AFC West can’t be very freakin’ happy.
-- UMass came back from down 10 at the half to beat Drexel and advance to the NIT semifinals in New York next week.
-- Danny Hurley left Wagner for Rhode Island. Hard for low majors like Wagner to maintain excellence; as soon as a coach wins a little, he's off to greener pa$ture$. Just the way it is.
-- Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton is lobbying hard for the Illinois job; Michael Jordan once hired Hamilton to coach the Wizards, and one of his assistants has strong recruiting ties in Chicago. He would do well there.
-- Washington Huskies outlasted Oregon 90-86, are also headed to NYC for the NIT semifinals; curious to see if all the Huskies come back next season or stupidly bolt early for the NBA.
-- When Octavio Dotel gets in his first game this season, he'll set a new big league record by playing for his 13th big league team in only 13 years.
-- Best wishes go out to Jerry Tarkanian, who had a mild heart attack on Tuesday. Luckily for him, he was in a doctor's office when it happened and is said to be doing well. It is ridiculously stupid that the 81-year old Tarkanian isn't in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.........
13) 6.45M brackets were entered on ESPN.com; after the first weekend, only three were perfect. Three. Out of 6.45 million.
12) Ohio State played Cincinnati for the national title in basketball in both 1961 and 1962 (Robert M Knight was a Buckeye sub back in those days), but they’ve only played once since, in 2006, with Ohio State winning 72-50 in Mick Cronin’s first year as UC coach. Dick Vitale wrote some stuff on ESPN.com this week saying its Ohio State that doesn't want to play.
11) Four Big East teams are in the Sweet 16, but with three of them being Cincinnati-Louisville-Marquette, it might be more accurate to note that the old Conference USA is having an excellent tournament (had Memphis/ Florida State in, too).
10) You wonder why the 49ers went after Peyton Manning; they just had a great season with Alex Smith at QB- he bonded with his new coach, most every intangible went their way, and they seemed to have a bright future. Question has to be asked; did the pursuit of Manning damage the Harbaugh/ Smith relationship? Smith re-signed with the Niners, and we all know its a business, but some damage had to be done there.
9) How tough are football players? Patriots lineman Logan Mankins unknowingly played in the Super Bowl with a torn ACL; he had it operated on right after, which is why the Pats signed Robert Gallery this week to play some guard next season.
8) Danilo Gallinari broke his thumb Monday, is out 3-4 weeks, which is most of the rest of the regular season, which cripples Denver’s chances of making the playoffs. This is a year where anyone can win the title; just get in the tournament and see what happens, but this injury really hurts the Nuggets.
7) Southern Illinois wants Bruce Weber back as hoop coach, which makes sense- they won a lot when he was there the first time, which is how he got the Illinois gig. He seems like more of an MVC guy than a big-timer, and that’s a compliment. Illinois wants Shaka Smart; no idea what direction they’ll go in if Smart turns them down.
6) Why is Vladimir Guerrero unemployed? Wouldn't the A's be better off with Guerrero at DH and no Coco Crisp/Manny Ramirez, especially since Cespedes is going to play CF? Hard to believe the Bronx baseball team be improved if they had Guerrero as DH, or are they stuck with having to rest their aging stars as DHs every so often?
5) Top free agent pitchers next winter are Matt Cain/Cole Hamels. Both figure to get ridiculously wealthy if they stay healthy this season.
4) Southern Miss revoked the band scholarships of five musicians who hurled racial slurs at a Kansas State player last week; I had no idea band members even got scholarships. Now after seeing Oregon’s cheerleaders, I’m wondering if they get financial aid. Couple of them should.......lol
3) If the NBA playoffs started tomorrow, which they do not, the first round matchups would be:
East: Knicks @ Bulls; Celtics @ Heat; Pacers @ 76ers; Hawks @ Magic.
West: Rockets @ Thunder; Nuggets @ Spurs; Mavs @ Clippers; Grizzlies @ Lakers.
2) In the NHL, same scenario, matchups would be:
East: Washington-Rangers; Ottawa-Boston; New Jersey-Florida; Philly-Pittsburgh.
West, Kings-St Louis; Colorado-Vancouver; Chicago-Dallas and Detroit-Nashville.
1) Not a lot of enthusiasm for the Metropolitans in the Big Apple. Lousy ownership does that to a fanbase. Mets haven’t sold out their home opener yet. Think even the A’s and Pirates sell out the home opener.