published Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

5 at 10: Road to the Big Dance, Braves report and trouble for Tressel

Let's Dance

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    Terry Martin of Wofford drives between Harouna Mutombo, left, and Keaton Cole of Western Carolina in the semifinals of the Southern Conference Championships at McKenzie Arena on Sunday. Wofford won by a score of 86-72.
    Photo by John Rawlston /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Four more bids were handed out Monday, including Wofford winning the Southern Conference tournament at McKenzie Arena.

Here are the teams that already have a ticket:

Belmont (Atlantic Sun)

Gonzaga (West Coast)

Indiana State (Missouri Valley)

Morehead State (Ohio Valley)

Old Dominion (Colonial Athletic Association)

Saint Peter’s (Metro Atlantic Athletic)

UNC Asheville (Big South Conference)

Wofford (Southern Conference)

Side note: Hopefully, UTC athletic director Rick Hart negotiated a fair renting agreement with the powers that be at Wofford, because after dEEEEEEE-stroying UTC by something like 1,154 points last month and their three-day tournament run this weekend, it's obvious the Terriers flat-out own McKenzie Arena. Maybe they'll bring in some extra concerts to the Roundhouse. Is Kool & the Gang still working? What about Mr. Randy Watson? That guy is good. Good and terrible.

Where were we? Oh yeah, the Dance. Let's just move on.

College hoops update, volume 7, chapter 2

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    Tennessee's Melvin Goins (2) is helped to his feet by teammate Tennessee's Jeronne Maymon (34) after being fouled on a three point shot during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011 in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 104-84. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

— Of the list of automatic qualifiers above, Johnny Vols Fan (you too, Johnny Tide Fan and Johnny Bulldog Fan) can thank Old Dominion for handling its business against VCU on Monday. If VCU had won the CAA's automatic berth, ODU would have been another team on the dreaded bubble heading into the weekend. And if you're team is on the bubble, you want other bubble teams to lose — and lose bad.

— The college basketball marathon starts today. If you can't find some college hoops game on TV for the rest of the week, then you're not really trying. Here's a quick summary of big games coming this week, and some of the things hanging in the balance:

Tonight: Butler at UW-Milwaukee (Horizon title game)
Butler was last year's tournament darling. Tonight they play for their NCAA supper. A Butler win puts UWM on the bubble (the drama of Bruce Pearl's former school and current school — UWM and UT, respectively — each being on the bubble together could be interesting).

Thursday: Tennessee-Arkansas (SEC first round) A lot of folks have the Vols in win or lose. The 5-at-10 is not one of those folks. A neutral-court loss to a mediocre-at-best Arkansas team would be damaging.

Thursday: Georgia vs. Auburn (SEC first round)
It's tough to overstate this game for Georgia. If the brackets were selected today, the 5-at-10 has Georgia in, even after Saturday's loss against Alabama. But a loss to Auburn would be bad. Real bad. In fact, as of this morning Mr. Joe Lunardi (who is officially Mr. Bracket Big Shot, dude seriously know his stuff) has the Bulldogs and Alabama among the first four teams left out of the tournament. If Georgia loses to Auburn, the Bulldogs are done.

Friday: Michigan State vs. Purdue (Big Ten quarterfinal)
These next two have assumptions tied to them. Michigan State would have to beat Iowa on Thursday to get to this game. If the Spartans, who started the season ranked in the top five in the country, can get to Saturday — and that's a tall order considering the Boilermakers are tough — MSU will get in.

Friday: Virginia Tech-Florida State (ACC quarterfinal)
There are a couple of elimination games in the ACC draw, including this one and the BC-Clemson game. It should be an interesting week, huh?

Braves report, part I

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    Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones, right, leads teammates as catcher David Ross, left, points, loosening up during a spring training baseball workout Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The 5-at-10 asked last week which issue was the biggest for the Atlanta Braves this spring. The answers were overwhelmingly in two camps: Chipper Jones' health; what's up in centerfield.

The 5-at-10 believes the health of L-Dub (that's what we've always called one Larry Wayne "Chipper" Jones) is the biggest issue for this club, because if L-Dub can't play, then Martin Prado moves from left field to third base and then whomever does not make the cut in center will get a lot of action in left.

Here's your Braves stat(s) for the day: Nate McClouth, who is the frontrunner for the starting gig in centerfield hit his first homer of the spring Monday. Plus, it wasn't off some guy wearing No. 83 who will be bagging groceries in April; McClouth connected off Marlins closer Leo Nunez.

Another stat for you: Rookie first baseman Freddie Freeman was 3-for-3 Monday and is hitting a cool .458 this spring.

Say what, Coach Tressel

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    In this file photo, Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel looks on during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010, in Iowa City, Iowa. Ohio State won 20-17. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Reports are surfacing that Ohio State coach Jim Tressel knew eight months before it became public that several OSU players, including quarterback Terrelle Pryor, were selling gear and memorabilia. Yahoo! Sports reported that Tressel was informed before the school said it was made aware of improper transactions.

If it's true, that's bad, Bad, BAD news for Tressel. And things do not look good since Dan Wetzel is part of the Yahoo! Sports team that is reporting this, and Wetzel is among the better sports investigative journalists out there.

If we have learned anything about telling the truth at this point it's the following things: First, if any woman asks you whether she looks "heavy" or "fat" well, there's only one answer. "Absolutely not," even if she's the size of the Empire State Building; second, if you work, play or support college sports and the NCAA asks you anything, the only answer is the truth.

The NCAA has little tolerance for lies — just ask our man Bruce Pearl.

This and that

— If you have not been following the high school basketball story in Michigan, well click here. Here's a snippet about last night's win for Fennville, which elected to play in the state tournament even after its best player, Wes Leonard, died on the court after hitting the game-winning shot last week:

Leonard's absence overshadowed the game. In a tribute to their fallen teammate, Fennville sent just four players onto the court before the opening tip. The fifth player took the court after a dramatic pause to wild cheering from the crowd.

— This crying thing is getting a little bit out control. The Miami Heat cried after a regular-season loss. OK. Does that mean they're bad basketball players or mean people? Of course not. Are they sissies for squalling after a regular-season loss? Well, more than likely. Let's just move on.

— Charlie Sheen was fired from his "Two and a Half Men," and this was his response to losing a job that pays him roughly $1.8 million per episode: "This is very good news," he said. "They continue to be in breach, like so many whales. It is a big day of gladness at the Sober Valley Lodge because now I can take all of the bazillions, never have to look at [expletive] again and I never have to put on those silly shirts for as long as this warlock exists in the terrestrial dimension." Coming Wednesday, we're going to look at potential new jobs for Charlie Sheen, and let's say our old friend pretend Al Davis is planning on stopping by.

Until tomorrow.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
Eustice_Chase said...

Hopefully the NCAA will do us all a favor and suspend the "Pinky Promise Partners" and ban their Coach from ever wearing a sweater Vest as long as he coaches again! Did the 5@10 see Macho Man Randy Savage playing center for Old Dominion last night? What a way to take out the competition...elbow to the face! Hopefully the Braves have found a Freddie...that can live up to the Glory days of the Crime Dog @ Fulton County Stadium! As for Ricky " Wild Thing " Vaughn... Im sure hes happy to say Goodbye to Ducky...but lets get this a guy a gig in front of the Camera 24/7!

March 8, 2011 at 11:16 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

The skiing is terrible at Sober Valley Lodge. A lot less powder these days. Thanks, everybody, and drive home safe. You've been a great audience! Hey, nickel at dime, you assume Va. Tech will win its first round game in the ACC Tournament. And let me tell you ... it's a pretty good assumption. I was about five feet away from young Mr. Freeman last year at a G-Braves game. Dude is huge. He is eat up with big.

March 8, 2011 at 12:15 p.m.
jgreeson said...

EC, The 5-at-10 is going to reserve judgement on THE Ohio State University issue out of respect for the Sweater Vest, which is a very respectable dressing option, in our opinion. We missed the Macho Man last night — but you're not the first to inquire about his "tactics." All that was missing was a folding metal chair and/or the handful of flour in the eyes routine. Don't count on Freeman to have McGriff-type power, but that's hardly an insult. McGriff may be the most under-rated player of this generation. He was never mentioned in any steroids talk, hit 493 homers, knocked in 1,550 runs, had an awesome nickname ("Crime Dog") and should have won some sort of award for his high-hat performance in the "Tom Emanski baseball instructional video" info-mercial. That McGriff only got 17-plus percent in the most-recent voting for the Hall of Fame is a inexplicable. If Freeman hit .280-plus and around 20 homers, the Braves should be thrilled. As for "Wild Thing" Vaughn, well, wow. There's normalcy, there's the deep end, there's certifiable and then there's the place that Charlie Sheen is. Who would have thought after all we've been through that of the three future stars in "Lucas" that Charlie Sheen would have taken a bigger leap on planet Crazy than Winona Ryder and Corey Haim, who died a year ago this Thursday. Nice Ducky reference by the way. Think Jon Cryer has made enough to buy and burn all the copies of "Pretty in Pink" yet?

March 8, 2011 at 12:17 p.m.
jgreeson said...

BIspy2squared What do you think President Bartlett has to say about his wayward son? As for Va. Tech winning its ACC opener, unless the bracket got flipped and the Hokies aren't playing Georgia Tech, well, yeah, they're good. Will get more into this later in the week, but what happened to GT hoops? They used to matter. Now, the Jackets are 72 hours from putting the gear up after a season in which they lost to the mighty Owls of Kennesaw State, which just fired their coach after going 8-23 and having academic trouble. Wow. Spy, you want the over or the under on Freeman at, say, .280/18 HRs/75 RBIs? — 5-at-10

March 8, 2011 at 12:24 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

big fella, can't explain the morass that Tech hoops has entered (kinda thought perhaps Mr. Wiedmer would accompany Uch to Tech for the UTC game to write a column on "didn't you used to be Georgia Tech basketball and didn't you used to be relevant?") other than it starts at the top. And frankly, I would love to know what the quite talented Mr. Wiedmer has to say about it. As for Mr. Freeman, I'll take .265/15/83. He'll get RBI opportunities with the guys in front of him in the lineup.

March 8, 2011 at 1:23 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

McGriff is the perfect example of "outa sight outa mind" and he is considered to be guilty by association even though his name was never mentioned and there was never any sign that he used performance enhancers. Unlike our Big-Headed, Bay-Bomber Barry Bonds...Mcgriff will make his way to Cooperstown...he may have to hitch hike but he'll get there! Im sure Jon Cryer could use a fat stack of Fresh Benji's for kindling.....

March 8, 2011 at 1:24 p.m.
scole023 said...

Can Tennessee's bubble just go on and pop? So, I can watch basketball highlights on SC without vomiting in my mouth.

March 8, 2011 at 2:33 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Mr. 023, Welcome aboard. The 5-at-10 is an optimist at heart, but the only approach to watching the Vols play hoops is to expect the worst and be surprised at positive results. The only constant with this team — and with Pearl in large part — is that there is no constant. — 5-at-10 PS — Apparently Tiki Barber is planning to end his retirement and return to the NFL. He must have misunderstood the public sentiment that people just wanted him to quit his TV gig, not get back into football. Ladies and gentlemen, release the hounds.

March 8, 2011 at 2:50 p.m.
scole023 said...

Let's hope that doesn't open the floodgates for commentators that honestly believe their old team, or even worse, the sport as a whole just hasn't been the same without them. True is both are true, but neither has been worse.

March 8, 2011 at 3:20 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Secret Agent 023 Couldn't agree more. Hey it's been at least a day since we unloaded a good list. Now that Tiki's off the list, what's your five worst former-athlete commentators (either live game or studio host, and they need to be at somewhat at a national level) of all-time? Here's the 5-at-10's: 1. Joe Morgan 2. Tim McCarver 3. Magic Johnson 4. Shannon Sharpe 5. There's a pretty good-sized group that rotates depending on the season. Right now we'll go with Bruce Bowen.

March 8, 2011 at 3:35 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...
  1. JOhn Kruk...Kruky is great on the Baseball Tonight Staff...but when it comes to commentating...he hes a Phillie...I hate Phillies 2. Phil Simms 3.Nomar Garciaparra 4. Buck Showwalter...good thing he got a coaching gig 5. Chris Collinsworth...He is single handly sinking the Al Michaels Ship
March 8, 2011 at 3:49 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Tiki Barber did TV? Did I miss something?

March 8, 2011 at 4:25 p.m.
jgreeson said...

EC, Garciaparra is a great call. I actually like Collinsworth, though.

BIspy4 — Barber did like a season or two with NBC when they started doing Sunday night football. He was so bad, he made Jerome Bettis look good. (Sorry, SteelerFan).

For what it's worth, a friend of the show e-mailed in "Emmitt Smith, end of discussion," and he may be spot on.

As for good ones, well, let's just say we're going to have more on that in tomorrow's 5-at-10.

March 8, 2011 at 4:32 p.m.
scole023 said...

Looking at the photo of Charlie Sheen above with caption "Charlie Sheen is ready to meet Al Davis" -- has anyone seen the two of them at the same time in recent weeks? Either together or in separate locations? I'm not normally a conspiracy theorist, but are we sure there really are two separate people here?

Was she a pro? At this point, we don't know................

March 8, 2011 at 6:16 p.m.
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