Remember about the Friday mailbag — we want your e-mail, because competition breeds success. Today, we're going more traditional than yesterday's 1980s rap throwback show. (Still a great idea, Osograndeee, and one we may have to revisit in the not-too-distant future.) That said bear with us this morning, the 5-at-10 Princess will be 11 months old within the week and apparently she wanted to celebrate like her old man used to and howl at the moon all night. What day is it? Alas.
Here we go, and remember everyone's comments are always welcomed...
Bruce Pearl and forward Tyler Smith embrace after Tennessee's first round win over American at the 2008 NCAA East Regional tournament. AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis
A little stabilizing in UT hoops
The five names leaked that are reportedly atop the University of Tennessee's list to replace Bruce Pearl are a mixed bag that ranges from nice names (Alabama's Anthony Grant and Texas A&M's Mark Turgeon) to pipe dreams (uh, Jay Wright is not, repeat NOT leaving Villanova, and the same can be said for Jamie Dixon at Pitt) to front-runner (Gregg Marshall, c'mon down).
Marshall, who beat College of Charleston last night — something that Pearl could not do earlier this season, has Wichita State in the NIT semifinals. He has ties to the South from his time at Winthrop and he was among the finalists for the UT job before the Vols picked Buzz Peterson more than a decade ago.
Is Marshall the right guy? Man that's a tough question, because this is a pretty tough job after what Pearl accomplished on the court and the havoc he wreaked off it.
Plus, there's the dangers of falling for the hot name out there as our TFP ace Mark Wiedmer discussed HERE.
Marshall appears to be the leader, but it's hard to know if he's the answer.
But know this, with jobs open at Missouri (Mike Anderson left the Tigers for the Arkansas job), Georgia Tech, N.C. State and Oklahoma among others, names such as Marshall and Grant and VCU's Shaka Smart will be frequently tossed about. That makes for entertaining discussions. The closing windows and number of openings may mean ADs and search firms have to move quickly than they would like.
Will be an interesting couple of weeks, huh?
Staff Photo by Patrick Smith Tennessee quarterback's coach Darrin Hinshaw talks on the sidelines with freshman quarterback Tyler Bray (8) during the fourth quarter of Saturday's game against Georgia.
UT football spring break(down), Part I
More times than not, quarterbacks, like head coaches, get too much credit for wins and too much blame for losses. So it goes.
For last year's Tennessee Vols, that was seldom the case because of the margin of most of the defeats and the realization that Matt Simms and Tyler Bray were dropped into a mountainous challenge.
Now, each has a year under the coaching staff. Each has been through a spring practice. Each has a chance to be the guy.
While each has more experience, it's obviously Bray's job to lose. He seized the moment in a strong second-half showing at South Carolina last year and started each of the last four regular-season games (all wins) and the bowl game (a hard-to-forget overtime loss to North Carolina).
Let's just throw it out there: Bray has the tools to be at the very least a good SEC quarterback, and the mix of his arm and his height and his moxie could make for a big-time college quarterback. That said, his growth in areas that do not include completion percentage and pre-snap checks are paramount.
What's you're lasting image of Bray last year? Was it the amazing TD throw against South Carolina? Was it the reports that while the game was still going on, he was crying on the sideline after his OT interception in the Music City Bowl loss to North Carolina? Was it the first-quarter barrage against Ole Miss or the first-half throat-slash in the bowl game?
Hey, he was an 18-year-old freshman, put in a pressure-filled situation. It's early in his career, but Bray's biggest steps this spring will be taken without a football in his hands and without a coach looking over his shoulder. Is he ready to be the man — figuratively and literally?
Kansas State's Curtis Kelly, left, falls back after trying to get a shot off as Utah State's Brady Jardine (22), Tyler Newbold (24) and Morgan Grim (21) look on during a Southeast Regional NCAA college basketball tournament second round game Thursday, March 17, 2011, in Tucson, Ariz. Kansas State's Shane Southwell (1) looks on at left. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
NCAA tournament look ahead
Big night for the 5-at-10's office bracket (let's just say we need Jimmer Fredette to be less than his Jimmer-ific self).
There are four games tonight. Think we can give out picks in 10 words or less? Yes, this would a rare-and-never-before attempted 4-in-10 at the 5-at-10. (What's the state record for hyphens in a sentence?)
Duke vs. Arizona: Duke's Kyrie Irving's atop most NBA draft boards. That's enough.
UConn vs. San Diego State: SDSU's Kawhi Leonard can play, but he's no Kemba Walker.
Butler vs. Wisconsin: Low-scoring slugfest made-to-order for Badgers. Sorry, Brad.
BYU vs. Florida: Gators have balance; Cougars have Jimmer. Jimmer by a nose.
While we're here, let's check on the tie-breaker for the Underrated/Overrated Bracket challenge. Each of the teams that tied for first needs to submit three players, and the trio that combines to score the most points in the next two rounds will be the winner. In an effort to limit duplicate entries, you can select either Jimmer Fredette or Kemba Walker, but not both. And if there are duplicate entries, the first one received will get the tiebreaker edge, so either be quick or be creative. And remember, everyone is welcome to play — whether you're in the tie-breaker or not, because what's better than bragging rights on a family-oriented, Intertube rambling web-based sports column? OK, money's better. And fame. But bragging rights are up there somewhere.
Quick updates on the tie-breaker (in the order in which they were received):
EC — The Morris Bros. (Zac and Mercury), Nolan Smith
5-at-10 — Jimmer Fredette, Nolan Smith, Harrison Barnes
Charlie S. — Jimmer Fredette, Brandon Knight, Jared "Tiger Blood" Sullinger
Pretend Al Davis — Kenny Stabler, Lew Alcinder, DITKA
Bigbearzzz — Tyler Zeller, Nolan Smith, Kemba Walker
OTWatcher — Jared Sullinger, Kyle Singlar, Jimmer Fredette
ThatIdoKnow — Jared Sullinger, Nolan Smith, Kemba Walker
STILL NEED PLAYER TRIOS FROM:
Chris Goforth from "The Show" on Fox 1310AM
Quake from SportTalk on 102.3 FM
Dr. B (He's a doctor after all) from SportTalk on 102.3 FM
Darrell Patterson, Channel 9 sports anchor
In this image made with a slow shutter, Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Tommy Hanson throws a pitch in the third inning of a spring training baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Wednesday, March 16, 2011 in Kissimmee, Fla. Atlanta won 4-3. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Atlanta Braves spring update, Volume 2, Chapter 4
Did you see Tommy Hanson's line in a minor league start Wednesday? It was less than stellar — 5.1 innings, five runs allowed, including a pair of homers. The big news, though, was that the stiff back that caused Hanson to miss Monday's start was a non-issue. "His back was fine," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told reporters Wednesday.
Hanson is a sneaky question mark for these Braves. He's got big-time talent, there's no doubt, but is he ready to be a No. 1- or 2-type of starter? The Braves have a No. 1 with Tim Hudson, and then there's a group of solid-to-good pitchers that can range between No. 4 starters to No. 2 starters.
In a perfect world for Johnny Braves Fans everywhere, Hanson will be the No. 2 guy sooner rather than later. Sure, Jair Jurrjens, who will pitch today against Toronto, and Derek Lowe can be a No. 2 starter, but this needs to be Hanson's spot and let the others fall in place.
Having to put a No. 2 starter in the No. 4 spot in your rotation is a great problem to have. Having three No. 4 starters and hoping one of them will be a No. 2 is less than desirable. Of course, despite the grief we gave the Phillies rotation, having three No. 1s and scattering them about is pretty sweet, too. (Case in point: While the Braves are wondering who will emerge as their No. 2 starter, the Phillies are deciding which surefire No. 1 — Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay — will be their No. 2).
L-Dub update: Larry Wayne "Chipper" Jones, who we affectionately call L-Dub, continues to dazzle this spring. He had a two-out RBI double off of Marlins' starter Ricky Nolasco in Wednesday's 4-4 tie — a game in which Chipper played nine innings for the first time this spring. He was 1-for-4 Wednesday and has 14 hits in his last 25 at-bats.
Here's what Jones told MLB.com: "I'm just anxious [to get the season started]. The one thing you want coming out of spring training is confidence, and I got it. Hopefully, it flows over into the season."
This and That
— The numbers coming out of Auburn are staggering. And no, were not even talking about arrest reports and/or legal fees (And please remember to tip your wait staff). According to various reports the scholarship count for the defending national champs is around 53 or 54. From last year's roster, the Tigers lost 22 seniors, three players declared for the draft, another five have been dismissed for run-ins with various law-enforcing agencies in the greater Lee County, Alabama area, another four with eligibility remaining are no longer on the roster. Buckets, the Tigers may have to bring in another team to scrimmage on A-Day.
— We talked about the All-Duncan team yesterday. Be thinking about players from all sports you would include on the All-Duncan team, which is named for Tim Duncan and signifies players who would have been much, Much, MUCH bigger stars if they had not spent most of their careers in a relatively low-keyed city. Here's one: Ichiro. Discuss.
— Well, it looks like we're going to need to form an All-LT team, too, and this one is named after Lawrence Taylor and is for all-time greats who also are all-time scumbags. After avoiding jail time by pleading guilty to two misdemeanors — sexual misconduct and patronizing a 16-year-old prostitute — stemming from an incident in May 2010, here is how Taylor tried to explain the situation on Fox News Wednesday: "That's not my M.O. I've been around kids and people all my life. I'm not the cause of prostitution. And sometimes I make mistakes and I may go out there. And I didn't go pick her up on no playground. She wasn't hiding behind the school bus or getting off a school bus. This is a working girl that came to my room. ... It's the world of prostitution. You never know what you're gonna get. Is it gonna be a pretty girl, an ugly girl or whatever it's gonna be. ...You can only ask [about their age] I don't card them. I don't ask for a birth certificate." You stay classy, LT. And please say hello to Ty Cobb and O.J. Simpson as charter members of the All-LT all-time scumbag squad.
— Sweet Granny Clampett, Lou Holtz is getting a honorary doctorate from Notre Dame. Read that again. Among some of the others to get honorary degrees this May will be Iranian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Prize-winning physicist John Mather, former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin and Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas. Uhhhhh, let's go old-school Sesame Street here: "One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn't belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?"
— Until tomorrow and the Mailbag.
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 ...