published Thursday, March 15th, 2012

5 at 10: Atlanta Braves, Peyton watch and the Madness of March begins

Couple of reminders before we get going: There's a spot in Friday's mailbag still open, and we are taking entries for the Underrated/Overrated Challenge until noon. If you want to play send us which No. 1 seed you think will lose first and which double-digit seed lasts the longest. We'll have another contest next week, too.

From the "Talk Too Much studios," let's go.

2012 NCAA Tournament bracket
2012 NCAA Tournament bracket

The madness of March

And we're here. The waiting, the meaningless regular-season drudgery, the somewhat uninspired finish to the season for most of the college hoops powers, all of it is over.

We're here, we're at the Big Dance, and it's great.

We detailed a bunch of the mind-bending, eye-popping odds of filling out a perfect bracket in today's TFP here (Greeson: In March Madness the odds are against you). (We also offered some bracket tips.)

So here we are, and we have to say, we're pretty stoked. The first two days are the best — with everyone thinking their sheets are ruined by this upset or that close lose. (If you lose a Final Four team today, your sheet is cooked, if not, enjoy the crazy ride.)

Here's our Final Four — Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio State and UNC. We picked that in Monday's TFP, and we noticed that it's the same Final Four as President Obama's. (Somehow that feels like a bad thing, right? Who knows, maybe he's the First Fan of the 5-at-10? If that's the case, feel free to chime in big guy.)

We have UK beating Missouri and UNC beating Ohio State to set up a power-player title game with UK winning the whole thing. They've been the best team with the best player all season, and in a year of big-time college hoops, it would be a fitting finish with the big boys fighting it out.

  • photo
    Fans wait outside the Tennessee Titans NFL football team offices for a glimpse of former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning while Manning meets with team officials inside on Wednesday, March 14, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Eight hours?

Dressed in a Tennessee Vols orange pullover, Peyton Manning and the Tennessee Titans met for eight hours Wednesday. Eight hours. Sweet buckets of extended stay motel receipts, we know people who have had relationships that didn't last eight hours (we're looking at you Spy, you heartbreaker).

What do you talk to a potential free agent for eight hours about?

Titans coach Mike Munchak: Peyton, we're glad to have you. As you know, our owner Bud Adams is crazy.....

Peyton Manning: What? What did you say?

Titans coach Mike Munchak: He's crazy ABOUT YOU. Sorry had something in my throat. Bud is crazy about you. We all are.

Peyton Manning: Oh. OK. Thanks.

Titans coach Mike Munchak: Here is the state of the art film room we've just installed and we know your love for preparation, so we've upgraded some of the facilities. Are there any questions I can answer.

Peyton Manning: Sure. Can I have complete control of the offense. Bud said I could.

Titans coach Mike Munchak: Uh, well, you see....

Bud Adams: Anything you want Peyton. Anything. Here's the keys to Mike's car, you want it? Hold on the Governor's on the phone.

(Bud hands the phone to Peyton.)

Governor Bill Haslam: Hi, Peyton, how are you? You remember my dad right? Hope you think about coming home to Tennessee. It would be great.

Peyton Manning: Was that the Governor, or was that Dana Carvey? I get them confused. OK, back to the offense.

(Bud Adams stares at Munchak.)

Titans coach Mike Munchak: Whatever you like big guy.

Peyton Manning: OK, what else you got?

Titans coach Mike Munchak: Have you seen the film room?

What would that take like 5 minutes, tops? That said, if the Titans land Peyton, it would be the single smartest marketing move in sports history. Has there every been a professional player who did not play for the pro franchise in that state connect with a state more than Manning has with Tennessee? Maybe if Bird had gone back to Indiana, but by that point he was the Celtics. Maybe if Jordan had returned to Carolina, but that was not an option.

This is such a win-win off the field, it's hard not to want this to happen, even if you're not a Titans fan.

  • photo
    Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward prepares to take the field prior to the bottom of the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Wednesday, July 28, 2010, in Washington.(AP Photo/Drew Angerer)

Time for concern?

The Braves topped Washington 6-5 in spring training action Wednesday. That doubled Atlanta's win total for the spring. Seriously.

Yes, it's spring training, and yes, this are scrimmages, but sweet buckets of bad batting, this looks like reason for pause. Check the offensive numbers of a Braves team that is now 2-10-1:

After hitting a grand total of four homers in their first 12 spring games, the Braves hit three Wednesday.

Chipper Jones got his first hit of the spring Wednesday.

Jason Heyward is hitting .143, and that's 30 points higher than Freddie Freeman and 43 points higher than Tyler Pastornicky, who figures to be the everyday shortstop.

OK, forget this. It's spring training. We've got the tournament to consume us for the next four days. Happy thoughts. Happy thoughts.

(We'll definitely check back in on the Braves next week, but is this cause for concern? Discuss.)

  • photo
    Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson celebrates after scoring during the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game against the New Orleans Saints Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

This and that

— Hey, we've never begrudged an NFL player for the cash he makes. It's a rough game. But, wow, the love and big bucks the wide receivers are getting from owners in today's market is staggering. Yes, you can make an argument that Calvin Johnson deserves the richest contract ever afforded a wide receiver — an eight-year, $132 million deal that includes more than $60 million in guaranteed money. But Desean Jackson resigned with the Eagles for five years and $51 million and he quit of his team midway through last year. And some dude named Laurent Robinson signed a five-year, $32.5 million deal. Wow.

— Hey we all know he can dunk everything this side of a doughnut, but did you see that Blake Griffin shot back-to-back air balls on free throws Wednesday night. Hey, we'll never know what it's like to dunk like he does, but we'll also never know what it's like to air ball consecutive free throws, either.

— Mike D'Antoni abruptly resigned Wednesday and caused every NBA analyst to use the phrase "lost the locker room." How do you lose a locker room? Is it not in the same place it's been for the last x-number of years? All kidding aside, OK, if that's how you view it Mike, knock yourself out.

— We'll be updating the 5-at-10 clan with tournament results throughout the afternoon. So come back and enjoy.

Today's question

We talked about how the Vols could make a run in the NIT. And we believe that.

Question for the group: Which is better, your team getting to NYC and making the finals of the NIT or making the NCAA field getting bounced in the First Four in Dayton like Iona or Cal?


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.
dawg747 said...

First Out: Syracuse Last In: VCU

March 15, 2012 at 10:38 a.m.
Livn4life said...

I AM SOOOO GLAD someone besides me sees Dana Carvey in Governor Haslam, no disrespect intended. When he was running, I asked my wife, can't you see Mr. Haslam saying, "Vote for me, I wanna be your governor. I'll do the job, don't wanna just be a pretty face who didn't get in." Sort of the way Carvey mimicked H.W. Bush in saying "Vote for me, don't wanna be a one term president." If he can get Manning to Nashville, Carvey look alike or not, just do it Bill uh-ur Mr. Governor. For this UT team, getting to NYC and the final of the NIT would be huge! Most detractors and x-purts say it's better to get smacked in the first round of the NCAA. All I can say is remember UT's big die-down last season in the NCAA. Personally, I never want to see something that ugly ever again. Now Bring On The Games Baby!

March 15, 2012 at 10:47 a.m.

Looking at what is best for this year's Tennessee team and the program overall, I would say getting to play more games is much better than playing one and done. No one will remember that UT had a streak of 6 NCAA's in a row if they can get to NYC.

I'm not concerned with the Braves. It's still winter.

March 15, 2012 at 12:19 p.m.
fechancellor said...

Ten Ring, deep in the NIT is better than an immediate exit from the NCAA play-in game. The Vols are at home collecting gate, while a player like Yemi Makanjuola is on the floor producing. Then there's Stokes, who benefits from each extra game the Vols can play this year to continue sharpening his game.

March 15, 2012 at 12:27 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

5er, I'm gonna go off the board a little and ask a hypothetical question.

Let's say you go out of your way, like 20 to 30 minutes out of your way, to return a pair of sunglasses. Said recipient neither acknowledges nor offers thanks for return of sunglasses.

How fast do you lose her number from your cell phone?

Thanks, and I'll hang up and listen. Remember, it's a purely hypothetical question, an exercise in semantics, if you will.

March 15, 2012 at 1:41 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Dawg —

You're in, and we like the VCU pick. That Shaka is Smart.

Livin (Large) —

Thanks, and here's saying that if Haslam runs for president, Carvey will have a Fey/Palin type return to SNL spotlight.

And we agree with you and BTG that for this UT this year, an NIT run would be better. But that's the exception not the rule.

FE to the C —

Great point about Stokes. Dude needs as many games as possible.

Spy —

We never delete any numbers from our cell phone. Never. For several reasons: Never know when you might need it, and if you delete, you won't know to ignore it when it calls.

That said, anyone who can't even muster a thanks for an extra-effort deed as described is not worth the trouble. Unless of course you want to crank call her — another reason not to delete it.

— 5-at-10

March 15, 2012 at 2:10 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

No ... not crank calling. Even that's beneath me. And very little is. And don't worry, I know the number so well, I'd recognize it if it popped up on the phone. But it won't.

Been stuck watching BYU-Marquette here while Louisville-Davidson played. You know, I've been to three of the four cities that host those fine institutions and two of them aren't real close to where I am. In fact, they are quite a ways away. But that's the game I got stuck watching on the office TV. Thanks, CBS. Thanks a lot.

March 15, 2012 at 4:10 p.m.
chas9 said...

The conventional wisdom on chances of a #16 seed beating a #1 is that it's all but impossible. I don't look for The Hilltoppers to take out The Cats, but you young sprouts look up the OT Murray vs. Michigan State game. And the Racers are hot again!

March 15, 2012 at 4:43 p.m.
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