published Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

5-at-10: College hoops today and the future, Masters week, hot time in the A-T-L

From the "Talks too much" studios, let make the magic happen.

NCAA title game

OK, we belly-ached about the state of college basketball on Monday.

And then, just like Lloyd finding the "hog" in Dumb and Dumber, the game completely redeemed itself with a classic title game.

It was compelling, competitive and complete. It was entertaining and enthralling; equal parts excellence and excitement. More than that, it was what we want from all of our championships — it was great, griping and exceptionally well-played. Well-played indeed.

Want to know how to determine a truly great game is happening as you're watching? If you get to halftime, and there could be as many as four guys as the MVP and then you continue to add names in the second half, well, you have a great game.

Peyton Siva or Trey Burke? Luke Hancock or Spike Albrecht? Louisville does not win without Chane Behanan's 15 points and 12 rebounds or center Gorgui Dieng's eight points, eight rebounds and a team-best six assists.

Here are the four things we believe this morning:

  • photo
    Louisville coach Rick Pitino instructs his team during the first half of their NCAA college basketball game against Connecticut in Louisville, Ky., Friday, Feb. 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke)

— Rick Pitino is the best coach in the country. As our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer told us today, Pitino refused to flinch throughout the NCAA tournament. He pushed the right buttons — even sitting his best player throughout the season to start the second half of the championship game — and proved yet again that his ability to adapt and overcome in just about any style is eye-popping.

Think of it this way — How many guys could take a team and overcome any of the following: Losing your top reserve to a horrific leg injury that made your bench sick; survive an inspired Cinderella when your team is playing its worst; Trail by 12 late in the first half to a team that has the national player of the year, and the best most impressive Spike since Looney Tunes quit doing new shows? How many coaches could handle any of those? Pitino handled all of them in the last eight days.

There's a great way to determine value in sports. All things considered, would you trade this player for that one? This coach for that one? Who out there would not trade their coach right now for Pitino? Duke maybe, and that's as much because of the institution of Coach K as the coaching stylings of Coach K.

— For a game to be truly great — and last night's game was exceptionally great — there has to be several "Wow" moments. Last night was the Golden Corral buffet of highlight plays. Pass the yeast rolls. Heck, we probably should have known it was going to be special when Michigan's Trey Burke hit a 26-footer on the Wolverines' second possession. And the hits just kept on coming. Albrecht and Hancock trading first-half bombs, including four 3s in 90 seconds for Hancock. Peyton Siva's perfect alley-oop lob in the Cards' late first-half run that got them back into the game.

— Sadly, yet again, the officiating was bad. One of the game's most athletic plays — Trey Burke pinning Siva's dunk attempt against the glass — became the game's most controversial. It wasn't the only really bad call, and amazingly, the misused whistles were not about block/charge rulings. They were easier calls that were botched. Goaltends, fouls and even a blatant kicked ball. We have watched middle school tournaments with better officiating than this year's tournament.

— Hats off to the Cards for allowing the 5-at-10 to win our fifth career NCAA tournament pool and first since 2003. We'd like to thank Oregon, which advanced to the Sweet 16 as we predicted. We'd like to thank Gonzaga for tanking when we thought they would tank. We'd like to thank Syracuse for getting to the Final Four as we guessed. And we'd like to say stick it to Kansas, which could have wrapped this think up long ago if they had put the clamps on Michigan when it had the chance.


Masters contest

OK, gang, inspired by the NCAA tournament bracket win — and the alleged extra entertainment in our pocket — we're offering prizes for first and second of this year's Mastering the Masterful Masters Master List challenge. (Side note: If we could get a title sponsor for this contest, we'd pick MasterLock for obvious reasons. Plus, we love those old commercials where they shoot the lock. Not sure what the lock said or did, but we're sure he got what he deserved. Side note about the side note: When a lock gets shot, do the lock cops on the radio call in and say, "Lock Down. Lock Down.")

The Masters contest rules are simple: Pick five golfers and we'll take your best four finishers. You get points for where they place (first = 1 point; 11th = 11 points) and the two lowest scores win. Of course if you pick Tiger, you only get four picks and they all count.

Here are the entries so far, with a partial list from the host (more to come):

5-at-10 — Tiger

Dawg747 — Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Matt Kuchar

McPell — Mickelson (last time I swear), Dufner, Choi, Snedeker & Kuchar.

(side note: Love the Choi pick. If he wins, your new Delta Tau Chi name will be Pure Choi... Why not?)

Sportsfan — Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Bo Van Pelt, Justin Rose, and Fred Couples

Todd962 — Schwartzel, Luke Donald, Jason Dufner, and Tiger

Fred — Couples, Tiger, Phil, Bubba

WarEagle — Louis Oosthuizen, Justin Rose, Tiger, Dustin Johnson

There are a few more in the inbox, but we wanted to keep the mojo working.


College hoops lookahead

College basketball may be the most difficult thing to project before the season starts, especially today considering there's no telling how many of the current NCAA hoops "stars" will be tomorrow's NBA bench warmers.

Think of it this way, Michigan started five underclassmen in the title game and likely will be far behind Kentucky in the preseason polls since the Cats will have a star-studded recruiting class and a slew of Michigan guys will go pro.

It's the nature of the beast.

Anyhoo, here's the best guess at the preseason top five next year:

1) Kentucky

2) Duke

3) Michigan State

4) Arizona

5) Florida

Of course that could all change, especially if several of the big names in last night's game return to the college game.


This and that

— Want a tough way to start the baseball season? New Cleveland manager Terry Francona got lost strolling to the ballpark for the Indians' home opener. Which is the better way to describe that — using the Harry Doyle classic from "Major League" with "just a bit outside, he tried for the corner and missed" or an unintentional walk?

— Former Auburn defensive back Mike McNeil, the primary source in the latest report of NCAA violations, accepted a plea deal and will serve three years for his part in the armed robbery in March 2011. Nothing really to add here, other than McNeil looked the part of an NFL player in the late stages of Auburn's magical 2010 season and that dream seems broken now.

— The Bulls opened the season with a tie last night. After one inning, the 10-10 draw was called for time. It was a good start to the year, and we believe if we play 10 games, we're most likely going to finish 0-0-10. We're surprisingly OK with that. Here's a photo of the lil' 5-at-10 — he for sure looks the part.

— Today there will be a runoff in Chattanooga's District 4. You may have read about it in the papers. After hitting 70 percent of our college football picks — including a 9-for-9 run on New Year's Day — and winning the TFP office bracket pool and the 5-at-10's own "First 1 out, last 'dog in" challenge, we feel pretty good about picking this election. We're picking the over-60 white guy.

— Shoutout to the SportTalk guys, who celebrated 24 years on the air on Monday. Congrats guys, and keep fighting the good fight.

— Also, the 5-at-10's Pop celebrates 46 years working for the same company today. Mucho congrats to the best man we know.


Today's question

We got today's question early this morning in our email:

From PDavi at 1:38 a.m.

"Looking forward to the 5 at 10 in the morning. What a game and what a year for sporting events in the city of Atlanta. Probably not worth the question but I'm not sure there's been a better group of games in any city in the same year."

From PDavi at 1:45 a.m.

"Also, it was nice seeing Dick Vitale become overwhelmed with a happiness for the sport of basketball only previously equaled by Brent Musburger describing his admiration for AJ McCarron's girlfriend."

Well-played PDavi, well-played indeed. In fact, right behind Hancock and Spike, PDavi landed the best long-range bomb.

Here's the first question: Best recent sports run by a city

a) Atlanta's crazy run of memorable events: Baseball's one-game wildcard game (you know the game in which there was infield-fly call on a ball on the warning track), the Falcons, the SEC title game, a great NFC title game, the Final Four.

b) Louisville — Sugar Bowl champs, NCAA men's champs, women's champsionship game

c) New Orleans — which seems like every third or fifth year hosts a slew of major events.

d) Other

Side question: Is anyone watching "Splash" the TV show with a slew of C-list celebs, including AJ McCarron's better half? Someone please give us an update.

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.
chas9 said...

R.I.P., Wally. You'll be missed.

Congrats to The Cards. If the women win it, too, they may run out of champagne before The Derby. Guess they'll have to drink Maker's Mark.

And well-deserved tip o' the derby to Bernie and Ricky P.

Vegas odds for 2013-14? Young Kentucky 3-1, Duke 5-1, Florida and UNC 8-1, The Vols 50-1. But they do get Maymon back.

And elsewhere in the TFP, Big Orange, Big ideas, Big condoms.

April 9, 2013 at 10:07 a.m.
Astropig said...

A couple of points:

1) Spring youth baseball is what makes life worthwhile. The times I spent playing and later coaching (and having cookouts and birthday parties under the covered sheds at the park after the games) are some of the best memories of my life. Thanks for that picture.

2) SportTalk has flavor. SportTalk has texture. SportTalk has color. It's become an icon. 24 Years in one spot in media is an eternity, given our unquenchable thirst for new and fresh.I travel a lot,so I get to listen to a lot of sportsgab. Ours is unique (and I mean that in a good way). Tip 'o the cap,gentlemen.

2A)Our family grieves for the family of Wally W. Chattanooga has lost a good friend and we hurt for his loss. Godspeed, WWW...

April 9, 2013 at 10:15 a.m.
orangeguy said...

Great sports year for Atlanta, but I'll give the title of best recent run to Louisville based on the tiebreaker that was keeping Charlie Strong from bolting to the SEC.

Apologies if this was already covered here (been a busy month at OG Enterprises), but congrats to Selena Roberts for getting eyes on her site based on a story that has proved less than factual.

I'll take Tiger, Rory, Stricker, Phil, & Mahan.

Congrats to SportTalk and condolences to all the 102.3 guys on Wally's passing. Sad day.

April 9, 2013 at 10:25 a.m.
rustyvol said...

I'll take Tiger, A. Scott, L. Westwood, and Phil.

April 9, 2013 at 10:30 a.m.
orangeguy said...

Just re-read the contest rules... Take Tiger out & replace him with Bubba for me.

April 9, 2013 at 10:45 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Thoughts and prayers to the Wally W. clan. Enjoyed his hour on the radio with JR.

9er —

Big orange aids and UTC frat boys shooting bottle rockets up each other's pants.

This calls for a stupid and futile gesture on someone's part... And we're just the guys to do it.

Astropig —

It was a lot of fun, and you're 100 percent right.

Crazy thing being a parent. You can get all the advice and all the input you want, and you still have no idea how things are so special, cool, heartbreaking, whatever, until you experience them.

Good times indeed.

Orange —

You're in, and if Serena's goal was to get people to know her site, well, she accomplished that. For better or worse sometimes.

Rusty —

You're in.

April 9, 2013 at 11:02 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Okay, where to begin.

Was a little late in learning of Wally's passing due to some unnecessary drama last night which I won't go into. I knew he wasn't in healthy shape last I saw him at the Georgia Southern game this past October. I've already done the extended tribute via Facebook this morning including the 'GOW wall. I'll repeat what I wrote on Bryan Joyce's comments. It's been proven that ANYBODY can be Howard Stern (and I like listening to Howard), but Wally was as original as Chattanooga Whiskey, Luther, and Moonpies.

The Fantastic Mr. Fox:

I'm all for the Power C being worn out there on the courses of Augusta. But only if actually gets TV time which did not happen the last two PGA events because he didn't even qualify (something Mr. Uchiyama I believe "conveniently" left out :P ). It's going to be Tiger vs. Bubba unless they decide to include a profile package on Steven assuming he makes past round one.

"Splash" is a TV show? News to me. My free cable is actually going bye-bye April 16th and given the options out there (::cough, cough,:: Netflix, ::cough, cough::) I'm not in any rush to pay and have it turned back on. At least not until I get a new TV.

City sports run: Big D was the cats meow 2-3 years ago (Super Bowl, NBA All-Star game, back to back World Series team). Mother Nature reminded Jerry about karma (read that however you like), The All-Star game was met with a huge collective yawn. Rangers have a shot for another WS run if Yuu (YUUUUUEEEEEEEE!!!!) and those other pitchers stay healthy (same with Elvis and Ian's bats).

Oh, there's also that football game in Frisco in 2014 between North Dakota State and certain team from McCallie Avenue. :P

April 9, 2013 at 11:23 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

Honestly, both Final Four games were not terrible games, in terms of quality of play. Yes, they were not tremendously exciting, but they were OK. The championship game was terrific. Honestly, college basketball could not have asked for a better all around Final Four. All three games come down to the final thirty seconds with the games close, and the quality of play was the best I've seen in the Final Four in years all the way around. Now the rest of the tournament, I agree 100%- the quality of play was terrible.

I'll need to figure out my five golfers by Thursday. (Can't take Tiger- gives me NO margin for error.)

— AND —

Phil Mickelson Bubba Watson Rory McIlroy Justin Rose Matt Kuchar

April 9, 2013 at 11:32 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Congrats to 5 Pop, as good a dude as there is.

My 5 for 5's Masters challenge:


Jason Day



And my wild card ... DA Points. Why not?

April 9, 2013 at 12:53 p.m.
ordinaryguy said...

Now we can say SPRING HAS ARRIVED, it's Masters time.... Tiger, Vijay, Rory, and Phil

April 9, 2013 at 1:24 p.m.
deboman said...

As if Atlanta needed another feather in it's cap...that Chick-Fil-A Bowl between the two sets of Tigers was one hum-dinger of a ball game.

For the Contest, I''l take P. Mickelson, Keegan Bradley, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, and Padraig Harrington.

April 9, 2013 at 1:25 p.m.
danroth22 said...

For the Masters' contest, I'll take Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Fred Couples, Adam Scott, and Jason Dufner.

April 9, 2013 at 1:29 p.m.
Stewwie said...

[After one inning, the 10-10 draw was called for time.]

Nice first start, but it stinks you only got to play one inning.

[We're picking the over-60 white guy.]

Good call since they're both over 60...haha. If Benson loses, the only incumbents on the council will be the two who ran unopposed.

The AD search committee has moved right along with their interviews which is great. It will be interesting to see who those 3 finalists are.

April 9, 2013 at 1:40 p.m.
Blueoval said...

Not posted in a while. Apparently the IT folks here at "the company" have fixed it where we can read the news but not post anymore. Oh well I now have to use my phone. Please put me down for Tiger, Mickelson, Snedeker and B Watson. Good luck in the media lottery this year Jay.

April 9, 2013 at 1:56 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

Your in.

We'll pass along the well wishes.

OG —

Vijay? VEE-JAY? We knew you supported the PEDs.

Deboman —

Who won that Chick-Fil-A game? Was it the Tigers?

DanRoth22 —

Welcome to the show and the contest kind sir. Feel free to swing by often, don't cost nothing.

Stew —

We were a little disappointed too about the one inning. So it goes in the season-opener. Let's just say we were not exactly moving quickly between pitches and such.

April 9, 2013 at 2:03 p.m.
jgreeson said...

BlueOval —

You're in.

Alas, we are frozen from the media lottery until 2019. Once they pull your name and you get to play, you are out for seven years. They pulled my name in 2003 and then in 2011 when we were eligible again.

— 5-at-10

April 9, 2013 at 2:06 p.m.
deboman said...

Yes, the good guys won that game, which made them 2-0 against other Tigers from other conferences in that barn for the season. Only 20 weeks until opening weekend. Already got the little lady prepping for the season opener against the Dawgs.

April 9, 2013 at 2:58 p.m.
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