published Monday, April 7th, 2014

5-at-10: True Madness, Masters contest, sports movies title shot and who won the weekend?

Seeing may be believing and we're not sure we believe the run Kentucky is on. So it goes.

From the "Talks too much" studios, Sam Bowie is not walking through that door.

NCAA Hoops

Kentucky is awesome. UConn is clutch.

Kentucky is clutch. UConn is awesome.

John Calipari may have done his finest coaching job, and did it in the heat and pressure of possibly being the nation's biggest underachievers during the regular season.

UConn's Kevin Ollie has weathered the storm of NCAA violations that forced his Huskies to sit out last year's Dance. Now they are a No. 7-seed playing for a title. Weathered indeed.

So what do we know and what do we think we know? Here's a power five checklist:

  • We know that we want the ball in Aaron Harrison's hands with the game on the line. The UK freshman guard has delivered the greatest clutch run in college hoops history, hitting a trio of treys that proved to be game-winners in the final seconds in this tournament.

  • We know that UK and UConn's run here validates that the regular season in college hoops is meaningless. Each perennial power struggles mightily. Each rambled out of the rankings and into the tournament. Each was viewed in the powerful prism of underachieving. Each is 40 minutes away from a championship.

  • We know that we undersold the elite kids in the one-and-done carousel, and we will not make that mistake again. And here's why — and this undercuts Coach Cal's season-long lament that these are freshmen: These elite-level AAU stars and McDonald's All-Americans know when the games matter. They have played in big games since they were in junior high. At 19, they have competed for numerous national titles at almost every level. This is old hat. And UK is showing that poise and purpose now that the real season has started.

  • We know that TFP columnist ace Mark Wiedmer has been his usual excellent self at this Final Four. Here is today's award-worthy submission on the NCAA's unknown future, http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2014/apr/07/final-four-hides-many-of-ncaas-woes/

  • We also believe UConn's magic and desire fall short tonight. UK 74, UConn 61. We do know that UConn ended our bracket chance at a repeat in the TFP pool. Alas. So it goes.

————

Masters

No Tiger, no problem.

It's Augusta National for crying out loud and after some early week rain, the forecast looks splendid.

So what should we do? We should have a contest and give stuff away of course.

Here's the Masterfully Mastering the Masters rules:

Pick four golfers, your top three count. Lowest cumulative score wins. Winner gets some Masters gear. Deal? Deal.

And with no Tiger, well, the entries could be quite varied.

Here are the odds for the favorties, according to Golfweek.com:

Rory McIlroy . . . 8/1

Adam Scott . . . 10/1

Jason Day . . . 10/1

Phil Mickelson . . . 15/1

Dustin Johnson . . . 15/1

Henrik Stenson . . . 20/1

Matt Kuchar . . . 20/1

Bubba Watson . . . 20/1

Justin Rose . . . 25/1

Zach Johnson . . . 25/1

Jordan Spieth . . . 25/1

Brandt Snedeker . . . 30/1

Jason Dufner . . . 30/1

Keegan Bradley . . . 30/1

Sergio Garcia . . . 30/1

Charl Schwartzel . . . 40/1

Harris English . . . 40/1

Lee Westwood . . . 50/1

Luke Donald . . . 50/1

Louis Oosthuizen . . . 50/1

Hunter Mahan . . . 50/1

Graeme McDowell . . . 50/1

Ian Poulter . . . 50/1

Angel Cabrera . . . 50/1

Graham DeLaet . . . 50/1

————

Sports Movie Madness

Caddyshack vs. Bull Durham. That's the title match in the sports movie madness bracket that we have been left with after you guys and the listeners of Press Row from 3-6 p.m. on ESPN 105.1 FM voted.

Caddyshack delivered the biggest upset of the draw, downing Hoosiers in the Elite Eight and virtually blanked Brian's Song in the semifinals. Bull Durham had a late charge to beat Raging Bull in round one and beat Rocky in the semifinals by one vote. (And hey, if you can't put all your chips in an internet-based, social-media popularity contest, what's left for us to believe in? U-S-A. U-S-A.)

The merits for each are obvious. One is among the greatest comedies — and comedic casts — ever. It is based around golf although it does not fill the traditional spots movie idea. The other is 100 percent authentic — writer/director Ron Shelton was a minor league baseball player and that experience comes through in a litany of details and nuances.

And each of these two are in our top five of quotable movies. It could be a fantastic title game. It could be a blow out — Caddyshack's fan base is a lot like Kentucky's with massive expectations and undying belief.

Who you got?

————

This and that

— Notre Dame and UConn are unbeaten and playing the women's title game tomorrow night. Big stuff. And bigger still in that Geno Auriemma could pass Pat Summitt with a win.

— Braves tracker: Who had any questions about the pitching? OK, we all did, but a week into the season and a 4-2 start propelled by the pitching has been impressive. The Braves lead the NL with a 1.43 ERA and that's before free agent acquisition Ervin Santana (Black Magic Women, 9er) has pitched. He's set to make his Braves debut Wednesday. To make matters even more impressive, after a week, the Braves have five everyday regulars hitting .217 or less. The Danny Struggla-meter has been set at .210 and we took the under. He got a hit Sunday and is at .217 with as many hits as strikeouts (five).

— Baseball, part II: Dodgers star and Amnicola Highway speedster Yasiel Puig hurt his thumb. He's day-to-day (aren't we all?) and will have an MRI.

— LeBron went for 38 in the Heat's win Sunday over the Knicks. Here are the stats to know: Miami has six games left and Indiana has four and the Heat lead by one game (two in the loss column, which is big) for home-court advantage. Side note: The Heat starting five Sunday was Udonis Haslem (no relation to the Tennessee governor and the Flying J family), Chris Bosh, LeBron, Superintendent Chalmers and Toney Douglas. That's a little sketchy for a title run unless LeBron's ready to deliver the goods.

— NBA side note, I: Kevin Durant went for more than 25 again. It's 41 consecutive games for the slim gunslinger who leads the NBA in scoring at 32.7 a night — roughly than five points better than Carmelo Anthony.

— NBA side note, II: Clippers center DeAndre Jordan may be the best player most people do not know about. Dude is leading the NBA in rebounds (13.8), third in blocks (2.4) and tops in shooting percentage (.674).

— From the c'mon guys file: In a charity hockey game between the NYPD and the FDNY, an all-out brawl broke out. Here's a link, via the CBS sports folks.

————

Today's question(s)

As we normally do here and on Press Row on Mondays, our first question is almost always, who won the weekend?

There are a slew of choices. UConn basketball seems like a front-runner. Matt Jones is not a bad choice after shooting 66 Sunday and chipping in on the first playoff hole for a winning birdie that punched his ticket to Augusta this week. Here's another one — the Texas sports fan, with the Final Four, the NASCAR race and the PGA event this week, the plates were full for those in the sports BID-ness in Texas.

Who won the weekend? Who you got?

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 ...

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tcase08 said...

I've been reading for a while now. I figured I'd throw my picks out for the Master's contest. -Mickelson -Scott -Cabrera -Donald As for the movie, Bull Durham is clearly the better sports movie, Caddyshack was a comedy movie based on golf... there's a difference. As for the Braves, is there going to be some chemistry issues and disgruntled pitchers whenever Santana comes in? After how the starters pitched the opening week, who get's replaced? It's a good problem to have, but still a potential issue.

Thanks and I enjoy the 5-at-10...nice work.

April 7, 2014 at 10:19 a.m.
BWill8 said...

Great semifinal games on Saturday! The excitement! The fans! JerryWorld! I wish there was a way both of these teams could lose tonight. Seriously. Wouldn't pull for Kentucky against the Ukranian-invading Russians. And UConn is the best Calhoun (ret.) and others could buy! I'll go with the lesser of two evils here (looking at you, Coach Cal) and say "Go Huskies!". I just threw up in my mouth a little. So it goes.

As for the women's tourney and exciting games...not so much. We should've just skipped the whole tourney and given the ESPN talking heads what they wanted: Undefeated Fightin' Genos vs. Undefeated Fighin' Muffets.

Masters: I won't miss Tiger. I'm hoping for an Adam Scott back-to-back.

April 7, 2014 at 10:31 a.m.
WilliamRscott said...

Jay-G...please put Clean Gene Henley on this...

Where is XX Mocs BB HC Jim Foster today? In his old home town of 11 years + 256 wins? Will he attend Tuesday's NC game matching up 2 undefeated teams + 2 of his former assistants? Or will he watch it in the comfort of his Missionary Ridge townhome, sipping a 12-year-old Bourgogne? [Even I know you can't get that stuff at Costco.] Coach Foster is indeed 1 of the most interesting personalities in sports today.

Billy-In-Brainerd

April 7, 2014 at 10:34 a.m.
chas9 said...

Jay says the unprecedented case of a 7-seed and 8-seed in the finals means regular season is meaningless. My take is different. It means, as I said when the brackets were announced, that the seeds didn't matter this year. I think we knew at regular season's end there was no dominant team anywhere.

A month ago I was down on my Cats. I said Young couldn't guard or pass. Willie played hard only a fraction of the game. Randle hadn't learned how to handle the double team. Mostly, I blamed the twin guards for lack of skills and attitude.

Then, the team was tweaked. Which may replace tweaked as the season's trending word.

Here's another timely word: Aarondiculous. Don't think anybody else has won three straight NCAA games on last second threes.

It was looking like UK might have a core of All-Americans coming back next year, but their stock has risen so much now, they'll have to go pro. Kentucky's future pro contracts won the weekend.

Wisconsin hit a record 95% free throws and held their famous discipline, but Kentucky just has better talent than anybody. (Including Jay's fair-haired Gators). They held super-Kaminsky to 8 points and 5 rebounds after he'd gone for 28/11 beating a strong Arizona squad.

The famous "tweak" seems to have been Cal simplifying the schemes, thus freeing up the diaper dandies to improvise. That change may be why The Cats only had four turnovers against the pesky Badgers.

Momentum matters in making a championship run, and UK has it. The players get better each game, and will beat the impressive UConn team this evening. Grab a Co'Cola and enjoy. But the margin will be less than Jay's suggested 13. The UConn guards will challenge the twins.

Sir Charles has been the sole believer in the SEC and especially Kentucky among the TBS crew that includes Clark Kellogg, Greg Anthony and Ernie Johnson. Pretty smart for an Auburn guy.

I know BWill's take, but for the rest of you, judge whether Matt Norlander was over the top in rhapsodizing about #2's cool dagger: "The shot -- ohmygodohmygod the shot -- was of course ridiculous. An all-timer. A shake-you-from-your-seat decision that rocked two states and millions around the country. This game and that ending was that terrific. Go ahead and put that one on the March perma-reel (right alongside Harrison's gutsy make to beat Michigan in the Elite Eight) in CBS and Turner's NCAA Tournament highlight package."

BiB--Coach Foster doesn't usually drink beer, but when he does, it's Dos Exes.

April 7, 2014 at 10:34 a.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, the winner at Augusta must hit it long then hoist it high to a unreceptive green, if it stays dry. The top of the leader board must also excel off uneven lies. Must mull this before delivering my slate.

Caddy Shack should take the prize unless you're smoking Carl's fairway blend.

I've taken Golf Digest off and on (when they come back with the "friend price"). In all those years, I've yet to see Rodney's Golf Bag examined for the "What's in the Bag" segment. Of course, I could have just flat missed it between subscriptions.

April 7, 2014 at 10:51 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Great start to the day, and Tcase08 — you're the first entry, congrats.

Tcase08 —

Concur with your assessment of the movies. Bull Durham is top shelf in regard to sports movies; Caddyshack is top shelf in regard to comedies.

Still, Caddyshack is a double-digit favorite in the popular vote.

BWill —

We can see that rationale of the lesser of two evils, but we'd say UK is less evil than anything on which Jim Calhoun has imprints, Calhoun's the cat that Jerry Tarkanian looks at and says, "Man, that dude is sketchy."

BiB —

Well played sir.

And when asked about the two party system, Jim Foster says, "The after-party is the one you want to be invited to."

9er —

We can see that, but have to ask this:

If the seedings do not mean anything, then is there any value in the college hoops regular season except for the three-to-five bubble teams?

And yes, Chuck is pretty smart for an AU grad, considering he;s making a mint on CBS by Chuck being Chuck.

So it goes.

April 7, 2014 at 10:56 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

Hmmm....four Masters players....hmmmm......

I'll go Adam Scott, Jason Day, Matt Kuchar and Lee Westwood.

I'm tempted to go with Phil Mickelson as my fourth. Those are the five I like. We'll see.

April 7, 2014 at 10:59 a.m.
BWill8 said...

Chas & Jay--

Just to clarify, I'd be all BBN tonight if it weren't for Calipari. Always liked KY basketball but Coach Cal ruins it for me.

April 7, 2014 at 11:04 a.m.
WilliamRscott said...

C-Niner: I see what you did there...XX Mocs...XX beer...you are 1 clever Cat...

So Mr. Barkley did indeed graduate from Aw-burn? Credit to Coach Mac, who followed Sir Chuck around his entire freshman year to keep him out of trouble, in class + eligible...

And I am never, Never, NEVER for UK...or bammer...in anything...GBO

Billy-In-Brainerd

April 7, 2014 at 11:09 a.m.
chas9 said...

Billy--How do you really feel?

Regular season matters because that's when players develop their skills and learn to work together. But I won't argue with you if you say that means some of the games are ugly. It won't change my allegiance, but my favorite kind of team is one like Florida, where experienced players space themselves properly, make good decisions, and pass crisply. And, like Cal, I'd like to see a rule change requiring players to stay longer.

UConn lost its last regular season game to UofL by 33 points. Huh?

At UK, Cal is 18-2 in The Big Dance

Cal's man-crush Alex Poythress says Aaron has the biggest balls he's ever seen. But I don't believe it. He wouldn't be sinking the threes at a sick rate if his balls were bigger than standard. Unless his hoops were also bigger...

This final matchup brings up several past classic touchstones. Eight-seed 1985 'Nova Wildcats won the championship in Rupp. 2011 Kemba-led UConn broke Kentucky's heart; Shabazz is a Kemba clone. Michigan's fab five was all the rage, but youthful inexperience cost them in the semifinals. And they only started four frosh.

With a win, Kentucky would be the first team to start and finish a season ranked No. 1 since North Carolina in 2008-09. That UNC team entered the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed and won six games by double-digits to take the title. UK has only managed double digits by adding all its tourney margins together.

The movie finals are the correct picks for the finals. I'll go with the thinking man's flick, Bull Durham. That gopher was too cheesy. Sorry, Rodney. But I do respect you.

Speaking of golf, Wayne Gretzky's stunning daughter's on the cover of Golf Digest. Women golfers hate it.

April 7, 2014 at 12:01 p.m.
Stewwie said...

Who won the weekend? Why Kevin Durant did, of course. Anytime you can surpass MJ in anything (well, except for gambling losses), you've done something really great. I watched game numbers 40 and 41 of his streak this weekend. He looked exhausted by the end of game 40, but got to the magic number of 25 in the final minute. Last night, he netted 38 in a close loss to the up-and-coming Suns.

A 7 vs. an 8 for the national championship? The selection committee must have goofed badly on the seedings and/or the format is simply allowing way too many at-large teams into the field. In the big conferences, the regular season is nothing more than a glorified preseason at this point.

April 7, 2014 at 1:40 p.m.
jgreeson said...

From McPell — Put me down for Mickelson, Dufner, Harris English & Justin Rose.

From Dawg747 — Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar, Harris English, Angel Cabrera

April 7, 2014 at 1:42 p.m.
jgreeson said...

From Spy — My four ... Rory. Dufner. Jason Day (if he's healthy). Big time wild card - Victor Dubuisson.

April 7, 2014 at 2:14 p.m.
WilliamRscott said...

I did not see anyone from Brown Acres or Concord, so I will go with:

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Francesco Molinari, Matteo Manassero + Thongchai Jaidee

Billy-In-Brainerd

April 7, 2014 at 2:48 p.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay - give me Scott, Cabrera, Westwood, and Kuchar, please. Sentimental favorite is Sergio but didn't include him. He's let me down too many times but I think he has a major in him before his career is done.

April 7, 2014 at 5:21 p.m.
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