College hoops madness
There's a ton of college hoops happening. In fact, our Pop, who is a bona fide college hoops junkie, will spend double-digit hours glued to the TV the next few days. In fact, the 5-at-10's parental units will celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary on Saturday, and Pop was late to the ceremony back in 1969 because Davidson and UNC went to overtime in an NCAA tournament game. Good times.
Happy anniversary. And the ball is tipped.
So we will switch from a quick 3 to a slower four corners of things to cover today.
1) Qualifiers: Here's a recap of the teams already in the NCAA tournament: Mercer (A-Sun), Coastal Carolina (Big South), Delaware (Colonial), Harvard (Ivy), Manhattan (MAAC), Wichita State (Missouri Valley), Eastern Kentucky (Ohio Valley), Wofford (Southern), Gonzaga (West Coast), North Dakota State (Summit), Mount St. Mary's (Northeast), UW-Milwaukee (Horizon) and American (Patriot League). There are no title games tonight.
2) Lunardi's bubble buddies:
Last four byes — Pittsburgh (Wake Forest tonight), Stanford (Arizona State tonight), Nebraska (Ohio State-Purdue winner on Friday), Xavier (Marquette tonight)
Last four in — Tennessee (Arkansas-South Carolina winner Friday), St. Joe's (Dayton-Fordham winner on Friday), Dayton (Fordham tonight), Arkansas (South Carolina tonight)
First four out — Cal (Colorado today), Minnesota (Penn State tonight), St. John's (Providence tonight), Providence (St. John's tonight)
Next four out — Southern Miss (UTEP tonight), FSU (Maryland tonight), Missouri (Texas A&M today), Georgetown (lost to DePaul — bye-bye Hoyas)
3) Casualty No. 1: After losing in the SEC tournament opener, Auburn sacked coach Tony Barbee. Wow, Auburn's spin cycle of bad basketball keeps twirling. And with a super-nice gym too. Alas, world-renown philosopher Sir(cle) Chuckie Barkley said it best that AU hoops needs to go with Nike if it's ever to find a path.
4) Word has it the Mocs could be in the mix for a trip to ETSU in the CIT. Or as it's also known, the CSI:Johnson City. We're in for that, and for the fun the Mocs provided us this winter, here's hoping they get another chance to play. As they chanted in the Astrodome of "Bad News Bears: Breaking Training" — Let them play, Let them play.
NFL free agency
We think Carl Spackler's memorable rant — "rags to riches, a Cinderella story, tears in his eye we guess" — certainly has merit for Mr. Darrelle Revis.
Revis, in the course of a day, went from playing for the floundering Tampa Bay Bucs and floundering under Greg Schiano last year to being a key piece for the New England Patriots and Bill Belichick. Revis provides an upgrade at cornerback after the team lost Aqib Talib, who signed with rival Denver. (Side note: Aqib Talib is on the short list of athletes with names that rhyme. Also there are Amhad Rashad, Sam "Bam" Cunningham, Harry Carey, Shaquille O'Neal, Nicky Anosike and former Providence point guard God Shammgod. Got any others?)
Where were we? Oh yes, Revis Island. The Pats upgraded and Revis went from being the best player that did not fit on a team that was not going anywhere. Even with the coaching change, if your QB options are Luke McCown or Mike Glennon and you're in a division with Drew Brees, Cam Newton and Matt Ryan taking snaps for the other teams, you have no chance. Now Revis has joined forces with one of five or six teams with legit Super Bowl aspirations. (Side note, II: The Bucs defense is pretty staggering and if they add a Khalil Mack or Justin Gilbert in the draft with the No. 7 pick, new coach Lovie Smith and Co. will be modeling their club after the 49ers and Seahawks — cheap QB solution, deep and athletic defense — rather than the QB-centered approach.)
At the opposite end of that spectrum is Eric Decker. Decker used one monster season catching passes for record-setting quarterback Peyton Manning to land a five-year, $36.25-million deal with the New York Jets. Yep, Decker went from running routes and catching passes from Manning to wondering around and scooping short hops from Geno Smith, or whomever the Jets will trot out at QB.
Press Row recap
On Press Row, we started our Sports Movie Madness bracket. Every Wednesday for a month we'll do a Rushmore of a genre sports movies. Yesterday was baseball movies. When we get the four Rushmores — the four Final Fours, if you will — we'll let callers and you good folks at the 5-at-10 vote on which is the best. Deal? Deal.
It was a fun run, with Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, The Natural and Major League making the final cut of a deep list of top-notch baseball movies. We'll seed those 1-4 and let them square off to see which one gets to the Final Four. We'll do basketball movies, football movies and hodgepodge sports movies in the coming weeks. Good times.
(Side note: We'll have another college hoops Rushmore today that could be a lot of fun. We'll announce it around 4:15 or so on ESPN 105.1 FM.)
Also remember the last-in, first-out challenge we'll have next week and the ESPN 105.1 bracket challenge. Here are the early details:
Contestants must have an account on www.ESPN.com to enter. If they don't have one, they must create one. Click on "Tournament Challenge" under the "Fantasy & Games" tab. Search for the group name "ESPN 105.1 The Zone." Use the password "chattanooga." One bracket per player and prizes are still to be determined.
This and that
— Kobe Bryant reportedly does not want to play for Mike D'Antoni. Bryant is done for year with a series of injuries, and D'Antoni is guiding a Lakers team that is historically bad. Here's saying Kobe likely won't have to worry about it.
— We had a heated debate on Press Row on Wednesday about winning an NBA title with multiple A-players. Our contention that there have been very few teams since the 1980s when the Lakers and Celtics were all-star teams for the most part that have had two legit A players. There also were just a couple of incidents — the early-2000 Pistons come to mind — that won it all with a collection of B players. The double A player discussion led to a caller signing the praises of Scottie Pippen, who we believe to be extremely overrated and, while a very good Robin, Pippen was never really a championship-level Batman. Thoughts?
— Alabama's pro day was a star-studded event with a slew of NFL head coaches converging to see a lot of stars. Three things of note: Apparently C.J. Mosley ran a 4.6ish 40, which would make him a lot of money; AJ McCarron said he felt he was the best QB in the draft; and former Tide and NFL linebacker Rolando McClain was there and said he's considering and NFL comeback after abruptly retiring after a brief NFL career.
We had a severely busy Wednesday, so let's recap — sorry gang, got covered up and did not swing back:
• OG: Tom Hanks was a very astute Wooderson comparison. Spicoli also works.
• 9er: Is Poythress one of the most puzzling underachievers in recent memory? Is it strictly a matter of confidence because we believe he has the tools but maybe not the parts (ahem, marbles).
• JMC: Got the package, many thanks. We'll get into the Deion story later today. Great Einstein story, and we are optimistic about Draft Day.
• FE to the C: Here's hoping McFadden has a monster season, although that seems like stretch because of a) injuries and b) your Raiders are having a tough time deciding who they will overpay to pay left tackle. And that median income line was well-played.
• Stewwie: If you are talking public/private divides in general, we can see you point. If you are talking in terms of athletics, well, the percentage of private schools that have more advantages and better chances to win state championships is much greater. That's just simple fact, whether it's facilities, an overflow of coaches at a series of levels or whatever you want it to be.
• GD: Did you blend the Bachelor, Ron Jeremy and Paul Finebaum together and use the word "stem" with duplicitous meaning? Well-played indeed sir.
• Spy: We'll take our chances without a point guard, but we like Kenny Anderson an awful lot. And as much as we loved Lenny, Hansbrough is the ACC's all-time leading scorer.
Today's real question — and if you can't find something to discuss from above, well OK — is who is on your Rushmore of famous people with an initial in their name. Two early contenders: William H. Macy and L. Ron Hubbard, share today as their birthday. And yes, we believe Harry S. Truman is a front runner. Go.
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 ...