5-at-10: UT bubble chatter, NFL shopping spree and Chipper in pinstripes?

5-at-10: UT bubble chatter, NFL shopping spree and Chipper in pinstripes?

March 12th, 2013 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

Tournament tests

Gonzaga made its case for a No. 1 seed with a comfortable win over St. Mary's on Monday night. We can not offer much insight because we were neck deep in the hodgepodge and entertaining mess that was J.R. Ewing's funeral. Good times.

As we hit tournament week, we'll pause for one second to make sure Stuck and Chas are properly hydrated and don't hyperventilate.

There are three types teams this week: Teams needing to state a tournament case for inclusion; Teams needing to state a tournament case for as high a seed as possible; Teams needing to state a tournament case by winning their conference tournament. Gonzaga - which has a definite Bad News Bear quality to it, right down to the questionable Kelly Leak/Kelly Olynyk hair choice as your best player - made their statement; St. Mary's left their fate to the tournament committee (we think they are in, but Sunday will be a little stressful since the game was pretty one-sided).

That said, if the experts - Jerry Palm and Joe Lunardi - are to be believed, the Zags' win did not affect other bubble teams too much because St. Mary's is listed as a 10 seed by each.

Jerry P has Tennessee, Iowa State, Kentucky and La Salle as his last four teams in the tournament, and if his ranking of "on the fence" at cbssports.com is any indication, he has the Vols as the last team. Joey Brackets has a boss nickname that screams gambling street cred and has La Salle, Boise State, Kentucky and Virginia has his last four in and Tennessee, MTSU, Ole Miss and Baylor as his first four out.

So, knowing that Tennessee and Kentucky must first and foremost handle their BID-ness at the SEC tournament in Nashville - we think the Vols need two wins to feel good about Sunday; the Cats need one - there is plenty of scoreboard watching to be done.

Here are five teams that are in the bubble mix with UT and UK and what the immediate future holds:

Iowa State (21-10) - Thursday in the Big 12 tournament against Oklahoma

Villanova (19-12) - Wednesday in the Big East tournament against St. John's

Boise State (21-9) - Thursday in the Mountain West tournament against San Diego State

La Salle (21-8) - Friday in the A-10 tournament against the winner of Butler and Dayton

Virginia (21-10) - Friday in the ACC tournament against the winner of N.C. State and Virginia Tech

It's fair to think losses by any of the above teams really would help the Vols' and the Cats' chances.

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Spending spree

Free agency starts today at 4 p.m.

Suffice it to say some billionaires will make some millionaires even more millionaire-y. Richness for everyone. War Richness. (We have a mental picture of Jerry Jones in his best Monopoly outfit - right down to the monocle - and slinging around those old-school cartoon bags of cash with the $$ on the outside. Good times.)

The moves started over the weekend with players opting out of deals and teams trading star receivers. (Side note: Of the things we believe is that wide receiver is the one position that is most like that 'hot' girl in high school. There are going to be some that appear to be so attractive that you think "how can that guy give up THAT" until you spend some time with the diva and realize that the me-first approach and the neediness and the tempermentalismnessity (yes, Spy we made that up) makes the physical gifts seem secondary and even wasted. We can even call it the Randy/Kate Moss principle.)

Before we get to the names to keep an eye on in the free-agent pool let's review the nominees for the Barkevious Mingo "best name" and three guys that went from the Pro Bowl two years ago to hoping their phone rings during free agency:

Best names (name only) on the market

1) Defensive end Frostee Rucker (how does dude not have a Wendy's commercial?)

2) Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn (if Captain is driving a boat on Lake Chickamauga, do we call him Capt. Captian Munnerlyn?)

3) Cornerback Quentin Jammer (arguably the coolest name/skill combo with a cover corner being named "Jammer;" It would be like if Tom D. Brady's last name was Passer... T.D. Passer... that would be outstanding)

Big names (in stature - guys who surprisingly will not get a lot of interest)

1) Brian Urlacher (who is not listed among USA Today's top 50 free agents)

2) Defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey (ditto)

3) Tight end Dallas Clark (ditto, although if we're the Falcons and Tony G. elects not to return, we'd call Dallas and see what's up)

Here are the top names on the market as of this morning:

1) WR Mike Wallace

2) WR Greg Jennings

3) T Jake Long

4) RB Steven Jackson

5) S Dashon Goldson

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Chipper Jones awaits his turn at bat against the Washington Nationals in the first inning at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia, on Friday, September 14.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Yankees stink

The brass for the New York Yankees hinted that the team would love to talk to Chipper Jones about his interest in playing for the Bronx Bombers.

Relax, at least for now. Jones posted on social media that he is enjoying "life as a bad golfer."

But this story is telling and perplexing in that, a) the Yankees are old and hobbled; b) how bad would it hurt Johnny Braves Fans to see Chipper wearing pinstripes. Somewhere Mark Wohlers just spit up.

While we do not think - read: pray - Chipper comes back, the fact that the Yankees need to look for his cell number - and the fact that they are chasing Derrick Lee - is less than good news for Johnny Yankees Fans.

In the toughest division in baseball, the Yankees have multiple-month injuries to Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixiera and Alex Rodriguez. That leaves the lineup in shambles. Here's saying unless they really break the bank - and the farm system - the Yankees could well be battling the Red Sox in the AL East to see which team doesn't finish last.

Think about that.

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This and that

- Free agent concerns for the Titans and Falcons start at tight end. Will the Titans be able to keep Jared Cook (we say no)? Will the Falcons get Tony Gonzalez to come back (we say yes)? Atlanta also needs a running back, and while Steven Jackson and even Reggie Bush could be interesting, high-profile names, we'd look at saving some money on an Ahmad Bradshaw and going after a pass rusher with the extra coin left over.

UTC women's basketball players celebrate getting to go to the Big Dance after pulling out a one-point victory over Davidson in the Southern Conference tournament final Monday in Asheville, N.C.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

- Major congrats to Wes Moore and the Lady Mocs, who survived some early struggles and won the Southern Conference basketball title. Despite allowing Davidson to shoot better than 50 percent from the field - and with UTC struggling to make shots - Moore and Co. landed their ninth NCAA tournament bid together by forcing turnovers and being poised down the stretch of their 64-63 win. We'll discuss this more this week, but now the question becomes how good of a seed will the Lady Mocs get? They have an argument for somewhere in the 11 neighborhood.

- We have said from the start that looking at spring training baseball stats for patterns is like finding trends in the MegaMillions drawing or scouting a Bingo game film for tendancies...... But (it's like a fraternity party, there's always going to be a but somewhere) looking at the Braves' hitting numbers, you have to be tickled with new faces B.J. Upton (.405) and Chris Johnson (.344). You also have to wonder what is the ceiling for strikeouts for Dan Uggla. Dude has fanned 15 times in 36 spring at-bats. BINGO.

- Nice win for the San Antonio Spurs over the Oklahoma City Thunder last night.

- The price tag for the Sandusky debacle has reached more than $41 million for Penn State. We think it will get to nine figures, considering this only part of the fines and not including litigation.

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Today's question

While we're pondering some bubble talk and free agent moves, and feel free to weigh in on either. (Who you think the Falcons/Titans/whomever should go after, etc.)

We also got thinking about players making late-career moves. With talks of Chipper on the move and the inevitable NFL moves that will happen today, what is your Rushmore of players that looked wrong in a different uniform.

We think Joe Montana in a Chiefs jersey is up there. So is Michael Jordan in a Washington uniform. Emmitt Smith playing for Arizona is there and the old footage of Babe Ruth in a Brooklyn Dodgers uni.

Discuss, and personally, if Chipper comes back he zooms onto this Rushmore.