5-at-10: James nearly perfect, wet racing and UTC coaching update

5-at-10: James nearly perfect, wet racing and UTC coaching update

May 6th, 2013 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

Hope you managed to stay dry this weekend. And if you did, thanks for reading from whatever area outside of the South from which you are reading.

Wow, now that's some rain.

From the "Talks too much" studios, wait 'til Otis sees us, he loves us.

LeBron James

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

LeBron nearly perfect

LeBron James joined rare company this weekend, winning his fourth NBA MVP award in the last five years. He was one vote shy of becoming the first unanimous MVP. More on that in a moment.

First let's talk about the elite of the elite that reside in the club that LeBron now is a member.

There are now five NBA players ever who have won four or more MVPs - Kareem (6), Russell (5), Jordan (5), Wilt (4) and James. And of the four major North America team sports, the list of players to win four MVP awards in five years is even more dignified - Bonds, Gretzky, Russell and James.

The one vote not cast for James was by Boston Globe columnist Gary Washburn, who voted for Caremlo Anthony. Washburn tried to explain his vote on Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio Monday morning, and while he may have been wrong about the choice, at least he was not one of those knuckleheads who votes to prevent history. You know the guys... yahoos who vote just to be different or vote beause "no one deserves to be unanimous" - be them MVP awards or Hall of Fame ballots. Those guys don't deserve to have a ballot in our mind - it's a ballot, not a shield for historic configuration.

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Wet racing

Got to admit, the Derby is fun to watch. It may be the only horse race we watch all year, but it's a doozy.

And wow, how about that mud? So far, two signature sports events - the Derby and the Masters - were as much about surviving the conditions as handling the pressure. Adam Scott in the rain and darkness early last month on that life-changing Sunday afternoon. Orb sprinting down the back stretch in a brown soup that splashed and splattered without end.

Joel Rosario rides Orb during the 139th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 4, 2013, in Louisville, Ky.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Good stuff. Side question: Why is sports gambling illegal? That would be a cool thing to go down to the corner shop and place a wager on. (The Mrs. 5-at-10 would have won and we've been reminded of that a couple of dozen times this weekend.) This is a conversation for another day. As for the miniscule prizes and tons of entertainment that were at stake in the 5-at-10 Derby contest, congrats to Thinker, who followed up his second-place Masters showing with a Derby win. Thinker was one of the handful of folks who had Orb to win (yes, the Mrs. 5-at-10 did have Orb, too, hmmm, first we're hearing of that). No one had a perfect sheet - Falling Sky fell to last - and Thinker had Frac Daddy as his last-place pick. Frac Daddy finished 16th of the 19 horses that raced.

On Sunday, the slick conditions and rain caused more than a three-hour delay at Talladega, and the controversial end of the race on the wet track as race officials were trying to beat the darkness made for some interesting comments, especially for some of the, let's call them passionate, drivers.

From Ryan Newman after his day was ended with a looked-worse-than-it-turned-out-to-be wreck late Sunday afternoon: "They can build safer race cars, they can build safer walls. But they can't get their heads out of their (expletive) far enough to keep them on the race track, and that's pretty disappointing. I wanted to make sure I get that point across. Y'all can figure out who 'they' is. That's no way to end a race. That's just poor judgment in restarting the race, poor judgment. I mean, you got what you wanted, but poor judgment and running in the dark and running in the rain. That's it, thank you."

So you're saying they moved out.

As for on the track, the results were just as eye-popping as David Ragan got a late push from David Gilliland to speed by three of the sports studs for the win. Heck, scanning the top 10 from Sunday's race at Talladega was like looking at who was in your homeroom in school - "Yeah, I know him and her and him; who's that?; what, thought that kid left town."

After the relatively unknown Davids, there was a Michael Waltrip (fourth) sighting, a Regan Smith appearance (he finished sixth meaning this was the best weekend to be a Ragan/Regan since 1986), a Scott Speed (ninth) cameo and we even got to hear the intro music for ol' Double A, Aric Almirola (sorry, OG, if you thought Arn Anderson had entered the building). The other names - Carl Edwards (third), Jimmie Johnson (fifth), Matt Kenseth (seventh) - are a little more familiar.

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UTC openings

We were fully prepared to break down the UTC basketball openings here this morning.

Of course, we could eliminate the fuss and muss by linking our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer's excellent column from Sunday's paper.

Weeds did some digging and offered up five names that appear to be the finalists for the men's gig, and a few others for the women's job.

From Weeds' column - the five names are Alabama assistant John Brannen, former Georgia head coach Dennis Felton, Miami (Fla.) assistant Eric Konkol, Michigan State associate head coach Dwayne Stephens and Virginia Commonwealth assistant Will Wade.

Each has a pretty impressive resume. We also agree with Weeds that this will happen sooner rather than later, especially with the Porky's Open - UTC's primary fund-raising golf tournament - scheduled for Tuesday.

Side note: For the second consecutive week we are planning on swinging by the UTC Quarterback Club, at least for a chance to meet speaker and new AD David Blackburn. Congrats to Doug Dyer and the folks at the QB Club for finishing the year with a nice run of speakers. Last week, Vandy coach James Franklin brought a big crowd. We expect another good-sized showing today. (And yes, you can get tickets at the door of the Stadium Club at Finley, and the lunch is pretty good, too.)

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This and that

- This hit the wires late last week, but we just saw it. According to data from Capital IQ, the business folks at Yahoo.com ranked the most-profitable products as follows: 1) iPhone, 2) Marlboro smokes; 3) Monster Energy drink; 4) Coke; 5) Enfamil baby formula; 6) Folgers. More amazingly, did you know there were more than 125 million iPhone's sold last year? Sweet buckets of Apple sauce. Heck, we even saw somewhere that the most popular camera in the U.S. is now the iPhone. CUH-razy.

In this fie photo, Tim Tebow holds his first news conference with the New York Jets on March 26, 2012, in Florham Park, N.J.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

- OK, this is silly. Tim Tebow fans are signing a petition to get President Obama to step in get the Jacksonville Jaguars to give Tebow a new gig. Calm down folks, President Obama hasn't created any jobs to this point, why would he start now. Thank you, thank you.

- Did you see that Miley Cyrus is No. 1 on the Maxim Hot 100 list? Huh? That's even worse than Washburn voting for Anthony over LeBron.

- Side NBA note: Wow, the hopes and dreams of a Sunday filled with Game 7s fizzled big time. All of the Friday night Game 6s ended those series. Also, the Grizz, who bounced the Clippers on Friday, really let Game 1 against the Thunder slip through their fingers Sunday. Ouch-standing.

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Today's question

As with most Monday's feel free to kick around any and all topics.

Did you watch the Derby? Will you watch any more horse racing this year?

Who are you backing in the UTC coaching derby? And to be honest, according to Weeds' one of the most interesting names in the mix for the women's gig is one Tyler Summitt. Yes, that Tyler Summitt, with the most famous mom in women's basketball.

Heck, if you need to go off the sports grid, try this one: Iron Man 3 did almost $200 million this weekend at the box office. Who's the best movie Super Hero - well other than John McClane of course? And Jed Eckert from Red Dawn.

Whatcha' got?