5 at 10: Braves Roster, Dooley's running backs and Lady Vols go home

5 at 10: Braves Roster, Dooley's running backs and Lady Vols go home

March 29th, 2011 by Jay Greeson in Sports

Here we go.

Tennessee coach Pat Summitt questions a call during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against LSU on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 80-60. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Lady Vols fall short

If you have seen some Lady Vols fans that are less than thrilled this morning, cut them some slack. The Lady Vols melted down last night.

"Obviously I'm very upset, I'm very disappointed in our basketball team," coach Pat Summitt told the AP after falling to 1,071-199 in her Hall of Fame career. "I don't think we came here with the focus. Don't ask me why. I'm kind of at a loss for words. We've got a ways to go, obviously. We were exposed today."

To tell you the truth, the 5-at-10 is pretty bummed about it, too. Now, the potential dream Lady Vols-UConn loser-leaves-town, cage match is gone for at least another year.

If this had been the NBA, don't you know the powers that be would have found a way to have referee/henchman Joey Crawford working the game and making sure the Lady Vols were in it until the end.

Although, with the way the Lady Vols were dominated by Notre Dame point guard Skylar Diggins, it may have taken more than Joey Crawford's mystery whistles to get the Lady Vols to the Final Four in Indy.

Something tells the 5-at-10, that UT freshman point guard Meighan Simmons, who struggled mightily last night, will be the best player in the country in the next year or two. Call it a hunch.

First appearances for Martin

What were your first impressions of UT men's basketball coach Cuonzo Martin?

The 5-at-10 thought he did well. He was charming and funny and focused. He said all the right things, as did UT AD Mike Hamilton and UT top dog Jimmy Cheek.

It appears Martin - like his predecessor - is willing to work to win and - unlike former coach Bruce Pearl -unwilling to bend the rules to do it. We'll see.

That said, Monday's first day was among the least important and possibly the easiest of what UT fans hope will be Martin's long and successful career.

In fact there's almost a first-day-news-conference playbook, and Martin was spot on with his quotes (from TFP ace Mark Wiedmer's column HERE): "There's plenty of time to work on their basketball. I'm more concerned right now with how they act. I want them to know it's important to do things the right way. Be on time. Go to class every day. The basketball will take care of itself."

On the bright side, even if Martin was following the first-press-conference playbook, then we at least know he has a playbook - and that's more than we can say for Pearl's Vols of the last three months.

Atlanta Braves left fielder Eric Hinske, right, is greeted at the dugout entrance by Martin Prado after hitting a hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Florida Marlins in Atlanta, Saturday, Aug. 28, 2010. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Braves have pop

The 5-at-10 threw out that these Braves - if healthy - have a chance to have a lineup that features eight guys with 15-or-more homers. Here's our projected lineup for the Braves, who start Thursday at the Washington Nationals, and what they have averaged over 162-game spans in their MLB careers (yes, the 5-at-10 did some research, but don't go getting spoiled):

LF Martin Prado - .307, 12 homers

CF Nate McLouth - .252, 19 homers

3B Chipper Jones - .306, 31 homers

C Brian McCann - .289, 24 homers

2B Dan Uggla - .263, 32 homers

RF Jason Heyward - .277, 18 homers last year as a rookie

SS Alex Gonzalez - .248, 16 homers

1B Freddie Freeman - rookie who .319, 18 homers in 2010 in AAA

The 5-at-10 understands the stock broker legalese - past performance does not guarantee future success - but the averages give this Braves club the best-looking lineup since maybe the late 2003 club that won 101 games. That lineup had seven players that hit 15 or more homers - Rafael Furcal (15 homers), Marcus Giles (21), Vinny Castilla (22), Chipper Jones (27), Andruw Jones (36), Gary Sheffield (39) and Javy Lopez (43). The only regular that didn't get there was Robert Fick, who hit 11 homers in 126 games. Wow.

If this Braves lineup is even close to that, the folks in Philly better have more than four really good starting pitchers.

Side note here: Heard the guys on SportTalk - Dr. B (he's a doctor after all), Quake and Cowboy Joe are all friends of the show - the other day talking about how Barry Bonds turned on a fastball and how nobody else did it better. Bonds was first, but Gary Sheffield was almost as good. The 5-at-10 can't recall a right-handed hitter that had quicker hands than Sheffield, who absolutely crushed, Crushed, CRUSHED fastballs in. Wanna know something else Sheffield and Bonds had in common? Oh, nevermind.

In this file photo, UT's Tauren Poole carries in a game against Ole Miss in Knoxville.

UT spring break(down), Part II

We looked at the growth needed/expected from Tyler Bray HERE.

Today we'll look at the guys standing behind Bray.

Tauren Poole is a 1,000-yard rusher and is by far the most proven commodity on this offense. He's a solid-to-strong running back that had moments last year that looked as good as any player on the field. Those moments, though, were too few and far between.

Poole will be option No. 1 for the run-first Vols; he will also be priority No. 1 for opposing defenses. A duplicate of Poole's 1,000-year season should be the baseline for 2011, especially with the added experience and talent of the offensive front.

Where the UT running backs will be better is behind Poole, and that's something to smile about Johnny Vols Fan.

Rajion Neal has star-potential (our TFP UT ace Patrick Brown tweeted that Neal ran a 4.36 40, and that friends is moving), and his growth will do more than add depth - it will push Poole, something that did not happen a great deal last year.

Plus, with Marlin Lane and underrated Tom Smith on the way, the Vols' running back group should be ranked in the top three in the SEC, clearly behind Alabama and right there with South Carolina and just ahead of Auburn, LSU and Georgia. Read that again. We may have some more on this later.

New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony celebrates after hitting a three-point shot during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic Monday, March 28, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Anthony led all scorers with 39 points as the Knicks won 113-106 in overtime. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

This and that question time

- How scary are the New York Knicks in a five-game series? Carmelo said Monday's game against the Orlando Magic was a must-win, and he delivered a must-win effort. Carmelo scored 39 in the OT victory, and looked the part of lead-dog. The 5-at-10 has said it before, but if the game's tied and we have the ball, we want Carmelo taking the last shot (even over Kobe and way more than LeBron).

- Sweet Mother of Mr. T and her Jewelry Kit, did you see that Dez Bryant is being sued for $246,000 by A+A Diamonds LTD d/b/a Rafaello & Company for unpaid bills on the $267,000 worth of jewelry? The most expensive item Bryant bought was a $60,000 charm bracelet. The most he spent in one of his visits to the jewelry store was $144,000. Well, here's two things - one, nobody this side of BIspy4 can spend that much money on jewelry and not look trashy, and two, if we're going to have an NFL lockout bankruptcy fantasy draft, is there anyone with more upside than Bryant right now?.

- How much do we need baseball to start to make the day-to-day sports world spin? Well, atop the ESPN scoreboard this morning is New Zealand-Sri Lanka cricket game (or is it match or friendly or showdown or... whatever - let's move along).

- Do you know who loves the NFL draft? That's right, the 5-at-10. Well, this draft's biggest mover/question mark is obviously former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, who will visit the Buffalo Bills today. Here's what former UTC coach and current Buffalo GM had to say Monday during a "State of the Bills" address to season-ticket holders according to the Buffalo News. "Let me just say this to you, and try not to read anything into this and try not to connect the dots, now, but if you wait until you do not have a quarterback to draft one, you're too late. Now our greatest need is not quarterback. It's definitely not quarterback. Invariably, if there's going to be a franchise guy there and one we deem as a guy that can go eight or 10 years, be the face of the organization and take us to the playoffs and win every year, you can't pass him up." Also Monday, Nix told the Democrat and Chroncile, "There's an unwritten rule that it's not a sin to tell a lie during pre-draft stuff. Everybody does it, it's accepted, so everything you read or hear or see, you need to keep in mind that about 10 percent of it is the truth."

Well, done Buddy, well done. Since today's this and that is about questions, we'll bite: Anybody got any idea what Nix and the Bills are going to do now?

Until tomorrow.