UTC. The women won the SoCon and punched their ticket in Shawn Poppie's first season on the bench. The men welcomed back the league's most dominant player in Jake Stephens and are in tonight's SoCon final with a March Madness bid on the line. That's kicking some Asheville and taking some names right there.
Auburn. While five teams won automatic bids into the dance over the weekend -- including my mom's alma mater, the mighty Kennesaw State Owls -- my alma mater all but stamped its dance pass with arguably its best game of the season with Saturday's win over UT.
Harris English. The former Baylor School star and UGA standout looked like the pre-injury player who earned a Ryder Cup spot two years ago. A 2-under 70 left Harris tied for second with some Irish fellow named Rory and meant $1.78 million at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Kurt Kitayama (and assuredly not former TFP sports ace David Uchiyama) won the tournament by a shot. Side note: Granted, Palmer made close to a billion bucks in his decorated career with endorsements, product lines and golf course construction, but Arnie made a whopping $1.86 million in golf winnings in his career. Wowser.
Whichever network is hosting the Western Conference playoffs. Man, that looming Dallas-Phoenix series is going to be fun. The Suns got the best of the Mavs on Sunday 130-126, but the star power after those teams added Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, respectively, is dang impressive.
"Creed III." The latest installment of the "Rocky" spin off was a knockout at the box office over the weekend. Need a ruling from Fat Vader: What is the official Rushmore of "Rocky" characters? Discuss.
Mark Adams. The now-suspended Texas Tech coach used Bible verses that referenced slavery and serving your master to his struggling Red Raiders basketball team.
Will Smith. Chris Rock finally opened up about the Oscar slap in his Netflix comedy special, and as you would expect, Rock unloaded on the Fresh Prince and his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith. General rule of thumb is to be very careful picking fights with newspaper folks because they buy ink by the barrel. Also on that list should be ticking off really good stand-up comics, because they will barbeque your backside the next time they get on stage.
Ja Morant. Dude has serious basketball skills and may be one of the best pure athletes in the NBA. But someone in his inner circle needs to get in his ear and cut the drama and all the fringe gangster stuff. There's nine figures at stake for Morant, folks.
UNC basketball. Wow, the Tar Heels are staring at the very real possibility of being the first preseason No. 1 team not to make the tournament since the field was expanded to 64.
Anyone trying to figure out seeds for the brackets that will be announced Sunday. Because according to ESPN's headline, Kansas lost over the weekend and now the defending national champs are the No. 1 overall seed. Perfect.
Combined Combine thoughts
So, I love the draft. This is pretty well known. If you don't know this, well, welcome to the 5-at-10. Pull up a chair and stay a while.
Over the weekend, the NFL combine -- aka the Underwear Olympics -- concluded in Indianapolis.
It's safe to assume that I watched more of that than just about anyone you know, unless you are friendly with an NFL front office employee or three.
With that caveat, let's try to pin down what we know, what we think and what we can't really believe.
What we know:
Anthony Richardson stole almost every headline in Indy.
Yes, Georgia edge rusher Nolan Smith was a workout monster and jumped into the middle part of round 1. Yes, former Alabama and Dalton High School star Jahmyr Gibbs made himself a lot of money over the weekend with a 4.36 time in the 40. Yes, UT's Jalin Hyatt (who posted a strong 4.40 40) secured first-round grade. And that's just some notable SEC stars from area SEC schools.
But Richardson, the erratic but amazingly athletic former Florida QB, dominated.
He clocked a 4.44 40 at 6-foot-4, 244 pounds, and posted amazing jumps of 10-9 (broad) and 40.5 inches (vertical). He catapulted into the conversation of potentially being the first player drafted.
Which leads us to what we think.
We think there is always too much made of the times and the totals, especially at that position.
Does his eye-popping showing mean Richardson is going to be a bigger Lamar Jackson or a faster Josh Rosen?
It's impossible to know after the Combine, especially when Richardson's game tape is no where close to matching what he physically unleashed in Indy.
I think the top two QBs are clearly CJ Stroud and Bryce Young, in whichever order you want to discuss. (And Young's slight size certainly makes the Tua-like-injury concerns a real topic for any team looking to spend a top-five pick on the former Alabama star.)
Someone will take Richardson in the top 10. Someone will also take former Kentucky QB Will Levis in the top 10. I just it's not the Falcons in either case.
And know this about the translation between size, speed and skill set: Richardson's numbers above measured and clocked favorable to a former No. 1 overall pick who was 6-5, 248 with a 4.6 40, a 10-6 broad jump and a 35-inch vertical. That guy -- one Cam Newton -- used it to find a little more success on Saturdays than Richardson experienced.
As for what we couldn't believe, well, Richardson's numbers are a candidate for that, too. But here are few others:
-- I could not believe how well Stetson Bennett threw the deep ball.
-- I could not believe how monstrous Georgie tight end Darnell Washington looked or how athletic Old Dominion tight end Zach Kuntz graded out. This athletic performance grading sight as covered the combine participants since 1987, and has given out 19 double-perfect scores. Two were over the weekend -- Richardson, who is the only QB of those 19, and Kuntz, who is simply the most athletic tight end ever graded by that system.
-- Calijah Kancey of Pitt is a 282-pound defensive lineman who ran a 4.67 40. That's a faster 40 time than Emmitt Smith, if memory serves.
-- Auburn linebacker Owen Pappoe clocked a 4.39 40; Stupid Bryan Harsin.
This and that
-- Much has been made about a rocky off season in Athens, but here's some good news. The felony charges against transfer receiver RaRa Thomas have been dropped. And whoever the QB for the two-time defending champion Bulldogs is in the fall, having Thomas and Brock Bowers as targets is a very desirable pair of options.
-- This just in, Tennessee baseball is a) good and b) going to be a lot of fun to watch this spring. Here's more from the weekend sweep of Gonzaga from Paschall.
-- We mentioned Harris playing lights out at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday, finishing one-shot behind winner. Fellow Baylor School and Georgia alum Keith Mitchell continued his strong play at Arnie's event. Mitchell finished tied for 24th and pocketed $163,000. Luke List missed the cut.
-- Raiders All-Pro tight end Darren Waller and former No. 1 overall WNBA pick Kelsey Plum got hitched. Man, if I am a college coach, I am already reaching out to those folks with a scholarship offer for any and all tots they may produce.
You know the drill. Weekend winners and losers. Go.
As for today, March 6, let's review.
On this day in 1836 Mexican soldiers overwhelmed the forces inside the Alamo.
In 1899, aspirin was patented on this day.
In 1964, Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali.
Shaq's 51 today. In honor of him and the SEC hoops tournament, who makes the Rushmore of SEC centers?
Go, and feel free to weigh in on the Rocky Rushmore I asked Vader, too.