5-at-10: Friday mailbag on Rick Barnes and UT hoops, best movie montage, still no political talk

Tennessee forward Olivier Nkamhoua walks off the court after the team was defeated by Florida Atlantic in a Sweet 16 college basketball game in the East Regional of the NCAA tournament at Madison Square Garden, Thursday, March 23, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Let's handle our business.

Rushmore of TV astronauts/spacemen, and man those fellas do attract the ladies, right? Even George Jetson's wife was attractive -- Steve Austin, Mork, James T. Kirk, Buck Rodgers.

Rushmore of Moses -- Malone, if for the "Fo-Fo-Fo" quote before the 1983 NBA playoffs, Old Testament, Edwin and Grandma.

Rushmore of Matthew Broderick vehicles: "Ferris Bueller," "The Lion King," "War Games," "Glory." And that's leaving "The Freshman" and the sneaky good and underrated "Election" on the cutting room floor. I was not as big a fan of "Cable Guy" however, but it does have a short-list contender for one of the great comedy basketball scenes ever, right there with "Soul Man" and "Along Came Polly."

Rushmore of celebrities who made it big in the food business: Paul Newman, Don Shula, Kenny Rogers and Robert De Niro.

You know the rules. Here's Paschall on UT football and catching up with arguably the most famous -- and reportedly well-paid -- back-up QB in all of football.

To the mailbag.

From more than a few upset UT fans

What the (bleep) just happened?

And from one in particular



Deep breaths. Second part first.

No, Rick Barnes does not need to be fired. Heck, he likely deserves an extension, because let's please not think UT's basketball history is checkered with Final Fours and No. 1 seeds.

It simply is not, and Barnes is likely the best men's coach to sit on the bench in The Boling Alley since Mears. (It's a coin flip whether he's better or worse -- at UT -- than Pearl was and maybe even over. If we ranked the SEC coaches 1-14, where does Barnes slot? What about Pearl? Is Calipari still 1? This is an interesting question that I have asked myself, but alas I am running out of time and still have real questions to get to. Let's discuss. Deal? Deal.)

Please do not take this as an excuse, but how many teams would expect to go beyond the 16 or maybe the Elite 8 after losing your point guard, your best off-the-dribble-shot creator and best on-ball defender?

I'll wait.

Is this frustrating for UT fans? Sure. The bracket opened itself up and looked navigable, even with Zakai Zeigler's season-ending injury.

But this team's offensive limitations was going to show itself at some point over six games. It's just that simple and clear.

I will be intrigued to see if Vescovi or some of the other "seniors" who still have a COVID-19 year come back to what could again be a deep and relentless defensive crew.

But they have to find a guy -- be it portal or prized prospect -- who can be counted on for 16 even on an off night.

From Josh

Jay, thanks for the college basketball contest and for the gift card! I have never won a sports contest like this before.

I have been reading you for a couple of years now and this is my first mailbag entry. You talked about the montages in "Karate Kid" and "Rocky IV" (Wednesday), and I was curious what movie montage is the best ever in your opinion?

Thanks and keep up the great work.


We talked some about this on Thursday in the comment. You can check them here if you missed them.

When I first got your question, my mind went to the baptism scene in "The Godfather." It's hard to come up with a better one.

Sports movies have always used the montage to encapsulate training or the regular season or whatever else to speed toward the conclusion.

"The Natural" does it well. "Bull Durham and "Hoosiers" do, too.

But in our non-political discourse these days, I'm all for any follow-ups and or further discussion.

From MT

Jay, so you are "sticking to sports," huh? Thank God because you and the "woke goes broke" sports media types suck.

I bet you are dying to blast the hockey players who choose religion over being forced to follow some league agenda about gay Pride jerseys and all that (bleep) aren't you?

I bet you would be the first one to put on a Pride jersey.


Thanks for the email and for reading. Before I discuss your distorted, disjointed and disturbing translation of the, well, planet Earth, question for the group:

Does anyone else find it pretty hilarious when folks think I -- of all the columnists and media folks out there -- am either woke or liberal? Yeah, so do I.

So, we are not discussing politics, but you asked me if I'd wear a Pride sweater. My answer is yes, I would wear one because that's what my employer asked me to do.

As for caveats, like Sinatra and regrets, I have a few:

-- I would have zero issue with a teammate refusing to wear one, like has happened in a few NHL locker rooms lately. And they could give whatever reason -- religious, personal, etc. -- they wanted.

-- Personally, I trust that my God loves everyone, and I mean everyone. Because Mike, if I know one thing is universally true, it's that we're all sinners, no matter who you love, and His Grace is glorious and unconditional if you believe.

-- I do think it's a slippery slope for any league, team, company, organization, etc to a) mess with uniforms for cause, because they are uniforms after all, and who's to say that the equality fight for the LGBT community is more or less important than the struggles of other ethnicities, groups or religions.

Just my non-political thoughts, and if we need to take a vote, I stayed out of the political fray here, right?

From J-Mac

It is going to be so hard for you to avoid politics for another 18 days with what is about to happen. Looking forward to seeing how you handle it. Have you had less hate mail recently?


We're hanging on and hanging in. So it goes. For the most part, the feedback has been relatively lowered tones. Mike notwithstanding, though.

We're hitting the home stretch of giving up politics talk for Lent, both here and in my everyday life. Not saying we won't dip our toe in the occasional gubermintal topic or three moving forward, but it's been a very nice reprieve, dontcha think?

Enjoy the weekend friends, and see you at 5 p.m. with our Plays of the Day email.