5-at-10: Clark and Co. deliver on the hype in Women’s shootout, Braves start fast, UT’s monster task

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark (22) celebrates after defeating LSU in an Elite Eight round college basketball game during the NCAA Tournament, Monday, April 1, 2024, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Iowa guard Caitlin Clark (22) celebrates after defeating LSU in an Elite Eight round college basketball game during the NCAA Tournament, Monday, April 1, 2024, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

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Sports at its best

We convene around this online campfire to share stories and tall tales and (mostly) good-natured trash talk because at one time or another, in one sport or another, we became fans.

And that's cool, but a vast percentage of the sports events and star match-ups that we truly look forward to never deliver on the build-up or the hype.

Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes' win over LSU, and Angel Reese delivered on the hype of 12 Super Bowls, and the aforementioned Clark delivered just as much in a master class 41-point, 12-assist performance that added at at least more prominent, cross-gender national college basketball records to her ledger.

(Side note: If you are ever on Jeopardy! and the question is NCAA basketball records, the fail-safe at this point is Caitlin Clark. And considering how many TV commercials — including power players like Gatorade and StateFarm — she was in, here's betting Clark was top three in NIL earnings with Liv Dunne and Caleb Williams over the 2023-24 school year.)

(Side note: Kim Mulkey lost that game for LSU last night every bit as much as Clark won it. Why did it take her so long to move that 5-foot-7 girl off Clark and put a bigger, quicker defender in space with the best shooter since Maravich? Yes, better that Steph and Lofton and even Reed Sheppard, Chas.)

Anywell, enough with the side tangents, and let's return to the praise part of the brilliance of last night.

Because, not unlike a young LeBron James, Clark sees the floor as well in transition as anyone since Magic was in East Lansing.

She may be one of the biggest stars in college hoops history and if she bags a title — especially with this Final Four — I'm not sure she doesn't take Pistol's place on all-time college hoops Rushmore of players with Alcinder, Laettner and either Walton or Cheryl Miller.

Thoughts?

Braves being Braves

Man, I am kicking myself for not letting the Braves' mantra from a year ago just roll.

Braves won 9-0 Monday against the White Sox. It was not that close.

Atlanta has scored 34 runs in four games.

Yes, 34.

And that's with Matt Olson and Travis d'Arnaud startling slowly.

Watching this team has the feel of a slow-pitch softball team from the good church league. You may not know when they are going to get, but eventually someone is going to get you.

And if Charlie Morton is what he was Monday on a regular basis — 5.2 innings, three hits, two walks — as the Braves No. 4 starter, well, go ahead and start printing the playoff tickets.

UT makes a move

Lots of women's hoops news as we were already well into a busy Monday when news hit that Kellie Harper was fired as the coach of the Lady Vols.

I believe it was time, especially because of the complete vacuum in the trophy case over the last decade in Knoxville. Yes, Kellie was only there for half that time, but when you know, you know.

I also believe this is the most critical hire the program has ever made. Not saying hiring Pat was not genius and proved to be one of the great hires in college sports.

But that was before we knew what women's hoops could be, and considering the expectations and the underwhelming results since Summitt retired, this is a monster hire.

And as a lot of you folks said on here Monday and in my social media, Danny White must find the right coach and not worry whether that person was under the Summitt tree.

Not sure Nick Saban ever met Bear Bryant, but that worked out pretty well returning a blue-blood to national prominence, no?

This and that

— The UConn win over USC was also a banger last night as the Women's Final Four is set.

— Man, stupid is as stupid does, right Forrest? Here's the TFP story on the guy who opened fire at the East Brainerd ball fields at a preseason tournament.

— You know the rules. Here's Paschall on the progression of the Vols secondary in spring drills and more high compliments for Chattanooga-area standout Boo Carter.

Today's questions

True or false, it's Tuesday. Morning, Ernie.

True or false, you will watch more of the women's Final Four than the men's.

True or false, if you needed someone to make a 3 with a life-changing amount of money on the line for your family, you're picking Caitlin Clark.

True or false, Geno Auriemma enjoyed himself tremendously this week with UConn in the Final Four, getting to go there as the underdog and looking up and seeing that UT's program is in turmoil.

True or false, Duke men's hoops is about to be a very close facsimile to UT women's hoops.

You know the drill. Answer some T or Fs, ask some T or Fs.

As for today, April 2, let's review.

One of the most famous moments in Chattanooga sports history happened on this day as Jackie Mitchell struck Ruth and Gehrig in an exhibition at Engel Stadium on this day in 1931.

Spy, who was the pregame meal.

On this day 40 years ago, Patrick Ewing and the Hoyas beat Houston for the NCAA title.

Rushmore of the most important college basketball hirings of the last 25 years.

May have to do a good and bad category.

Go.


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