5-at-10: Weekend winners and losers, the NFL hope season, Oscars flop, Iron Man rocks

Kentucky guard Reed Sheppard (15) dribbles upcourt during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Tennessee, Saturday, March 9, 2024, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
Kentucky guard Reed Sheppard (15) dribbles upcourt during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Tennessee, Saturday, March 9, 2024, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

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AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. — It's spring break, and the 5-at-10 crew headed to the sand.

It's what we do, whenever we can do.

And hopefully offer up some photos from the Mrs.

Deal? Deal.

As always, play nice in the comments, and yes, there is more than a little to get to in a jam-packed weekend that leads in the power conference tournament week.

Weekend winners

Kentucky basketball. That was impressive BBN. Very impressive. UK went to Knoxville and controlled UT. The final score was only plus-four because UK turned it over several times late. And yes, Dalton Knecht was a one-man show for the Vols, but the offensive arsenal Coach Cal has led by Antonio Reeves and super-freshman Reed Sheppard was dazzling.

UTC women's hoops. Wow, great stat from TFP ace Gene Henley here that UTC's women are now 20-0 in SoCon finals. Gotta admit there was a stretch in my early time as sports editor in the 2000s that a one of the surest things in sports was the then-Lady Mocs winning the SoCon and heading to the tournament. Visor tip Shawn Poppie and crew. It's how it should be.

Baylor football. Man, the Red Raiders have some kind of recruiting budget and, according to Stephen Hargis on social media, landed a rising star RB from Canada.

Robert Downey Jr. I've already admitted that I watched none of the movies nominated for best picture, but I was happy to see Tony Stark grab his first Oscar Sunday night. Dude's had quite the sweeping career.

Scottie Sheffler. He's the best player on the planet if he's just putting OK, and he was doing better than that to lap the field for a five-shot win at Arnie's tournament. Still another forgettable final round broadcast since there was zero drama at one of the highest-profile non-majors a week after a Monday finish.

Morehead State. Yep, that's our first official NCAA tournament team after MSU won the OVC despite losing conference preseason player of the year Mark Freeman to a wrist injury before the season even started. Kudos.

Weekend losers

Duke gonna Duke. Kyle Filipowski, the latest Duke star who was nearly "killed" in that court-storming tragedy against Wake Forest, tripped a UNC player Saturday — and while he and the rest of the Dookies said it was an accident — they must have forgotten the cameras were on. To then make matters worse, after the UNC win, the Heels started taunting the "heralded" Cameron Crazies, who responded by throwing drinks and other objects at the UNC players. You stay classy Durham. And if you want to say "The UNC players were taunting them" well, hello, what do you think the Duke student section was doing for the previous three hours. Wanna heckle, better be prepared to take it when you kick the Duke kicked out of you. Thoughts Jay Bilas?

Kellie Harper. I like Kellie. Got to know her and Jon when they were rising stars on former UTC women's coach Wes Moore's staff. But it's time. A great start from the once-great, forever-proud Lady Vols was foiled by an inexcusable defensive effort with 1.1 seconds left in a buzzer-beating loss to South Carolina. Certainly losing to unbeaten and top-ranked South Carolina brings no shame. That's a large team picture. But it's been a decade since the Lady Vols won an SEC tournament. They have fallen to upper-middle-class in the always tough SEC. And yes, the big USC center's banked 3 was the first of her career and assuredly, but it truly looked like no one knew what to do on the game-winning inbound play. And that's coaching.

UTC hoops. Wow, up 20 with 12 play and an offensive drought allowed rival ETSU to storm back and force overtime. The Mocs lost by one in the extra session in the SoCon semifinals.

My picks. We went 1-3-1 officially and gave out dreadful advice on Kansas on social media. Yikes.

Jonathan Frost. Yes, he's in the perpetual options here, but wow, and here's the thing: Frost comes from a prominent local family, and if this was just Chattanooga folks he bamboozled, maybe the Frost folks could make it go away. But, and this may be for some of you more savvy money-manager or legal-eagle types, but with the number of states this chicanery was launched (and laundered) this becoming a federal deal makes it impossible for me not to see some serious time in the clink.

The Oscars. There was a time not that long ago that this was must-see TV. In total, I watched maybe 3 minutes.

NFL moving day

I have long said that one of the ways the NFL has moved into center stage in the sports and pop culture realm in the country is the way in which it has embraced a year-long calendar that is highlighted by how great the offseason can be.

MLB operates in secret. The NBA operates on stars. Heck, even college football has convoluted the offseason and gutted signing day to a point that the offseason calendar is high on the agenda of things that sports needs to fix, and if you are high on the agenda of things in need of repairs in college sports, well, that's saying something.

The NFL is completely different.

There's the tampering period. There's the combine. There's next month's draft, and I love the draft — you know this.

Then there is the mass flurry free agent signings which can official start Monday at noon

The reason for this is pretty simple.

There are what, say seven NFL teams in any given season that have true Super Bowl hopes barring injury or unforeseen rookie over-achievement.

There are also like seven teams that simply have zero chance to do anything more than win a handful of games, and even some of those are disappointments.

That leaves the other 18 fighting for the 10-7 rather than the 7-10 and hopes of getting into the playoffs which gives all the brass at least a one-year extension.

But for the fans — and remember that of those seven contenders, six bases are crushed by what could have been or worse what should have been (28-3) — of really everyone but the Lombardi winners, the offseason represents something more than the emotional roller-coaster of every kickoff.

The offseason represents hope.

The Chicago Bears — a team that has never had a player throw for 30 TDs in a season or 4,000 yards — hold all the cards right now because they pick 1.

That's hope.

Washington and its new front office has not mattered really since Joe Gibbs became a gear-head full time. Now it is at 2 with the chance to get Jayden Daniels.

That's hope.

Pittsburgh, which has a championship defense, is reportedly signing Russell Wilson, who at one time was a dunk for Canton, to a team-friendly, low-cap deal that instantly upgrades QB1 for the Steelers.

That's hope.

The Chiefs made Chris Jones the highest paid defensive player in the league in hopes of making history.

And with the rest of free agents signing of today who knows what may transpire.

Heck, could the Falcons add veteran QB Kirk Cousins to the array of young talent and new OC Zac Robinson.

There's always hope.

This and that

— I promise we'll talk more baseball this week, because opening day — well the first game that is — is next Wednesday and Thursday morning with the Dodgers and Padres in Korea.

— The power conference tournaments start later this week, but the carnage of the one-bid league tournaments did not just strike UTC. Two 1 seeds — High Point and CCSU — lost in semifinals and bounced from the bracket in the Big South and the NEC tournaments respectively.

— Uh, Jimmy Kimmel's performance last night is getting what I like to call skewered.

Today's questions

Weekend winners and losers. Go.

As for multiple choice Monday, let's do it this way:

How much of the Academy Awards did you watch last night?

— None. Forget I'd rather watch Oscar the Grouch (and how did "Into the Spiderverse" not win for best animated feature?).

— Less than 30 minutes; wanted to see the big awards.

— About an hour or so; it's a habit.

— All of it; it was great, you blowhard.

As for today, March 11, let's review.

It was 31 years ago today of the gripping blizzard that hit the South. And if you know, you know.

COVID-19 was declared a pandemic four years ago today.

Rupert Murdoch is 93 today. Not sure any one person has done more to harm modern media than Rupert, to be honest.

In honor of RDJ's first Oscar, what's his Rushmore of non-MCU movies. Go.

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