Tennessee's Grant Williams picks up a loose ball during the fifth-ranked Vols' home win against Vanderbilt on Tuesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville.

From Tim C

I did not see your college basketball picks (Thursday). You're not going to let a cold streak stop you are you?

You can't do that to us, man. I need the 'entertainment' and I don't know that much about college hoops. (Yes I may have a small gambling problem but who cares if I'm looking at spring training pitching match-ups and trying to see if I can get the Dodgers minus-1.5.)

Please tell me your picks are returning!!! Please?!?!

PS — I enjoy when you and Wells make side bets on your radio show. I find myself rooting for Wells' teams -- do you just have that effect on people or what? 

Tim C. — 

Relax. Take a deep breath and just relax. All is well. And you pose a couple of questions I will get into.

First, we normally post our picks atop the comments section of the 5-at-10, and we almost always toss out a pick or two in the "Full Court Press," which is final segment between 5:50-6 p.m. on Press Row.

And last night we were back baby. B-A-C-K. Like Michael Corleone in "Godfather III."

Like Fast Eddie in "Color of Money." 

Like Jack in "L.A. Confidential." (Which was before we found out what Kevin Spacey was doing behind everyone's back.) 

Here's the link and they were posted around 5 p.m. Thursday. 

The text: "College hoops tonight. Yes, we're on a slide, but let's slide into the other column. Pickers gotta pick folks. ETSU minus-13.5 over VMI, Georgia State minus-2 over App State, College of Charleston minus-1.5 over William and Mary, SMU minus-5.5 over UConn, Samford plus-3.5 over Mercer, Michigan minus-5.5 over Minnesota."

The results: ETSU 94, VMI 70, Georgia State 80, App State 75; William & Mary 86, Charleston 84 (OT); SMU 77, UConn 59; Mercer 65, Samford 62; Michigan 69, Minnesota 60. That's a 5-1 run on a very entertaining Thursday night. That moves our picks 31-18-1 against the number. That's 63.3 percent. Cue Maximus.

(Also of note: Wells played your UTC Mocs at plus-3 and said Mocs won outright. So there was a wealth of entertainment to be had late Thursday afternoon.)

With that, and knowing that Friday's can be a little thin — and two of our losses this year have been on Friday night Ivy League guesses — we'll offer Davidson minus-1.5 at a plummeting Rhode Island bunch and Iowa minus-6.5 at home over Indiana. Saturday picks will come later today or even in the morning because the lines are not set as of this moment. Deal? Deal.

As for pulling against me, in truth, the answer is yes, I have that effect on people, be it picking sides, coaching youth sports or just in a heated discussion on debate.

Not sure if it's because I'm normally the loudest person around or often the biggest personality in the place, but there's certainly something to your point. 

Those that like me, really like me. Those that don't well, check our expanded version of 'not exactly fan mail' below. 

And TC, thanks for listening, reading and playing along with the silliness. 

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Duke freshman forward Zion Williamson sits on the court after one of his shoes ripped open and he sprained his right knee early in Wednesday night's game against North Carolina in Durham, N.C.

From Jonathan

@jgreesontfp sitting here listening to @ESPN1051TheZone about Zion destroying that shoe and it really makes me want to see a SportScience special on the force requires to destroy a shoe like that.


From JoeDon


Quick question and no cheating: Who is CEO of Nike? If you said Phil Knight, you're mistaken. It's actually Mark Parker, who is President, Chairman and CEO.

Soyou are now Mark Parker. What is your immediate Marketing Plan for damage control after your tennis shoe blowout may have cost your company untold millions of dollars? On a related front, if you're Adidas, Under Armour, Puma, Converse, Reebok, what's your immediate plan of attack? Going for the jugular?

And did you hear on ESPN Radio this morning the (laughing) phoned-in conspiracy theory that stealthy invaders from UNC snuck into the Duke locker room and sabotaged Zion's shoes? This event has legs just no shoes.

And somewhere, somehow the shoe's lot number or batch number will be traced back to a Nike shoe facility in Vietnam and heads will roll.


From Chance

It has become very apparent tonight that Duke is really just Zion & Friends at this point. Could their inability to produce without Zion hurt RJ, Tre Jones, and Cam Reddish in terms of draft stock if he is in fact out for the rest of the season?

Gang —

First, Chance, I will be quite interested to see how the Devils respond in Syracuse on Saturday. And considering the side stories of that game — Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim's car fatality and Zion's knee — wow, caffeine up Bilas. Going to be a long one.

I'm not ready to say it's completely Zion and the Zionettes just yet — heck there are a lot of folks who have been saying the Barrett will be the better pro — but Saturday will carry a lot of weight on your assertion for sure. 

There clearly was a lot of interesting ShoeGAIT. (Chas, you liked that one, right?)

Couple things: First, ESPN under-uses its SportsScience segment. Seriously, can you ever remember stopping on a SportsSceince on just about anything and turning the channel before it was over? Exactly. They can't fit that in once a week instead of some other gas-bag studio show with Bill Plaschke and Woody Page yelling whether Romo is going to make the cut at the Byron Nelson? 

As for the science of Zion, well, not unlike Kevin Durant being a 7-foot 2-guard who can handle and shoot as well as anyone else in the league not named Steph, the physics and basic fundamentals of the game are not prepared for the advancements of genetics. Zion is 6-foot-7, 285 pounds with a 40-plus inch vertical and if we had to guess, runs a sub 4.8 40. (Dear Lord, as a tight end prospect, where would Zion, without a single college snap, be drafted next spring? Serious question there. He's a higher-rated prospect than Irv Smith, right?) 

Next, we love the idea that UNC infiltrated the Duke equipment shed. 

Quick question for the group: How would Nike rank its college associations with various programs and schools? If Oregon is No. 1 (face it, Knight has given hundreds of millions to his alma mater), what rounds out the top five? Alabama football, UNC hoops, Duke hoops, Michigan in general, THE Ohio State, Tennessee? How would those rank? Discuss.

As for the meetings in the offices of the competitors of Nike, well, we can picture it this way:

VP of Marketing: We have to strike right now. Men, ladies, interns, even you George, does anyone have an idea?

Leigh: Yes, we show the 9-year-old Vietnamese Nike line working on the PG 2.5. They are distracted, maybe watching Tropic Thunder or something like that. M*A*S*H maybe

Terry from accounting: You think 9-year-olds watch M*A*S*H? Is that the only show you know with any type of Asian connection?

Mark from marketing: What about the early Happy Days with the guy from Karate Kid working the kitchen at Arnold's.

Skip from payroll: Karate Kid was awesome, right? (In his best Mr. Miyagi voice) Wax on. Wax off. 

Choi from engineering: Guys, do I need to get HR up here.

VP of Marketing: Let's stay on topic. Go ahead Leigh.

Leigh: Well, the line is distracted and then a size 15 shoe with uncertain seems comes off the line, and we show it on camera with the words "$250 for this? Just Don't Do It."

VP of Marketing: OK, I like that. Anyone else.

George wakes from a nap and he has a gin and tonic in his Yeti coffee mug (picture Don Draper meets Don Johnson meets Don Rickles): Not bad Leigh. Here Choi, hold my drink.

George rises, stretches and scans the room. "Gang," he starts, "This is our moment. Now. Like when Converse thought that, "We have Magic and Larry and Dr. J — DOCTOR FLIPPING JAY — who needs that Jordan kid with the tongue and the baggy shorts?" This is a chance. A moment we must seize.

"We build this up like the beginning of a 30-for-30. What if I told you the biggest basketball game ever lasted 33 seconds because a billion-dollar company is more worried about your shoes look than how your shoes perform.

"What if I told you, the biggest shoe company in the world is not big enough for the biggest moment for the sport's biggest star. What if I told you that being stylish is fine for pregame or postgame, but being great at your best against the best means wearing the best.

"Then we zoom in on President Obama saying as clear as day, "His shoe broke" over and over again. 

"And we put our logo on the screen and ask, "Do you want to look great or be great?" Scene.

"I'm spent. Choi, cocktail me."

Or something like that. Thoughts?       

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NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin celebrates in victory lane at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday night after winning the Daytona 500.

From JohnMac

Hey Jay!

I have not written in a while...comment every now. I still read everyday and listen as much as I can to you on the radio. I can ruin a pair of wireless earbuds in no time. Usually listen while riding on the golf cart or fishing in the community here. You use more words now in your first sentence than you did total when you first started.

I was wanting to ask if you and David could start a NASCAR segment on Monday or Tuesday...but after listening to you yesterday, I don't think that is going to happen. Think of it this way, you would be doing a public service for fans of NASCAR...just letting them know a race was going on. A lot of changes are going to be made in the next year or two when they get the ISC thing worked out. NASCAR can not close a date for a publicly owned track until it absorbs or buys ISC. I think you will see Nashville and other tracks become involved along with some midweek racing in 2020.

To save their sport, you should be able to get all kinds of NASCAR people to interview. Love you column and the radio show....keep it up.

JohnMac —

Great to hear from you JM, and thanks for being a loyal listener/reader/general silliness fan. 

As someone who grew up loving NASCAR, I appreciate your pitch and the possibilities. And here's betting you are right — I bet anyone this side of Jimmie Johnson would be gettable for the radio. NASCAR is in the rare place for pro sports right now; it needs media more than media needs it.

(For those wondering, here's more on JM's discussion of NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation looking to merge under the France family umbrella. And that would allow for some more flexibility in scheduling and such.) 

I love the idea of mid-week races when applicable, and if we are in the NASCAR powwows, no idea should be considered out of bounds.

As for regular segments, well, that's not really our thing. 

That said, has NASCAR past the point of return? I don't know the answer to that, and there are some good things happening in the sport.

But the numbers are falling like never before. 

And a sneaky part of that is the length of these races. Seriously. Golf better realize it too. 

But who has six-plus hours of TV time to devote to a race or the final round of the Greenbrier? If baseball is too long and too slow at a little over three hours, who truly believes that NASCAR or golf has a TV future at four-to-six-hour conclusions in this instant-gratification-short-attention-span generation?

NASCAR has more issues and uncertainty than any sports franchise anywhere, whether we are talking about them on Press Row or not. 

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Guillermo del Toro and the cast and crew of "The Shape of Water" accept the award for best picture at the Oscars on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

From Nolan

Jay, I love the 5-at-10 and read it almost everyday. I have not written to the mailbag before but I have noticed that almost all your movie references are 80s and 90s mostly.

Do you not watch modern movies or what? Also, with the Academy Awards this weekend I was wondering if you had you ever done a Rushmore of all-time Oscar snubs?

Thanks and keep up the great work?

Nolan —

Thanks Nolan, and it's a fair question.

Truth be told the only category of Sunday night's Oscars that I will have seen a majority of the films will be the animated category.

That's my life station. If it's not Superheroes, animation or Star Wars, well, it's not likely on my radar. (And there are not a lot of movie screens at ball parks and basketball gyms either.)

I don't believe I've done a Rushmore of Oscar snubs. So, let's get to it.

OK, far left for me is Goodfellas losing best picture to Dances with Wolves in 1990. Buckets of bad decisions that's dreadful even to this day 

Francis Ford Coppola not getting the Oscar for directing The Godfather in 1972. It went to Bob Fosse, who directed Cabaret.

Back before the industry recognized that superhero movies could be amazing as well as profitable, the snobby folks at the Academy gave the 2008 best picture trophy to the dreadful Slumdog Millionaire over The Dark Knight.

And finally Saving Private Ryan (not to be confused with Shaving Ryan's Privates different category) losing to Shakespeare in Love is inexplicable.

And, while it's not on here, we need to mention the entire 1995 Oscars that was dominated by everyone to even have a cup of coffee on the Forest Gump set. In 1995, the pictures that were theoretically blanked because of Gump's gumption included Pulp Fiction, Shawshank, Lion King, Quiz Show (exceedingly underrated) and Nobody's Fool (also exceedingly underrated).

Which brings us to his week's Rushmores:

Rushmore of actors who have been great villains multiple times: Waltz (simply the most intimidating little fellow since Napoleon), Fiennes (Schindler's List and the Harry Potters), Rickman (all-time turns in Die Hard and Robin Hood), and Nicholson (Shining, Departed, A Few Good Men) 

Rushmore of real-life 'pets': Pet Sementary, Pet Rock, Tom Petty, and Richard Petty

Rushmore of Roger's: (No d's allowed) Sports — Federer, Clemens, Marist and Staubach; Non-sports — Daltrey, Kenny Rogers, Ginger Rogers and the famous Airplane scene "Roger, Roger."

Rushmore of John Travolta: Pulp Fiction for sure. Urban Cowboy has aged like a fine wine. (Scott Glenn has a nice villain collection too.) Get Shorty. Saturday Night Fever.

From Spy 

More punchable face ... Atherton .... or David Schwimmer as Ross from Friends?

Spy —

As always an insightful and important question.

Wow, all-time punchable characters.

TV version: Ross from Friends. Seriously that Joey never dropped him on principle alone speaks poorly for Joey. Frank Burns. King Joffrey. And the actor who plays LittleFinger (who also played Frank Carcetti in The Wire) gets a lifetime achievement award.

Movie version: Your all-timer here — the Babe Ruth of the category — has to be Mr. William Zabka, right? From his Hall of Fame punchable turn in Karate Kid (and if you had over 1.5 on the Karate Kid references today, you can now cash your tickets) to underrated punchable turns in Back to School and Just One of the Guys, Billy Z is no-brainer, first-ballot punchable. We'll go with Atherton in Die Hard and Ghostbusters. Great call. We almost went with Dr. Chilton from Silence of the Lambs, but he got his in the end — and it was way worse than a punch. We'll add Bob Sugar (Jay Mohr's character) from Jerry McGuire and of course Jar Jar Binks.

Great question

From Proud American

What if a Miss St fan had thrown the stuffed animal on the floor in order to get a technical on UGA?

PA —

I understand the frustration and the threat of reverse sabotage has to be considered there.

In fact, it was certainly strange for the ref to go from zero to technical without a warning, you know?

That said, throwing stuff on the floor or field is a) stupid, b) dangerous and c) all of the above.

I've never even had the thought of, "You know what, I'm throwing something out there because this stinks."

And worse yet, did the fan think no one would notice? Seriously.

Side note, and circulating back to TC's earlier question about folks enjoying rooting against me, well, let's just say at McEachern on a winter night in 1988, we fouled an Indian named Clay Harris pretty hard. (It was an accident, I swear.)

And the stands were about to charge the floor — seriously. The students started throwing change at me — seriously. And my mild-manner father almost got into a fist fight in the stands — seriously. (Someone called me a "Son of a Bleep" and my dad grabbed him by the shoulder and said, "Well, he's my son of a Bleep!" and the two had to be separated.

I imagine there will be a river of league announcements on the Beeny Baby incident across college sports sooner rather than later.

Hate mail

OK, we have held off a few weeks of 'not exactly fan mail' so this week's batch is busting the bag. And since we have had multiple columns taking multiple viewpoints (some bagging on democrats, others questioning Trump's decision to call a very sketchy state of emergency), well, we were an equally opportunistic offender over the last few weeks.

Without further ado, cue the music and release the hounds.

"America was Great until November 2016. You have been terrible since forever."

Good start.

"I agree that the red hats are akin to KKK hoods. Wearing one is announcing to the world "I am ready to fight". And your racists views only make things worse. PS I think America is and has always been great."

Picking up steam.

"Perhaps you do not appreciate why you have the freedom to express yourself? Perhaps you are a liberal like Pelosi, Schumer, Sanders, or one of many more choosing to draw attention to their name while they pretend to seek the POTUS job which most of them are poorly qualified for? I am not sure who you are Jay. However, I am pretty sure you are part of "the state of emergency" in this country."

Surprising, and getting closer.

"Jay takes his entire column to deride the number of Democrats (11) who have announced their candidacy for president. I think we all remember the (17) GOP candidates who jockeyed around during the 2016 primary. John Kasich, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Jim Gilmore, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, George Pataki, Lindsay Graham, Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker, Rick Perry and Donald Trump. Now, unlike Jay, I won't demean or name call those 17 candidates who were simply doing their patriotic duty. Because unlike Jay, I'm not an (bleep)hole."


"It amazes me that after two years——and seeing him in action— people still think Trump is the savior of America. I know I must be an anomaly—an old white man living in Tennessee—for not being in lockstep with the other red hats. For this I blame my grade school teachers for instilling in me that principles are important. It's clear not all people got that lesson and you obviously had no there to do that for you-----a blind follower worshiping at the alter of money and hollow patriotism."


"Why do you and the rest of the liberal media simply ignore the facts that we love Trump because he loves America and calls out all of your FAKE news BULL(BLEEP)?!?!?!" 


"Dear Mr. Greeson, ..."ol' Chief Wahoo"  That is just wrong and you should be ashamed of yourself stooping to the level of name calling. What if I called you a fat faced Trump lover? How would that make you feel."

And finally

"I wish I had the money to buy your trash(bleep) paper so I could fire your worthless self-center mother(bleeping) (bleep)!!! It will be a great day for Chattanooag!!! (Bleep) You!!!"

Good talk gang. Have a great weekend.