(I'm having some awful writers block, and really tired from a long weekend at work...So I decided to go back in the archives, and share a post from our old friend ThirdStone...Enjoy -The Beeze)
6,723 Receiving Yards
5 Pro Bowls
AFL All-Time Team
First With 101 Receptions In A Season
Charles Taylor Hennigan joined the expansion Houston Oilers as an undrafted 25-year old in the fledgling American Football League in 1960. He had previously been a high school teacher at a high school, where he earned $4,000 annually. He kept a monthly pay stub of $270.72 in his helmet for inspiration on the gridiron.
He had initially went to college at LSU on a track scholarship, where the coaches of the school had designs for him to compete in the Olympic games. The Tigers were the SCC mile-relay champions in his freshman year, an event Hennigan specialized in.
Football became Hennigan's primary interest soon after his high school sweetheart passed away from cancer. LSU did not want him switching sports, so Hennigan transferred to Northwestern State University and played running back for three years.
After college, he was invited to try out for the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. He was cut after a week, so he had a stint in the United States Army before returning to Louisiana to teach biology and gym class while also coaching both football and track.
Hennigan used his time as a track coach to run and stay in shape, along with using isometrics. Red Cochran was a former NFL player who later became a scout. He happened to live nearby Hennigan, so Cochran got him to try out for the newly founded Oilers. Cochran's career would last 52 years in the NFL, ending up in the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.
Having no real experience as a wide receiver, Hennigan asked Cleveland Browns legend Dub Jones for some help. Jones, whose son Bert would later become a Pro Bowl quarterback with the Baltimore Colts, was a former Pro Bowl receiver who happened to live close by Hennigan as well.
Jones, who still shares the NFL record for six touchdowns scored in one game, drilled Hennigan on how to fake the defender and not the area. NFL defenses employed man-to-man coverage in those days, as opposed to the zone coverage most teams use in the game today.
Hennigan went into a Oilers camp that had a few stars trying out for the team. The team cut future stars like Hall of Fame cornerback Willie Brown and Pro Bowl wide receiver Homer Jones. Jones, who still holds the NFL record for yards per catch in a career, is known best for inventing the football spike after a score.
A big reason Brown didn't make the Oilers is because he had difficulty covering Hennigan in practice. The two would butt heads many times over the years, often complimenting each other as the toughest opponent either had faced in their careers.
There was a few hundred men trying out for the Oilers and Hennigan began to hear rumors he was about to be cut as well. Yet he made the team and had Browns great Mac Speedie, a former teammate of Dub Jones, as his wide receivers coach.
He and Oilers teammate Charley "The Human Bowling Ball" Tolar are the first persons at Northwestern State to play professional football. The school would later produce such greats like Hall of Fame tight end Jackie Smith, Pro Bowl players like quarterback Bobby Hebert, cornerback Terrence McGee, wide receiver Mark Duper, running backs Tolar, John Stephens and Joe Delaney. They are amongst the 44 players from that school to play professional football.
The five Pro Bowls Hennigan accrued is tied with Smith as the most ever by a Northwestern State Demon. Also a track star, he has been named one of the 100 greatest football players in school history.
He soon won a starting job in camp and developed an amazing repertoire with Hall of Fame quarterback George Blanda. Hennigan scored the first touchdown in Oilers history, which happened in the first game in franchise history against the Oakland Raiders.
Separating his shoulder in the first half of that game, Hennigan then sat out for three games as he healed from the injury. He returned to be second on the team in receiving yards and touchdown catches as the Oilers eventually reached the first ever AFL title game.
Playing against the Los Angeles Chargers, Houston came back from an early deficit to capture the championship with a 24-16 victory. Hennigan's four receptions for 71 yards were both the second best totals on the team.
The 1961 season started out strange for the Oilers. After stumbling out to a 1-3-1, they replaced head coach Lou Rymkus with Wally Lemm. This awoke the Oilers roster, as they would then explode upon the AFL with 10 straight wins on their way to winning the second, and so far last, title in franchise history.
The offense was ranked first in the league in offense, total yards and passing yards. They also finished second in rushing yards, points and total yards allowed. It was also the finest season of Hennigan's career.
He had to share receptions with Pro Bowlers like Tolar, Billy Cannon, Willard Dewveall, Bob McLoud and Bill Groman. Groman led the AFL with 17 touchdowns off of 50 receptions for 1,175 yards that year, as well as leading the league in yards per catch.
Hennigan racked up 82 catches at an impressive 21.3 yards per reception average that was second best in the AFL. He led the league with a career best 1,746 receiving yards, breaking an 11-year old record previously set by Hall of Famer Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch.
He had started out the season charting out a way to break Hirsch's record. Hennigan once calculated the number of receptions and receiving yards he needed to break the record by writing on a bathroom mirror with soap as he shaved.
Not only did he set a career best mark by leading the AFL with 124.7 receiving yards gained per game, he also caught a career high 12 touchdowns. The 124.7 yards mark stood as a record until 1982, when Wes Chandler surpassed it in a strike-shortened season that lasted nine games that year. Hennigan appeared in 14 games 21 years earlier and his average still ranks second best in pro football history.
Yet he also piled up more records. He still owns the record for three games of which Hennigan had over 200 yards receiving. He also owns the record for seven straight games of at least 100 yards receiving, which is how he started out the 1961 season. Hennigan was also the first player ever to have 10 games in a season with over 100 receiving yards.
Hennigan had 11 total games that year of at least 100 yards receiving. It, as well as his streak of seven games, was tied in 1995 by Hall of Famer Michael Irvin. Irvin needed 16 games to tie the record.
His streak of seven games ended after getting 232 yards and two scores against the Buffalo Bills. After missing his eighth straight game by 22 yards the next week in a game Houston won 55-14 over the Denver Broncos, he did not catch a pass the following game.
While the Oilers beat the San Diego Chargers for the 1961 AFL Championship, they did a good job limiting Hennigan to 43 yards on five catches. The reason was because they concentrated on him after he had burned them for 214 yards and three scores just three weeks earlier.
Not only did his 1,746 total yards lead the AFL on 1961, Hennigan began a streak of five consecutive Pro Bowl appearances. The record of 1,746 receiving yards stood as a record until 1995, when Isaac Bruce and record holder Jerry Rice surpassed it. Yet Hennigan's total still ranks and the third most ever.
The difference between Hennigan's record setting seasons to those who tied or surpassed him is the fact he passed Hirsch's record in 12 games, the same number of games Hirsch had played in 1951. Rice and Bruce needed 16 games, two more than Hennigan played in 1961, to surpass him.
Another difference is that only Irvin was on a championship team like Hennigan was during these record-setting years. Rice, a Hall of Famer, and Bruce would win titles in different seasons.
Hennigan, who was named First Team All-Pro in 1961 and 1962, then continued his excellence after his incredible year. He grabbed 115 balls for 1,918 yards and 18 touchdowns over the next two seasons. The 1962 Houston team reached the AFL title game for a third straight season, but lost in overtime.
Some say Hennigan's 1964 season was his best, while Hennigan prefers to think his 1961 season was. Though he was good friends with Denver Broncos legend Lionel Taylor, he set out to break Taylor's 1961 record of 100 receptions.
He broke the record by grabbing 101 passes that year. This mark stood 20 years until Hall of Famer Art Monk had 106 in 1984, a record would stand for. Hennigan also had 1,546 receiving yards, which also led the AFL and still ranks as the 21st most in pro football history.
The 110.4 yards gained per game receiving average he has in 1964 also still ranks as the eighth best ever in pro football history. Hennigan is the first pro player ever to have two seasons of over 1,500 yards receiving, and he is also the first to have four games of 200 or more receiving yards.
Concussions began to catch up to Hennigan by 1965, as well as the fact he was running around on an injured knee. He gutted it out over the next two years, catching 68 passes for 891 yards and seven touchdowns over that time.
One game against the Chargers saw San Diego cornerback Claude Gibson hit Hennigan with a rabbit punch, knocking the Oilers star out cold. Hennigan woke up in the locker room, but was dazed. He was put back out on the field, but didn't know where he was most of the time because of the concussion he suffered.
It turned out to be a mistake by Gibson, a great punt returner who led the AFL in punt return yardage and average twice. Player in those days took care of their own teammates.
Unbeknownst to Hennigan, two of his teammates set up Gibson during a preseason game a few years later. He was hit in the knees, which ended Gibson's career. Hennigan was told this story at a 50th anniversary reunion by his teammates.
Concussions went untreated back then, and medical technology was not good enough to do a good job repairing knees either. Houston traded Hennigan to the Raiders for a future draft pick, but he failed the physical and decided to retire.
Not only was Hennigan on the gridiron for the love of the game, but he was able to pursue his doctorate in education with an increase in salary compared to what he earned as a teacher.
He once asked Oilers owner Bud Adams for a raise after his monster 1961 season, but was refused. Instead, Adams cut him a check for $10,000 and sent Hennigan out of his offices.
When Hennigan retired after the 1966 season, he basically owned every receiving record there was for the Oilers and AFL. He still has the most touchdown receptions in franchise history, as well as the fourth most receiving yards and sixth most receptions in team history.
He owns the Oilers record of most catches and receiving yards in a game, when he went for 276 yards on 13 receptions in 1961. His 26 games of at least 100 yards receiving is also a franchise record.
His 71.8 receiving yards per game is not only the best in team history, it is still the 12th best ever in pro football history. Four of the players ahead of him on this list are still active, so Hennigan could move back up the list as the years go on.
The 16.8 yards per reception average is excellent for any era of football, especially one that dealt with the 10-yard chuck rule. Not only does it rank 39th best ever in yards per touch in pro football history, it is the second best in Oilers/ Titans history behind Oilers great Ken Burrough.
I do not know what disgusts me most. Hennigan's exclusion from the Pro Football Hall of Fame or the fact Adams has seemingly spit on his teams earlier history.
Blanda and Jim Norton are the only early Oilers in the franchises Hall of Fame. Ken Houston and Elvin Bethea, two more Hall of Fame players, are the only other AFL Oilers inducted into the teams Hall of Fame.
Hennigan should have been inducted into both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Oilers/ Titans Hall of Fame by now. Not only is he the greatest wide receiver in that franchises history, he is one of the very best in AFL history. Hennigan is a member of the AFL All-Time Team.
There are the obvious signs of the continued AFL disrespect by the Pro Football Hall of Fame as one of the reasons to why Hennigan has not yet been inducted. Even though the building in Canton does not say NFL Hall of Fame, it has become just that.
The NFL's anger of being forced to merge with the successful AFL still seems to burn brightly. The voters obviously cower and heed this anger by inducting modern inferior players instead.
Not only did Hennigan have to deal with the 10-yard chuck rule, which is a lot harder to have success in compared to the modern five-yard rule, he dealt with playing fields that were nowhere as near as pristine as they have been the past few decades.
Football used to be a game for men in Hennigan's era. Players had to actually earn their accolades then, as opposed to the rule changes that guarantee successes like now. Yet the numbers he put up easily match or exceed many players today that are deemed as stars.
Some detractors will point at he fact he lasted just seven seasons, but the Hall of Fame is filled with men who had careers of that length or less. Men who put up inferior production as well.
While Hirsch is in the Hall of Fame, he went to two less Pro Bowls and had one less First Team All-Pro honor than Hennigan. Though a great wide receiver, Hirsch had two excellent seasons and several decent ones.
Lynn Swann, another Hall of Famer, lasted nine years but many of his number pale in comparison to Hennigan. Swann was finalist 13 times before induction, while Hennigan hasn't even been named a semi-finalist once. Hennigan also has more receptions than Hall of Fame receiver Bob Hayes, let alone the fact he either owns or shares several other records with some of the best receivers to ever play the game.
Blanda, who was later a teammate of Brown's, often lamented the exclusion of Hennigan from the Hall of Fame up until his death. Hennigan set his receptions record after catching nine passes against Brown, who also agrees with Blanda that the Oilers legend deserves a bust in Canton.
Not only did Hennigan's 101 reception season stand as a record for 20 years, his 1,746 yards gained stood as a record for 34 seasons. He is the only player ever to have three games of 200-yards receiving in a season.
Voters should look at the travails Hennigan had to persevere through compared to the game now. Not only the rules to empower the modern offense that he did not have to help him nor the shoddy fields he played on often. How the hash marks placement greatly differed then and the goal posts used to be placed hazardously on the goal line in his day.
How the defenses of his day actually were allowed to play defense and even extend it further to the realm of crossing the lines of fair play. Even with medical care that didn't have as much expertise as now, Hennigan went out there and performed at a Hall of Fame level no matter how hurt he was.
There is no doubt that Hennigan belongs in Canton. The seniors committee of the Pro Football Hall of Fame is afforded just two nominees each year, which is unfair to the tremendous backlog they have to sift through annually. Yet Hennigan should never have reached the seniors pool, because it is obvious he should have been inducted long ago.
While he is in that deep seniors pool now, Hennigan easily rises to the top of the best wide receivers not yet inducted. Yet too much times has passed in his omission, so the voters must get it together now and put him in so Hennigan can enjoy his long overdue induction.
It is easy to see Charlie Hennigan is the greatest wide receiver not yet put into the hallowed halls within Canton. He belonged long ago, but now is the time to right the wrongs made by past voters. Contact all of the voters and tell them that Hennigan deserves his rightful place inside the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Men's Hockey - The Eagles beat UMass-Lowell 4-3 last week and advanced to the Frozen Four. They'll play Union on April 10th in the national semifinals. BC is 28-7-4 on the season and it would be great if they could win another championship.
By the way, does anyone know why there is such a long delay before the Frozen Four games?
Men's Basketball - For those who didn't see my Coaching Carousel entry this week, the men's basketball team has a new coach in Jim Christian. He spent the last two years at Ohio University where he went 49-22.
In demonstration of the fact that I don't actually know EVERYTHING, when I first saw the report of his hiring, my reaction was "Who?!"
He seems like he's a pretty good coach, though coaching at Ohio is a bit different than coaching in the ACC. His first order of business is going to be convincing sophomore Olivier Hanlan to stay in school. Rumor has it Hanlan is considering entering the NBA draft.
If he's successful in keeping Hanlan in school, he has to recruit ACC ready talent, win with them and re-energize a fan base that has come to expect losing rather than winning. It is a tall order. Here's hoping he can do it.
Women's Basketball - While their season is over, preparations for next year are already underway. The women's basketball team's Twitter feed has been covering the workouts the team is going through the past week or so.
The losing has finally started to fray the patience of coach Brad Stevens over the last week or so. He hasn't gone ballistic or anything but his comments in the press after games and such have had a bit of frustration in them.
After four more losses this week, it isn't hard to imagine him at least metaphorically pulling out his hair at night. A 23-53 record will do that to you.
The week started off with back to back games against the Chicago Bulls. The first game was a 107-102 loss that saw Rajon Rondo score 17 points and dish out 11 assists to lead the team. Jared Sullinger had 16 points and 10 boards. Five others also hit double figures in scoring.
Jerryd Bayless scored 18 points in the second Bulls game to lead Boston but they lost 94-80.
The Wizards pasted Boston 118-92 despite 25 points from Sullinger.
On Friday night, the Sixers knocked off the Celtics 111-102. Bayless scored 23 points and Rondo had a triple double (11 points, 11 rebounds, 16 assists) but Philly's Michael Carter-Williams had 24 points to power the Sixers.
The season is winding down and Boston is obviously not headed to the playoffs. I'd imagine Stevens and GM Danny Ainge will be looking at these final few games to see which players continue to play hard despite having nothing to look forward to in terms of postseason play. Those that do will have a good shot at returning, and those that play as if they've given up will find their roles either reduced or recast with someone else.
Four games into the season and the Red Sox are 2-2. Nothing spectacular, nothing horrifying. I saw the end of the opener and was bummed when Jon Lester gave up that homer to Nelson Cruz. I missed the 2nd game but saw the start of Game 3.
I was happy to see the Fenway crowd boo the hell out of Milwaukee's Ryan Braun yesterday during opening day in Boston, even though the Brewers won 6-2.
Say what you want, but Boston sure does put on a good opening day show, particularly after a World Series win.
I know there are those who are already breaking down stuff about these four games and will predict greatness or divine tragedy for the season but for me, it is just far too early to have an opinion on how I think the team will do this year.
Plus, I'm a Red Sox fan, my default setting is hope for the best, prepare for the worst.
By the way, here's a look at the World Series ring:
CBI Tournament - The best of 3 series between Siena and Fresno State came down to the final game on Saturday.
After splitting the first two games, it was the Siena Saints (the alma mater of one of my cousins) who put the 81-68 beatdown on Fresno State to win the 2014 CBI Championship.
WNIT - It was Rutgers vs. UTEP for the WNIT championship on Saturday afternoon. Rutgers went up big, but blew the lead. The game was tied with 8 seconds left before they went the length of the floor for a layup with 2.1 seconds left and went on to win the championship.
Tennessee Lady Vols - The Lady Vols season ended in the Sweet 16 with a loss to Maryland last weekend. They finish 29-6 and lose leading scorer Meighan Simmons to graduation.
The two biggest reasons for their loss were the 22 turnovers in the game and the fact that they had no defensive answer for Maryland's Alyssa Thomas. She scored 33 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.
Simmons led Tennessee with 31 points but Jasmine Jones was the only other player in double figures for scoring in the game. Bashaara Graves had 14 rebounds and Isabelle Harrison had 10 boards.
But with Simmons gone, the question becomes how do you replace her offense? And let's face it, Tennessee is no longer an ELITE team. They are very good and they have a lot of talent, but it doesn't seem to be the same quality as in past seasons.
And on the Rebkell message board, one poster even posed the question of whether it was time to move on from coach Holly Warlick or not. This was a ridiculous question in my mind. She's been there for decades of course, but she's only in her 2nd year as the head coach. And she's been reasonably successful. Not as successful as Pat Summitt (very few coaches ever could say that) and maybe not as successful as the fan base wants, but all in all she's done more than enough to stay in charge.
But there are things that need to be done. At times this season it seemed as if the team was completely out of synch. They failed to forge a distinct identity. Sure they mostly beat the teams you expected them to, but the wins over the BIG programs were few and far between.
They need to find an identity that incorporates the talent they already have and the incoming freshman class. They've got Bashaara Graves, Isabelle Harrison and Cierra Burdick in the post as well as seemingly underused Mercedes Russell. Andraya Carter took over as the point guard when Ariel Massengale just disappeared from the rotation. But their guards are definitely going to have to step things up immensely.
And in the recruiting wars, Tennessee simply has to start landing those high level blue chip players again. The ones currently heading to UConn, Stanford, Notre Dame and Baylor.
Otherwise, the Lady Vols will end up seeing a coaching change sooner rather than later. And the more you clear the tradition from the program the more the school's AD will be able to put his stamp on the program and he's already demonstrated he's less concerned about the women's teams at the school than he is about the men's teams.
Wake Forest - It's now official. The Demon Deacons have hired ex-Tulsa coach Danny Manning as the new men's basketball coach. In my coaching carousel post this week I noted about Manning being interviewed for the job and how I didn't think it was such a good idea to go to a program that is never really going to compete in the fully stacked at the top ACC.
Men's Final Four - I won't be able to include coverage of the 2nd national semi-final game, but Kevin Ollie and the UConn men's basketball team just destroyed my bracket.
After being down early, the Huskies dominated Florida and advanced to the national championship game. This is one hell of a turnaround for UConn who on March 8th got annihilated by Louisville and for sure looked like they were not even going to make the Sweet 16.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
The spring sports season has gotten underway. I'll be keeping track of the Wareham girls track team, the JV and varsity softball teams for Wareham and the varsity girls softball team at Upper Cape.
While the track team hasn't started yet, Wareham's softball teams have.
The JV team won their season opener against Middleboro 4-3. Gabby is the catcher and she had a hit and a RBI in the game. She also threw out a runner at 2nd base.
The varsity team lost to Middleboro 7-0. Breanna had 2 hits. Rae-Lyn pitched giving up 5 hits with 8 K's. In their Friday afternoon game against GNB Voc-tech, Rae-Lyn got the loss on the mound as the Lady Bears rolled 13-2. Breanna had 3 hits in the loss.
As for Upper Cape, the girls team won their first two games, including a 22-5 win in Game 2. Unfortunately they lost to Bourne yesterday afternoon 6-5.
TV - This past Monday was the series finale of How I Met Your Mother and it was an so bad that it ruined the entire series for me.
This is what I wrote on Facebook about the finale:
"How do I feel about the How I Met Your Mother series finale? The show ended at 9:01 pm EST tonight and I was glad that I had never invested in the DVD sets of each season, because by 9:02 pm EST, I would've been listing them on eBay.
It took 9 years for them to tell this story and 60 minutes to absolutely F*CKING DESTROY IT. What a horrifically bad piece of crap final episode.
People should be ...ashamed of themselves and their ability to discern good from garbage if they thought this was a good way to end the show. And I mean both the fanbase and the people responsible for the show.
Much like the reboot Battlestar Galactica show, HIMYM becomes another series where the ending was such a catastrophic travesty, that I can never watch the series again.
And while, yes, it is JUST a TV show, I invested 9 years in it...the return on investment should've been better than what the ending was.
Just an abomination of a series finale."
The Walking Dead season finale last Sunday was excellent. Oh and the funny people populating the Net had a couple of good fake photos related to the show this past week. You can see them below. Believe me, if you are fan of the show you will TOTALLY get the meaning to each photo.
Game of Thrones starts tonight (9pm EST on HBO) and I'm really looking forward to that. Before that though, you can check out this hilarious NSFW Honest Trailer about the first three seasons.
Movies - I went and saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier on Friday. It was fantastic. A really great movie that combined all the expected heroics of a comic book movie and infused it with the great drama of both a political and spy thriller. It was extremely well done and one of the better Marvel Comics movies they have made. I'd pay to see it again in the theaters and it will be a must buy when it hits DVD.
I also saw 47 Ronin on PPV. It was a decent enough movie but I don't feel it was one that I'll end up watching multiple times.
Oh and I saw the Vince Vaughn "comedy" Delivery Man yesterday. It had moments of funny but the concept of the story doesn't really lend itself to a hour and 45 minute comedy movie. Especially when they try to cram in some relatively dramatic situations as well.
Comics - I'm a big comic book fan and one of my favorite comic writers is Peter David. I have boxes and boxes of all the comics he's written and even that isn't complete. And now he's returning to one of his previous characters. Marvel Comics is doing another Spider-Man 2099 series! Peter David wrote the first series and they are bringing him back for this one too. This of course means that I will be adding the title to my pull list when it gets solicited next month.
I picked up Volume 5 trade paperback of the series DMZ this week. Entitled "The Hidden War" it tells 6 smaller stories about characters both new and established. Unfortunately I didn't really connect with this round of the story much at all.
Books - I picked up the new Faye Kellerman book The Beast this week. It's the latest in her Peter Decker / Rina Lazarus mystery series.
Music - I'm a reader of Classic Rock magazine and each issue comes with a free CD that has about 15 songs on it from a variety of bands both new and old. Usually, there is one or two songs I like and the rest kind of just leave me feeling EHHHH about them. The latest CD has one particular song on it called "Julie (Hang Out a Little Longer). It's by Nato Coles and the Blue Diamond Band. I found it to be superb and made sure to mention it on FB. The band saw it and hit the like button on my comment. I thought I'd include a Youtube link to the song for you to hear it as well.
Also, you can check out the new Red Dragon Cartel video for the song "Shout It Out" below.
There was a lot of basketball action on Saturday. You had the women's tourney kicking off, the men's tourney setting half of the Sweet 16 brackets, and you had title games in Division 3.
In the Men's NIT, there was only one game schedule. Louisiana Tech beat Georgia by 8 points and with that win cost me the second of my Final Four picks.
The Women's NIT had 2 games on Saturday. I got them both correct when Colorado beat Southern Utah and Indiana beat Marquette.
In the men's Division 3 championship game, the Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks wrapped up a 29-4 season in thrilling faction. Quardell Young drove the length of the floor, made the game winning basket with 0.9 seconds left in the game to give his team its second national championship in 3 years, beating Williams 75-73.
In the women's Division 3 championship, the FDU-Florham Devils learned what perfection is all about. They completed a 33-0 season with an 80-72 victory over Whitman and are the first NCAA women's basketball champions from the state of New Jersey.
The women's NCAA tournament ran close to form in Day 1 action yesterday. There were two upsets of note and overall I went 13-3 for the day.
In the Lincoln bracket, North Carolina State became the latest victim of the 5-12 curse that seems to affect the NCAA tournaments. They lost 72-57 to #12 BYU. There wasn't much else of note in this region except to note that the 104-100 final score in the DePaul-Oklahoma game indicates defense wasn't much of a priority for either team.
In the Stanford bracket, Florida State upset Iowa State 55-44. I saw the Seminoles play once this year when they crushed Boston College. Perhaps I should've had more faith in their abilities come tourney time.
The Notre Dame bracket played all 8 of their games yesterday and everything ran to form with the higher seed winning each game. Kentucky scored 106 points against Wright State and Oklahoma State had to go to overtime to beat FGCU by a point.
In the Louisville bracket, only 2 games were played. St. John's beat USC (the non-upset loss on my ledger) while my Tennessee Lady Vols beat Northwestern State 70-46.
In the first half of the game, Tennessee couldn't separate from NSU and led 22-20 at the break. They exploded for 48 points in the second half and their opponents couldn't keep up.
Isabelle Harrison, Mercedes Russell and Meighan Simmons (pictured below #10) each scored 12 points to lead the Lady Vols offense. Bashaara Graves had a game high 12 rebounds.
Tennessee coach Holly Warlick missed the team's shootaround due to food poisoning but was on the sideline for the game.
The Lady Vols are now 53-0 all time in home games played during the NCAA tournament.
The post game press conference with coach Warlick is below.
In the men's NCAA tourney, the first candidate for the Cinderella moniker stepped forward and we had both boring and exciting basketball to watch.
In the South region, Florida rather easily beat Pittsburgh, while the Dayton Flyers got fitted for a glass slipper. In an ugly display of offensive, they managed to hang on and stun Syracuse 55-53 to advance to the Sweet 16. I had picked Syracuse to get to the Sweet 16 but after the way their regular season collapsed maybe I should've known better.
In the West Region, San Diego State dispatched North Dakota State by 19 points. The game was rather run of the mill and I ended up turning it off towards the end. Wisconsin managed to beat Oregon 85-77 to advance.
The Midwest region saw two butt-numbing games as Louisville beat Saint Louis and Michigan fully controlled Texas.
The East region was the wild and wooly action of the day portion of the bracket. Being an old fart, I fell asleep and missed the UConn upset of Villanova. But I did watch the Michigan State-Harvard game.
And while I have the Spartans in my Final Four bracket, I was rooting for Harvard as a home-stater should. When Harvard was down big, I was figuring it was just going to get worse for them. But they rallied back, basically punching the big bad bully Michigan State in the mouth. When Harvard hit a huge three pointer to take a 62-60 lead, I screamed my fool head off.
Unfortunately, the bully then laid the beatdown on the downtrodden as the Spartans went on an 8-0 run and never looked back. Final score was 80-73 in favor of Michigan State. Eh, I'm still alive in my bracket so that's good but I'm glad that Harvard showed they can play with anyone. There may not be moral victories come tourney time, but if you can't win...putting up a solid fight in front of a national audience is the next best thing.
It was a big week for BC this week as hockey and basketball were active and grabbing at least some of the headlines in the papers. They won some and they lost some.
But for the entire Boston College community, the biggest loss came when the news broke that one of their longtime employees (and BC grad) Dick Kelley had passed away after a long battle with Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS). He spent 22 years working in the BC Sports Information office and was a huge BC basketball supporter. You can read more here: http://www.bceagles.com/genrel/021414aaa.html
As for the sports teams, the hockey programs for both the men and the women saw a huge bit of success when each of them captured the annual Beanpot tournament. It's the local tournament held each year between BC, Boston University, Harvard and Northeastern. The men's team won it for the fifth year in a row while the women picked up their second straight win.
Men's Basketball - The Eagles got beaten in the last second yet again this week. Against Georgia Tech, Olivier Hanlan (pictured below) hit a shot with 3.4 seconds left in the game to put BC ahead but the Yellowjackets nailed a 3 pointer with .7 seconds left and went on to win 74-71.
The loss drops Boston College to 6-18 on the season. Hanlan finished with 21 points and Ryan Anderson added 13. Joe Rahon scored 11 points, but with the team being outrebounded 31-17 for the game, the problem seems to be coming from everywhere but the offense.
Women's Basketball - The long spiral downward continued this week for the women's team. With Kristen Doherty still out with concussion like symptoms, the team once again was playing shorthanded. It's been a season long refrain, injuries sapping bodies from the available roster.
Last Sunday's game against Florida State was particularly disappointing. The Eagles were on the road and so was I. I had to take my mother to a baby shower but commandeered one of the TVs in the house and watched the game on NESN.
BC started out 12-6 but then FSU went on a 14-0 run to take command of the game, something they would never relinquish the rest of the way.
In the first half, BC was outrebounded 21-10 and turned the ball over 13 times (they were averaging 15 turnovers PER GAME.) Their interior defense was pathetic. Of the 35 points Florida State scored in the first half, 32 came in the paint. Katie Zenevitch (12 points, 5 rebounds) got exploited a number of times but even more depressing was just how bad Karima Gabriel played. She was a turnstile on defense, got her shot blocked EASILY, and turned the ball over a number of times.
Things just kept getting worse in the second half as FSU went on to win the game 72-55. They outrebounded BC for the game 46-22, including 24 offensive rebounds. Yes, you read that stat correctly. The Seminoles had more OFFENSIVE rebounds than BC had rebounds for the entire game.
While FSU's Natasha Howard had an outstanding game with 26 points and 11 rebounds, more impressive to me was the play of their point guard Cheetah Delgado. At five foot two, she's the smallest player in the ACC, yet with her speed she essentially slapped the BC defense around for the entire game. She had 6 points, dished out 15 assists and grabbed 9 rebounds. Can you believe it? The BC defense was so bad, that the smallest player on the floor had 9 boards!
While the game was pretty much nothing to really write home about, the Eagles did have one bright spot in the form of freshman Kelly Hughes. She tied her career high with 23 points and got 5 boards as well. She ended up picking up the ACC Rookie of the Week award later in the week.
By the way, you can check out the weekly press conference with coach Erik Johnson below.
On Thursday, the Eagles were at home facing off for the second time with Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish haven't lost all season and that trend continued against the Eagles. After blowing them out by 40 points the first time around, I suppose the 82-61 loss suffered by BC is somewhat of an improvement. But the loss drops them to 12-13 on the season with a 3-9 ACC record.
Kat Cooper (pictured below) led the team with 13 points. Katie Zenevitch had 12 points and 8 boards. Nicole Boudreau added 9 points and 7 assists.
The post game press conference is below.
They play today against Syracuse and I'm supposed to be there with courtside seats. Hopefully I'll have a report to post afterwards.
Hartford - The Hawks dropped to 9-15 (6-5 in the AEC) after their loss to Maine 60-56. Deanna Mayza (pictured below) scored 17 points to lead Hartford. Amber Bepko finished with 10 points. Alyssa Reaves had 8 points and a career high 13 rebounds. You can see highlights of the game and the post game press conference below as well.
Missouri State - The Lady Bears split their two games this week. They beat Bradley 78-72 to start their week. Bry Snow (pictured below) had a career high 29 points to go with 8 rebounds and 4 blocks. Her sister Tyonna Snow scored 17 points.
On Friday night, Tyonna Snow was the only player in double figures (17 points) as MSU lost to Northern Iowa. They are now 12-11 on the season with a 7-5 conference record.
Tennessee - After their 81-53 victory over Vanderbilt this week, the Lady Vols stand at 20-4 (9-2 in the SEC). Meighan Simmons led the victory with 22 points. Isabelle Harrison had 18 points. Andraya Carter (pictured below) scored 11 points while Bashaara Graves had 6 points and 10 boards.
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
You can check out my two high school basketball blog updates from the past week below.
The NBA is now on their All-Star Weekend break but before those not playing in that exhibition farce went their separate ways to presumably get some R&R from the season's grind, the Celtics had 3 games to play.
Last Sunday, the Mavericks knocked off Boston 102-91. Jeff Green led the offense with 18 points, but it was Rajon Rondo who provided the gas for the entire Celtics engine. He had 15 points, 12 assists and 8 rebounds.
Chris Johnson added 14 points and Jared Sullinger tallied 11 points and 12 boards. He was also later named Eastern Conference Player of the Week. Kris Humphries chipped in 10 points.
The Celtics beat then beat the Bucks 102-86. Jeff Green had 29 points and Kelly Olynyk had 14 points and 11 rebounds. With Rajon Rondo getting another DNP for "rest", Phil Pressey stepped up with 13 points. Jared Sullinger scored 13 points as well and had 10 boards. Brandon Bass finished with 12 points and 7 boards.
Boston then closed out the figurative first half of their season with a 104-92 loss to the Spurs. Rondo had 16 points to top the scoring column. Kelly Olynyk had 15 points and 10 boards. Brandon Bass added 12 points and Jerryd Bayless finished with 11 points. Green had 10 points.
The loss has the Celtics at 19-35. It's a bad record but in terms of what the Celtics had in mind, not bad enough. Boston Herald sportswriter Gerry Callahan even wrote an article that basically implored GM Danny Ainge be more proactive in making the team worse. He used the line from the first Rocky movie "He doesn't know it's a show, he thinks its a damn fight" to punctuate the point that coach Brad Stevens has been too damn good for the team's own good (read, high draft pick hopes).
While I understand the plan is to be bad enough to get Jabari Parker or one of the other two potential great team changing players expected to be in the next NBA draft, the fan in me finds myself disgusted by other people who WANT to lose. I know losing now to win big later is the plan and the logical part of my brain gets that. But purposely trying to be bad enough to lose and lose often...ARGHHHH!
Besides the 1980 Miracle on Ice US hockey victory over the Russians, I've spent the week try to figure out what my favorite Winter Olympics moment was. And I figured it out. I watched it as it happened and I was simply blown away by the figure skating performance of Sarah Hughes during the 2002 Olympics. She was ranked 3rd out of the three US skaters at the Games and was in fourth before the long program. And then she went out and delivered one of the most amazing skates I've ever seen. It was technically awesome and the zest she delivered it with brought the house down. And when she found out that she'd pulled off an amazing upset, her unbridled scream of joy was electric!
You can see her long program skate below followed by another link that shows all of the skates and her reaction (and that of her coach) about 34 minutes into the second video.
I remember being glued to the screen during her performance and actually cheering as she finished. And a "HOLY SH*T!" escaped my lips when she was announced as the winner. Just a classic moment.
As for the current Winter Olympics, I missed the first period on Saturday morning but caught the last two periods, overtime and the shootout between the US and Russian hockey teams.
The US caught a break late in the third period when a Russian goal was disallowed, but this was a heck of a game. With Doc Emrick on the call, everything seemed so intense. This game showed exactly why I love Olympic hockey. Each attempt in the shootout was so epic and when T.J. Oshie drilled a shot past the Russian goalie on the 8th attempt between the two teams, the US picked up the win! Can I get a HELL YEAH!!!!
TV - The television world lost one of its best known dads this week when actor Ralph Waite died at the age of 86. For those who grew up on the 1970's family dramas, you will remember him as John Walton, the patriarch on The Waltons. In recent years, he's appeared on the soap opera Days of our Lives as well as playing the father of Gibbs on NCIS and the grandfather of Booth on Bones.
Music - One of the upcoming CDs I'll be reviewing is the House of Lords album Precious Metal. The band has released a video for the song "Battle" and you can check it out below.
Books - I picked up the Rhys Bowen mystery The Family Way this week. It is the latest paperback release in her Molly Murphy series. The series is set in the early 1900's with Irish immigrant Murphy as she winds her way as an unlikely PI in New York. Each book has been highly entertaining and I'm so glad I discovered her books.
I also discovered by virtue of an excerpt printed in Sports Illustrated that there is a new book about the 1985 Chicago Bears out. It's called Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football. The author is Rich Cohen and after reading that excerpt, I am definitely adding it to my want list.
While anticipating the end of the Brady versus Manning hype and laughing over being told about "The Jay Factor"...
MY SORT OF GOOD BASKETBALL WEEK
Tennis fans have been abuzz this week over the Australian Open results and the insane heat that is hanging around Down Under during the matches. But I've never been a big fan of that particular Grand Slam event, even when I was a big tennis fan.
Instead, this week's entry deals with a retired player and her legal troubles getting a resolution.
My favorite tennis player for a number of years was Jennifer Capriati. I made mention of her a while back when she was arrested on charges relating to assaulting/stalking an ex-boyfriend. The update now is that she cut a deal to avoid going to trial. I'm hoping that this gets her straightened out, I don't want to spend the rest of my life wondering what crazy ass thing she's done now to get into more legal trouble. You can read about it here: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/capriati-gets-deal-fla-battery-174448064--ten.html
The Celtics have had a very busy week once again. And I speak of both on and off the court news.
On the court, the Celtics lost two more games before ending what was a 9 game losing streak by knocking off Toronto. But the biggest on court news was Friday's return to the lineup of Rajon Rondo.
They lost to the Portland Trail Blazers 112-104 despite 25 points from Avery Bradley. Then came a 104-92 loss to the Houston Rockets. Bradley was the leading scorer (24) in that game as well.
Meanwhile, off the court news saw Keith Bogans given permission to leave the team indefinitely for personal reasons. Basically, he had no role with the team and he's been unhappy. While he is under contract and still being paid, it doesn't seem to me that he's likely to rejoin the team.
GM Danny Ainge made a move this week as well in anticipation of the return of Rajon Rondo on Friday night. In a three team deal that involved both the Golden State Warriors and the Miami Heat, Ainge sent Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks to the Warriors and got center Joel Anthony and two future draft picks from the Heat. Brooks has had little to no role with the Celtics and Crawford getting dealt will be good for him since he was going to lose his minutes to Rondo.
Back on the court, the Celtics got a monster game from Jared Sullinger (25 points, 20 rebounds) and beat the Raptors 88-83.
As for Rondo's return to game action, he saw 19:25 in playing time on Friday night. But it didn't make much of a difference in the final score as the Celtics lost to the Lakers 107-104. They are now 14-27 on the season and have lost 13 of their last 15 games.
Kelly Olynyk scored a career high 25 points to lead the six players who hit double digits for Boston. He also dished out 7 assists. Phil Pressey had 9 assists in the game.
Speaking of the Lakers, there was a buzz at Boston College yesterday afternoon as Kobe Bryant dropped by an international marketing class at the school:
" A Boston College professor says he used Kobe Bryant as an example in his first international marketing class of the semester — and then the Lakers star walked into the class and started taking notes.
Boston College says Bryant arrived shortly after the class began Thursday night and stayed for two hours until it was over. Professor Nick Nugent says Bryant's visit was not planned.
Bryant told students that he loves to learn and is interested in international marketing."
WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Hartford - The Hawks got a career high 21 points (and 10 boards) from Cherelle Moore but couldn't beat Albany, falling 69-52.
Yesterday, the Hawks squared off against New Hampshire and blew a 33-22 halftime lead as they lost 61-56. Alyssa Reaves had 10 points and 10 boards to lead the Hawks. Amber Bepko and Deanna Mayza each scored 9 points. But Hartford is now 4-13 with a 1-3 conference record.
Missouri State - The Bears came up just short in their game against Loyola earlier in the week. They gave up the last 6 points of the game and had two shots of their own blocked in the last 5 seconds of the game to fall 63-61.
Tyonna Snow had 13 points (but turned the ball over 7 times), Mikala McGhee (pictured below) had career highs in both points (12) and rebounds (9). Bry Snow added 9 points and a career high 11 boards while Kenzie Williams continued her season long double figures scoring run with 10 points.
Facing Drake on Saturday afternoon, the Bears got 21 points from Bry Snow while Tyonna Snow added 19 points and 8 boards and the team rolled to an 89-66 win. Kenzie Williams scored 13 points and grabbed 10 boards. Hannah Wilkerson tallied 10 points.
The win moves Missouri State to 7-8 on the season.
Tennessee - The Lady Vols had two games this week. They got knocked off by Vanderbilt 74-63 to start the week off on the wrong foot.
Meighan Simmons (pictured below) scored 19 points to power the Vols. Jasmine Jones added 13 points and Cierra Burdick had 11 points. Center Isabelle Harrison had 10 points but fouled out of the game with 9:23 left to play.
I don't know if it would've made a difference to the final result but given how productive Harrison has been throughout the season, I would think to be on solid ground to say the game would've been different if she hadn't fouled out.
Though the game was close, Tennessee rebounded from the loss to beat Mississippi State 67-63. The win moves them to 14-3 (3-2 in SEC play). Ariel Massengale and Bashaara Graves scored 13 points apiece to lead the team. Harrison added 10 points. The win over MSU keeps Tennessee's record over them perfect. They've beaten them all 35 times they've played.
The Lady Vols play on Monday night in a big game against Notre Dame.
BOSTON COLLEGE ATHLETICS
Football - While the season is over and things are technically on the back burner, the news out of the Eagle football office is the transfer of now ex-Florida Gator QB Tyler Murphy to BC. He's only going to be suiting up for the Eagles for a year under the transfer rules for players who have graduated from their previous school, but given that he was recruited by BC's coach Steve Addazio when the coach was at Florida, he will hopefully give the Eagles at least a stop gap measure for that year before they have to have a long term solution under center.
Men's Basketball - The Eagles started their week off with a 9pm tip-off on Monday against Syracuse. It was a home game that if I'd been able to attend would've had free tickets for.
The game saw BC drop to 5-12 for the season with a 1-3 ACC record after the #2 Syracuse team won 69-59. Lonnie Jackson scored 18 points to lead BC with Ryan Anderson adding 14 points.
It was announced Friday that junior center Dennis Clifford has been shut down for the season due to chronic knee problems. He's going to apply for a medical redshirt and come back next year.
On Saturday afternoon, BC visited North Carolina for a game that was on ESPN. I caught the start of the 2nd half on the radio while out running errands and then saw the last 9 minutes or so while eating lunch. And what I saw was a BC team that hung with the Tar Heels for the first 30 minutes of game time.
But once again, the lack of defensive stops and taking care of the ball did the Eagles in. They were down 56-55 with about 10 minutes left in the game. But they kept turning the ball over and the Tar Heels took advantage and went on to win the game 82-71.
BC hit 11 three pointers in the game but their 18 turnovers just killed their momentum. If you combine that with how UNC picked apart their defense, it was another in a long line of games where you wonder if BC will ever compete for real in conference play.
Olivier Hanlan scored 16 points to lead the offense, but had 6 of the 18 turnovers. Lonnie Jackson had 14 points. Joe Rahon hit for 13 points and dished out 6 assist. Eddie Odio turned in a career high 12 points before fouling out. Ryan Anderson (pictured below dunking) scored 11 points and led the team with 12 rebounds.
The loss leaves Boston College with a 5-13 record and they are now in last place in the ACC with a 1-4 record.
Women's Basketball - I watched the second half of the women's game last Sunday as they played #2 Duke. Unfortunately, Duke blew the Eagles out 78-57. BC just doesn't seem to have the horses to run with those highly ranked teams. They don't quit and I really like the grit and hustle on display from BC, but their offense went cold twice during the game and it killed them.
Kat Cooper had 21 points to lead BC. Katie Zenevitch had 10 points and Kristen Doherty (pictured below) finished with 8 points and 11 boards.
Boston College turned the ball over 21 times in the game and shot just 9-34 from three point range. Another big problem in the game was their inability to get to the foul line. Duke hit 17 out of 27 foul shots while BC only took 9 shots from the line for the entire game.
After getting crushed by two highly ranked teams, the women's team needed a win to stem the tide and Thursday's matchup against Miami gave them that opportunity. And though it was a close game, the opportunity was not squandered. They beat the Hurricanes 63-62 and stopped their losing streak. They are 11-7 with a 2-2 ACC record now.
Nicole Boudreau (pictured below) led the team with 15 points. Katie Zenevitch had 12 points and 10 boards while both Lauren Engeln and Kelly Hughes added 10 points.
(photo by John Quackenbos)
I'm headed up to Conte Forum later today to see the women's team take on #9 North Carolina and I'm sure that I'll have something to say about the game afterwards.
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
In case you didn't see my separate entries, you can check out my recaps of the week that was with the high school teams I follow below:
TV - Just a reminder that the third season of the British series Sherlock debuts tonight in the US. It airs at 10pm EST on PBS. The show has already aired in Britain but I know that fans of the show here in the States have been eagerly awaiting the show's return.
Also, you can check out the first official trailer for the fourth season of HBO's Game of Thrones below.
Oh, and thanks to selling off some stuff on eBay recently, I had the money to add the 9th season of Cheers to my DVD collection.