Greetings from the Hoodwood, where the locals are entering treatment for their college basketball withdrawal. After the completion of this column I will be heading for my group therapy session.
This is the only time you will EVER see me with anything giving dap or positive acknowledgement to the University of Kentucky in this column but Ashley Judd is always welcome in the Hoodwood
Well the champ has been crowned. Kentucky and its precocious band of freshmen and sophomores more or less toyed with Kansas to win its 8th national title and since the lovely Princess Jasmyne lives in the bluegrass state I will have to endure her family's endless reminding me of the fact that they are UK fans. Led by player of the year Anthony Davis great all around game, the Wildcats won a school (and NCAA record) 38th game and can very well stake its claim as one of the best teams ever. Its pretty much conceded that Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague will jump to the NBA, Calipari himself said that there could be as many a 6 1st round draft picks on the team. I will restrain myself from throwing up in my mouth in chagrin and give grudging dap to the Wildcats who were clearly the best team in the country. Now, how long they will keep that title may be another story. It will remain to be seen if the cloud that always seems to follow John Calipari around from UMass to Memphis will follow him to Kentucky. Not to mention, the rumors already swirling that the New York Knicks covet Calipari and may throw a boatload of money and an ownership stake to lure him to Gotham...that would be a fascinating storyline and another round of comeuppance for the haughty Wildcat fans whom I so dearly love to antagonize. But for now, UK has the title and there is little that can be disputed there.
So with that the College basketball season ends with a slam bang finish and for many like myself that feed on the constant stream of college hoops over the past six weeks, the finale is the last bit of pure hardwood hoops for the better part of six months and having it taken in an almost sudden fashion is a bit disheartening. I used to produce a radio show during the basketball season and the guy who ran the show, said he went through a kind mourning phase. The games were over and he had nothing left to say. I kinda feel the same way. Football and basketball make the crux of my column from September to late March so its tough to transition
Baseball: Is it still relevant?
The 2012 season is actually underway. Did you notice? Or even care? The A’s and Mariners played a pair of games in Japan last week. These games were scheduled as part of the relief effort from the earthquake and tsunami that devastated parts of Japan last March. The A’s were the home team, not like it would matter to fan attendance at the majors smallest park. The majors play their “opening day” stateside as the newly monikered Miami Marlins formally christen their new stadium against the defending World Series Champ St. Louis Cardinals in a one game series on April 4th. The Marlins then head to Cincinnati to play the Reds in their season opener on April 5th. I grew up in Cincinnati and unlike a lot cities Opening Day is a big deal. Kids will “call in sick” to school in the greater Cincinnati area and there will be a lot of sick days used at businesses. The opening day parade is attended by tens of thousands of fans each year and the toughest ticket in town is opening day. For the longest time Cincinnati, long recognized as the birthplace of professional baseball had the honor starting the season. Until the old Washington Senators moved to Minnesota and the 2nd version moved to Texas there would be two games on opening day Cincinnati would start then Washington soon after. Then from 1972 to the mid 90s it was always Cincinnati first. Well of course MLB has to stir things up, to suit ESPN they decided on an opening Night, which of course didn’t play too well in Cincy…especially since it was Easter Sunday night, the Reds played before a decent (but not sellout) crowd and lost. The next day was a day game and the Reds stubbornly called it “opening day” and had all the festivities. The Reds of course won that game. MLB, has eschewed some of its traditional habits and started opening games in other cities and venues and has started the season in Japan a few years. I have followed the game since my youth and in some respects consider myself a traditionalist. I think that the first game of the season for every team should be a day game. Cincinnati should open the season with the first game. I think that the Florida, Texas and California teams the bulk of the warm weather venues should get a good chunk of the first couple weeks of the season. No one wants to see snow outs. This year might be a rare exception but I have seen way too many snowy and cold venues played to half empty stands. Get every team their opening day within the first couple weeks but have the schedule so that the warmer climates see more games in April.
Now on to my point about baseball, I do truly love the game. I cherish its historical relevance and the timeless quality of the game. Ive been to countless games and will continue to watch and enjoy the sport, but in this day and age. Is baseball really the national pastime? There was a time when the offseason , better known as the hot stove league garnered tons of interest. From the day after the World Series champ was crowned to the first day the pitchers and catchers reported but that time is long since past. With the aforementioned basketball frenzy which ramps up right after the Super Bowl climaxes five months of wall to wall football. Baseball in is simplicity seems almost outdated. Yes the game is exciting, in some parts. I have long appreciated the subtleties of the game and love to second guess managers calls. I think as I approached 40, that Im becoming a minority. I did take Princess Katie to a Reds-Phillies game in 2010 and she had a good time but you can almost sense that this generation who is used to things being quick fast and urgent right now based, seems almost bored with the game. I love this game, but I wonder how many others will keep the fires burning for it like I do.
Votto: Call him Mr. Get Paid Red now
Quick blurb on the Cincinnati Reds making slugging first baseman Joey Votto their cornerstone. The Reds did not want to chance Votto getting his head turned by a big money offer from the Mets or Blue Jays so they slammed a 10 year $225 million dollar deal on him and ensure that the Canadian Club will be a Reds for the better part of his career. Did Votto deserve Pujols or Fielder money??? Maybe, but the Reds were unwilling to part with the quiet slugger who has become a fan favorite in Cincy. Only time will tell if its money well spent and one has to wonder if that means they will part with the likable Brandon Phillips who is in the final year of his deal with the Reds. With the Reds being a small market team, you wonder if the pursestrings will draw close for a deserving player.
Tuna in the Big Easy???
As reported here last week, the New Orleans Saints are trying to lure Bill Parcells to coach the team on an interim basis while Sean Payton serves his season long suspension. Parcells has long been a grinding offensive type coach, more interested in his defense than offense and has long had hate-hate relationships with his quarterbacks, go through the list from Phil Simms, Jeff Hostetler, Drew Bledsoe, Vinny Testeaverde, Quincy Carter, Bledsoe again, and Tony Romo Parcells has never had a bona fide superstar quarterback (Shaddap Poke fans, Romo aint no superstar!) Parcells has one in Drew Brees the very public face of the Saints. Parcells is as combative with his quarterback as he is with the press and you can bet that he and Brees may butt heads. You know that Parcells who would rather win with a punishing ground attack and a 17-7 score is gritting his teeth at the thought of the wide open style of Brees’s offense. The storm clouds are a brewing in the Big Easy and I get the feeling that if Tuna is the head man even for a year it could damage the Saints even further.
One point that no one has bothered to considered. The Rooney Rule, what assistant coach is gonna want to interview in N'Awlins knowing that the job is not only temporary but the the Saints have a hard-on for Bill Parcells? None, its almost as bad as when the Lions openly coveted Steve Mariucci and more or less made a mockery of the Rooney Rule by bringing in a couple of "tokens" to interview. Its a sham and no one is saying much about even Sheriff...uhhh Commissioner Roger Goodell has more or less signed off on Saints hiring of Parcells saying "If they want to, thats their choice."
Miller: Hall Bound
He looked like a goof on the court, Bill Simmons in his massive tome The Book of Basketball described him as someone that “would run through a set of picks like a mouse through a maze to get open” But Reggie Miller was an assassin. I was stunned to learn that he never made an All-NBA team once in his 17 year career all with the Indiana Pacers. Miller was of course famous for his running verbal battle with film director and ardent Knick Fan Spike Lee during the 1994 NBA Eastern Conference Finals in which Miller scored 25 points in the 4th quarter. Take a look here at this excellent clip of how Miller did the Knicks in that night.
I was in college at the time and hanging with a bunch of my homies on that Wednesday Night, we were supposed to be studying for Finals but we were taking in the game. As Reggie got hotter and hotter my man Jin Su who was a diehard Knicks fan got madder and madder. At games conclusion he was beet red and as he stormed out of the dorm room we were watching the game, he said in his thick accent “I want keel that fucking Reggie Meeler, keel him and that Spika Lee!” Miller of course had another memorable scene in MSG barely a year later when he scored 8 points in 9 seconds…Impossible you say…heres more tape…
I always was amused by Lee having a conniption on the sidelines as Miller was bombing away. I do like Lee and his memoir Best Seats In The House is a great read, I do have to give him a head slap for his careless re-tweet of the address an innocent elderly couple in Sanford, Fla that he thought was the address of the shooter in the wake of the Trayvon Martin saga.
Miller could be the most dead eye of shooters and I always thought it cool that he wore 31 to honor his sister Cheryl who has been in the Basketball Hall of Fame since 1995.
I would be greatly remiss if I didnt give some dap to Don Nelson (NBA's winningest coach), Ralph Sampson, Jamaal Wilkes, Katrina McClain, NCAA Ref Hank Nichols, and the All American Red Heads Womens Basketball team (A female version of the Harlem Globetrotters) who are also being inducted in this years Basketball Hall of Fame class as well
Phat Dap/Head Slap
to James Justice of Martin Methodist College. The 5’9”guard from the NAIA school from Pulaski, TN (yes I had to look that up just shut down the college slam dunk contest with this are you kidding me dunk…
Justice who made the field as a popular vote entry brought the house down with this dunk. His final round competitor gave him the champions belt and the judges were so stunned that they threw away their score cards and "walked off" in stunned shock. Needless to say, Justice was ummm served and he got a perfect score.
To the leader of the drunken neighborhood called Margaritaville, Jimmy Buffett.
The erstwhile parrothead singer wore a Free Sean Payton shirt in his concert recently in New Orleans. Payton played the congas in a couple of Buffett's songs, which I had no problem with and it was obvious that Buffett was playing to the crowd but I think it was a stupid gesture. Payton is being punished for allowing a program designed to injure, that’s nothing to protest.
I usually don’t preview a column, cause I usually make it up on the fly. But next week I will discuss 25 years since Campanis and the “necessities” to manage baseball or coach any pro sport. Until next post fellow sports fans!
Well here we are again...Monday just gets here too quick...So let's start with this "Hunger Games" fad...I've been hearing about this movie long enough...So the Mrs. and I went to see it Sunday...No, I haven't read the books, since that's the first fucking question everyone asks when this damn movie is mentioned...And guess what, I'm not going to...I saw the movie, so if I read the book, I'll hate the movie even more, at least that's what happens often...
Okay, I didn't totally hate the movie...It kept my attention...But this bullshit, fantasy-land, run by Donald Sutherland, and his TV producers, pisses me off...As much as the politicians, corporations, and rich douches, control in this country, I have more faith in humanity, then to think we would stand by and be ruled like the people in this movie...
Then there is the violence...I've never had a problem with violence in movies...And I don't have a problem with it in this movie...It's part of the story...Personally, the idea of kids killing kids didn't appeal to me, and I didn't really like watching it...Hey, I know kids are dying violent deaths everyday, and it's awful...Shit the Trayvon Martin shooting has been pounded in our heads non-stop...Odd how no one is talking about THIS story of two black teens lighting a white teen on fire...Yeah, this white boy just played the race card! But that's for tomorrow blog...
Maybe it's because I'm a parent, I don't know, I just didn't like the idea of this movie...Then there was the fact, that it was too long...Some parts were just slow...My wife liked it more, and plans on reading the books...She also is on board too see the sequel...I already told her, "I've invested too much time in this shit!"
Then Sunday night, we watched another movie that has been hyped up for awhile...We watched "Bridesmaids"...Mother fuckers kept saying how it's like "The Hangover"...Not even close! Yeah, it had some funny bits, and some good lines...But then it was filled with all this nonsensical, pity-party, chick bullshit...And talk about too long...Way too much wasted time...I found myself saying, "When are they going to wrap this up already." If you compared this movie to "The Hangover" please punch yourself...
I sat down to write this blog, wanting nearly 5 hours of my day back...Honest to God, I feel like Sunday was a total waste for having watched these fucking, over-hyped, fucking movies...Some one needs to eat my ass!
-How about sports!?!
For the first time in my life, it looks like I may win money in a Bracket Pool...I have Kansas and Kentucky in the final, and I'm pretty sure no one in The Fish House Bracket can catch me...I hope not, because even though I have Kentucky winning it all, I won't be rooting for them...Not after seeing how the Kentucky students and fans reacted after beating Louisville Saturday
Seriously! Why the fuck are people still rioting after their teams win...And fuck Kentucky, you didn't even win anything yet! Shit, at least Vancouver waits until they lose before they go and throw a fucking riot...Not only do I hope Kentucky loses, but I hope everyone of their players rolls their ankles...Fuck them!
-I heard Jeremy Lin is hurt, and may be done for the season...GOOD! no people can stop talking about how great he is...And then about how great he isn't...Then is...Then isn't...Fuck him! Now can somebody put a bullet in Tim Tebow...Never before has a backup QB gotten so much coverage...Fucking private jets and press conferences for a backup...And fucking ESPN Radio can't stop talking about this shit...Even with the Final Four going on, they still slip in some Tebow talk every twenty minutes...Fuck him, and fuck them...
You shits-heads want to talk New York sports, talk about the actual good team you have...The league leading New York Rangers! My boys lost Sunday night to the Bruins, but I have no worries...This team is build to win, and their record proves that...And they'll finish the job in the playoffs...
So to recap...Fuck "The Hunger Games." Fuck "Bridesmaids." Fuck anyone who said it was as good as "The Hangover." Fuck Kentucky, and their fucking fans...Fuck Jeremy Lin and Tim Tebow, and the ESPN hype-machine...Show some respect to the New York Rangers...Watch Hockey...Look for my blog tomorrow about the Trayvon Martin shooting, and the media's fucked up coverage...Oh, and Fuck Mega Millions, since I didn't win!
Hello ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Sexy Action Sports Saturday. If you’re waking up and reading this, you clearly did NOT win the big Mega Millions jackpot… chances are, nobody that needs it will. Probably some 85-year old broad in Idaho that just played it for the opportunity to go to the store and have somebody to talk to for a minute. Personally, I view the lottery as a tax on stupid people. Don’t play it regularly, not going to start just because the jackpot is up to 500-plus million. I’ll keep the dollar.
We all know who DOESN’T need to win that Mega Millions jackpot… Mr. Frank McCourt, the recent divorcee of both a greedy gash of a wife and now a Major League Baseball franchise. The best part to me, she only gets what they already decided on in the divorce agreement… which is nowhere near half the 2.14 billion dollars an investment group headed by Magic Johnson paid for a .500 ballclub. Hopefully this group can get Dodger blue back to what it once was… having an MVP candidate in Matt Kemp and Cy Young winner in Clayton Kershaw never hurts, though.
Just when I was getting ready to at least give Saints’ coach Sean Payton some props for taking his punishment like a man, he pulls the normal horse shit and appeals his 1 year suspension. What about your “I’m sorry for what happened and as head coach I take full responsibility” speech last week? I hope the Saints fire your ass before next April. Of course, that probably means I’ll have to see your dumb ass on ESPN the next fucking week as an “NFL expert”.
Hey Martha Burk… how about you quit bothering Augusta National Golf Club about having a woman member and go make me a fucking turkey pot pie? Honestly, this broad just never shuts the hell up. She had a public protest back in 2003, attempting to get the first woman member into the club since it began in 1933. Now, women are allowed IN, and allowed to play the course, they just aren’t allowed to be fucking members… and apparently playing the course/watching events just isn’t good enough for this fucking glass-ceiling femi-nazi. She wants current IBM CEO to be given the symbolic “green jacket” as the first female member of Augusta National. Funny she waits til right before the fucking Masters to bring this shit up and not when this broad was named the CEO. Keep reaching for that unreachable star… and while you’re reaching, go to the fuckin fridge and get me a beer, woman!
Two things that have been pissing me off lately… American teams playing abroad, ESPECIALLY season-openers, and all this Spanish-language horse shit showing up on NBA jerseys. Major League Baseball is as American as it gets… and you’re screwing two struggling teams, the Mariners and A’s, out of home games with this opening series in Japan… let alone spring training time. Just like the NFL playing in fucking England, this is total bull shit. Stay on the continent you dumb pricks… NFL Europe FAILED, and Japan has it’s own baseball league. As for the NBA, what the fuck is with this “Spanish heritage” jersey crap? El Heat, Los Spurs… ENGLISH MOTHERFUCKERS… DO YOU SPEAK IT? Not as effective when I say it, take it away Sammy…
This week’s shut the fuck up award will not even be put up for a vote… I’m telling you who needs to shut the fuck up this time around, and it’s Spike Lee. This dipshit, all in a pissy fit over the Trayvon Martin case down in Florida, tweeted what he THOUGHT was the address of suspected killer George Zimmerman, only to have it be the wrong fucking address. The McClain family wound up being the victims of Spike Lee’s stupidity, and were forced to leave their home after several threats and live with their son. Then the asshole tries to get out of it by simply tweeting a fucking apology. Fuck you, Spike Lee, dip into that “Do the Right Thing” money and pay these people for your stupidity.
The worst part, this asshole is actually trying to put somebody’s address out there on twitter with intent for that person to come to great bodily harm. Sounds like he’s a fucking accessory to murder if George Zimmerman DOES happen to get killed before he’s ever charged. Fuck, that’s how they got Charles Manson… it’s just people are so fucking dumb these days they don’t even need psychedelic drugs to follow a dip shit like this, they just do shit because somebody famous said so. Fuck off Spike Lee, I hope somebody tweets YOUR address, and I hope somebody shows up at YOUR house with ill intentions someday. Fucking race-baiting maggot. Who the fuck are you and what the fuck have YOU done of any kind of signifigance in your life that makes you the guy to bring anybody to justice?
There IS a voting opportunity this week… with a Final Four theme. The Kentucky Wildcats face off against the Louisville Cardinals in a battle for bluegrass state supremacy, not to mention a trip to the championship game, and coaches John Calipari and Rick Pitino face off today in a battle of “who’s the bigger dirt bag?” These two coaches are the only two to bring three different teams to the Final Four… of course, Pitino is the only “official” coach to do so, because Calipari’s previous two Final Four appearances at UMass and Memphis were vacated because of NCAA sanctions. But, the vote is yours, gabitants… which one of these two greaseballs is the bigger bag of shit? Be sure to cast your vote in the comments below.
That’s it for me this week, folks. Opening Day (in America… fuck this Japan opening series shit) is coming up Thursday… Tigers-Sawx… can’t wait to see Prince Fielder in a Tigers jersey for real! Hope you all enjoy the last no-baseball weekend of the spring/summer/fall.
So today would mark the unofficial start of the MLB season as the Oakland A's take on the Seattle Mariners in Japan. The game features two of the closest franchises to Japan as well as the return of their native son Ichiro. Like Frag's post suggested, this could very well be Ichiro's last season. In the last year of his contract with Seattle, there is no better way for him to open his season.
Now many will raise the question as to why the season starts in Japan. I can see several reasons. One is that the game is already pretty popular in Japan. Japanese fans love the games in Japan and nearly 45,000 fans were on hand for both games of last season's Red Sox-A's series. The return of Ichiro should only boost number as well as TV ratings to the chagrin of the Nippon league and Japanese prime time shows.
The second is the history of Japanese players migrating to the United States. My best recollection of the start of this trend came in the form of Hideo Nomo. Ichiro is without question the MLB's greatest Japanese import, but notable players like Hideki Irabu, Hideki Matsui, and the most recent addition of Yu Darvish. For the MLB having such a big stage in Japan could only spur more players to make the jump. Some may say series in countries like the Dominican could be helpful too, but I've never heard talks of any. Besides, Japan simply has more cash flow.
While this series seems to make sense and the MLB has not announced any plans to expand to Japan, it seems to stand in stark contrast to the NFL's adventures in London. This season will see the Rams square off with the Patriots in the game at Wembley. It was announced that the Rams would become the "home" team in London just this winter, as owner Stan Kroenke is also majority shareholder of the soccer club Arsenal. The Rams will be playing in London for the next three years and the league has been debating adding a second game in England.
Talk has also been made of adding an expansion team to London. This talk seems to fly in the face of mediocre ticket sales and the all too familiar and recent collapse of NFL Europe. ESPN America has been broadcasting around 100 NFL games plus playoff and Super Bowl coverage to nearly 41 European territories as of 2009, and the number may continue to rise.
Still, the idea just doesn't sit well with me. I don't see the draw in adding a team in London. It would be a scheduling nightmare. Hawaii's college football team has a hard enough time getting opponents to fly in and they don't have to cross international waters. Any team flying to London or that team having to come to the states (especially the west coast) would be at a distinct disadvantage. I also don't see a huge demand for the NFL in London. They get decent crowds, but I don't see the kind of passion they have for their soccer or rugby teams. I have realized that geography means nothing in sports, especially when UofM still declares themselves the champions of the west, but there's nothing national about London. I think an exhibition game in London would be fine, but regular season games have been a mistake and adding to that schedule only compounds the stress put on teams.
Back to good news for baseball, Frank McCourt has sold the Dodgers to a group lead by Magic Johnson and former Braves and Nationals president Stan Kasten for around $2 billion. Oddly enough, St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke was also in the hunt along with some folks who have a share in the new Mets ownership team. From what I have heard, however, Magic and his team are the best fit. Now, a few of you may cry foul due to Magic's investment in the LA area, but that should only inspire him to improve the team. Some may not be sold on Magic as a businessman, but I have some proof he'll be good for the Dodgers and the MLB.
In tiny Dayton, Ohio is a class A Midwest league team by the name of the Daytona Dragons. The team is in the Cincinnati Reds farm system and has nurtured talent like Adam Dunn (sorry Chi-Sox fans), Joey Votto, and Hay Bruce. They've also sold out 815 consecutive games. They do it with great promotions, an attachment to the city, outstanding customer service and a pretty decent product on the field. They've got plenty of loyal fans and season ticket holders. Their story has been featured around the globe and on our favorite four letter network's Outside The Lines (probably one of the best shows on that channel). If Magic and the gang kind bring that type of service to the Dodgers, they'll do just fine and restore a bit of faith to a proud franchise.
Well, that's it for me this week. I have no challenge this week, but have to agree Harvey's Like Mike videos and Frag's zumba pic may be slightly more 90's than a Chris Mullin Starter ad. Still, you all know you had a Starter jacket back then. I had a pretty amazing Tigers jacket, but we gave it away once I out grew it. My bro's kid would look pretty boss in it had we kept it and he gotten really big, really fast.
Hope you all have a great weekend and are ready for some baseball. I'm going to enjoy watching IHM and my Tigers taking on Sully's Red Sox. What a way to start the year. Anyone else thinking about a Jon Lester-Justin Verlander pitcher's duel? Well, I leave you guys with your word of the week.
baseball card burden, noun
The state of an adult possessing many thousands of once valuable, now worthless baseball cards. The burden carrier is cursed with holding a sliver of false hope that the cards will one day become worth something. So, the burden carrier must keep them in "mint" condition(not in the attic or basement where space is abundant) No, the burden-afflicted takes-up large amounts of climate-controlled prime closet space with this mass of what amounts to thousands of glossy toilet paper squares. The burden also weighs heavy in domestic squabbles. If your wife asks you why those cards are taking-up half of the closet, you can say nothing. There is no defense. They are the quivalent of a Precious Moments Burden for women.
"I really would like to buy that new coat. But if I do, I will have to get rid of my vacuum cleaner to make space in the closet"
Greetings from the hoodwood, where the locals are seeking treatment for their collective college hoops overdose.
In 15 days we’ve went from 68 teams to 4 and from a basketball purist standpoint you couldn’t ask for a more heavyweight driven Final Four than what you have this year. The consensus #1 team Kentucky with their precocious and talented freshmen Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Anthony Davis, Ohio State with its chillingly efficient Jared Sullinger and William Buford, Kansas with its player of the year candidate Thomas Robinson and Louisville led by do everything guard Peyton Siva. There are no shortage of storylines here. Can John Calipari finally get the title he has chased from UMass to Memphis to Kentucky (And better still will he be able to keep it?) Will Rick Pitino get the 2nd title that he has so long desired. Will Ohio State finally put it all together? Can Kansas prove that they were the ultimate sleeper? The Big Easy will have four very noisy and boisterous fan bases. The problem is have no love really for any of them. I have always had a soft spot for Kansas and their Rock Chalk KU chant…but Its never been a deep seated love. Though with the Buckeyes and Cards on my master shit lists for defeating my beloved Bearcats and their fans never letting me hear the end of it and the arrogant UK fans who have treated this tournament like their coronation. I have to root hard for the team that has done nothing to offend me.
The four regions had their share of wild moments, but no buzzer beaters and only one OT game where an Ohio team that wouldn’t give an inch simply ran out of gas against a tougher UNC game. But the Tar Heels showed more scars from that game than most thought as they were worn down by a relentless Jayhawks squad. Ol Roy Boy didn’t want to say as much but the loss of Kendal Marshall hurt the Heels more than a little down the stretch. I give some dap to Stilman White, the erstwhile backup point guard for UNC. Thrust into lineup with the injury to Marshall, White played capably for a while but as the game went into its final moments. White looked like he wanted nothing to do with taking a crucial shot. The Jayhawks went on a 13-0 closing run and the Heels had no scoring option. The Jayhawks triangle and 2 taking their key scoring threats, Harrison Barnes and Tyler Zeller out of the mix
In the East Ohio State raced out to a big lead against my beloved Bearcats watched them rally heroically to wipe out that lead and go up 52-48 With the Bucks seemingly on the ropes,they turned on the jets in a 17-1 spurt that sent them to the Elite 8 where they faced Syracuse. The Orange who roiled back and forth in their sweet 16 game but hung on to beat a solid Wisconsin squad in a game that didn’t get decided till a last desperate twisting Badger jumper sailed off line. The Orange and Bucks tussled for awhile in the TD North Garden in Boston but you just had the feeling that the Bucks were just too much of a handful for the Orange. Jared Sullinger repeatedly abused the Orange after being in early foul trouble. The game just seemed to have an odd flow and was tightly officiated. The Lady Bandit and I took some of the game in over dinner where a partisan Ohio State crowd was cheering every positive Buckeyes play. She observed that there were a lot of fouls called and that the Syracuse coach was getting madder and madder. Boeheim ended up getting a T and was lucky that he didn’t get a second later in the game. The Bucks made the game a free throw shooting parade late and Boeheim’s puzzling decision to keep uber playmaker make Scoop Jardine on the bench in the 2nd half was a puzzling coda to a 77-70 Bucks win. 2 of the 3 Orange losses this season were to teams from Ohio.
The Ville seems to win the ugliest games, witness their Big East title win over Cincy a stomach turning 50-44 decision. Or their ouster of #1 seed Michigan State in the regional semis a 58-47 clunker that no one outside of Jefferson County in Kentucky could have loved. Ive never been a Rick Pitino fan, his whining preening style is annoying and grating, but give the man his due. He wins with any kind of style, this grinder of a team he has this year wont win any aesthetic awards but they have won ball games. After the snoozer win over the Spartans, they fell behind to the Florida Gators who quietly made the regional final by rolling past Marquette and taking advantage of the absence of #2 Mizzou on that side of the draw. The Gators raced to an 8 point lead at the half and were up 11 with 8:16 to play. The Cards blitzed the Gators with a 23-8 run and stormed back to the 72-68 win. The win was even more impressive in that the Cards made most of their run with their do everything guard Peyton Siva on the bench. Oh geez this means we will have to see Siva’s father 20 million times during the national semifinal.
Finally there is Kentucky who has seemingly toyed with every opponent in the tourney. They played a thrilling track meet with Indiana for a half in the Sweet 16 and for awhile in the second it looked like the Hoosiers were going to match the Wildcats blow for blow. But the Hoosiers never took the lead in the 2nd half and the Wildcats just kept pulling further and further away the 102-90 decision was the most points scored in any game in the tourney and the only game that a team cracked the century mark. Indiana was the only team in the tourney so far to score 90 and lose. They went to regional final to face Baylor who’s up and down play let Xavier back into the game after taking a 22-4 lead early. The Bears held off a number of late charges to win 77-70. The Bears then raced out to an early 10-5 lead on Kentucky and looked to be in position to spring the mammoth upset. Facing their largest deficit of the tourney so far, all that did was annoy the Wildcats as they went on a frightening 34-7 run to destroy the Bears regional title hopes and cruise to an 82-70 win. This sets up a bluegrass rematch of the highest order. The arch rivals of the Commonwealth who for so long refused to play one another until they were forced to do so in the 1982 NCAA tourney then were shamed into playing one another by state proclamation. Now they play once a year and there is still no love lost especially with Cardinals coach Rick Pitino being UK’s most famous Ex-coach.
Ohio State and Kansas face off in a rematch as well, the Jayhawks rolled over the then second ranked Bucks in Allen but did so without facing Jared Sullinger. Im thinking that the Bucks will methodically wear the Jayhawks down in the second semifinal after the Wildcats overpower the Cards. There will be no suicide watches in Kentucky as the Wildcats beat the Bucks to win their first title in 14 years and give SEC fan one more teasing point on Ohio State.
The Big Tuna in the Big Easy?
Yeah, it could happens. Disgraced and soon to be suspended Saints Coach Sean Payton is reaching out to former mentor Bill Parcells to coach the Saints in his absence...could it happen? Stay tuned
Hes Baaaaack! Tiger takes the Palmer
Damn kid, it took ya long enough! Tiger Woods finally did the damn thing. Winning the Arnold Palmer invitational by 5 strokes over Graeme McDowell, the joy on Tigers face was obvious. Every media outlet has chronicalled the 2 plus years since Woods last tour victory in September 2009, since then Woods has had a nasty adultery scandal, leading to a painful and very public divorce, awkward apologies, crippling injuries and a puzzling slump that were leading many to believe that tour win #73 would be a long time coming if ever. But Tiger has shown a resiliency that has been long lacking and shook off a pesky achillies injury from his last outing to roll to a win in one of his favorite venues. The only shame was that the tourney’s namesake Arnold Palmer wasn’t on hand to present the trophy to Woods. The living legend was hospitalized with high blood pressure. We in the hoodwood wish Mr. Palmer a speedy recovery. And uh oh, whats the next major tour event??? It wouldn’t be a pristine course in Georgia where they give out green jackets to the winners would it???
Tebow time in the Big Apple
Tell me if this makes any sense to you. A backup quarterback getting back page news in the NYC tabloids and a press conference to boot. If it was anyone other than Timothy Richard Tebow, it would be considered a useless excerise. But Tebow mania is coming to the Big Apple. The soap opera that is the New York Jets and their grinning jeering coach Rex Ryan continue to outdo themselves in hyperbole. While their MetLife Stadium roommate New York Giants have won two Super Bowls in four years, the Jets seem to be more fodder for the tabloids than headliners for winning games. In a stunning reversal the Jets seemingly gave starter Mark Sanchez a vote of confidence by spurning any thought of pursing then free agent QB Peyton Manning and giving Sanchez a contract extension. Making a crazy quixotic turn the Jets then traded for Tebow. Sanchez, a fragile ego to begin with in the maelstrom that is the New York media shark tank now has to deal with the looming shadow of Tebow and his loud, loyal fan base. Tebow of course said all the right things in his Monday presser. Saying that he just wanted to do what was needed to help the Jets win and that about Sanchez that he “(thinks) We'll have a great relationship and, hopefully, we'll thrive together.” Many in the New York media ripped the trade and many former Jets did too. Jets legend Joe Namath called the move a dumb publicity stunt and many are lef to wonder that in an already highly charged locker room will the arrival of Tebow rip the team further apart. Tebow could have went to Jacksonville, a team with a young QB of its own in Blaine “Gabby” Gabbert and the Jags were hot for him, since Tebow grew up in Jacksonville and the Jags are desperate for a PR move that would fill the seats at an otherwise mostly empty EverBank Field. But Tebow wanted NYC and the Broncos made the trade work after a lengthy and at times puzzling horse trading session. Tebow leaving Denver had a number of critics including one that you wouldn’t expect (See Head Slap) Sanchez in a conference call later said that he was not concerned over his starting job. He better be, cause you can bet your bottom dollar the first time he throws a pick, or a string of incompletions not only will the boo bird come out but the Tebow chants will start. It ran Kyle Orton out of Denver, Im betting that it will drive Sanchez out of Gotham before the season is half over.
PHAT DAP/HEAD SLAP
In the wake of the tragic shooting death of Trayvon Martin, the Miami Heat lead by Lebron James lead a protest of their own, the team was photographed hoodies up as a symbolic gesture over the controversy surrounding the shooting last month. While there are still no arrests and a good deal of the country has strong opinions, usually sports figures try to stay above it. James and the Heat felt it necessary to say little but their gesture said a lot. As a black man, I understand the frustration and have dealt with harassment before just because I looked suspicious as Im sure everyone of those players were saying with their gesture. I commend the James and the Heat for their actions and Hoodwood stands with the players and those that are calling for action in this matter.
To televangelist and noted blowhard Pat Robertson who on his 700 Club program was very sharp and pointed on his criticism of the Denver Broncos for trading Tebow. Robertson who rarely pontificates on sports took offense that the Broncos picked up Manning and traded Tebow. Robertson opined about Manning’s neck injury and said that the Broncos would be in serious trouble if Manning got hurt. That’s a no brainer and nothing overly controversial but he followed that up with the opinion that trading away Tebow would haunt the Broncos in some sort of dogmatic karma. Robertson went on to state that Tebow had turned the “nothing” Broncos into a contender and that acquiring Manning to bench then trade the devoutly religious QB was nothing short of terrible. Robertson needs to stick with what works, thundering from his pulpit for money and calling those that don’t follow his ideals evil.
Thats the view from the Hoodwood, until next post fellow sports fans!