This weeks column is just going to be the spec sheet...
The Hoodwood dedicates this column to the lasting, enduring and loving memory of Lorene Hare, my Grandmother who passed away 21 years ago today. She is always never far from my thoughts and has been the one of the foundations and encouragements for my writing.
Spec Sheet 3-4
Now this is where the fun starts. The opening round games of the Patriot League tourney started on Monday and the conference tournaments will be going wall to wall for the next 13 days, right up until selection Sunday March 16th. The first automatic bid will go out as early as Friday as Harvard has clinched a tie for the Ivy League crown and at worst will have a playoff game for the bid but can clinch the title outright and the automatic berth with a win at Yale. The bigger conferences are still playing out the regular season and will start their respective tournaments in a week. You soon note the locales of each of the conference championship listed with their respective conferences.
Atlantic Coast Conference Class-Power
Lock: Syracuse, Duke, Virginia
Looking Good: Pitt, North Carolina
Work to do: North Carolina State, Florida State, Clemson Skinny on the ACC: Virginia housed the now badly slumping Orange to claim their first outright, non-shared ACC title since 2007. All the Orange are doing is costing themselves a 1 or 2 seed with this slide but could get it back if they run the table in ACC tourney. Duke is bulletproof as well. North Carolina is streaking to bulletproof status with their winning streak. Pitt is still pretty safe but their tendency to skylark is costing them seeding but that’s it. Clemson, Florida State and NC State are fighting for one spot left.
Key Game: Georgia Tech @ Syracuse Tuesday 7p (ESPN3/ACCNet) The Orange need to break out of this skid in time for their first ACC tourney.
Projected Bids: 6
Atlantic Ten Conference Class- Major
Lock: Saint Louis, St. Joes, VCU
Looking Good: UMass, George Washington
Work to do: Dayton The A-10 Spec is: This went from a Billikens victory parade to a horse race as Saint Louis has stumbled badly and the Hawks have come charging down the stretch, I have moved them up as well as VCU and UMass. The former housed the front running Billikens badly in Richmond but the latter got housed in Dayton and haven’t earned their Kevlar yet. Returning to the list is the aforementioned Flyers who is quietly building a decent resume. But the Richmond Spiders are out after getting squashed by Rhode Island
Key Game: Dayton at Saint Louis Wednesday 9p (NBCSN) The Flyers will greatly strengthen their outside chances with a signature win at a suddenly vulnerable Billikens
Projected Bids: 5
Lock: Cincy, Louisville, UConn, Memphis, SMU
All-American Spec: The Bearcats and Cards are now tied atop this conference, and SMU is playing the dark horse role to a T. Memphis bounced back strong from a dispiriting defeat to Houston to whip the Cards and return to the top 25. All five ranked teams are bulletproof and playing for as good a seed as possible
Key Game: Memphis at Cincinnati 7p Thursday (ESPN) The Bearcats try to break out an ill-timed slump and try to hold on to the #1 seed in the American tourney
Projected Bids: 5
Big East Conference Class-Major
Solid: Creighton, Villanova
Looking Good: Xavier
Work to do: Providence, Marquette, St. John’s Big East Skinny: Xavier is making it harder and harder to shrug off their tourney viability with another signature win, this time outgunning Creighton in front of rowdy Cintas Center crowd. That gets the Muskies to 20 and I think you can draw the cut line there. Barring a deep run by the Friars, Eagles or Johnnies, I cant see more than 3 going, but the trip to MSG will have something to say here. And this key game could be an elimination game of source
Key Games:Providence @ Marquette Tuesday 9p (FS1) Both these teams need this win in the worst way to stay in the conversation, the loser might be reduced to the dreaded win it to get in it status
Projected bids: 3
Big Ten Conference Class-Power
Lock: Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa
Looking Good: Ohio State
Work to do: Nebraska, Minnesota
The word on the Big Ten is: Now things are starting to get silly here. Illinois zapped another tourney bound team and Im hearing some wonks scream that this league should send nine teams Stop the insanity, the cut line here is five. Ohio State is trying to fritter away what should be a 5 seed with another head scratching loss, this time to Indiana. Now the Hoosiers think that they should be in serious talk for a tourney bid themselves. They aren’t. Iowa earns its ticket uptown with a solid home win over Purdue that gets them to 20. That’s a number the Gophers cant get to unless they win out and get a win in Indy. Nebraska is still stung from that loss to Illinois and may really need to win out and get a couple wins in the Big Ten tourney, they will likely not get a first round bye
Key Game: Nebraska @ Indiana Wednesday 7p (BTN) The Huskers need the win to stay in the conversation, do the Hoosiers have a realistic shot? They need to keep on winning clear to the Big Ten finale in 13 days
Projected Bids: 5
Big 12 Conference Class-Power
Lock: Kansas, Texas, Iowa State, Oklahoma
Looking Good: Kansas State, Oklahoma State
Work to do: Baylor, West Virginia Skinny from the heartland: The Jayhawks, Horns, Sooners, and Clones are pretty much bulletproof. The Wildcats keep letting other teams pass them in the standings but as it stands now they are still safe. The Pokes have suddenly rebounded to look like a very very dangerous team coming down the stretch. They look better than the two teams in front of them Baylor and West Virginia who are fading badly but still have chances to get signature wins
Key Game: Iowa State @ Baylor Tuesday 7p (ESPN2) The Bears could really get themselves a signature win here.
Projected Bids: 6
Conference USA Conference Class-Mid-Major
Solid:Southern Miss, La. Tech, Middle Tennessee
Work to do: UTEP, Tulsa
Oh Say Can You C-USA Spec: Could this conference get any rowdier? Four teams at 12-3 (UAB, La. Tech, MTSU and Tulsa), and another (UTEP) at 11-4. The teams that get wins in their final regular season game snag a coveted double bye and sit out until the CUSA quarterfinals. You wonder how much just that extra game will go to be a benefit or hindrance.
Key Games: Louisiana Tech @ Rice, Middle Tennessee @ UAB, UTEP @ UTSA, Tulsa @ North Texas, Southern Miss @ Tulane 8p Thursday Five games that will set the order of the upcoming CUSA tourney and in an interesting quirk all five teams vying for the coveted double bye to the quarterfinals are the visitors. Wins for La. Tech, MTSU, UTEP or Southern Miss get them a share of the regular season title and a double bye, UTEP is the only team that needs to win and get help to get a double bye but can only earn a title share if the other four road teams all lose and they win.
Projected Bids: 2
Missouri Valley Conference Class-Mid Major
Lock: Wichita State
Work to do: Indiana State Missouri Valley Skinny: The Shockers hit the regular season finish line tape at 31-0, its their tourney to lose and if they win 3, will have the most wins heading into the tournament since UNLV in 1991. Indiana State is likely the team that they will face in the MVC tourney finale next Sunday. The Shockers are bulletproof and have made their case for a #1 seed.
Key Drake vs Evansville Thursday 7p (ESPN2). Winner gets to be the next victim of Wichita Stat
Missouri Valley Conference Championship aka “Arch Madness”March 6-9 Scottrade Center, St. Louis
Projected Bids: 1
Mountain West Conference Class-Major
Solid: San Diego State, New Mexico
Work to do: Boise State, UNLV
Spec from the Mountains: The Aztecs bounced back nicely to whip the lowly Spartans, I think that they are way safe but are now even with a Lobos teams that is growing more and more confident each game. Luck of the schedule has them facing off in a regular season ending showdown for the regular season crown, but the higher stakes game will likely be a week from Saturday in Vegas for the tourney title. Stay tuned...
Key Game: San Diego State @ UNLV Wednesday 11:05p (CBSSN) If the Aztecs aren’t careful and get the look aheads to their showdown with New Mexico, they will get zapped
Projected Bids: 2
Pacific 12 Conference Class-Power
Lock: Arizona, UCLA, Colorado, Cal,
Work to do: Stanford, Arizona State, Utah Spec from the left coast: Arizona clinched another Pac-12 title and is bulletproof. UCLA is impressing no one with their tendency to wander mentality but a barring a total collapse in Washington and a first round loss (after getting a first round bye) they are safe. The Buffs and Golden Bears are pretty safe themselves. So that leave I figure one or two spaces. I think that the Sun Devils have the inside track. The Cardinal and Utes have too many holes in their resume and need to keep stacking wins to strengthen their resume
Key Games: Colorado @ Stanford Wednesday 9p (ESPN2) The Buffs and Cardinal are looking to firm up their resume
Projected Bids: 5
Southeastern Conference Class-Power
Solid: Florida, UK
Work to do: Arkansas, Tennessee, Mizzou, Georgia Spec is Down South: The Gators are prepping for their #1 seed coronation and marking time till they get announced as such on the 16th only a lose out and bounced in the SEC quarters on Friday afternoon would be jeopardize that. UK shouldn’t be bulletproof but back to back awful losses, including an inexcusable loss to South Carolina where their coach got ejected after a tantrum. The Bulldogs are in 3rd but Im still not considering them unless they get to the SEC finals, period (You’re on the list and that’s me being generous, so shaddap!) Arkansas is making a string move toward getting safe, winning 5 straight and 7 their last 8. They have more of my confidence at present than Tennessee or Mizzou The cut line is generous at 4 and Im still gonna need to have a real reason to increase that.
Key Game: Ole Miss @ Arkansas Wednesday 7p (SECNet/ESPN3) The Hogs are getting close to safe if not bulletproof especially if they win out to SEC tourney and get a double bye
Projected Bids: 4
West Coast Conference Class- Mid Major
Work to do: BYU, San Francisco, Saint Mary’s West Coast Spec: The Bulldogs thrashed the Gaels to finish the regular season on a high note and virtually eliminated any chance the Gaels had of sneaking in as an at-large berth. The Cougars and Dons are pretty much in the same boat but will likely be playing an elimination game in the WCC semis against one another with the winner trying to play bid stealer. I think Gonazga is safe barring a loss in the quarters or semis
Key Game: Pacific vs Santa Clara Thursday 11p (ESPNU) The winner gets the honor of likely getting poleaxed by Gonzaga on Saturday
Projected Bids: 1
There are others in the mix to be sure. Teams from the always dangerous Colonial (Delaware) and Big South (VMI) always are in the mix. Of course the champions from the following conferences get an automatic bid (projected winners in parentheses): Amer. East (Vermont), Atlantic Sun (Mercer), Big Sky (Weber State), Big West (UC Irvine) , Horizon (Green Bay, Ivy (Harvard), MAC (Toledo) , MAAC (Iona) , MEAC (NC Central), Northeast (Robert Morris), Ohio Valley (Belmont) , Patriot (Boston U.), Southern (Davidson), Southland (SF Austin), Sun Belt (Georgia St.) , Summit (IPFW), and SWAC (Alabama State) and Western Athletic (New Mexico St). Note: Southern U is leading the SWAC but is currently ineligible for the automatic bid along with Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Mississippi Valley State and Grambling State pending an NCAA mandate on their academic compliance progress
Remember that this is still speculation, nothing here is ever solid and we haven't even brought up the possibility of upsets. But those never happen, right?
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
That my friends is what the 1st Amendment says...So no matter what anyone says, we are not a "Christian Nation"...We are a nation made of many beliefs, and ideas, and we are free to have those beliefs and ideas...And our elected officials are not suppose to push their beliefs, or my beliefs, or your beliefs on everyone else...
This post, clearly is inspired by the law that some were trying to push through in Arizona...Luckily, for the sake of freedom, and common sense, the governor vetoed it...It also helped that big businesses, including the NFL put pressure on her...
Why did I say common sense...Because while many read the proposed law and saw it giving people the right to discriminated against gays and lesbians, if you read it closely, and clearly, it did more then that...A business owner who believes pre-marital sex is a sin, could turn all your fornicators away...They could look at me, and say, 'Oh no! you masturbate...Get out!' A Muslim business owner could turn an "infidel" like me away just because our religious beliefs are different...
That's the shit people didn't see...Politicians and the media made it all about discriminating against gays...Which, many of the people behind it, are fine with...That's how they feel...Me, not so much...I have a number of gay friends, and they're no different from anyone else...They don't try to fuck me in the ass, and I don't try to tell them how great pussy is...And it is! That's what makes America great...We have our own lives and beliefs and we don't force feed them to each other...But the law could have opened up even greater cans of worms as I pointed out...
Sadly, it isn't over...While Arizona got all the coverage, there are 11 other states, right now, with the same type of law trying to be worked through their system...Including my own backwards-ass state of Ohio...So my advice people...Start paying attention to what your elected officials are doing...Don't let politicians religious beliefs dictate local, state, or federal policy...If religions are going to get into everyone's personal lives via politics, and law, then they need to lose their tax exempt status...That's right churches, temples, mosques, those quiet little cult churches in garages just so you can be tax exempt, and all others...You want to get in on the policy wars, start kicking in your fair share...We're tired of carrying you!
-As for why I didn't post Monday...This weekend, I used my Christmas gift card to get my daughter a new clarinet...(I did find a good sale, $500 off) she played the hell out of the first one, and it went in for $100 worth of repairs, so I thought maybe it time for an upgrade...Then the Mrs. needed a serious upgrade on glasses/contacts...With the exam, contacts, two pairs of glasses...Well, it was more then I wanted to drop...Plus there was groceries, and other crap...Shit got expensive this weekend...So Sunday afternoon, I got drunk...Bombed by 5:00 PM...A little hockey, and sleeping by 10:00 PM...
-Outdoor Hockey...KNOCK IT OFF!!!
I'm sick of hearing how great these outdoor games are...Did you see that shit Saturday night...The puck being passed, and shot, and stopped inches later by the snow accumulation on the ice...It was slow, and stupid...The one game in New York was delayed, because no one realized everyday at noon, in Yankee Stadium you get a glare on a certain part of the field, which was blinding off the ice...The next game in New York, sucked...The ice was garbage, because it was too cold out...Hell, the game in LA had better ice conditions...The game in Michigan...Again with the snow...Then this past Sunday, up in British Columbia...It was raining, so they closed the retractable roof...So it wasn't an outdoor game, and still players complained about the ice being slow...
6 outdoor games in one season has killed the uniqueness of the New Years Day Winter Classic...Now it's just fucking stupid...That's the NHL...They can fuck up any good thing...
Surprise! It's your substitute moaner, Uncle B.O.B., filling in for the Beeze who will grace us all tomorrow. Welcome to March, where I hope the weather gets better for y'all. Lots on my mind, so let's kick this March off right with lots of sports:
NHL – Outdoor Games. I kept reading that the outdoor games were a good thing. So why are the talking heads complaining about it?
NBA annoying – ESPN/ABC. Can somebody please explain to me this ESPN obsession with the New York Knicks? How many times does this team have to get blown out on national television before the network realizes it's just not "must-see TV"?
NBA bad – 4 point shot. At first I was all for this, but then I thought about it a little bit - at best the NBA averages about 33% from three-point land. Can you imagine making a four point line? J R Smith would freeze out Carmelo Anthony and throw up even more ignorant circus shots. This is supposed to be “professional” Basketball – not the Harlem Globetrotters nor the And One set.
NBA - Iverson Jersey Retirement. Speaking of "and one", everybody Saturday night made a big deal about Iverson's jersey being retired in Philly. Well you know, what exactly did Iverson do besides play and-one style, get the team to one finals, and make a mockery out of coaches and team play. Damn, that fool looked like Reverend Run from Run DMC in this photo.
NBA good – Officials Stats. It has been written that teams are now getting stats from the NBA on blown officials calls every week. This is a start, but the NBA has a long way to go to improve officiating.
NBA good – Portland Trailblazers. If the playoffs were today, the Blazers would be the #3 seed in a very strong Western Conference and be facing Golden State. Portland winning 70% of their games? Stotts could very well be coach of the year if this continues. Defense is giving up 102 points a game and if they do get the Warriors that could be trouble. But they have a strong offense and very underrated players.
MLB. Seriously Ozzie Smith, making a National Holiday honoring Baseball? Get real.
Jeff brought out an excellent point last week about trying the MLB Network and their willingness to cover ALL the teams. I will make it a point to watch it more.
NFL. This was kind of glossed over last week as I expected it to get more attention here, but Ray Rice. I was just gonna let the incident pass, but how is it that the selective outrage we all collectively have as a society isn’t here regarding this one? It’s on freaking tape, and the cops allegedly claim to have the knockout punch on tape too.
NFL Draft – Blake Bortles’ Girlfriend. Allegedly, teams asked Blake if he was going to bring his girlfriend to pre-draft visits. Seems as though some teams may want to go back to sensitivity and HR training.
NFL Draft - #2 Pick – St. Louis Rams. NFL.com says that the Rams need OL, WR, Safety. #2 is way too early to draft WR or Safety, so what do the Rams do?
People are gonna think I’m crazy, but this is my sleeper team in the NFC next season, and this draft is going to help them one way or the other. No matter which way they go, they are going to improve, so #2 is going to be an interesting pick to say the least.
The Rams already have Sam Bradford, who I think is a victim of a bad OL and lack of quality WRs. This may be a pick where they want to trade to some desperate team, and you have to believe that one of them could be Cleveland (who has ten picks in this draft). Would Cleveland be dumb enough to give up picks and Josh Gordon to move up to #2? Would Oakland, Green Bay or Minnesota try to move up for their own needs? How ‘bout Pittsburgh?
College Football Schedules – Alabama 2014. You can never count out Alabama under Nick Saban, but with this new selection process, even if they win the SEC Championship Game, they are going to have a hard time convincing the new selection board they belong in the NC Game, especially if a PAC 12 team (UCLA specifically), Florida State or Notre Dame, and/or the Big 12 Champ run the table.
Road: West Virginia (in Atlanta), Ole Miss, Arkansas, Tennessee, LSU
Still no South Carolina, still no Georgia, this year, no Missouri. At least they added Florida, a team that is way down.
OK, let’s give the benefit of the doubt, they play Auburn, and are @ LSU, but after that, is there anything solid out there? Yet again Western Carolina?
America’s Heroes Channel. On Saturday, IHM talked about heroes and role models in a great blog honoring a former coach who passed. Check it out here:
Those of you who get DirecTV may know of a channel that up until yesterday was known as The Military Channel (Ch. 287). Well, today it was changed to the American Heroes Channel. Now, I’m a history buff, but you can only talk about World War 2 for so long. There simply wasn’t enough programming.
My hope for this new channel is that it talks not just about military heroes and capabilities, but perhaps add some real time programming related to outstanding teachers, firefighters, police, EMT’s, ER Staff, Doctors and Nurses, volunteers, and other every day heroes, their experiences that made them heroes. Not the Law and Order variety, just real stuff. What do they do and how does it affect lives? I really think they could do some good.
Uncle B.O.B.’s Editorial. Seems as if the people are getting fed up with the Federal Government in a sense. In Colorado/Wyoming and California/Oregon, there are places who are tired of the urban areas being allowed to dictate what states will do. Both places want to start breaking off to be their own independent state or have a “regional authority”. In California, we are getting tired of LA and SF dictating their own policies simply because they outnumber us and now the drumbeat is getting louder to break California into six different states.
Baseball season is soon to start. How do I know? Last week I was in Sarasota, spring home of the Orioles and was a week too early to catch any games. This week, I’m in Washington DC, not far from Nationals Park and catch some radio ads to order game tickets – some as low as $10 – and yet, they’re in Florida. Maybe its just the buzz of the onsetting season that’s got me, or maybe it’s just Mo’s luck. I was in Queens NY and looking forward to a Mets game, staying less than 3 miles from CitiField, and I couldn’t make it. I was in Atlanta, not far from Turner Field, while the Braves were in town…and I couldn’t make it. You’d think it would happen – JUST ONCE – for me that I could make something happen.
So I wait. Just like everyone else that doesn’t like in either a Grapefruit League or Cactus League locale. Damnit.
“Outside the Lines” on ESPN is running a program on “The N Word.” There’s a piece on Warren Moon, where he highlights one game in New England where some DB in the stands laid that on him – as he was one of the only quarterbacks of color in the league at the time – and he said he wanted to go into the stands and get the guy. Joel Ward of the Capitols scored the series closing goal against the Bruins in the 2012 playoffs and was hit with all manner of racist comments – afterall, how many people of color play hockey? I’m highlighting these two issues, because they happened in contests against MY teams, teams that represent my city. My home.
Last week, I wrote about the proposal the NFL is considering a racism rule, that I suggested is a terrible idea. Which isn’t to say it’s something you would hear me say, it’s just that somethings have a way of taking care of themselves. The OTL program, though, was eye opening. I mean, I want to believe we live in if not “post-racial” society, then certainly a far more integrated society. The kids interviewed in the second half of the program, really seemed to not care about it. They said they use it so frequently that it has no meaning. The folks of my generation and older, take great offense to the word. To the point that, truly, I don’t use it. Ever.
But you know, and I recognize that I’m not in a position to comment on the word in specific, but in general, words have power because – and ONLY because – we give it power. So, maybe, just maybe, these kids have the right idea. Desensitize the word. Remove the meaning. Bear in mind, we can point fingers at teenagers and say they’re out of touch. But our history isn’t necessarily going to theirs. I was 22 years old before I interacted at any level with anyone that wasn’t white.
When I was a kid, Generation X was a bunch of slackers…when the Boomers were writing the essays. Now Gen X is in positions of authority, the history is being rewritten. Gen-X has re-written a bunch of rules, maybe that’s why we’re so conflicted about this word. Maybe, 20 years from now we’re wondering why this was such an issue. Those teenagers will be 37 in 20 years – I’d like to see what they have to say then. I’m no Barack Obama political fan, but I’m a fan for one reason: his presidency stands for is the idea that we’ve at least started to move beyond these distinctions.
Think about it. In 20 years, we’ve gone from DOMA to same-sex marriage being endorsed by the President of the United States. We’re in a time of great change. My hope for those kids is that 20 years from now, they feel the same way. Race and conversations thereof won’t matter.
See what I did there? I brought it back to Washington DC. Even managed to talk about sports – in case you missed it, it was in the first paragraph. I’m glad ESPN talked about the issue, because sports is the one area in American life where we all put all the crap aside and root for results on the field. Where the Super Bowl Champion Seahawks quarterback is black. Where the quarterback of the Carolina Panthers – North Carolina, a member of the Confederacy – is black. And bringing it back to my opening, talking about how embarrassed I am that the two stories I mentioned were related to my city. But you know, even those DBs saying that crap about Warren Moon were the same guys cheering all night when Deion Branch hoisted the Super Bowl MVP trophy, those pricks who went after Joel Ward were celebrating David Ortiz’ MVP performance in last October’s World Series. They’re the hypocrites, and the opinions of hypocrites hold no value.
Change and understanding takes time. It’s my belief, sports is important for that reason: they give us a reason to cheer and root on folks who might not look like us. Michael Sam is important for that reason – imagine. Ask yourself how long ago his race would be the story here. The answer is, not that long ago. The fact his race isn’t the story is big. Let’s not lose sight of that.
So now that I'm sure you've finished reading that link...when I got to the gym on Friday I spoke briefly with the Upper Cape coach and Michaela. Afterwards, I went over to introduce myself to the guy in charge of filming. We got the tech stuff out of the way and got prepped to do the game.
I was working with an Upper Cape student named Brian on the call of the game while the guy in charge handled the video. Things went reasonably well. I was by no means perfect but I did well enough that the guy said after the game that things sounded good.
As for the game, WHAT A GAME!
Things started out a bit slow in the first quarter with Nantucket holding an 8-4 lead but UCT's Amber scored 5 quick points to have the Rams up 9-8 after one quarter. In the second half, UCT's offense went cold for a bit and Nantucket built a 16-11 lead.
But Amber (a freshman) helped counter that finishing with 13 first half points (on the way to a career high 26 points on the night) and Upper Cape was up 25-20 at the break.
Not to be outdone, in the second half Amber's older sister Krystle nailed three straight three pointers as the Rams eventually built a 38-21 lead. The offense went ice cold again and Nantucket cut the lead to 41-35 after three quarters.
But the Rams re-established things in the fourth and went on to grab a 60-42 victory! Survive and advance is the name of the game. Upper Cape will play West Bridgewater in the Division 4 South Sectional semifinals on Tuesday March 4th.
Missouri State - The Lady Bears split their two games this week. Things began with a 66-57 loss to Illinois State. Tyonna Snow had a season high 26 points while both Hannah Wilkerson and Mikala McGhee scored 10 points apiece.
A couple of notes about the team before talking about their next game.
Bry Snow was one of the recipients of the Missouri Valley Conference Leadership and Service Award this past week.
I had found myself wondering why Kenzie Williams had disappeared from the boxscores of the Missouri State games. I didn't see any stories about an injury or her leaving the team. Finally, I did a Google search on her name and found out that she had torn the ACL in her left knee. The sophomore had hurt the same knee last year as a freshman. Mystery solved, but sadly not in a fashion I would've hoped for. Here's to a quick recovery for Kenzie!
Against Southern Illinois, the Lady Bears got a season high point total as they ran off to a 93-76 victory. The win raises their record to 13-14 with an 8-8 conference mark. They won the game despite being outrebounded 49-40.
Bry Snow had 26 points and 8 boards to lead MSU while sister Tyonna Snow scored 18 points. Mikala McGhee (15 points) and Desiree Phillips (12 points) established new career scoring highs for themselves in this game as well.
Hartford - After a stellar week for the Hawks in last week's game action, Amber Bepko picked up the America East Player of the Week award.
On the court, Hartford lost to Binghamton 55-51, dropping them to 11-17 (8-7 in conference). Cherelle Moore had 15 points and Alyssa Reaves added 10 points
Tennessee - It was a good week for the Lady Vols as they continue their season of "Grind for 9", their mantra in chasing a ninth national championship.
They beat a tough Missouri squad 56-50 with only 7 players entering the game for Tennessee. Meighan Simmons had 25 points to lead the scoring while Bashaara Graves added 11 points. Isabelle Harrison had just 5 points, but grabbed 10 rebounds. Mercedes Russell scored 6 points and had 11 rebounds.
In the first half of their game against LSU, the Lady Vols built a 21 point lead going into the break. But things got tougher for them in the second half. They ended up hanging on to win 72-67 and now stand at 23-5 with a 12-3 SEC record. It was Simmons powering the offense once again as she finished with 31 points. Cierra Burdick scored a career high 22 points to go with 10 rebounds and Isabelle Harrison added 11 points and 11 boards.
I'm not a fan so don't expect this to be a regular included part of my columns. Pat, one of my former players who was on the very first team for which I was the head coach, was supposed to be fighting his last fight on Friday night. The local paper had a story about him which you can read here: http://wareham.wickedlocal.com/article/20140224/SPORTS/140228084/?tag=1
However, the fight ended up being called off as his opponent didn't make weight. And if the Tweets I read from the guy who wrote the article are to be believed, the training for the fight has apparently made Pat rethink the decision to retire.
Last Saturday, the Celtics were in Sacramento. The 105-98 loss to the Kings was made kind of a secondary story when, with 35 seconds left in the game, coach Brad Stevens got ejected. It is the first time he's ever been tossed from a game on any level. The replays I saw do not really show what he did to get the ref to run him, but after a week of being amazed at how Syracuse men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim reacted to a call that got him thrown out, Stevens is the anti-Boeheim.
Instead of yelling and screaming, he calmly called down to the Kings bench to get their coach's attention, gave him a wave and said "good game" and calmly left the court.
The funniest thing is that his reaction became the story of the game. It was just so surprising that he got tossed and then how he didn't lose his mind on the way out of the arena.
As for the game itself, Jeff Green had 29 points to lead the Celtics and Kris Humphries added 19 points.
But even the ejection paled in comparison to the unwarranted brouhaha that happened when the media learned that Rajon Rondo stayed behind in LA to celebrate his birthday with family and friends instead of traveling with the team to Sacramento. He wasn't scheduled to play against the Kings so not traveling with them wouldn't be such a big deal.
But as usual, it was the pinheaded way he went about it that seemed to rile the media. Apparently, he didn't get the official permission of the team to stay behind. A tempest in a teapot likely but once the media got its hooks into the story, suddenly it was disrespect to Brad Stevens and how would the coach handle things. Not too mention Rondo and Danny Ainge.
I don't see what the big deal is all about. It seems like a minor infraction. Sit Rondo down with Stevens or Ainge or both. Behind closed doors, this situation is ironed out in five minutes. And no one has to do any media dance as if they've someone been wronged on a galactic level.
Jeff Green scored 21 points and Rondo had 18 points and 10 assists when the focus got back to the actual games on the court. Unfortunately, it still ended up being a loss. This time it was Utah taking a 110-98 victory.
The doom and gloom of fans who actually think the Celtics should TRY to win the games got a little sliver of sunshine when Boston beat Atlanta 115-104. Jerryd Bayless scored 29 points as the Celtics raised their record to 20-39. Ronda had 22 points and 11 assists while Jeff Green scored 17 and Brandon Bass chipped in with 14 points.
Men's Basketball - The Eagles fell to 7-21 (3-12 in the ACC) after losing 66-59 to Pittsburgh. Olivier Hanlan scored 25 points in the game (putting him over the 1,000 point mark for his career). Patrick Heckmann added 15 points and Ryan Anderson had 10 points.
Sportswriter Mark Blaudschun had a good read on why coach Steve Donahue should be kept as the man in charge of the basketball program. You can check it out here: http://ajerseyguy.com/?p=9306
The Eagles got a solid 80-72 win over Wake Forest on the road. Ryan Anderson led the team with 24 points and 7 boards. Olivier Hanlan scored 17 points while Lonnie Jackson added 12 points. Patrick Heckmann finished with 10 points. The win puts them at 8-21 (4-12 in the ACC).
Women's Basketball - Leading up to the Thursday night home game which would serve as Senior Night, the BC women's basketball site had brief Q&A's with the team's two seniors.
As for the game, the two players were honored before the game. You can see photos (by BC photographer John Quackenbos) of the players with coaches and family below. Doherty first, then Zenevitch.
To start the game, Zenevitch was sent out. Maryland won the tap and the Terps coach Brenda Frese immediately called a timeout so that Zenevitch, who was dealing with a knee injury, could be taken out of the game.
It was a classy move that the two coaches had agreed to before the game. Whichever team won the tap would call the timeout thus enabling Zenevitch the chance to "start" in her last home game.
The rest of the game was not so nice for the Eagles. Maryland just pasted them and cruised to a 92-66 win. Doherty led the Eagles with 15 points, Kat Cooper added 13. Freshman Kelly Hughes scored 12 points and Nicole Boudreau finished with 10 points. The Eagles got outrebounded 37-21 and have now lost 10 of their last 11 games. They are 12-17 overall with a 3-12 ACC record.
BOSTON RED SOX
While the spring training games don't really matter much to me, the annual Sox vs. college teams games saw the Red Sox beat Northeastern and Boston College by identical 5-2 scores.
Movies - The opening scene to the upcoming Veronica Mars movie has been released. It works to catch viewers up on the three seasons of the TV show before launching into the movie. The film is due in theaters and On Demand March 14th.
TV - In the lead up to the fourth season of Game of Thrones, the HBO PR machine has now unleashed a bevy of promo posters with the phrase "Valar Morghulis" (All Men Must Die) on them. My favorite is the one featuring the Arya Stark character which you can see below.
Books - I finished reading the Rhys Bowen mystery The Family Way this week. It's the latest in her early 1900's New York set series featuring Molly Murphy. It was a nice read and managed to show how Murphy gets to solving a case despite promising her new husband to give up detective work now that she has a baby on the way.
And though it isn't actually due out until Tuesday March 4th, I got my hands on the paperback edition of the latest Spenser novel Robert B. Parker's Wonderland. It's written by Ace Atkins. While I'm normally loathe to see a series continue after an author dies, I just can't stand the thought of not knowing where the new author (copious notes from Parker aside) takes the characters I've been reading for more than 20 years.