While anticipating the 90 minute season finale of The Walking Dead tonight…
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter – @TheOneTrueJay
If you want to see your blood pressure go sky high, check out this article about an attempt in California to allow killing gay people. I kid you not! And there’s nothing the state can do about stopping this ridiculous attempt to make it into a bill. This is another example of why I have no faith in humanity these days. I read this article and thought: “ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME!” Okay, I used a different “F” word, but I’m trying to be nice here.
Men’s NCAA – The big lesson to take from the Thursday games this week is simple. DON’T RUN YOUR MOUTH UNLESS YOU CAN ACTUALLY BACK IT UP!
After a West Virginia player boasted that after his team played Kentucky, the Wildcats were going to be 36-1, John Calipari’s team went out and just pasted the Mountaineers by doubling them up 78-39.
Anyone see Bob Huggins ever letting that player talk to the media ever again?
I was very happy to see that Wisconsin beat Arizona 85-78 last night. I had the Badgers in my Final Four, so at least I know that I’ll get one team there now.
My big interest in last night’s action was the Kentucky-Notre Dame game. I know that I’m hardly alone in that opinion but my reason might be a little different than other people.
While I know that Notre Dame hasn’t exactly overpowered their opponents thus far in the tournament, but when I picked my bracket over on Yahoo, I had this matchup going to Notre Dame. Yes, I said the Wildcats would lose the game.
By the way, check out this piece on Notre Dame’s Pat Connaughton.
I missed the first half of the game because I was watching something else, but in the second half the game was a battle beyond measure. Notre Dame built a lead, and Kentucky would rally back.
In the end, it was two foul shots with six seconds left from Kentucky’s Andrew Harrison that clinched UK’s trip to the Final Four as they knocked off the Irish 68-66.
Notre Dame losing means the best I can do is get two of my picks in the Final Four, depending on how Duke does tomorrow night.
Other Men’s Tournaments – The NIT and the CIT tournaments are set for their own Final Four round, though I can’t really say I’m all that excited about any of the teams.
The NIT has Miami vs. Temple in one semifinal while Old Dominion and Stanford play the other one.
In the CIT tourney, UT-Martin vs. Evansville in one matchup. The other semifinal has Northern Arizona facing off against NJIT.
For the CBI tournament, the best of three championship series starts on Monday. The two teams in the finals are Louisiana-Monroe and Loyola Chicago.
Men’s Division 2 Championship – A congratulatory shout out to Florida Southern. They made the most of their national TV exposure yesterday afternoon by beating Indiana University (Pennsylvania) 77-62 to capture the title.
Women’s NCAA – The D1 women’s Elite Eight was set last night. My only real interest is Tennessee. They got to the Sweet 16 via a 77-67 win over Pitt last weekend. Bashaara Graves (pictured below) has been on fire for the LADY VOLS so far in the tourney. Against Pitt, she led the team with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Ariel Massengale added 16 points and Cierra Burdick had a double double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Andraya Carter finished with 10 points.
With 6:34 left in the second half, the Lady Vols were down by 17 points. Cierra Burdick (pictured below) scored 15 of her 22 points in the second half as she played a huge role in the comeback. She had 15 rebounds in the game as well.
Tennessee tied the game and sent it to overtime where they ended up winning 73-69. Ariel Massengale chipped in 15 points while Jaime Nared and Jordan Reynolds added 12 points apiece. It was 2 foul shots with just seconds left in the overtime period from Reynolds that helped cap off the victory for Tennessee.
The win moved the team’s record to 30-5 overall and sent them to an Elite Eight matchup against top seeded Maryland on Monday March 30th.
Women’s Division 2 Championship – The California University of Pennsylvania Vulcans captured their second national championship on Friday night. They beat California Baptist 89-69. The win came on the 11th anniversary of the team’s first title win back in 2004.
Other Women’s Tournaments – The WBI tournament will have their championship game later this afternoon. It is Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Siena for the title. I’ll update that information next week. While I don’t really have a rooting interest in the game, I have a cousin who went to Siena, so I might pull for them in the game.
MISCELLANEOUS COLLEGE SPORTS LINKS
The state of Indiana found themselves on the hot seat this week after the governor signed a bill into law that will effectively let business owners deny services to gay people based on the owner’s personal religious beliefs.
The NCAA had an immediate reaction and for the first time in a long time you can actually say the organization did something right. Given that the men’s Final Four is in Indianapolis and the NCAA’s corporate offices are there year round, they certainly have a bully pulpit to speak from.
Yahoo! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel had a great column about this latest effort to allow religion to dictate our lives HERE.
Now I don’t generally get too involved politically. I simply don’t care about a lot of political things. But on things I do get fired up about, I imagine myself in the place of the people that are being discriminated against (and make no mistake, that law is designed to discriminate against gay people) and how I would feel about it. And I get particularly incensed when religion is used as a cover all blanket for trying to do things. I’ve made it clear that I have no use for religion to begin with but when those who try to pretend they are somehow better than others because they claim to be morally superior, I just want to vomit.
And more than a few business CEOs have come out (no pun intended) against this law and made it clear they will cease or dramatically curtail doing business with the state of Indiana while this law is on the books.
In other World of Stupid news, a baseball player from Bloomsburg University landed in hot water when he called Little League baseball player Mo’ne Davis a slut in a tweet. He apparently heard about the Disney Channel making a movie about her life and was somehow incensed at the thought.
The moron player got kicked off the team for his little tweet. You can read more HERE.
Somewhat surprisingly, it was Davis herself who asked the school to reinstate the player, thus proving she’s a far better person than I would’ve been in that situation.
Coaching hiring/firing news – Former UCLA coach Ben Howland has landed the Mississippi State job.
St. John’s made a curious move when they “mutually parted ways” with Steve Lavin after 5 seasons. It’s not like the team was bad (they finished 21-12 this year) and from the press release announcing the move there wasn’t really anything that said why the coach and the school were splitting up. Lavin had a year left on his contract and with no scandals in the offing that I’ve heard about, I don’t understand the need to make this change.
As the debate over keeping the Lady Vols name at Tennessee continues, the notion of the school’s AD Dave Hart to put all the teams under one banner (The Power T) took a hit this week when he fired men’s basketball coach Donnie Tyndall after one season.
The decision to fire him comes after the AD learned that Tyndall is about to get hit hard by the NCAA for violations that occurred at Southern Mississippi. You can read a pretty detailed article about that HERE.
This new situation helps fortify the argument against tying the men’s and women’s teams together, considering the men’s teams are terrible and always scandal plagued. Why would any female athlete at the school want to be associated with that?
And Texas has fired Rick Barnes after 17 seasons in charge.
As a part of Girls Sports Month, the USA Today’s high school sports website ran an interview with pro basketball player / ESPN women’s college basketball analyst Kara Lawson. The piece talks about how basketball shaped her growing up. You can check it out HERE.
Finally, the first season under Tyler Summitt saw Louisiana Tech finish with a 16-15 record. This comes after back to back losing seasons before his hiring, the first two losing years in team history. You can read this article for a look back on the season and what lies ahead for Summitt and the team.
The Celtics have had quite an interesting week for themselves. The team started out their week in the 8th spot for the playoffs out of the Eastern Conference.
But things didn’t stay that way at the start of the week. They ended up losing to the Detroit Pistons 105-97 in overtime. Evan Turner led 6 Celtics in double figures as he scored 23 points and had 8 assists. Jae Crowder (pictured below) added 19 points and 7 rebounds. Brandon Bass had 13 points and 9 boards.
Thankfully, Boston managed to bounce right back in their next game. They blew out the New Jersey Nets 110-91 behind a 20 point, 7 rebound performance from Avery Bradley (pictured below) and triple double (19 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists) from Evan Turner.
Tyler Zeller and Kelly Olynyk poured in 18 points apiece to help pace the offense.
When Boston squared off against Miami, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to pick up a relatively big and thoroughly unexpected victory. The Heat were missing 3 key players, including Dwyane Wade.
Instead, Boston came out and laid an egg, relatively speaking. The final score was 93-86 in favor of Miami but there was so much in the way of missed opportunity in this game for Boston. Jae Crowder led the Celtics with 16 points and 7 boards. Avery Bradley added 12 points and Phil Pressey finished with 11 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
The loss didn’t hurt the Celtics in their playoff push though as the team behind them (Charlotte) also lost, leaving the Celtics ahead by half a game.
On Friday night, Boston beat the Knicks 96-82. The margin of victory might seem like a lot but all the reports I read said the Celtics had to sweat it out for this win. Isaiah Thomas (pictured below) came off the bench to score 18 points and dish out 6 assists.
It was a far better performance than he had against Miami when he played so badly (coming back from injury) and managed just four points. Jae Crowder scored 17 points and grabbed 9 rebounds and the team got a double double night (16 points, 10 rebounds) from Brandon Bass. Evan Turner finished the game with 15 points and 7 boards.
The Celtics are now 32-40 on the season. Not a great record, but in the abysmal Eastern Conference, that is still good enough to have them hunting for a playoff spot. They are already 7 games better than last season in terms of wins. But in the final 10 games this season, I’d really love to see them become a force to be reckoned with.
I think they can make the playoffs (a horrible nightmare for those who want them to lose for a better draft lottery position), but more importantly, I want to see them play well enough that if they end up as the #8 team in the East, they can put a legitimate scare into the top seed.
I’ve read a few brief speculative articles on what might happen if the Celtics make the playoffs and they all vary upon the theme of getting in and getting swept in that first round matchup. It may only be my own personal pipe dream, but I’d like to think they can do better than that.
In other NBA news, the growing schism between LeBron James and Kevin Love has reached a new high (or low, depending on how you look at it). Here’s the latest round of insipidness.
Frankly, I’m tired of hearing about this. It is a couple of supposed adults whining about “he’s not being nice to me” as if they were 5 year olds fighting over the “cool toy”. I wish both of them would just shut the hell up and play basketball.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Just a quick little note here this week. The local newspaper is in the midst of announcing their Winter Sports All-Stars this week.
The girls winter track team saw my former player Rachel (Old Rochester) get an honorable mention.
Tieyanna (Wareham) got selected to the paper’s basketball All-Star team (she also got All-Star honors from the South Coast Conference).
Jake (Bishop Stang) got picked to the All-Star Team in the paper as well.
The MMQB.com ran an interview with new Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas this past Friday. He talks about playing basketball in the NCAA tournament, his new Jacksonsville QB and more HERE.
An end of an era is upon us in baseball. After 131 years of making baseball bats, the family owned company behind the Louisville Slugger brand has been sold to Wilson Sporting Goods.
It has been a long time since I’ve played baseball and I was never really an equipment nerd to find myself with a NEED to have a Louisville Slugger bat, but even I felt a bit nostalgic over this news.
You can read more about the sale and what it means for the brand HERE.
Music – This week, I have my review of the new Europe album War of Kings for you to check out. I got nice feedback from a music friend of mine on Facebook after he read the review. He told me that the review was dead on and summed up his feelings about the album exactly. You can read the review via this KNAC.com link. The official video for the title track is below.
Books – This past week I got a message on Twitter from the publicity guy that sent me the I Am Pilgrim book that I reviewed and raved about all last year. He offered me another book to check out and review. Sadly, because it was more of a psychological thriller than a straight up one, I passed on the book. I’d read another book last year from the same publisher called The Hidden Girl. It was also billed as a psychological thriller and I found it to be the worst book I’d read all year. I couldn’t even bring myself to write the review, that’s how bad I found it. So I didn’t want to dive into those waters again.
I’m sure that I’ll get around to doing another book review in the future but as it isn’t something I plan to get too involved with (reviewing books that is), I want to be a little picky about my choices when I do write about something I’ve read.
Speaking of which, this week I completed the final book in the Star Trek: The Fall five book event. The book was called Peaceable Kingdoms and was written by Dayton Ward. It wrapped up the storyline in a pretty satisfactory way, though it wasn’t my favorite of the five novels.
Being the book nerd that I either am or have developed into, reading one book obviously meant that I could go out and buy some more, right? I had plans to buy two new books that came out this week but when I got home from the bookstore on Saturday, I had FOUR new titles to put into by read pile(s).
The first book is the latest John Puller thriller by David Baldacci called The Escape. The plot centers around Puller’s brother, a convicted traitor, escaping from prison.
Next up is the latest Star Trek novel by Christopher L. Bennett. This one is set in the Star Trek: Enterprise series universe and is called Uncertain Logic. Because I’m a bit behind on reading the Star Trek tie-in novels, it will be a while before I get to this one.
Then there is the new Harlan Coben paperback thriller Missing You. The story kicks off when a NYPD detective comes across an online profile for the man who broke off their engagement 18 years ago. When she contacts him, all hell breaks loose.
I haven’t read any books by the author before, but this one sounded really interesting so I grabbed it up.
Finally, there was the new Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus novel by Faye Kellerman called Murder 101. The book is the first since the author moved her characters from Los Angeles to New York and I can’t wait to see how things have changed.
And the best part about picking the book up on Saturday was the official release date isn’t until this coming Tuesday (March 31st).
TV – As I said at the opening of this post, I’m eagerly awaiting tonight’s 90 minute season finale of The Walking Dead. I’ve really enjoyed most of the season and big things seem to be afoot after the events of last week’s episode.
In my house, 9pm on a Sunday is “LEAVE ME ALONE” time during the seasons of The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. This will be especially true tonight.
By the way, in case you missed the news this week, a couple of classic series are being revived for new runs.
Fox has announced a 6 episode event series return for The X-Files, while NBC has ordered a 13 episode revival of the ABC sitcom hit Coach.
Movies – It’s not a movie that I’m interested in personally, but the new film Insurgent got a pretty good write up from one of the Pop-topia.com reviewers. You can check that out HERE.
The 30th anniversary of the movie The Breakfast Club is this year and while most pieces that might take a look back at the film (one of my all-time favorites by the way), this Yahoo article catches up with an actress who was cast, started filming and then got cut from the film. It’s a pretty different way to look at a film on its anniversary but it made for pretty interesting behind the scenes reading.
The new James Bond film will be called Spectre. In order to whet your appetite for the new film, why not check out the first teaser trailer which was released yesterday.