Day one of the NCAA tournament was pretty quiet overall. The only significant bracket item was Illinois losing to Western Kentucky in the final game of the day. If someone can explain to me how that team was a five seed and SEC champion LSU is an eight (not past tense, since they could handle winning a first round game), I'd love to hear it. The Big Ten had no business getting seven teams in this year, and by the end of the weekend no more then two will still be hanging around. I like Purdue, am skeptical about Michigan State and think the rest of the teams are junk (although Ohio State likely won't lose a first round game in Dayton). As for today, I'm interested in Marquette/Utah State, Arizona State/Temple and Oklahoma State/Tennessee. UF gets Miami tonight in the NIT as well, and I'll be curious to see what kind of crowd that draws.
Duke won easily against Binghamton Thursday, but Mike Krzyzewski still came off as a loser with his comments about Barack Obama daring not to pick the Blue Devils to reach the Final Four....
"Somebody said that we're not in President Obama's Final Four, and as much as I respect what he's doing, really, the economy is something that he should focus on, probably more than the brackets"
There's no way Krzyzewski, known to be a conservative Republican, honestly thinks the president's not been handling any of his responsibilities because he was spending large amounts of time on an NCAA bracket. It's a cheap shot, and an inappropriate one considering the added exposure from the president being a fan of the sport benefits college basketball. Everyone is and was well aware the economy is the highest priority item on the national agenda at the moment without any help from Krzyzewski. If Obama picked Duke to beat Pittsburgh instead, would his bracket then have been acceptable to The Great and Powerful Coach K? Perhaps if Duke wins the Final Four the president could neglect to invite them to the White House because he's too busy working on the economy. (For the record, I would feel exactly the same way if Bush was in office this year and a Democrat leaning coach made the remark about him.)
Every year there's at least one commercial that gets under your skin while you watch the NCAA tournament. A couple of years ago it was the two losers singing about Applebee's shrimp to the Gilligan's Island song at least two dozen times per game. The backlash was so huge the chain's marketing director was out of a job before the tournament was even finished. This year's front runner is this Sheraton hotels ad, which inexplicably has been hanging around for a while now. If I was a Syracuse alum seeing my university repeatedly represented by a guy reaching over and wiping blue cheese off the mustache of a Georgetown fan with his finger, I would have demanded the school do something about it by now. All the ad's portrayals of "fans" are lame, but that one is creepy.
If the reports out of Miami that Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte' Stallworth was legally drunk when he struck and killed a pedestrian last weekend are true, his NFL career should be done. Stallworth should be in jail if he killed a man while driving drunk, but we've all seen plenty of examples to indicate that's not a given. If there is any scenario where Stallworth's sentence does not end his career, Commissioner Roger Goodell should step in and announce he is banned for life. It's a disgrace that Stallworth's fellow UT alum Leonard Little has been allowed to play a decade more in the league after killing a woman in an accident while driving with a .19 BAC and then getting caught behind the wheel after drinking again six years later. That should never have happened, and considering the NFL's tougher policies on off field activities Goodell should establish that it never will again. In one of those weird quirks of fate, the league is looking at allowing liquor sponsorships for the first time at their meeting this weekend.
One final note heading into the weekend: ESPN's Chris Low put up a post on his SEC blog last night in which Georgia coach Mark Richt downplayed the notion he has a confrontational relationship with Urban Meyer. I believe Richt is largely being truthful here. People forget that Meyer called Richt in 2006 for advice on how to handle playing in the Georgia Dome as well as the environment of the SEC title game prior to UF's matchup with Arkansas. At the time, Meyer described Richt as a friend, which I feel is why he was so stunned and angered by the way Richt sold out his own character with Georgia's embarassing display in 2007. The item I found most interesting was that Richt mentioned there were just two SEC coaches who called him when his wife was dealing with cervical cancer two years ago. The two were Urban Meyer and Steve Spurrier. Have a good weekend watching the NCAAs and I'll see you back here Monday.