Friday, February 26, 2010

Finally, a chance to hear Billy Packer say Billy Dunavin a few thousand more times

I'll be in Athens Saturday to cover Florida's visit to Georgia for . This is a much better Bulldogs squad than the one that beat UF there last year, which may well have been the game that kept the Gators out of the tournament. UGA hit an unreal number of threes early in that one and rode the momentum to a victory. UF benefits from a Thursday-Saturday scenario for once, as Georgia went to OT in their loss at Vandy last night. With a win, I believe Florida would be in. If this team has really grown in the past two weeks, it gets it done. I'm far from sure they will do so.

The workouts at the NFL Combine don't get going until tomorrow, but there are lots of rumors flying out of Indianapolis. ESPN's Adam Schefter says the St. Louis Rams are going to take Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford with the first pick in the draft. If so, that means either Ndamakong Suh or Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy will be available for Tampa Bay at the third pick. Barring a really strong offer from someone looking to trade up, either of those two would be fine with me.

There are some businesses I would love to be able to shadow someone in for a few days and be able to ask questions. One of them is book publishing. How many times have you been to a bookstore and seen a book that made you wonder what the publisher could possibly have thought would make someone want to buy it? One example is the "tell all" coming out from Mark McGwire's brother Jay. It lists for 24.95, which is about what you'd have to pay me to read it. An estranged relative selling a family member out for cash, and not even breaking any new ground with his "revelations" - the entire thing is just pathetic.

The NBA has had a nightmare year when it comes to PR. Aside from a looming labor dispute likely to shut down the league in 2011, it's had to deal with:

1. players pulling guns in the locker room
2. multiple teams making clear they have no interest in winning in favor of clearing salary cap room or avoiding a luxury tax
3. an owner who's repeatedly violated housing discrimination law
4. an owner acknowledging multiple players missed games for his team because they were too hung over to play

and that's just a partial list. So what issue has the NBA chosen to do something about? Caron Butler's habit of chewing straws during games. He's only been doing this for eight years and discussed it on the league's website, so I can see how it would have escaped their notice until now. David Stern's normally a sharp guy, but this is so stupid that it's hard not to wonder if it's related to Butler being dealt to the Mavericks.

If you're a college basketball fan and you haven't seen the NCAA Vault, you've been missing out. It's a website that gives you the chance to watch any team's tournament game in the past decade from the Sweet 16 on in its entirety. Since I was covering all of the Florida games when they happened, it's the first chance I had to see these broadcasts. Lots of memories for me watching them. (Some examples from UF-Oklahoma State in the 2000 Elite 8: Donnell Harvey's wicked dunk to seal the deal is at the 1:04:43 mark, Doug Gottlieb's frightening free throw is at 1:06:00 and Erin Andrews is Dazzling at 1:12:34.) Enjoy - I'll see you back here Monday.

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