Monday, March 29, 2010

It'll be 5 on 8 - ten if you count CBS announcers - for WVU Saturday

The Final Four is set, with Duke the only number one seed to make it to Indianapolis and West Virginia the only one of my picks to do so. There have been a lot of surprises in this tournament, but for me the Mountaineers beating Kentucky wasn't one of them. The Wildcats managed to miss 32 three point shots in a row from the second half of their Cornell game until late into the WVU game. Think about that - they had missed that many shots from the outside and just kept jacking them up! Even phenomenally talented young teams still have to learn lessons like that the hard way, but this UK team is so full of one and dones there won't be anyone left who learned it. By the way, with the SEC having had two teams in the Elite 8 I'd just like to point out again how idiotic the coaches voting Kevin Stallings Coach of the Year over John Calipari and Bruce Pearl was. Tom Izzo's done an amazing job of coaching to get Michigan State through these last three games without Kalin Lucas. Baylor's Scott Drew is nowhere near as good, but they're still a thousand times better off with him than excuse making sleazeball Dave Bliss.

Got the word late last night that former UF assistant Donnie Jones is going to be the new basketball coach at UCF. (There's nothing about it on the Orlando Sentinel webpage as of 2 AM, so this might be news to them.) This is an interesting move for both parties. UCF fired Kirk Speraw because they wanted to make a major step forward with their basketball program. They've built a quality arena, now they want a team to bring the fans there. Jones did a nice job in three years at Marshall, finding stud freshman Hassan Whiteside and going 24-10 this year. Jones obviously has extensive Florida connections and he already knows C-USA, which should help. My only question is whether Donnie is enough of a Bruce Pearl-esque "salesman" to get the Orlando area media and fans to pay attention. He's a class act and a good coach, so hopefully the answer's yes.

Indications from Chicago are that the Bears may decide to part company with Alex Brown. The arrival of Julius Peppers supposedly made Brown relatively expenedable. If the move happens, either Jacksonville or Tampa Bay should try and get in on Brown as a possible pass rush presence. He's still young enough that he could help, and both can use every bit of crowd pleasing news they can get. Instead, Tampa Bay's ownership is busy explaining that their crowds will be small this season and warning of blackouts. Telling people they're going to miss seeing bad football unless they pay to see it in person isn't much of a marketing tactic, but that's where the Bucs are these days.

ESPN's spent years cramming Mike and Mike down everyone's throat. It started with the TV simulcast of their radio show, and then the guys as play by play for Arena Football. Now they call Monday Night Football's second game of the opening night doubleheader, despite the fact they're awful at it. We've seen them hosting the Spelling Bee, anchoring Sportscenter, hosting game shows, and who could forget their Atlantic City roast? Yet somehow ESPN's convinced you not only want more Mike and Mike, but are willing to pay 26 dollars for their "rules for sports and life". If you are, I implore you to raise your reading standards or find some friends to hang out with.

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