I don't believe there is any need for me to remind anyone how much I like the NCAA basketball tournament. Having said that, both games on Saturday
night were boring blowouts. Neither outcome was in doubt for the final 15 minutes of the game. Hopefully, this evening's UCLA/Florida game will be
much more competitive.
My mind got to wandering during the UCLA demolition of LSU on Saturday and I wondered how a kid named Cedric Bozeman ever got to UCLA in the first
place. I would have thought that Montana State would have had him on their 'must get' list.
There were lots of Final Four participants interviewed who stated with certainty that they would be back in college next year. I think that what
several of them really meant to say is this:
I plan to be back in Indianapolis next year but I'll be wearing an NBA uniform and driving a Mercedes by the time I arrive.
I heard an interview with Jim Boeheim and he said that it was time for the tournament to expand to add some more teams. I have an idea on how to do
Select 96 teams and seed the first 32 teams.
Play off the other 64 teams with the following conditions:
Winners get to join the seeded 32 teams for the NCAA tournament.
Losers comprise the 'NIT' field.
It's time to acknowledge it openly; NIT now stands for 'National Irrelevance Tournament'. So, give 96 teams a shot at playing in the 'real
tournament'; then, take the first round losers and put all of them into whatever you might want to rename the NIT. It would only add one week to the
season while you play off those first round 'play-in games'; it would add another week of televised games; it might actually draw some interest into
whatever the renamed NIT becomes based on exposure gained by one or more of the teams in those first round games. And it's not as if you are
destroying anything that is a big deal. When I watched South Carolina win the NIT, I noticed that South Carolina only had a couple of cheerleaders
there. If the school's cheerleaders don't care enough to go to the final game, that has to tell you something about the importance of the NIT, no?
There is a lot of hooting and hollering about the hiring of Kelvin Sampson at Indiana - and to be very polite here, not all of it is laudatory for Mr.
Sampson. Some people have said that IU should have made a 'big splash' with their hiring and that Sampson is not 'sexy' enough to create a 'big
splash'. This line of thinking presumes that Indiana is in the position to attract and grab a candidate who is 'sexy' enough to make a 'big splash'.
I'm not so sure. The story goes that Mark Few’s agent/lawyer told IU that his client had no interest in talking to them. He wants to stay at
Gonzaga instead of going to Indiana. So what makes the IU fanatics think that IU is still 'relevant' in college basketball? I'd argue that Michigan
State is now the dominant program in the Big Ten. In the last 20 years, Illinois has been to the Final Four more often than IU. I'm not sure that
Indiana can command the same attention that it did 20 years ago. Hence, Kelvin Sampson...
I think Kelvin Sampson is a fine coach; his teams play hard and his teams play tough defense. He won't embarrass the program on that front. Here's
where I might have a concern about Sampson if I were looking for one. His teams did not excel because he is a knock-'em-dead recruiter of high school
blue chip players; his teams have gone the 'JC transfer route'. And one of the things the IU coach is expected to do is to keep all those homegrown
Indiana high school stars at home. I don't know if he’ll do that. And one other thing might concern me. Sampson's teams have not had a sterling
graduation rate; that's something IU has been proud of all these years. I might have some concern there too. But on balance, IU got a good
basketball coach and perhaps the best it could have hoped to get. As bas as the Knicks are, I don't think Larry Brown is available...
Did you know that April is National Humor Month and it is also National Welding Month? If you have an oxyacetylene torch in your hand, keep your mind
on your welding activities; laughing and pulling practical jokes at that point could be dangerous. Always remember:
Finish welding the buckle before you stop to chuckle.
We've discussed the NFL and their crackdown on end-zone dances before. I do think that the NFL missed the mark here. Even with the excessive
productions that accompanied some TDs last season, you have to acknowledge one important fact: they came after a touchdown and that is the fundamental
object of the game. Here's what the NFL should have come down hard on: Any celebration of a first down, or a tackle for a three-yard gain; or - -
you get the idea. Those celebrations are not nearly as contrived as the end-zone ones, but they are even more annoying because most of them are
celebrating something of only minor importance.
Obviously, some of the suits in the NBA front office took note of all the publicity the NFL got when it banned the end-zone celebrations and the NBA
will do just about anything to get publicity. So they decided to announce that starting next year, the dress code in the NBA will extend to players
wearing tights during the games. I don't know or care who started this trend, but some players are wearing them now and the league will call a halt
to it next season. Why? Does someone in the NBA front office have a thing against Mel Brooks?
I did a topical rant a few weeks ago saying that I thought some of the baseball writers were negligent when they never reported on the baseball
steroid business during the 1990s and up through 2002. Well, Bernie Lincicome seems to agree with me to some extent. Here is the link to an
excellent column he wrote on baseball and steroids last week:
Finally, the Cubs and the White Sox were playing in a spring training game when Jim Thome hit a monstrous homerun for the Sox. A Cub fan must have
retrieved the ball and threw it back on the field. Bob Brenley was doing the game on the radio and here was his comment when the ball appeared in the
'I think it bounced off the sun and came back.'
But don't get me wrong, I love sports... ... ...