Wednesday, March 28, 2007

All-Final Four MLB Team

This week is a huge one for American sports fans. Ohio State, Georgetown, UCLA, and Florida are eagerly awaiting Saturday’s Final Four. One night later, the major league baseball season begins as the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals take on the New York Mets. Major leaguers share numerous similarities to the teams and activities to be featured at the Final Four. With that in mind, here is the All-Final Four Major League Baseball team.

Starting Pitcher: Johan Santana, Minnesota Twins. Just as UCLA shut down Kansas, he easily shuts down Kansas City.

Catcher: A.J. Pierzynski, Chicago White Sox. He’s equally as beloved as Billy Packer.

First Base: Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers. Cecil’s son is a Brewer whose father was a pro athlete. Florida has Corey Brewer and numerous sons of pro athletes.

Second Base: Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies. Since he’s a gritty player from UCLA, Ben Howland would love him.

Third Base: Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees. Like Monday night’s winner, he peaks in April.

Shortstop: David Eckstein, St. Louis Cardinals. He’s a Florida Gator who’s a defending champion. Aren’t all Gators these days?

Left Fielder: Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants. UCLA is defensive-minded and follows Arron Afflalo. Bonds gets defensive while following Aaron.

Center Fielder: Kenny Lofton, Texas Rangers. Lofton played in the 1988 Final Four with Arizona. Ohio State enters this Final Four with 34 wins – equaling the number of Lofton’s major league teams.

Right Fielder: Magglio Ordonez, Detroit Tigers. In the ALCS, he hit a walk-off game-winner. In the Sweet16, Georgetown’s Jeff Green hit a walking game-winner.

Designated Hitter: Travis Hafner, Cleveland Indians. Like Greg Oden, he’s an intimidating big man in Ohio.

Relief Pitcher: Chad Cordero, Washington Nationals. In Georgetown fashion, he plays in D.C. and shuts down opposing offenses at the end of games.

Manager: Bobby Cox, Atlanta Braves. The Final Four is in Atlanta, where Cox is used to seeing postseason action. Unfortunately for him, he’s only had One Shining Moment.

General Manager: Billy Beane, Oakland A’s. Surely he loves Ohio State’s Ron Lewis, who hit a Moneyball against Xavier.

Owner: Frank McCourt, Los Angeles Dodgers. Now in the same city as UCLA, he’s a Georgetown alumnus. Like his alma mater before this week, the Dodgers haven’t been to the Final Four since the 80s.

Mascot: Billy the Marlin, Florida Marlins. He’s what Coach Donovan hopes to be on Monday: a Billy who’s been part of two Florida championships.

Monday, March 26, 2007

OT Means "Only Trouble" For UNC

Sunday in the East Regional final, North Carolina’s national championship hopes came to a bitter end in a 96-84 overtime defeat to Georgetown. The result continued a distressing trend for the Tar Heels when playing beyond regulation. In recent years, overtime has brought nothing but pain to Carolina.

The top-seeded Heels seemed poised for the Final Four on Sunday, leading the second-seeded Hoyas 75-65 after Marcus Ginyard’s free throws with 7:19 remaining. However, UNC went scoreless for the next 3:31 and managed only six points in total until a meaningless three-pointer with eight seconds remaining in overtime. Carolina’s offense must have snitched on Tony Soprano, because all of a sudden it disappeared from New Jersey. After Jonathan Wallace’s three-pointer evened things up for the Hoyas, the Tar Heels were only half-ready for OT. They did have a (Psycho) T, but their O was gone.

The season-ending defeat prevented Roy Williams from reaching his second Final Four as UNC’s head coach. To Williams, “05” brings smiles as his national championship year. However, “0-5” now represents his overtime record as the Tar Heels’ leader. A February setback to Virginia Tech was preceded by losses during the 2003-04 season to Wake Forest, Florida State, and Duke. Overtime has now replaced Gerald Henderson as Public Enemy #1 in the Smith Center. As a result, Roy plans to lobby the NCAA to eliminate overtime periods. The suggestion is not without precedent, as college football did not extend beyond regulation until 1996. Realizing that no one wants a tie in basketball, the emotional Williams proposed a tiebreaker for games ending in a deadlock after regulation. The winner would be the team whose coach sheds the first tears.

His predecessor, Matt Doherty, was 0-2 in overtime games during an ill-fated stint as Carolina’s head coach. Reportedly, Doherty’s bad experiences with overtime came because he verbally abused and alienated overtime. For UNC’s last OT victory, you have to go back to March 1, 2000, when the Heels edged Georgia Tech 74-72. That was way back when Bill Clinton was running the USA and Bill Guthridge was in charge in Chapel Hill. Due to the quirks of Senior Night, someone named Matt Laczkowski started that home finale for UNC. If Matt Laczkowski is reading this article, chances are he just remarked, “Really? I started a game for Carolina basketball? No way!”

The troubles have also spread to the football team. The gridiron Heels have dropped their last three overtime games, with the most recent victory in extra time coming against North Carolina State in 1998. Taking the positive view, it does allow the UNC football players to claim “Hey, we ARE like the basketball team!” Both Tar Heel programs have something in common with immigrant workers at Wal-Mart. They work overtime, but get no benefits for it.

The overtime futility is particularly frustrating when you consider the basketball program’s past glories in OT. On its way to the 1993 national championship, UNC was in the exact same position as it was this Sunday: a #1 seed taking on a 2 seed in overtime at the East Regional final in East Rutherford. That time, Donald Williams led Carolina to a 75-68 triumph over Cincinnati. Bob Huggins’s Bearcats were immediately returned to police custody. Most famously, the 1957 Tar Heels capped an undefeated season with a triple-overtime classic over Kansas in the national championship game. The Jayhawks’ Wilt Chamberlain was so worn out after the game, he only slept with 12 women that night.

Amid the build-up to Sunday’s UNC-Georgetown showdown, Fred Brown’s gaffe in the 1982 title game was constantly mentioned. The result was reversed this time, but the more appropriate contrast is drawn from Chris Webber’s mistake in 1993. Then, UNC was blessed by a TO. Now it’s cursed by OT.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

16 Winners From the Sweet 16

College basketball’s Sweet 16 showdowns are in the books, giving way to a powerhouse Elite Eight weekend. All four #1 seeds are still alive, to go along with three 2’s and a 3. Besides the eight victorious teams on Thursday and Friday, there were numerous other winners from the Sweet 16. Here’s a look at 16 of them.

Crime Scene Investigators: The brackets, like a gruesome murder victim, have been outlined in chalk.

Chris Webber: With the North Carolina – Georgetown matchup set, Fred Brown will be this weekend’s endlessly replayed goat.

Sobriety: Thursday was a big night for AA: Antonio Anderson’s free throws won it for Memphis, and Arron Afflalo’s 17 points paced UCLA.

Environmentalists: Florida, Georgetown, and North Carolina feature Taurean, Jeff, and Danny Green, respectively. Corporate America, take note of March Madness: you can generate huge revenues AND be Green-friendly.

Georgia Football Team: Florida’s win over Butler showed that they’re not the only Bulldogs who can’t beat the Gators.

AARP: It was not a time for the Young, as USC’s Nick Young, Pittsburgh’s Sam Young, and Southern Illinois guard Tony Young lost.

Durex Condoms: In the end, the Trojans didn’t get the job done.

Hollywood Henderson: The Dallas Cowboys linebacker ridiculed Terry Bradshaw and the Steelers before Super Bowl XIII. Thursday he got to see Bradshaw (Tennessee’s Dane) AND Pittsburgh go down to defeat.

Eugene Lawrence: The junior guard from St. John’s has the home cities of two Elite Eight teams in his name.

Philadelphia Eagles Backfield: Winners included Donovan (Florida’s Billy) and Westbrook (UCLA’s Russell).

Aflac: Friday was a huge night for Ducks, as Oregon eliminated UNLV, and Anaheim clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Memphis Grizzlies: Saturday will provide hope for next year: a Memphis game with Greg Oden on the court.

Anderson Hunt: Although the Runnin’ Rebels fell, the victory by Memphis was a tribute to the Most Outstanding Player of the 1990 Final Four. Antonio Anderson and Jeremy Hunt played major roles.

Tennessee Women’s Team: Bruce Pearl is now free to paint his chest and scream for the Lady Vols.

Detroit Sports: Motown natives Tajuan Porter and Malik Hairston are vital for Oregon, as is Detroit’s Chris Douglas-Roberts for Memphis. Plus, the Tigers won, as did Lions receiver Roy Williams, who looks different these days.

Wicked Stepmothers: Cinderella is nowhere to be found.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

This Day in History

While I hope to entertain you with these columns, I also like to impart some knowledge in the process. So today, March 22, 2007, seems like a good time for a history lesson. According to Wikipedia, all of these events took place on March 22. For some reason, the popular online encyclopedia ignores the sports angle to each of these events. Therefore, for each entry I’ve added an extra sentence to fill in the gaps.

1630: Massachusetts Bay Colony outlaws the possession of cards, dice, and gaming tables. The last straw: a casino fight instigated by Joey Porter.

1765: British Parliament passes the Stamp Act, levying a tax on the American colonies. Proceeds are to finance a domed stadium in Williamsburg.

1832: German literary giant Johann Wolfgang von Goethe dies. His last words are “Nowitzki for MVP.”

1895: Auguste and Louis Lumiere hold the first private screening of motion pictures. The featured attraction is Rocky IV.

1923: Famous mime Marcel Marceau is born in France. He goes on to host the world’s least successful sports talk radio show.

1933: FDR signs into law a bill legalizing the sale of beer and wine. Finally, Babe Ruth gets to partake.

1941: The Grand Coulee Dam begins to generate electricity in Washington. In 1989, Ken Griffey, Jr. does likewise.

1945: The Arab League is founded in Cairo. It immediately becomes the first league to adopt the designated hitter.

1960: Arthur Leonard Schawlow & Charles Townes receive the first patent for a laser. They explain, “You know how they say that Johnny Unitas has a laser arm? Well, we made this device that’s like his arm.”

1978: Karl Wallenda of the Flying Wallendas dies after falling off a tight-rope in San Juan. It’s the worst fall of the year that doesn’t involve the Red Sox.

1993: The Intel Corporation ships the first Pentium chips. Sadly, by making computers even easier to use, it helps lead to the BCS.

1995: Cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov returns after setting a record of 438 days in space. His last words before departing earth were “Don’t play the World Series while I’m gone!”

1997: The comet Hale-Bopp has its nearest approach to earth. At this point, it’s far closer to earth than Dennis Rodman.

Monday, March 19, 2007

A Spielberg Guide To The Sweet 16

Like the films of Steven Spielberg, the NCAA tournament generates millions of dollars while bringing excitement to fans. This year, March Madness has mostly been The Lost World for underdogs. The teams that did survive the first two rounds all relate to a movie by the great director. Here is a Spielberg guide to the Sweet 16.


North Carolina: Hook. A shot sometimes used by Tyler Hansbrough. When he battles down low, it’s usually a War of the Worlds.

USC: The Color Purple. Like the purple-clad Lakers, the Trojans want to be a hot ticket in downtown L.A. Unlike the Lakers, USC has won consistently this month.

Vanderbilt: Always. When people talk about the SEC, that’s how often they overlook the Commodores.

Georgetown: AI. Allen Iverson ended his Georgetown career with an Elite Eight loss in Atlanta. These Hoyas want to finish the season there, too.


Ohio State: Schindler’s List. Ron Lewis was the Buckeyes’ Oskar Schindler against Xavier. With little hope of survival, he gave them new life.

Tennessee: E.T. The lovable alien was short and had a glowing finger. Chris Lofton is short and typically has a hot hand. He probably likes Reese’s Pieces, too.

Texas A&M: The Sugarland Express. In Spielberg’s first feature, a couple failed to outrun the law in Texas. Aggie opponents fail to outrun Acie Law in Texas.

Memphis: Close Encounters of the Third Kind. During their 24-game winning streak, the Conference USA dominators have only had three close encounters.


Florida: Jurassic Park. Like the film’s dinosaurs, Joakim Noah and Al Horford use their size to wreak havoc.

Butler: Raiders of the Lost Ark. Twice they lost to the Wright State Raiders, who were better behind the arc. The Bulldogs are from Indiana, but don’t have a Jones.

Oregon: Catch Me If You Can. It’s what 5’6” dynamo Tajuan Porter says to defenders while leaving them in the dust.

UNLV: Jaws. The Runnin’ Rebels’ first Sweet 16 appearance since 1991 will inspire countless Shark references.


Kansas: The Terminal. For Bill Self, the first round was like Viktor Navorski’s JFK Airport experience. He got stuck there way too long before finally escaping this year.

Southern Illinois: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Against Holy Cross on Friday, the Salukis ended the last hope of the Crusaders.

Pittsburgh: 1941. That’s the last year in which the Panthers made it to the Final Four. Coincidentally, it was the first Final Four announced by Billy Packer.

UCLA: Saving Private Ryan. The movie’s opening battle scenes were like the first half of the Bruins’ victory over Indiana: a brutal 20 minutes that made viewers squeamish.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

NCAA Second Round To Lack Color

In 1947, Jackie Robinson broke major league baseball’s color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Sixty years later, the NCAA tournament has proven that color can still be an obstacle in the sports world. Every tournament team with a colorful nickname was eliminated in the first round.

Representing the color red, the Texas Tech Red Raiders and Miami of Ohio RedHawks were bounced by Boston College and Oregon, respectively. To their credit, both losing teams were competitive against higher seeds. However, they were unlikely to triumph, since red is the color of bricks. On the bright side, as a Red team from Ohio that covered the point spread, Miami made Pete Rose happy.

The Creighton Bluejays came tantalizingly close to victory before falling in overtime to Nevada. Unfortunately for Creighton, it’s hard for Bluejays to win in the postseason when Mitch Williams isn’t on the opposing roster. The other Blue victims were both Blue Devils. Central Connecticut State, as expected, was blown out by Ohio State. However, Duke suffered a rare first round defeat at the hands of Virginia Commonwealth. State Farm is making sure that Mike Krzyzewski will still be seen throughout the tournament. But the company may have to rethink its ridicule of Coach J, who has won exactly the same number of games this March as Coach K.

Due to the existence of the play-in game, at least the Niagara Purple Eagles got one victory this week. Reality set in on Friday, as Kansas quickly eliminated any thoughts of another first round upset. Two sets of Golden Eagles were also sent packing, as Marquette and Oral Roberts fell to Michigan State and Washington State, respectively. They surely would have won if they had dropped the colors from their names, as all the just-plain Eagles advanced to the second round. That group includes the Boston College Eagles, Winthrop Eagles, and CBS broadcaster Ian Eagle.

Other colorful victims included the North Texas Mean Green (against Memphis) and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, who dropped a tough one to UNLV. The Stanford Cardinal rounded out the list. Adding an S to its nickname, like the victorious Louisville Cardinals, would have changed Stanford from a color to a group of birds. The Cardinals also possessed two other letters lacked by the Cardinal: O and D.

While the troubles were universal for teams with colorful names, the jinx did not apply to individual players. Seemingly every team left in the field has someone named Green, led by Georgetown’s Jeff Green and Florida’s Taurean Green. Other players who figured prominently in their team’s first round victories included Pittsburgh’s Aaron Gray, Indiana’s D.J. White, UNLV’s Wendell White, and Xavier’s Drew Lavender. Noting the success of those players, do not be surprised if USC guard Gabe Pruitt changes his name to Gabe Blue before Sunday’s matchup with Texas. In that case, a notable USC alumnus can once again scream “You’re my boy, Blue!”

After Selection Sunday, the omission of Syracuse from the field was a major story. However, Jim Boeheim shouldn’t have bothered complaining about the snub. His Orange would be gone by now anyway.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

St. Patrick's Day & Denver Sports

This Saturday, while sports fans are riveted by the second round of March Madness, they also get to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. In the sports world, the occasion evokes images of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Boston Celtics. However, the teams in Denver seem to have a particularly strong connection to March 17. Here is a comparison of St. Patrick’s Day and Denver sports.

St. Patrick’s Day: A time for “the wearin’ o’ the green”
Denver Sports: John Elway triumphed after wearing out Green Bay

St. Patrick’s Day: Parades are held in honor of St. Patrick
Denver Sports: Victory parades were held in honor of Patrick Roy

St. Patrick’s Day: Partiers love to keep doing shots
Denver Sports: Carmelo Anthony loves to keep taking shots

St. Patrick’s Day: Symbolized by the shamrock
Denver Sports: The baseball team has often been the sham Rockies

St. Patrick’s Day: According to legend, St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland
Denver Sports: Jay Cutler drove The Snake into retirement

St. Patrick’s Day: A holiday that inspires celebrations
Denver Sports: Matt Holliday’s home runs inspire celebrations

St. Patrick’s Day: An appreciation of all things Irish
Denver Sports: The Nuggets appreciated Alex English

St. Patrick’s Day: All day, partiers keep beer on ice
Denver Sports: For 18 seasons, the Avalanche has kept Joe Sakic on the ice

St. Patrick’s Day: Leprechauns treasure their pot of gold
Denver Sports: The Broncos treasure linebacker Ian Gold

St. Patrick’s Day: Honors large-scale beer consumption
Denver Sports: Coors Field honors large-scale beer consumption

St. Patrick’s Day: Pub patrons rejoice while raising their pint glasses
Denver Sports: The Avalanche rejoiced while raising the Stanley Cup

St. Patrick’s Day: A time for festive music
Denver Sports: The Nuggets are looking up at the Jazz

St. Patrick’s Day: Synonymous with the number 17
Denver Sports: Todd Helton is synonymous with the number 17

St. Patrick’s Day: Honors Ireland’s patron Saint
Denver Sports: New Bronco Montrae Holland is a former Saint

St. Patrick’s Day: Guinness on draft is the #1 choice
Denver Sports: In the ‘96 draft, Allen Iverson was the #1 choice

Monday, March 12, 2007

A March Madness Guide, From A To Z

The field of 65 has been set, so college basketball fans are ready for some Madness! Bubble talk will give way to brackets, buzzer-beaters, and Buckeyes. But “B” isn’t the only letter in effect for the Big Dance. Here’s an NCAA tournament guide, from A to Z.

Atlanta: It’s where everyone wants to wind up for the Final Four. Braves fans will be stunned to see a packed house for postseason games.

Butler: The fifth-seeded Bulldogs hope to reach the Sweet 16, as they did in 2003 with guard Darnell Archey. This is a rare opportunity to work a guy named Archey into the blog.

Central Connecticut State: College hoops fans will be conflicted about this team. They’re a 16 seed, so everyone will want to root for them. But they’re called the Blue Devils, so everyone will want to hate them.

Diddley Squat: What you’ll accomplish at work this Thursday and Friday, if you actually go.

Eagles: The nickname for five teams in the field (two of which are the Golden variety). As is the case in the NFL, none of the Eagles will win the title.

Foresight: What the preseason USA Today/ESPN coaches’ poll had, as the top 4 of Florida, North Carolina, Kansas, and Ohio State wound up as the #1 seeds. LSU barely missed out on that projected #2 seed.

Gainesville: A town that wants to hold yet another victory party. Over the past year, the word “celebration” has been heard more here than at a Kool & the Gang concert.

Hoyas: As coach of red-hot Georgetown, John Thompson III has proven that you can thrive in D.C. at the same job your dad held. Assuming that job is outside the White House.

In-State: For the second straight year, UCLA can secure a Final Four berth without exiting California. If you saw the weather out here today, you wouldn’t want to leave, either.

Jim Nantz: He’ll spend the early part of April announcing the Final Four and the Masters, two months after doing the Super Bowl. It sounds like every guy’s dream, but it comes at a heavy price: working with Billy Packer.

Kentucky and Villanova: With so many Wildcats in the field, some of them were bound to play each other.

Lone Ranger: Formerly the most famous masked man, he’s been replaced by UNC’s Tyler Hansbrough.

March Madness: If Tennessee wins its regional, that’s what Bruce Pearl will provide during Final Four week.

Niagara and Florida A&M: The winner of this play-in game has to face Kansas. But lately, a first-round date with the Jayhawks hasn’t been such a bad thing.

Ohio State: The Buckeyes are #1 in the polls as they chase a national championship. If their first tournament points come from Ted Ginn, Jr., they’re screwed.

Preakness: With Kentucky and Belmont in the field, it’s the only Triple Crown race not represented.

Quakers: 14th-seeded Penn will likely be in the Pacman Jones position against Texas A&M: on the wrong side of the Law.

Ryan: As usual, Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan has a tough defensive team. Among Ryans, only Nolan has been harder on opposing offenses.

Stan: A name that many critics feel does not belong in the tourney, represented by coach Stan Heath of Arkansas, as well as Stanford. In response, officials at Drexel plan to expel all students named Stan.

This Year’s George Mason: Already a tiresome cliché, it’s currently the second-most overused phrase in sports, behind “Tom Brady is the father.”

Uniforms: The basis on which the winner of your pool will make their picks, while you’re pulling an all-nighter looking at scouting reports.

Vanderbilt: The Big Dance is an appropriate place for The Commodores. But if you hear the phrase “Brick House,” they’ve gone home early.

Wright State and Jackson State: I’ve been out of school for a while, but when did Wright and Jackson become states? I’d say the same about Weber State, but as a UNC alum I shouldn’t joke about them.

Xavier: Sure, it’s a predictable cop-out to go with Xavier. But they’re in the field, unlike Xanadu State or Xenophobia Tech.

Youth: Freshmen will play a huge role in this tournament. Some experts say that Kevin Durant could “pull a Carmelo,” so they must be expecting him to punch a guy from the Knicks.

Zero: The number of quality opponents faced by Memphis in Conference USA.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

College Hoops Before & After

With March Madness kicking off next Thursday, the time is right for an edition of “College Hoops Before and After!” Every once in a while, I do a “Sports Before and After” column as a way of paying homage to my Jeopardy! experience. As with the “Before and After” category on the show, the answer to each clue combines two different subjects, with the end of the first part being the beginning of the second. For example, if asked for the animated Canadian mountie who’s the ACC Player of the Year, you would answer “Jared Dudley Do-Right.”

Now that you’re prepared, go ahead and try your luck! Every entry relates to someone or something that’s involved with this year’s NCAA tournament. Answers are listed at the end, and there’s no need to phrase your responses in the form of a question.

1. Horizon League champion who starts at forward for North Carolina

2. 2003 Diane Lane movie about the league represented by North Texas

3. 1984 Laura Branigan hit about the Kansas head coach

4. Bowtie-wearing pundit who’s the Big Ten Player of the Year

5. Tournament-ending song about a presidential airplane

6. Memphis-led league that sang “We Are the World”

7. Hit ABC drama about a Pittsburgh center

8. 1998 Valparaiso hero who plays guard for Michigan State

9. Katherine Anne Porter novel about a UCLA forward

10. Nevada head coach who’s a “Fair and Balanced” network

11. Florida big man who was a long-time ER cast member

12. Mariska Hargitay series about a clutch Texas A&M guard

13. 1980 Clint Eastwood movie about a controversial CBS commentator

14. John Milton poem about Indiana’s head coach

15. Led Zeppelin album about the Patriot League champion

16. Animated female character who plays guard for Maryland

17. Tennessee head coach who wrote The Good Earth

18. Mountain West Conference member who sang “Bust a Move”

19. Dean Cain/Teri Hatcher series about a CBS studio analyst

20. Southern Illinois star who won an Oscar for Paper Moon

21. Bookstore chain named for the Texas head coach

22. Hooterville-set sitcom about a Georgetown forward

23. Star Oregon guard who won four CMA Awards in 2006

24. 1984 Billy Idol hit about Ohio State’s nickname

25. Daily Show network that won the Northeast Conference


1. Brandan Wright State

2. Under the Tuscan Sun Belt Conference

3. Bill Self Control

4. Alando Tucker Carlson

5. Air Force One Shining Moment

6. Conference USA For Africa

7. Aaron Gray’s Anatomy

8. Bryce Drew Neitzel

9. Josh Shipp of Fools

10. Mark Fox News Channel

11. Joakim Noah Wyle

12. Acie Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

13. Bronco Billy Packer

14. Kelvin Sampson Agonistes

15. Houses of the Holy Cross

16. D.J. Strawberry Shortcake

17. Bruce Pearl Buck

18. Brigham Young MC

19. Lois & Clark Kellogg

20. Jamaal Tatum O’Neal

21. Rick Barnes & Noble

22. Jeff Green Acres

23. Aaron Brooks & Dunn

24. Buckeyes Without A Face

25. Comedy Central Connecticut State

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A Comparison Of Mavericks

With Tuesday’s 102-89 victory over the New Jersey Nets, the Dallas Mavericks increased their winning streak to 16 games and, amazingly with 22 games remaining, clinched a playoff berth. The Chicago Bears have lost more recently than the Mavs, who are a stunning 51-5 since dropping their opening four contests of the season.

Like a certain high-flying character named Maverick, the Dallas Mavericks came onto the scene in the 1980s. That Maverick was the box office champ in 1986. These Mavericks are hungry for a title this year. Here are some other comparisons between the Mavericks.

Maverick: Star of Top Gun
Dallas Mavericks: Topped Suns in conference finals

Maverick: Tormented by memories of Goose
Dallas Mavericks: Jason Terry tormented by memories of the Hawks

Maverick: Turned back a foreign threat
Dallas Mavericks: Dirk Nowitzki is a foreign threat

Maverick: Learned never to leave his wingman
Dallas Mavericks: Defensive ace Josh Howard plays on the wing and never leaves his man

Maverick: Father was listed as missing in action
Dallas Mavericks: Defense used to be missing in action

Maverick: Was put down by Hot Shots!
Dallas Mavericks: Were put down by Heat shots

Maverick: Continually tested his instructors’ patience
Dallas Mavericks: Mark Cuban continually tests David Stern’s patience

Maverick: “I. Went. To. The. Danger Zone!”
Dallas Mavericks: Are dangerous against a zone

Dallas Mavericks: Play in the Lone Star State
Maverick: Played by a loon star

Maverick: Part of “the best of the best”
Dallas Mavericks: The best of the West

Maverick: Felt the need for speed
Dallas Mavericks: Devin Harris fills the need for speed

Maverick: Battled against Russian MiGs
Dallas Mavericks: Battle against a Chinese Ming

Dallas Mavericks: Are great in the American Airlines Center
Maverick: A great American who put it on the line in the air

Maverick: Nights with Charlie would “Take my breath awaaaaay…”
Dallas Mavericks: Nights with Dwyane Wade took their rings away

Maverick: Flourished in a Jerry Bruckheimer production
Dallas Mavericks: Flourish thanks to Jerry Stackhouse’s production

Maverick: Commander Viper spent a long career in the Navy
Dallas Mavericks: Commander Johnson spent a long career with a center from the Navy

Maverick: Accused by Iceman of not being a team player
Dallas Mavericks: In the same town as Terrell Owens

Maverick: Was a hot-shot flyer
Dallas Mavericks: Providence product Austin Croshere was a hot-shot Friar

Maverick: Felt entitled to break the rules
Dallas Mavericks: As NBA players, feel entitled to break the traveling rule

Maverick: Sang You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’
Dallas Mavericks: They’ve lost that losin’ feelin’

Monday, March 05, 2007

Top 10 Excuses For Gerald Henderson

Yesterday in the Dean Smith Center, North Carolina completed a regular season sweep of Duke with an 86-72 victory. The rivalry game was fairly unremarkable until 14.5 seconds remained. At that juncture, Duke’s Gerald Henderson bloodied the face of UNC’s Tyler Hansbrough with a flagrant foul, permanently earning villain status in Chapel Hill.

Henderson was ejected and will miss Duke’s first round ACC tournament game versus NC State on Thursday. However, he did have numerous explanations for his already infamous play. Here are the top 10 reasons for Gerald Henderson’s flagrant foul.

10. He wanted to show the Duke football team how to hit someone.

9. He was attempting to block the shot, assuming Hansbrough was trying to shoot his head into the basket.

8. He didn’t feel like playing next Thursday night anyway – that’s Ugly Betty time!

7. Ticky-tack ACC refs insist on calling a foul when you elbow a guy in the face and make him bleed.

6. He would have stepped on him, but he didn’t want to steal Laettner’s move.

5. He just hasn’t been himself since Anna Nicole left us.

4. You’d be pissed off, too, if you went to Duke and wound up on a crappy team.

3. He wanted to prove that unlike J.J. Redick, he could connect in the last 15 seconds of a game.

2. He figured the flagrant foul would be put on Pete Gaudet’s record.


1. As a Duke defender, he was trying to slap the floor when Hansbrough’s face got in the way.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Rough Week For Recent Champs

Over the past three seasons, Connecticut, North Carolina, and Florida have each experienced the thrill of an NCAA basketball championship. Those glorious memories stand in stark contrast to the past two games for each school. For the Huskies, Tar Heels, and Gators, the past week has been one to forget.

Things were different just nine days ago on February 21, when all three teams captured victories. UNC avenged an earlier loss to NC State with an 83-64 triumph over the Wolfpack. Florida claimed a 63-49 win over South Carolina, who had beaten the Gators twice last season. UConn got the best of Rutgers by a 65-55 margin. According to Huskies coach Jim Calhoun, the key to the victory was “showing up at Rutgers for a basketball game.”

However, the three titans have only tasted defeat since then. UConn’s losses are not a major surprise, given the up-and-down season for the extremely young team. The Huskies fell 76-69 on Sunday to Louisville as the Cardinals completed a season sweep. The only stunning aspect of the game is that two teams in the 38-member Big East actually played each other twice. On Wednesday, UConn fell 78-74 to a Villanova team that likely secured an NCAA berth. Wildcat freshman Scottie Reynolds scored 40 points before fouling out with 40 seconds left, with Villanova shooting 40 percent for the game. With so many 40’s on the premises, Gampel Pavilion seemed like a 7-11 parking lot.

Unlike the Huskies, the Tar Heels were not supposed to endure a losing streak. On Sunday, UNC squandered a double-digit lead in the last eight minutes of an 89-87 heartbreaker at red-hot Maryland. That night, the big winner at the Oscars was The Departed, a description of the Heels’ second-half defense and rebounding. Coach Roy Williams was not any happier last night, as Carolina dropped an 84-77 contest at Georgia Tech. Another UNC Williams – Marvin Williams of the 2005 national championship squad – was stunned by the result. As a member of the Hawks, Marvin never expects the home team to win a basketball game in Atlanta. There is one silver lining to the Heels’ sub-par performance. If they continue to look like that, they won’t have to worry about playing in Atlanta again this season.

The Gators seemed particularly immune to a slide, having returned all five starters from last year’s national championship run. However, coach John Brady led struggling LSU to a 66-56 upset over Billy Donovan’s visitors on Saturday. As in Super Bowl XXXIX, Brady got the best of Donovan. This Donovan didn’t get to throw to T.O., but he probably did want to puke in a late-game huddle. On Tuesday, Florida went down 86-76 at Tennessee. There was one sight in Knoxville that no one ever would have expected. Not Pat Summitt in a cheerleading outfit, but Peyton Manning at a game where his Vols beat the Gators.

UConn will be expected to lose again on Saturday, as it travels to ninth-ranked Georgetown. On the other hand, UNC and Florida will get to return home as they take on traditional powerhouses on Sunday. If Kentucky falls to the Gators for a sixth straight time, Wildcat fans may feed coach Tubby Smith to some actual gators. As the Tar Heels get ready for Duke, they can be encouraged by the fact that they beat the Blue Devils on February 7 after coming off a loss. Since UNC enters this one after two straight defeats, they should play twice as well.

It is worth noting that the Huskies, Tar Heels, and Gators last won on Ash Wednesday. Perhaps each team waited a day before giving up victories for Lent. Or maybe they heeded the words of Genesis 3:19, a passage sometimes uttered by priests as they place ashes on worshipers’ foreheads: “Remember that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.”