published Monday, April 4th, 2011

5 at 10: Braves, basketball the beginning of Masters week

Hope you all enjoyed the weekend. Let's get to it.

Here we go.

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    Connecticut's Alex Oriakhi loses the ball as Kentucky's Josh Harrellson defends during the first half of a men's NCAA Final Four semifinal college basketball game Saturday, April 2, 2011, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

NCAA hoops championships set

If you had UConn playing for just one college basketball title, and it was only the men's team, well, you could cash in that ticket on something like 10,000-to-1 odds.

Men Huskies in, women Huskies out. The team with the game's hottest player who's name sounds like Hemba Talker (we promised Bigbearzzz we would not mention Kemba Walker, so there, wait, Oh Crud. Sorry) is in. The team with Maya Moore, arguably the best women's player of her generation, is done.

Hard to believe, huh?

The weekend was loaded with great hoops, and it's getting harder and harder to explain that (again) a John Calipari-coached team made it to the Final Four (Again) and is going home without the title because of faulty free-throwing shooting (AGAIN). Alas.

Call the 5-at-10 crazy (hey, we've been called way, Way, WAY worse), but doesn't this feel like Butler's time. Yes, Hemba Talker is among the best college players in a decade and is on the hottest single-handed run since Danny Manning led Kansas to the 1988 title, but c'mon. Dare to dream. It just feels right, and it may be UConn by 36 tonight, but why not. In the name of Batman's Alfred, here's hoping this is Butler's moment. And if it happens, what are the odds on Jim Nantz's cheesy championship call being, "The Butler finally did it," or something of that ilk? Would you bet against that?

The 5-at-10 would be remiss if we did not throw out one more mention of Moore's career. Heck, forget a mention, she's getting her own entry.

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    Connecticut forward Maya Moore shoots over Duke guard Karima Christmas in the first half of an NCAA women's college basketball tournament regional final, Tuesday, March 29, 2011, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Barbara Johnston)

Moore deserving shoutout

It was a tough way for Maya Moore to end her college career. Simply put she was awesome in her awesomeness in her four years at UConn.

From the AP story after Moore scored 36 points as the Huskies were bounced by Big East rival Notre Dame 72-63 late Sunday night:

Her career ended the same way it started -- with a loss in the national semifinals. She finished as the NCAA's fourth all-time leading scorer, putting up 3,036 points.

"I'm going to have to choose to remember the great thing and how fortunate I was to be a part of so many record-breaking seasons," Moore told the AP. "It's just tough because it's the current taste in my mouth now. I'll just have to deal with it."

Moore was her usually amazing self, scoring 12 consecutive UConn points in the second half as the Huskies tried to rally.

With the 90-game winning streak, the two tiltes, and all things included, Maya Moore was an all-timer. Was she the best women's college player ever? That's debatable, but she's definitely in the team picture.

That said, Notre Dame will face Texas A&M in Tuesday's title game. And on one hand, the women's game needed some fresh faces and new blood playing for titles, but this can hardly be what the TV people had in mind. Three weeks ago, we were talking about the possible mega-matchup of Tennessee and UConn (which likely would have been the highest-rated women's sporting event on TV ever); now UConn and Moore's exit won't be part of the title game.

Wow, last one watching turn the TV off, OK?

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    A course worker rakes a bunker before a practice round for the Masters golf tournament Monday, April 4, 2011, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Masters Week, Day I

So much Masters stuff to get to this week. First, Holy Arnie's Army, Phil Mickelson (or as hotshot 5-at-10 newcomer wc-triple7s calls him "Dill Pickelson") was outstanding Sunday on his way to winning the Shell Houston Open.

That said, let's do Day I (we're using Roman Numerals, because if the Super Bowl can, then certainly the Masters deserves it, right?) of the Masters with a quick, 10-word top-five (that's right, the 5-at-10's 5-in-10):

  1. Master's biggest question: Will Eldrick or Tiger show up?
  2. (In Yoda's voice) Hot Pickelson is, but caution when tempting Augusta.
  3. (In Mr. Miyagi's voice) Young guns: First learn stand, then learn fly. Nature's rule.
  4. Here's saying that someone will win their first major Sunday.
  5. Prediction: Matt Kuchar holds of Dill; Eldrick finishes 10th.

So much more to come this week, including more predicitions.

Here's a 5-at-10 game for everyone: Submit your top five players (order is not important; points will be awarded as 5 for first, 4 for second, 3 for third, 2 for fourth and 1 for fifth; perfect score is 15) and the most points will get you a Masters trinket or something (we won't bring you back a pimento cheese sandwich, but don't expect the moon either _ the 5-at-10's on a tight budget). As always, everyone's welcome to play, no purchase necessary.

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    Atlanta Braves' Tim Hudson pitches against the Florida Marlins in the sixth inning of a baseball game in Miami, Tuesday, Sept. 1 2009. The Braves won 4-3. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Welcome back baseball

Some meaningful (or meaningless, depending on you view) observations from the first weekend of spring training:

_ The 5-at-10 loves the stat that Tim Hudson is something like 4,000-0 when he has a three-run-or-more lead. Hudson, who's actually 133-2 when given a cushion of three runs or more after Sunday's 11-2 win, was super sharp Sunday _ retiring 18 in a row before being removed from the game.

_ MLB needs some sort of mercy-rule, if for no other reason than to speed up one-sided games. Here's one thought: If a team is up more than 8 runs, no more stepping out of the box/off the pitching rubber. Thoughts?

_ We said it last week, and will likely say it again later this season, but this Braves team really seems to enjoy the game and playing together. When Alex Gonzalez tripled early in Sunday's game, the celebration in the dugout was energetic and uniform. And it was telling, since it was strong emotion in game No. 3 of 162 and it was for the player that replaced Yunel Escobar, who was rumored to have been a clubhouse nightmare in his time with the Braves.

_ Saturday was a tough day to be Edgar Martinez, who had two of his records erased. Ichiro passed Martinez to become the Mariners' hit leader, and David Ortiz passed Martinez to become the all-time DH leader in RBIs.

_ Wow, have you seen the panic for Red Sox Nation. Boston started 0-3 this weekend after getting swept out of Texas, and the reaction has been over the top. One New England paper's headline was "Red Sox ruin summer two weeks into spring," and the Boston postgame show after Sunday's loss opened with, "The season is not over."

_ (For SteelerFan) Don't know if you guys saw this, but at this pace Brian McCann is going to finish the season with a franchise-record 270 RBIs.

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    Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) passes Kyle Busch (18) in Turn 3 during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Va., Sunday, April 3, 2011 Earnhardt finished second in the race, and Busch third. (AP Photo/Steve Sheppard)

This and that

_ Sweet Lasting Legacies, Dale Earnhardt Jr. almost won a race. Seriously. And it was a big-boy Sprint Cup race, too. Dale Jr. was passed by Kevin Harvick with four laps left Sunday at Martinsville at the track known as the Paper Clip. (Ever notice that NASCAR venues have great nicknames, like the "Track to Tough to Tame," and the "Monster Mile." What about "Widow Maker" or "Spit-stained Sally?" Anyhoo). As for Dale Jr., his winless streak sits at 99, and afterward Harvick was almost apologizing for denying NASCAR's most-popular/most-overrated driver the checkered flag. Oh, stop it. Let's all agree to let Dale's boy win one. We'll tussle his hair and say, "Great job, Sport," and then get back to racing and get back to deciding if anyone can stop JJ's domination.

_ UTC's spring football is closed, and it appears the Mocs reached goal No. 1 of every spring practice session _ no one was seriously injured during the drills. The 5-at-10 likes this Mocs team. Football season starts in September, and we believe there will be FCS playoff football in Chattanooga again in 2011 _ and no the title game currently has no plans to return to Finley.

_ Saw that EASports and the folks behind NFL Madden12 (the Babe Ruth of video games at the 5-at-10 ranch) are going to put more of an emphasis on concussions and recovery times to increase awareness. It's a great game and all, but if gamers are getting concussions, they're doing something wrong. (Kidding, kidding _ sadly this may raise more awareness than people realize. Think of it this way, if Gamer22 is in the middle of big season with the Falcons, and Matt Ryan has to sit out the next four games because of a concussion, then Gamer22 will say, "Dude, concussions are like not a cool thing.")

_ EC, our resident NBA expert, agreed with the 5-at-10 that the New York Knicks' move to acquire Carmelo Anthony was a good one. Know who else loved it? Denver fans, since the Nuggets are 15-4 since dealing Anthony to the Knicks. Go figure. (EC is still 100-percent right, though, if for no other reason that the star-power needed in New York. And of course, look for the Knicks to add a point guard in the offseason, and then it's on.)

Until tomorrow.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
Eustice_Chase said...

Raise your hand if your shoked and stunned that the UCONN women are not in the Championship!

Ok, now raise your other hand if you couldnt be happier!!

At this point your signalling for a good field goal attempt and you look just like me!! I will have every tv on in the house tunned in for the Women's Final...just because UCONN wont be there!!!!! Thank You!! 5@10...thank you for your kind words on basketball wisdom... but in the name of Jesus Shuttelsworth..what about Billups? Would he not be the ideal guy to teach a new point guard for the NEW YORK KNICKABOKERS?!?! anyways...i think your spot on about NY getting a point gaurd in the off-season.. NBA playoffs right around the corner..cant wait...

April 4, 2011 at 10:45 a.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

OK, slow day, So I am going to use this as my own personal wall of discussion..

EC did you see that Race this weekend at Martinsville? Did you see Jeff Gordon tie King Petty for 4th all time in laps lead at the Paperclip?

Oh you bet I did! What a race! We were so close (we bing the fans)to seeing Junior finally get a win...but the ghost of RCR took it away from him...oh well! What an excting ending! Jr. will just have to stop racing through the rear view!

April 4, 2011 at 12:04 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

How pumped are you about the masters EC-2?

Oh I cant believe you even have to ask, it is the one and only time of year that I pay attention to Golf! Its the most amazing course I have ever seen on TV...and I hear the 5@10 will be there...should be exciting! I have hunch that the winner of the Masters will be similar to the Daytona 500 winner...this years Women's College Basketball Champ...it will be their first big win and we will have likely never heard of them...

April 4, 2011 at 12:16 p.m.
bigbearzzz said...

Somebody needs to go check on EC, make sure he hasnt got into the panther cologne....were 60% of the time it works all the time...I thought we were done discussing the kendra stalker. Which i have made a solomn oath not to bring it up again so hence i will not. Uconn ladies getting knocked out, im ok with. Moore is a beast of an athlete and she will go on to great things, like marrying Themble Knocker and having super babies discussed in previous 5@10. Didnt get to catch any sports at all this weekend as i was umpiring a softball tournament, which counts as sports, so i guess the first part of that statement wasnt entirely true, but it is 60% of the time. Pant party this weekend.

April 4, 2011 at 12:40 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Texas crushed Boston like a semi hittin an armadillo. Good Lord that was mud fence ugly. Top five for the Masters: Mickelson. That were mighty impressive over the weekend. Bubba Watson. Mammoth off the tee and hits em high and soft coming in, which is what you need at ANGC. Martin Kaymer. Well, he is the best player in the world, according to the Sagarin/BCS/RPI. Graeme McDowell. Hey, why not. And if Lee Westwood is ever going to win a major, now is a good time. Besides, he's been one of my favorites since he was in the booth next to us at an Augusta restaurant, sitting by himself, just plowing through a plate of ribs.

April 4, 2011 at 1:17 p.m.
jgreeson said...

EC — Busy time at 5-at-10 headquarters, but we're back now. Who you got in the Masters?

And for what it's worth, here's saying your thoughts on the Masters winner could be spot on — a Trevor Immelman- or Zach Johnson-type of winner this year seems very possible.

In fact, look out in the next six weeks. Look back and this has been the sports year of the upset winner:

Auburn was preseason No. 21 and won the football title; The Giants won the Series; The Packers barely got in the playoffs and won the Super Bowl; Trevor Bayne won the Daytona 500; Butler could win the NCAA hoops title and whomever wins the women's title would be an upset of sorts; Heck at this rate, Junior will actually win a race in the near future.

As for Gordon, anytime you can put your name next to the King or the Intimidator, you've done something. He's Got Game (see what we did there — we blended your Jesus Shuttlesworth and a shoutout to Gordon. Nice huh?) Gotta say, though, Gordon's mid-90s mustache was boss. Top-10-type of stache, no doubt about it.

Oso —

The 5-at-10 has heard they use bits of real panther in making that cologne. Here's hoping Stemba Chalker goes 0-for-11 just on principle. Here's your chance to make your mark — what are your Masters picks?

BIspy — You're in (Mickelson, B. Watson, Kaymer, McDowell, Westwood). You being a Red Sox homer, what do you make of the Beantown Meltdown? A little early to panic or just another Monday in Boston?

— 5-at-10

April 4, 2011 at 1:24 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Oso...are you trying to tell me there is a party in your pants? did anyone get a glimpse at the San Diego Padres? ...San Dieago actually means a whales...whoa whoa this is a family oriented program...hundo handshakes allowed...defining Cities...not so much

I am pretty sure I heard Curt Schilling say that Mark Texeria was on pace to hit over 200 homer runs this year...thats incredible and coming from a guy like Curt Schilling ( even though he was once a philly ) is pretty solid stuff...

Excellent Gordon shout-out reference...i felt it was only fitting to mention He Got Game along with some New York Knicks ( Being a Spike Lee joint and all ) thats what is great about Sports...pick a day, a name , an event , a pop cultrue reference and somehow you can make it back to sports.... Wait till tomorrow for my Master's picks... will Greg Norman be in the field? I would never bet against that guy at Augusta...not even at age 56

April 4, 2011 at 1:29 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Verily, it is a panic on the epic scale of the great molasses flood in Boston (look it up).

April 4, 2011 at 1:33 p.m.
bigbearzzz said...

I here there's gonna be a rumble later in the Times Free Press parking lot. Randy Smith, Patrick Core, David Carroll, Cindy Sexton, Jay Greeson, Paschal, Wiedmer, Doc B, Cowboy Joe just to name a few. Researching of course is needed before the Masters Picks. Of course i take it that this is the final top 5 at the end of the day Sunday??? Also when do you want these submitted by?

April 4, 2011 at 1:42 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

If Luther Shows up..be affraid..be very affraid!

April 4, 2011 at 1:52 p.m.
bigbearzzz said...

HE'LL BRING THE FLAME THROWER....

April 4, 2011 at 2:15 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

hopefulyl no one will eat the Chocolate Covered Squirrel...

April 4, 2011 at 2:25 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Gang —

"Today's top story, the streets run red with Cinco-del-Diez's blood."

"El policia!"

Love where the show is heading today. "Anchorman — the Legend of Ron Burgandy" is super-underrated, and by far one of Ben Stiller's top three performances. (Less Ben Stiller equals more 5-at-10 enjoyment, for what it's worth.) And you bet, if Luther shows, all bets are off.

"Boy that escalated in a hurry?"

"Yeah, Weeds killed a guy."

Masters picks are due by the close of business Wednesday night, and yes, Oso, it's after Sunday's final round. We're going to try to have another celebrity division this year, and rumor has it Champ Kind will stop by "Whammy." Who knows maybe Ron, Brick Tamland and Brian Fontana will stop by, too.

— 5-at-10

April 4, 2011 at 2:30 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

if Pretend Al Davis out picks me ..well I'll wear a Raiders hat for the rest of my born days

BUt here is my Master's 2011 Top 5 ..coming in at 5th Dill Pickelson..4th Martin Kaymer..3rd Bubba Watson... 2nd Rickie Fowler and Wearing the Green Jacket this year will be Dustin Johnson ( no relation to Dusty Rhodes or Magic Johnson)

April 4, 2011 at 2:34 p.m.
jgreeson said...

EC —

You're in. Pretend Al called last week and was talking some smack. The 5-at-10 had your back, and things were going to get serious, but Pretend Al walked away for some Vanilla Pudding and an early nap. Alas.

The responses are trickling in, and we'll post an updated list in Tuesday's 5-at-10. It does look like we'll have a celeb division, and there's no doubt who Charlie Sheen likes (Hello, winning, Tiger blood and porn stars. Sheen has a poster of Eldrick in his room — and vice versa).

Brick called in and said, "I (Davis) Love lamp." This could get interesting. Whammy.

— 5-at-10

April 4, 2011 at 3:11 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Great Odin's Raven! Has there been a bigger dud than the “Torpedo of Truth”? At least not one that didn’t star Eddie Murphy.

April 4, 2011 at 3:30 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Its good to know that If Me and Pretend Al Davis have to go 10 Rounds in the sqaured circle, that I have the 5@10 in my corner...cut me Mick...Cut me..." Hey Yo' RAIDER NATION...I DID IT!!!"

April 4, 2011 at 3:52 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

For the love of Madonna how about the Fact that Dennis Rodman will be inducted into the Basketball Hall Of Fame the Piston/Spur/Bull/Laker and even a Dallas Maverick.. won 5 championships and had more boards than Kelly Slater and Tony Hawk combined... Cant wait to see him get inducted...I just hope he wears gender appropriate clothing...I loved Watching this guy play...he did the dirty work...no shake n' bake moves..highlight reel dunks...the guy flat out defended..took charges and bullied ppl around in the paint...

April 4, 2011 at 4:22 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Holy sainted-name of Dorothy Mantooth, EC is getting into his Ric Flair vibe. "Space Mountain may be the oldest ride in the park, but it's still got the longest line. WOOOOOOOO! Bring it Raider Nation, you can't be first, but you can be next. WOOOOOO!"

Rodman in the Hall is crazy stuff. (Excellent boards line, by the way).

BIspy4 —

Go easy on Eddie Murphy, he's only the greatest comedian of our generation. Think about it — his two stand-up movies (Delirious and Raw) were all-timers; he has like five of the top-10 grossing comedies of all time, and that's not counting "Coming to America." Did he make a couple a' dozen stinkers? Well, maybe — and there's really no excuse for some of those bombs like "Daddy Day Care" and that "Pluto Nash Bridges" thing. But still.

That said, Sheen is the gift that keeps on giving. You can't make this stuff up.

— 5-at-10

April 4, 2011 at 4:49 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

c'mon, 5 at 10, you know how much I loved Delirious and Raw and 48 Hours and Beverly Hills Cop. But short of Nic Cage, no one has also swung and missed at the box office like Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood.

April 4, 2011 at 8:22 p.m.
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