Hope you enjoyed the weekend as much as the 5-at-10 clan did. Big time all around. Or, to save the family talk, let's hope you enjoyed the weekend more than Bruce Pearl did.
Anyhoo, here we go...
Can't spell "bUbble Trouble" without UT
Well, that UT second-half fold-up was unexpected. Unexpected, that is, if you have not seen the Vols play in the last five weeks.
Few teams have become as adroit at pulling out improbable surprises — both good and bad — than these Vols, who have rallied from 17-point deficits to win and have somewhat routinely snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
Sunday was the regular-season finale at home against hated Kentucky. The Vols have been bad at home; the Wildcats have been worse on the road. Still, UT's unbending will to do the unthinkable was there in a 64-58 loss.
It's hard to remember a team that is this hard to figure.
Wins over real Final Four contenders such as Pitt and Villanova, but it's obvious the team that recorded those wins has little resemblance to the current Vols. Two big wins against Vandy, a team that is built to make a run this month. But it's tough to know whether that was UT winning or Vandy melting down against big brother.
Now the Vols face Arkansas in the first round of the SEC tournament Thursday in Atlanta. The thought of the Vols playing on the first day in the SEC tourney was laughable four months ago when they started the season 7-0 and moved into the top 10.
Plus, this is an Arkansas team that beat UT in the regular season, and if these Vols manage to go one-and-done in Atlanta and fall to 18-14, then Sunday night's NCAA selection show becomes very tense.
College hoops update, volume 7, chapter 1
— Georgia joins the Vols in need of a first-round SEC tourney win to feel good about their NCAA chances.
— Alabama's win over Georgia on Saturday may have sealed a bid for the Tide. Nice run for Anthony Grant, who has started the remodeling process with a roster that has Jamychal Green and some impressive athletes.
— The 5-at-10 feels certain there will be more in the days ahead about teams on the bubble and teams off it. Well, after an awful offensive showing Saturday night in its own building, the UTC Mocs are nowhere near the bubble. UTC ended its season 16-16 and left open a river questions about the state of the program, the direction of the team and what the future holds. One thing that can be answered for sure now, though, is all the hand-wringing about UTC's home-court advantage can be dropped.
— Wow, Ohio State looked the part of a No. 1-overall seed Sunday by mauling Wisconsin 93-65. Ohio State has a lot of pieces, and the Buckeyes are going to be a tough, Tough, TOUGH out in the Dance. For the love of Jay Burson the Buckeyes made 14-of-15 3-pointers Sunday.
— On ESPN GameDay on Saturday morning, Bobby Knight was heard on air saying, "that chickensalad defense." Except he didn't say "chickensalad." He used another compound word that sounds a lot like "pickenwhit." At least he didn't throw a chair. Nothing more to say there, really. OK.
Off the Mark
There are reports out of Dallas that ecletic, billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has reached out to Charlie Sheen about doing a reality TV show.
Unless you live under a rock on Neptune, you know Sheen has had some recent, shall we say, buzz. His antics (including traveling around with two former porn stars that he refers to as the "goddesses") have caused, in no real order here: 1. His top-ranked TV show to be suspended for the rest of the season; 2. Words and phrases such as "tiger blood" and "winning" to become pop-culture hits; 3. An endless river of jokes at his expense, including the not-so-subtle, "He lost his two sons but gained 2 million Twitter followers," so there's that.
Here is a sampling of some of Sheen's most outrageous quotes, courtesy of ABC News, and these are just in the last two weeks:
— I'm different. I have a different constitution, I have a different brain, I have a different heart. I got tiger blood, man. Dying's for fools, dying's for amateurs.
—"It's perfect. It's awesome. Every day is just filled with just wins. All we do is put wins in the record books. We win so radically in our underwear before our first cup of coffee, it's scary. People say it's lonely at the top, but I sure like the view."
— "I tried marriage. I'm 0 for 3 with the marriage thing. So, being a ballplayer -- I believe in numbers. I'm not going 0 for 4. I'm not wearing a golden sombrero." (5-at-10 here again, just to clear it up, the "Golden Sombrero" reference is a baseball term for players who strike out four times in a single game. That is all, back to the craziness.)
— "I mean, what's not to love? Especially when you see how I party man, it's epic. The run I was on made Sinatra, Flynn, Jagger, Richards, all of them, just look like droopy-eyed, armless children."
— I will not believe that if I do something then I have to follow a certain path because it was written for normal people. People who aren't special. People who don't have tiger blood and Adonis DNA."
— "I'm tired of pretending I'm not a total (blankety-blank) rock star from Mars, and people can't figure me out; they can't process me. I don't expect them to. You can't process me with a normal brain."
There's more of course, but this is a family-oriented, sports-based, InterTube rambling, so another question could be "what does this tell us about Cuban?"
First, don't hold your breath about him solving the BCS (not for nothing, but it's hard to see the executive producer of Charlie Sheen's made-for-cable reality TV show convincing NCAA presidents to bag the current system); second, dude knows his TV demographics.
Sheen is made for reality TV — he's a walking, talking train wreck and the public can't take their eyes of him and the media can't get enough of him because he's a walking, talking train wreck and the public can't their eyes of him. It's almost like some sort of round thing that goes around and around and, you know, kind of like a circle. You know what that is? It's a metaphor. Know what kind of metaphor it is? You betcha, it's a "Winning" metaphor. Winning.
All eyes on Oregon
If don't you think all of the power players in college football are paying close attention to the NCAA hubbub going on at the University of Oregon, well, the 5-at-10 thinks you're not using your "normal brain."
Quick recap: Oregon used a high school football scouting service (a few in fact) and that's all well and good with the NCAA. One of those services charged them $25,000 and was really close with former-five-star recruit and current Ducks running back Lache Seastrunk. (That name is all about "Winning," by the way). The rest is predictable — the air of ickyness caused the NCAA to get involved; Oregon says it did nothing wrong (even kept its compliance department in the loop).
Truth is, as bad as college football appears to be (and it feels kinda of gross right now, huh?), college hoops is worse.
And before they're done, the NCAA is going to crack down on these scouting services to prevent what is being dubbed the "AAU-ization" of college football.
This and that
— The NFL labor talks were extended to last Friday then extended again to this Friday. It's hard to know if either side is ahead. It's hard to know if a deal will be done. It's hard to imagine that if the sides walk away without a deal in this round of talks that the labor strife will not affect actual football.
Miami Heat's LeBron James (6) talks with referee Tony Brothers (25), center, after committing as foul, as Dwyane Wade (3) looks on in the third quarter during an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls in Miami, Sunday, March 6, 2011. The Bulls defeated the Heat 87-86. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
— Did the 5-at-10 read it right that some of the Miami Heat players were reportedly crying after Sunday's loss to the Bulls. In the regular season. Uhhhhhh, guys, well, see it's like this... wait, maybe you can... SUCK IT UP. For the love of Alex English, crying after a regular-season loss? Really? You think Charlie Sheen's crying after his $2 million-an-episode TV gig was suspended for the rest of the season. No. You know why, because he's a total rock star from Mars and his tears will melt flesh and then make your eyes pop out and nobody wants that. Unless of course you're weeping like a school girls after losing one of 82 NBA games. That's not a habit that promotes "Winning."
— No Tiger Woods blood, no interest in golf. Other than our boy Rodney Dangerfield/Al Czervik would have had a blast discussing Honda Classic-winner Rory Sabbatini's hat on Sunday. And yes, he did get a free bowl of soup.
— Baton Rouge Advocate reporter Scott Rabalais reported over the weekend that LSU using a two-quarterback system remains a real possibility and even a likely thing. That sound you just heard was Tigers Nation groaning in unison. Charlie Sheen may not know a bunch about football, but he knows that two-QB systems are rarely about "Winning."
— Dale Jr. finished in the top 5 Sunday, which all things considered is a mild miracle (Sorry, Cowboy Joe). Jeff Gordon crashed (He's teasing you, Dr. B.). Carl Edwards received a gift from Tony Stewart and won in Vegas. Now that the results are out of the way, the most stunning stat from Sunday was this: Dale Jr. has been with Hendricks Motor Sports for four years now. That's right FOUR years. That makes him a first-ballott All-Stan White team selection. (Background: The 5-at-10 and his buddies developed the All-Stan White team for NCAA athletes that seemed like they played at a school for 11 years. Former Auburn quarterback Stan White was the namesake. Some first-ballott members: Former UT softball pitcher Monica Abbott, former UTC point guard Casey Long, former Georgia running back Thomas Brown and former Alabama kicker Leigh Tiffin. There are more of course, but those are off the top of our head.) Anyhoo, Dale Jr. is now the first NASCAR driver to be named All-Stan White: It feels like yesterday that Dale Jr. joined forces with Hendricks, and together in four years, they produced one victory. Huh? That's not about "Winning" guys.
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 ...