published Monday, March 21st, 2011

5 at 10: NCAA hoops, Danica Patrick and the Future for Bruce Pearl

Here we go...

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    Kansas State's Curtis Kelly, left, falls back after trying to get a shot off as Utah State's Brady Jardine (22), Tyler Newbold (24) and Morgan Grim (21) look on during a Southeast Regional NCAA college basketball tournament second round game Thursday, March 17, 2011, in Tucson, Ariz. Kansas State's Shane Southwell (1) looks on at left. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

NCAA madness indeed

Sweet Mother of Bobby Hurley that was some weekend of college basketball. Is there anything in sports as certain to entertain as the opening weekend of college hoops? It's like the opposite of New Year's Eve, which always seemed to be a letdown.

There can be blowouts in Super Bowls or college football bowl games or even NASCAR and/or horse races, but the two best, surefire bets for entertaining sports are the first weekend of the NCAA tournament and the last three hours of Sunday at Augusta. There will be no discussion about this.

The 5-at-10 is as bummed as anyone that the college basketball regular season has almost become an afterthought, but Holy Danny Manning's Hightops, the first four days of this NCAA tournament was outrageously entertaining. And we haven't even started to discuss BYU's super shooting star Jimmer Fredette, who is part Steph Curry, part Mark Price, part John Stockton and part Kemba Walker. Those are some nice parts, by the way.

We could spend today's complete 5-at-10 here, but there's too much to cover. Let's do a mini-top 5 limited to 10 words each (a 5-in-10 inside your 5-at-10, now that's a bargain, right?):

  1. Kyrie Irving, Duke: The freshman may be the best player out there.
  2. Richmond represents: Read ace TFP columnist Mark Wiedmer's spot-on take here
  3. Best sign (as in a poster) of the weekend: BYU fan's "We came, we saw, we Jimmer-ed." Nice.
  4. Best sign (for college basketball fans) of the weekend: Chuck Barkley and Co. in studio were honest and awesome.
  5. Best sign (for a repeat in the next rounds) of the weekend: Power programs mixed with underdogs — let's get ready to Jimmer.





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    Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl walks the sideline in the closing seconds of the second half of a West Regional NCAA tournament second round college basketball game against Michigan, Friday, March 18, 2011, in Charlotte, N.C. Michigan routed Tennessee 75-45, to send the Volunteers coach to an early offseason of uncertainty. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

If you had Tennessee plus-29 on your teaser, well, Bruno will be around on Tuesday

UT athletic director Mike Hamilton's ill-advised comments about Bruce Pearl's job security being unknown were taped last Tuesday. That means today is... (we need some dramatic, old-school TV news lead-in music here, like, a dum-dum-dum-DA) PEARL WATCH, DAY 7.

The general consensus after Pearl's Vols were humiliated by Michigan 75-45 in their NCAA opener Friday was that Pearl would be done as soon as today.

There was even talk about Pearl possibly resigning.

Now, a quick call to arms by the fans and the natural reaction from the players has rallied some momentum behind Pearl.

Will it be enough to save the record-setting coach who is in big-time NCAA timeout for lying to investigators? Well, we'll cover this more in Tuesday's TFP, but the forecast still appears dark for Pearl.

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    Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones (10) hits s home run in the fifth inning of a spring training baseball game against the New York Mets Saturday, March 5, 2011 in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Braves update, Volume 2, Chapter 1

Sweet Mother of Mike Lum, have you seen L-Dub's numbers? Larry Wayne "Chipper" Jones, the Atlanta Braves third baseman who we fondly call L-Dub, is flat raking in spring training. He's at .420 (21-for-50) with team-highs in hits (21), doubles (7), homers (3) and RBIs (11).

Earlier this spring the 5-at-10 made the case that a healthy L-Dub was the key for these Braves. Well, that was with reasonable expectations of Jones hitting in the affordable neighborhoods of .280 with 15 homers and 80 RBIs in 400 ABs. Now, L-Dub is raising the bar — he looks as goo as the 1999 NL MVP version by all accounts.

Plus, the starting pitching has been great, close to "Oh My Sweet Rick Camp" levels of great. Of the top six starters in camp, Jair Jurrjens' 3.60 ERA is the highest. Read that again, and now know that Derek Lowe, Tim Hudson and Tommy Hanson each have ERAs below 2.00.

As for Dan Uggla's less-than-stellar spring, well, we'll cover that Tuesday.

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    This March 1, 2011, file photo shows former baseball player Barry Bonds arriving at a federal courthouse in San Francisco, A federal judge has barred the jury from hearing angry voicemails Barry Bonds' left with his mistress during their stormy nine-year relationship. Prosecutors wanted to introduce the voicemails at the slugger's perjury trial starting next week to show that Bonds was experiencing so-called 'roid rage when he left the messages demanding to know the whereabouts of Kimberly Bell. But U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston said Thursday, March 17, 2011 that the voicemails had little relevance to proving Bonds lied when he denied knowingly taking steroids. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Barry Bonds gets his day in court

It's been more than seven years since Barry Bonds appeared before a grand jury to discuss steroids, and today the U.S. government is prepared to make its case that Bonds lied to them.

ESPN has well-documented this entire story, and the 5-at-10 has little to add about Bonds.

There is very-little-to-any doubt he used something — look at the pictures from his days with Pirates in the 1990s and his record-setting days with the Giants in the early 2000s. Plus, there are not many baseball players that are setting all-time career bests and MLB records after they turn 37 like Bonds did. It just doesn't pass the smell test, perjury or not.

No, what the 5-at-10 is hoping for is that the courts find a way to force Bonds and/or MLB to release the whole list. Let's see the names and move forward.

Otherwise this will forever taint this generation of players — heck, it may anyway — but let's let the guilty carry the burden. If Player X did use something — and it may not have been against MLB rules at that time; against the law of course, but not MLB rules (Chicks dig the long ball, after all) — then let that affect his legacy and his Hall of Fame credentials.

As we stand this morning, there's a shadow over everyone.

Well, everyone except Tony Gwynn. And Roger Clemens. (Kidding, kidding about that last one.)

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    Tony Kanaan, left, of Brazil, talks with Danica Patrick during the Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis on Friday. The 93rd running of the Indianapolis 500 auto race is today at 1 p.m. (AP Photo/Tom Strattman)

This and that

— Last week we covered the 5-at-10's prediction that Louisville could wreak havoc on a bracket — good or bad. Want another great prediction? Well, Dr. B's call on SportTalk almost two weeks ago about Danica Patrick having to "grow a pair" to race at Bristol may as well have come from a burning bush. In case you missed it, DanPa was clipped by Ryan Truex in Saturday's Nationwide race, and her meltdown was awesome in its awesomeness. Before throwing out your woman-driver joke, know that Truex claimed fault for the wreck. Still, the meltdown included a fiery radio response (DanPa allegedly has one of the foulest mouths throughout racing) and a fist-waving move on the inside of the track. Turn your head and cough, huh, Dr. B?

— Other than DanPa's theatrics, the NASCAR weekend at Bristol belonged to Kyle Busch, who ran by, over and through all comers for another sweep. He's won five straight starts at Bristol, where the crowd booed him long and lustily. This is good in a lot of directions — NASCAR needs that Black Hat, that bad guy, and if it's Kyle Busch, then so be it. "Gentleman and Kyle Busch, start your engines." Yeah, that has a nice ring to it.

— College football in the spring means two things: Waiting for spring practice updates and watching the police blotter. Two more big-time names — Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd (DUI) and Alabama safety Mark Barron (hindering prosecution) — were arrested over the weekend. College kids doing dumb things is not huge news or even surprising. And it's not like it was the War Eagle Four — the four Auburn players who quickly dismissed from the program after they were arrested on multiple felonies from a less-than-thought-out armed robbery earlier this month. So it goes.

— As for the Over/Under bracket challenge, well, let's just focus on our ability to spot overrated-ness, OK? Great. After going a combined 0-for-25 in underrated picks — and with three double-digit seeds in the Sweet 16, it's not like we didn't have our chances — the most picked No. 1 seed dropped Saturday when Butler bested Pitt in a finall-second foul-fest. Here are the pickers that are tied for the top spot (we'll come up with a tie-breaker later this week, and as always, suggestions are welcome):

scole023 — Pitt/Tennessee

EC — Pitt/Georgia

Bigbearzzz — Pitt/Georgia

Pretend Al Davis — Pitt/Oakland

5-at-10 — Pitt/Wofford

BIspy4 — Pitt/Utah State

OTWatcher — Pitt/Old Dominion

ThatIdoKnow — Pitt/Missouri

Charlie S. — Pitt/Princeton

Chris Goforth from "The Show" on Fox 1310AM — Pitt/Belmont

Quake from SportTalk on 102.3 FM — Pitt/Belmont

Dr. B (He's a doctor after all) from SportTalk on 102.3 FM — Pitt/Utah State

Darrell Patterson, Channel 9 sports anchor — Pitt/Utah State

The best of the rest

Mrs. 5-at-10 — Ohio State/Michigan State

PDavi — Ohio State/Tennessee

Cowboy Joe from SportTalk on 102.3 FM — Kansas/Memphis

BeachBum — Duke/Utah State

snakemb134 — Ohio State/Utah State

Weena — Ohio State/Michigan State

EtsuBuc20 — Duke/Belmont

CelticVol — Kansas/Villanova

Dr. Bracket — Duke/Missouri

Chas9 — Ohio State/Missouri

Nick Bonsanto, host of the "Nick Bonsanto Show" on 105.1 FM — Ohio State/Belmont

Keith Cawley, WRCB Channel 3 sports anchor — Kansas/Missouri

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...

If you wanna get down right particular about it...UGA was the last "underrated" team to get ousted...but I will take my loss with a spoonful of sugar and go on. If L-Dub shows up and partys like its 1999...well we could be watching him in October....Uggla will come around...he is just getting used to ppl actually showing up to watch him play..

March 21, 2011 at 10:18 a.m.
bigbearzzz said...

OF COURSE I AM GOING TO AGREE WITH EC HERE. TECHNICALLY...THEY WERE THE LAST BELOW 10 SEED TO BE OUSTED. BUT I AS WELL WE'LL NOT ARGUE, NOR CRY, NOR COMPLAIN. 5@10 HAS THE FINAL WORD. I THINK OVER ALL RIGHT VS WRONG PICKS WOULD DO.

March 21, 2011 at 11:16 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Fellas,

Your point about Georgia playing the late first-round game is noted. That said, the announced scoring was a point for each Underrated win and a point for each round an Overrated pick missed after losing. We did discuss time being considered in the Overrated category.

The 5-at-10 expert panel is taking this and a few other suggestions under consideration.

EC — Completely agree in regard to Uggla, who should be in line for a huge, Huge, HUGE year (Dude is going to hit with a load of people on base and in a Braves' lineup stacked with left-handed sticks, he's going to see a ton of left-handed pitching).

— 5-at-10

March 21, 2011 at 11:50 a.m.
jayrock2004 said...

As for Bruce Pearl, I think his days are numbered. I don't want him to go, but I think mike Hamilton will do it anyway. UT hoops better not go in the tank, or hamilton is next.

March 21, 2011 at 12:04 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

I thought jimmering was a no-no on the BYU campus. If Danica needs a hug ... well ... And Mike Brey will be available to talk to you about your head coaching vacancy in 3 ... 2 ...

March 21, 2011 at 12:19 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

If Hamilton fires Pearl he better step up with a good hire like he did with Dooley...Getting a legends son is a pretty good way to go...isn't Pat Knight Recently unemployed? That would be a good blood line to color with Big Orange! Other than March Madness a lot of great things happened this weekend...a guy from Arizona State won a National Championship in Wrestling...oh did I mention he was born with only one leg? OH yeah and the UFC crowned a new light Heavyweight Champ...Jon Jones...youngest UFC Champ ever at 23 oh and don't forget that the Miami Heat lost a game once and they cried afterward....

March 21, 2011 at 12:23 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Jayrock — The 5-at-10 concurs with your evaluation on Pearl's future. And Hamilton's, too. This is going to be a tough, Tough, TOUGH hire if they do pull the trigger on Pearl. We'll cover some of this in a column in Tuesday's TFP, but look at these factors: — Pearl greatly improved the image of the UT basketball gig, but he also raised the expectations (which is a great thing for Johnny Vols Fan, but not exactly the bee's knees for the next coach) — If Tobias Harris and High-Top Scotty Hopson leave for the NBA, that roster looks spotty at best. — Who knows what the NCAA sanctions will be. — There are a few high-profile openings this offseason (i.e. Georgia Tech, NC State, Oklahoma, etc.)

BIspy4, The original Honor Code handed down by BYU himself may have mentioned a no-Jimmering clause, however, in its current state, it is permissible (as long as you're of age, of course). As for Brey, no thanks, the 5-at-10 thinks Chris Mooney (Richmond) and Brad Stevens (Butler) are the John and Paul of this year's coaching carousel.

EC — Like the symmetry between hiring the offspring of legends, but the 5-at-10 will eat our hat if Pat Knight gets the call. And rest easy, we'll never forget that the Heat cried. Never. It's currently The Alamo in the 5-at-10 Sports World. The one-legged dude was awesome, plain and simple. If you don't know what EC is talking about you can youtube it (Arizona State’s Anthony Robles is the champ born without a right leg) or you can wait for the sure-to-be-made Ron Howard movie about it in three years.

BIspy brings up a point that we'll throw out there to the group. If Danica looks like Shirley Muldowney or Shirley Temple, do we even know her name? Thoughts.

March 21, 2011 at 12:36 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Danica's unbelievable hotness is the MAIN reason she is driving for one of the biggest names in NASCAR...the second reason is she has skills....but if you gave those skills to some cross eyed Butter Hog..well she wouldn't even be driving on the dirt track..

March 21, 2011 at 12:49 p.m.
jayrock2004 said...

Another thought.. What does the 5@10 think about just letting Tony Jones take over the reigns. If pearl leaves then he is gone also. If both are gone then we will lose our pipeline with the Atlanta Celtics AAU team and lose potential recruits..

March 21, 2011 at 12:51 p.m.
bigbearzzz said...

DANICA IS OVER RATED. I MEAN REALLY. IT WAS PRETTY COOL TO SEE HER GO OFF ON THE RADIO THIS PAST WEEKEND, AND THEN SEE HER ON THE BOTTOM OF THE TRACK MANNIN UP...THAT WAS NICE. BUT I HAVE TO SAY.....THERE'S NO WAY SHE HANGS WITH THE LIKES OF THE MAGIC MAN...NOW YOU SEE ME....NOW YOU DONT. WE HAVE OTHER MATTERS TO DISCUSS...LIKE VCU!!! WHO WOULD HAVE THUNK IT!! I DIDNT HAVE MARQUETTE GETTING PAST XAVIER! BUT NOW HERE THEY ARE BATTLING UNC! HOWS EVERYBODY'S OVER ALL NUMBERS ON THEIR BRACKETS...IM 36 RIGHT -12 WRONG...NOT BAD.

March 21, 2011 at 1:14 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

I had Marquette beating Syracuse...but losing to UNC...and VCU wow that came out of nowhere! .... How about them Butler Bulldogs! I knew they would beat Pitt! Lets see if they have a little magic left and can make it to the Elite eight... I think they will and end up playing Florida for a chance to go to the Final Four! What about Kansas...their road to the Final Four might as well be paved in gold...

March 21, 2011 at 1:22 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

The problem with the UFC is no one in the UFC West is going to finish above .500. Wait ... what? That's not what that is? My bad. Hey, it was a long weekend, all right?

March 21, 2011 at 1:35 p.m.
jgreeson said...

J-Rock — Tony Jones has some recruiting chops, but there's no way he's getting the gig. Not a big enough name and not a splashy enough hire. Plus, the Vols stand the best chance to escape most of the NCAA violations by making a clean break, and that means the whole staff. Sorry, Tony.

OsoGrandeee — Agreed about DanPa. In some ways though, couldn't make the same statements about Dale Jr., just swapping name for looks. Think about it, Dale Jr. is a rock-star in the sport, but has the career numbers of what, Brian Vickers? Anyhoo, to the brackets, the 5-at-10 has 34 correct picks, but we're in a pretty good spot with seven of our elite eight still alive. VCU was awesome — they have played as well as anyone so far.

EC — Marquette to the 16 is some top-flight pickin' my man. Kansas is sitting in the proverbial Cat Bird seat, and if you're not pulling for Butler then you either have no soul or have a bracket that could win some money. But still the Bulldogs are money.

BIspy4 — Nice UFC line. Loved Weird Al and Kramer in "UFC" or was that "UHF" or maybe even "VHF" maybe? Anyhoo. Hope you didn't get caught in the Savannah sting stuff. Good St. Paddy's Day gone south, huh?

March 21, 2011 at 2:14 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

5@10, my best howl at the moon days, even the howl at the supermoon days, are behind me, I'm afraid. Too many things hurt in the morning even when I don't do anything the night before.

March 21, 2011 at 2:20 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

I dunno why I didnt pick them in the 5@10 Over/Under Game...oh well....

March 21, 2011 at 2:22 p.m.
jomo11 said...

PEARL is gone !....announcement coming....

March 21, 2011 at 2:24 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Hearing the same thing JOMO. Will confirm when we can.

EC — I wish you had picked MU, then the tie-breaker stuff would be academic.

BIspy4 — Tell me about it my man. I guess this is how Yaz felt in the final days of his HoF career.

March 21, 2011 at 2:31 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Oh, I still might be able to time a fastball. But a change up or breaking stuff .... different story.

March 21, 2011 at 3:05 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Pearl Fired...Wow talk about quick fast and in a hurry Ham-Bone wasted no time!

March 21, 2011 at 4:56 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Let the coaching carousel being! (This would be better with a calliope soundtrack)

March 21, 2011 at 6:18 p.m.
jomo11 said...

What a cesspool UTK athletics is ....Pearl was sleazy...Kiffin was sleazy...Hamilton was/is a liar...AND Haslam was pulling the strings, then the state elects that sleazy guy GOVERNOR.....the inmates are running the prison that is the UTK athletic department

March 21, 2011 at 9:38 p.m.
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