published Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

5 at 10: Braves Roster, Dooley's running backs and Lady Vols go home

Here we go.

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    Tennessee coach Pat Summitt questions a call during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against LSU on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 80-60. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Lady Vols fall short

If you have seen some Lady Vols fans that are less than thrilled this morning, cut them some slack. The Lady Vols melted down last night.

“Obviously I’m very upset, I’m very disappointed in our basketball team,” coach Pat Summitt told the AP after falling to 1,071-199 in her Hall of Fame career. “I don’t think we came here with the focus. Don’t ask me why. I’m kind of at a loss for words. We’ve got a ways to go, obviously. We were exposed today.”

To tell you the truth, the 5-at-10 is pretty bummed about it, too. Now, the potential dream Lady Vols-UConn loser-leaves-town, cage match is gone for at least another year.

If this had been the NBA, don't you know the powers that be would have found a way to have referee/henchman Joey Crawford working the game and making sure the Lady Vols were in it until the end.

Although, with the way the Lady Vols were dominated by Notre Dame point guard Skylar Diggins, it may have taken more than Joey Crawford's mystery whistles to get the Lady Vols to the Final Four in Indy.

Something tells the 5-at-10, that UT freshman point guard Meighan Simmons, who struggled mightily last night, will be the best player in the country in the next year or two. Call it a hunch.

  • Cuonzo Martin introduced as new UT coach
    Former Missouri State coach, Cuonzo Martin was introduced as the new University of Tennessee men's basketball coach Monday.

First appearances for Martin

What were your first impressions of UT men's basketball coach Cuonzo Martin?

The 5-at-10 thought he did well. He was charming and funny and focused. He said all the right things, as did UT AD Mike Hamilton and UT top dog Jimmy Cheek.

It appears Martin — like his predecessor — is willing to work to win and — unlike former coach Bruce Pearl —unwilling to bend the rules to do it. We'll see.

That said, Monday's first day was among the least important and possibly the easiest of what UT fans hope will be Martin's long and successful career.

In fact there's almost a first-day-news-conference playbook, and Martin was spot on with his quotes (from TFP ace Mark Wiedmer's column HERE): “There’s plenty of time to work on their basketball. I’m more concerned right now with how they act. I want them to know it’s important to do things the right way. Be on time. Go to class every day. The basketball will take care of itself.”

On the bright side, even if Martin was following the first-press-conference playbook, then we at least know he has a playbook — and that's more than we can say for Pearl's Vols of the last three months.

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    Atlanta Braves left fielder Eric Hinske, right, is greeted at the dugout entrance by Martin Prado after hitting a hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Florida Marlins in Atlanta, Saturday, Aug. 28, 2010. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Braves have pop

The 5-at-10 threw out that these Braves — if healthy — have a chance to have a lineup that features eight guys with 15-or-more homers. Here's our projected lineup for the Braves, who start Thursday at the Washington Nationals, and what they have averaged over 162-game spans in their MLB careers (yes, the 5-at-10 did some research, but don't go getting spoiled):

LF Martin Prado — .307, 12 homers

CF Nate McLouth — .252, 19 homers

3B Chipper Jones — .306, 31 homers

C Brian McCann — .289, 24 homers

2B Dan Uggla — .263, 32 homers

RF Jason Heyward — .277, 18 homers last year as a rookie

SS Alex Gonzalez — .248, 16 homers

1B Freddie Freeman — rookie who .319, 18 homers in 2010 in AAA

The 5-at-10 understands the stock broker legalese — past performance does not guarantee future success — but the averages give this Braves club the best-looking lineup since maybe the late 2003 club that won 101 games. That lineup had seven players that hit 15 or more homers — Rafael Furcal (15 homers), Marcus Giles (21), Vinny Castilla (22), Chipper Jones (27), Andruw Jones (36), Gary Sheffield (39) and Javy Lopez (43). The only regular that didn't get there was Robert Fick, who hit 11 homers in 126 games. Wow.

If this Braves lineup is even close to that, the folks in Philly better have more than four really good starting pitchers.

Side note here: Heard the guys on SportTalk — Dr. B (he's a doctor after all), Quake and Cowboy Joe are all friends of the show — the other day talking about how Barry Bonds turned on a fastball and how nobody else did it better. Bonds was first, but Gary Sheffield was almost as good. The 5-at-10 can't recall a right-handed hitter that had quicker hands than Sheffield, who absolutely crushed, Crushed, CRUSHED fastballs in. Wanna know something else Sheffield and Bonds had in common? Oh, nevermind.

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    In this file photo, UT's Tauren Poole carries in a game against Ole Miss in Knoxville.
    Staff Photo by Staff Photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press

UT spring break(down), Part II

We looked at the growth needed/expected from Tyler Bray HERE.

Today we'll look at the guys standing behind Bray.

Tauren Poole is a 1,000-yard rusher and is by far the most proven commodity on this offense. He's a solid-to-strong running back that had moments last year that looked as good as any player on the field. Those moments, though, were too few and far between.

Poole will be option No. 1 for the run-first Vols; he will also be priority No. 1 for opposing defenses. A duplicate of Poole's 1,000-year season should be the baseline for 2011, especially with the added experience and talent of the offensive front.

Where the UT running backs will be better is behind Poole, and that's something to smile about Johnny Vols Fan.

Rajion Neal has star-potential (our TFP UT ace Patrick Brown tweeted that Neal ran a 4.36 40, and that friends is moving), and his growth will do more than add depth — it will push Poole, something that did not happen a great deal last year.

Plus, with Marlin Lane and underrated Tom Smith on the way, the Vols' running back group should be ranked in the top three in the SEC, clearly behind Alabama and right there with South Carolina and just ahead of Auburn, LSU and Georgia. Read that again. We may have some more on this later.

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    New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony celebrates after hitting a three-point shot during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic Monday, March 28, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Anthony led all scorers with 39 points as the Knicks won 113-106 in overtime. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

This and that question time

— How scary are the New York Knicks in a five-game series? Carmelo said Monday's game against the Orlando Magic was a must-win, and he delivered a must-win effort. Carmelo scored 39 in the OT victory, and looked the part of lead-dog. The 5-at-10 has said it before, but if the game's tied and we have the ball, we want Carmelo taking the last shot (even over Kobe and way more than LeBron).

— Sweet Mother of Mr. T and her Jewelry Kit, did you see that Dez Bryant is being sued for $246,000 by A+A Diamonds LTD d/b/a Rafaello & Company for unpaid bills on the $267,000 worth of jewelry? The most expensive item Bryant bought was a $60,000 charm bracelet. The most he spent in one of his visits to the jewelry store was $144,000. Well, here's two things — one, nobody this side of BIspy4 can spend that much money on jewelry and not look trashy, and two, if we're going to have an NFL lockout bankruptcy fantasy draft, is there anyone with more upside than Bryant right now?.

— How much do we need baseball to start to make the day-to-day sports world spin? Well, atop the ESPN scoreboard this morning is New Zealand-Sri Lanka cricket game (or is it match or friendly or showdown or... whatever — let's move along).

— Do you know who loves the NFL draft? That's right, the 5-at-10. Well, this draft's biggest mover/question mark is obviously former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, who will visit the Buffalo Bills today. Here's what former UTC coach and current Buffalo GM had to say Monday during a "State of the Bills" address to season-ticket holders according to the Buffalo News. "Let me just say this to you, and try not to read anything into this and try not to connect the dots, now, but if you wait until you do not have a quarterback to draft one, you're too late. Now our greatest need is not quarterback. It's definitely not quarterback. Invariably, if there's going to be a franchise guy there and one we deem as a guy that can go eight or 10 years, be the face of the organization and take us to the playoffs and win every year, you can't pass him up." Also Monday, Nix told the Democrat and Chroncile, "There's an unwritten rule that it's not a sin to tell a lie during pre-draft stuff. Everybody does it, it's accepted, so everything you read or hear or see, you need to keep in mind that about 10 percent of it is the truth."

Well, done Buddy, well done. Since today's this and that is about questions, we'll bite: Anybody got any idea what Nix and the Bills are going to do now?

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...

The best thing the Knicks could have ever done was Trade for Melo, Hes a difference maker. Ok so their record doesnt show much except that they play up to the level of the competition. My money is on them...next year..but I do think they will put on an impressive run this year in the playoffs...how nice will it be to see the Bulls vs Knicks in the playoffs...

It seems that the reports I read about Dez were that Roy Williams placed the order for the jewelry but told Dez it was a gift and he just needed to go pick em up....he should have carried the pads...karma is nasty!

March 29, 2011 at 10:37 a.m.
bigbearzzz said...

WONT BE ANYTHING LIKE THE JORDAN/EWING MATCH UPS.....ON THE BULLS VS KNICKS COMMENT..BUT IT WILL BRING BACK SOME GOOD JORDAN MEMORIES FROM BACK IN THE DAY... OK SO BACK TO THE OVER/UNDER TIE BREAKER....THATS NOT OVER IS IT?!?! I MEAN IT CANT BE...IM IN SECOND..IT CANT END THIS WAY...IF YOUR NOT FIRST YOUR LAST!! IM NOT LAST!!

March 29, 2011 at 11 a.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

No it wont be like those days, but these Bulls & Knicks teams are packed with star players...so it will make for some good playoff basketball..Opening day is right around the corner!!! I was lucky enough to land Halladay in my fantasy draft!

March 29, 2011 at 11:29 a.m.
jgreeson said...

EC — Melo makes the Knicks relevant again, and really there's no price too high for that. And the NBA wins, too. The Eastern Conference playoffs are going to be brutal, Brutal, BRUTAL with the Celtics, Knicks, Magic, Bulls and Heat (tear). As for Dez, profootballtalk. com has another story referencing the Dallas Morning News that reminds us that Bryant is still on the hook for a different lawsuit for jewelry and tickets. From that story:

The Dallas Morning News points out that Bryant was sued last year for not paying for $293,000 in jewelry and more than $12,000 worth of sporting event tickets. In that lawsuit, Eleow Hunt claims that he sold the jewelry and tickets on credit to Bryant, starting in late December 2008 or January 2009.

Yes, Bryant received that huge line of credit while he was still playing college football at Oklahoma State. It's starting to become a little more clear why Bryant was suspended for the most of his final season for lying to the NCAA, huh? Maybe the NCAA folks knew about the lying, and the $300,000 Bryant was borrowing to make sure his jewelry and ticket needs were met.

Mike Gundy to the NCAA courtesy phone, Mike Gundy to the courtesy phone, please.

P.S. — Halladay is a nice get. Locked down 18 wins, 200 Ks and WHiP and ERAs in the top five in the league. What pick did you have?

OsoGrandeee —

The contest is wrapped. Sorry. We'll probably have something next week about the Masters, but this one is in the books.

That said, nice job blending quotes from "Animal House," — "Over, did he say over? Nothing is over, until we decide it is. Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? (Germans?... Forget it, he's rolling.) And it ain't over now." — and "Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby" — "If your're not first, you're last."

Very well played.

March 29, 2011 at 11:50 a.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Well I got him 18th overall and he was my 2 nd pick...because the draft order was postion player..pitcher..position player...I selected Carlos Gonzalez #1 overall...hope that doesnt come back to screw me!!!

March 29, 2011 at 11:56 a.m.
bigbearzzz said...

BUT....BUT....BUT MY GUY IS STILL IN IT...HE HAS ANOTHER GAME......KEMBA WALKER....HE WAS GONNA BRING ME HOME THE "5@10 UNDER/OVER BUT HAD TO GO TO OVERTIME AND SECOND GAME TO DECIDE WINNER CAUSE WE ALL SUCKED AT PICKING!" TROPHY....AND YES...THAT HAS TO BE ON THAT LIL BRONZE PLATE ON THE FRONT...LIL TINY FONT...

March 29, 2011 at 12:14 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

where does this crap come from ?!?!

March 29, 2011 at 1:49 p.m.
jgreeson said...

EC — If you got Halladay that late in the pitcher round, you got a steal. CGonzo had a big year last year, no doubt. I would have been tempted to go Hanley or Albert, but CGonzo has huge upside.

Oso — We out it out there that it was last weekend only. Sorry. Plus, if we go an extra round, Pretend Al Davis may make a run on EC, and that would be less than cool. Alas.

Instead of the "5@10 UNDER/OVER BUT HAD TO GO TO OVERTIME AND SECOND GAME TO DECIDE WINNER CAUSE WE ALL SUCKED AT PICKING!" trophy, if you look at the post above, we've made it possible for you to get a great deal on everything from Air Jordan shoes to sunglasses and New Era caps. Enjoy.

March 29, 2011 at 1:52 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

well I am really looking to make a splash this year in Fantasy Baseball...I have named my team the " Charlie Sheenanators" look for them breaking Fantasy Records!

March 29, 2011 at 2 p.m.
bigbearzzz said...

TRUE DAT WITH EC...I WOULDNT WANT PRETEND AL TO DO THAT TO HIM...OK...I CONCEDE....RELUCTANTLY.....BUT ONLY BECAUSE I GOT A GREAT DEAL ON FAKE OAKLEY'S THANKS TO OUR SPONSOR....I STILL THINK THE TROPHY IS A BETTER IDEA...AND I REALLY NEED TO FIND A BASEBALL LEAGUE TO JOIN....

March 29, 2011 at 2:23 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

You know me too well, 5@10. I am all about the bling. Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpel, Tiffany .... Cracker Jack.

March 29, 2011 at 3:16 p.m.
dabigorange said...

The Vols got a steal in signing Martin. Here's to hoping the cupboard isn't bare of talent when we hit the floor next season.

In other news, I went with the Vatican Assassin Warlocks as my fantasy team name. Our league had a big run on pitchers in the first two rounds, but that can be expected in head-to-head leagues. And yes, my logo is a flaming fist with the word "Winning" stamped across it.

March 29, 2011 at 5:50 p.m.
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