published Monday, March 12th, 2012

5 at 10: Tiger Woods, NFL quarterback shuffle and March Madness finally arrives

OK< we all know the 5-at-10 has a little trouble with brevity. And, to make matters worse, it's hard to remember a weekend with more happening. We're going to do everything we can to save words where ever we can, but buckle up gang, this may take a while.

From the "Talk Too Much studios," let's go.

2012 NCAA Tournament bracket
2012 NCAA Tournament bracket

Bracket alert

Here's a downloadable bracket. Here's the next 5-at-10 contest — the Second Annual First Out/Last In Challenge. The rules are simple: Pick the first No. 1 seed to lose and the last double-digit seed to be eliminated. It's just that easy. The winner will get some cool Final Four swag from New Orleans. If you have any questions, let us know. (We'll do the Kemba Walker Dynamite Duo Duel next week. So be prepared.)

As for this year's bracket, well, the 5-at-10's Pop simply loves college basketball. There's his family, his Lord, his job and then college hoops (and some would say that order varies occasionally since the man was late for his own wedding because UNC-Davidson went into overtime some 44 years ago this Thursday). Anyhoo, each year, 5-at-10's Pop says two things about the NCAA tournament: Lead up to the draw he says in his direct and purposeful way "I think it's going to be interesting," and when filling out a bracket, in an equally direct manner "That's why they play the games."

And this year, he's right again.

We'll break down our brackets and the matchups later this week, but here's two quick answers to the most common questions. First, we have Kentucky winning the whole thing. Second, we think Long Beach State is the No. 12 team that wins its opener. More to come...

Like now.

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    Vanderbilt guard Kedren Johnson (2) reacts following a 71-64 win over Kentucky in an NCAA college basketball game in the championship game of the 2012 Southeastern Conference tournament at the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Sunday, March 11, 2012. Vanderbilt beat Kentucky 71-64. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

College hoops this and that

So much to digest from a wall-to-wall Sunday of college hoops. In truth it needed its own this and that. So here you go:

— First, let's discuss the conference tournaments. No not the winners, because frankly, who cares? There should be ZERO major conference tournament finals on Selection Sunday. Nada. If you think the college basketball regular season is marginalized by the Big Dance, what about the SEC tournament final? If we mention Vandy this morning, are you more apt to know that by beating Kentucky the Commodores won their first SEC conference title since 1951 or that they will play Harvard in the smartest NCAA first-round game of all time? This is an easy fix, too. Simply flip the order. Have the power conferences play on the weekend before selection Sunday, that would give fans, players and coaches some time to savor the moment. Let the one-bid leagues have Selection Sunday all to themselves. It would put the SoCon Final and its ilk on CBS or ABC rather than ESPNU or The Ocho or wherever it may be. Plus, the one bid leagues are playing for their lives. Sure UK and Vandy each wanted to win Sunday, but each knew that there was more hoops to be had. (Plus, by flipping the power conference tournaments and the mid-major tournaments, the smaller leagues will get more invested interest from the bubble big boys.)

— Second, Cuonzo "The Conz" Martin and your UT Vols played their worse game in their biggest game, shooting terribly in Friday's bubble-busting loss to Ole Miss. Hey, it happens to every one, and this happened to UT. That The Conz had them in even in position to be considered was a huge accomplishment with a team picked 11th in the SEC in November. Plus, UT got a No. 1 seed in the NIT, and figures to be among the favorites in that draw. (And yes, this is absolutely the most we have every discussed the NIT ever. In fact, we ran a mini-NIT bracket of UT's quadrant in today's TFP.)

— Third, did anyone else notice the lack of belly-aching at the committee this year. Not surprisingly, we have three theories on this. First, we believe that the talking heads were informed that there would be minimal NCAA-bashing this year. Call it a conspiracy if you want, but there was no Seth Greenberg Memorial Cam where a dejected coach was asked how he felt. (Named in honor of Greenberg, the Virginia Tech coach, who has had his bubble popped something like 49 consecutive years.) Second, the committee did a pretty solid job of getting the draw correct and most of the field was pretty clear-cut. That said, friend of the show StuckinKent sent us his field of 68 early Sunday morning, and dude his 67 of 68, missing only Iona. And truthfully, who can blame anyone for missing Iona? Finally, let's call it the VCU-aftershocks. Many of the big-time college hoops folks bashed VCU getting into the field last year, and we all remember how they went from the Dayton play-in game to the Final Four. Even Jay Bilas, some one we have super high regard for, bagged on the Rams, and there was certainly more than one serving of crow tossed around by VCU.

— Further evidence that the tournament had a pretty clear vision: Last Monday, the 5-at-10 listed our Elite Eight, and all eight received a Nos. 1 or 2 seed.

— Our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer shared his early view of the dance (Wiedmer: Committee does University of Kentucky no favors). Not sure how you feel, and since this was in today's TFP, we're not tipping our tournament hand too much. Here's a run-down of our projected regional finals: UK over Duke (and yes, we were down on Duke for most of the year, but to be the "worst" No. 2, the Devils got a pretty nice draw); Missouri over Louisville; Ohio State over Vandy; UNC over Kansas. Enjoy this is a great week.

— Someone asked us last week about our sports bucket list, and we left one off. At some point the 5-at-10 will get to Vegas for the first two days of March Madness in Sin City. This will happen at some point. Believe that. And that would MOST DEFINITELY be an interesting tournament, right Pop?

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    NFL quarterback Peyton Manning waves to fans as leaves the Arizona Cardinals training facility in head coach Ken Whisenhunt's car after a five hour meeting with coaches and front office staff Sunday, March 11, 2012, in Tempe, Ariz.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Quarterback shuffles

Two major developments in the last 48 hours about two stars at the most position in all of team sports.

Unless you've been sleeping in a van down by the river, you know Peyton Manning and the Colts parted ways last week. It was in all the papers.

Well, Manning has taken "recruiting visits" to Denver and Arizona, is still open to Miami and reportedly turned down invites from Kansas City and Seattle. (No word yet whether Alabama and Nick Saban have offered the five-star Manning, but here's saying that if Manning does not pick the Tide it was because the Tide did not want Manning. Saban is the Chuck Norris of recruiting.)

If those are his final two choices, well, OK, and we're not going to discuss the Tebow-Manning combo until it actually happens. We're still holding out hope for Houston — past or present. If the Houston Texans make a pitch, they become the Super Bowl favorites. As for Houston past...

The Tennessean quoted Titans owner Bud Adams saying he wants "Mr. Manning" and his people know this. Granted Adams is hardly a spring chicken — he's more a spring pterodactyl — and none of his people were available for comment because none of his people want to comment about something they said they weren't interested in a month ago. That said, Manning to Tennessee would sell enough jerseys in the first 48 hours to pay for the contract. (Heck, let him wear a Titans No. 16 — his number with the Vols — and it could be the top seller of all-time.)

The other QB shuffle was the Washington Redskins sending three No. 1 draft picks to the St. Louis Rams for the No. 2 overall pick and the chance to draft Robert Griffin III. Wow.

OK, the 5-at-10 loves the draft. You know this, and parting with one first-round pick is hard to stomach, but sending this year's and two more for a guy that could be Steve Young-Lite or Akili Smith-heavy seems like an awful lot. An awful, awful lot. This better work or the Redskins are cooked for the better part of the next decade. It also could be a Herschel Walker-type deal for the Rams, considering they likely will have three picks in the top 45 or so for 2013 and 2014, which means a hug lift in talent. It also left the 5-at-10 with two interesting questions:

First, do you remember the last quarterback Washington drafted with a top-three overall pick. Yep, one Heath Shuler back in the day.

Second, if the Redskins were willing to part with that much for the No. 2 pick and RG III, what would they have given the Colts for the No. 1 overall pick? And would that have been enough to keep Manning and make a final Super Bowl push over the next three years?

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    Tiger Woods grimaces after hitting from the 12th tee during the final round of the Cadillac Championship golf tournament Sunday, March 11, 2012, in Doral, Fla. Woods withdrew from the tournament, and was driven away in a cart. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

This and that

— Tiger Woods pulled out of the PGA Tour event at Doral on Sunday, citing pain in his left Achilles' tendon. Woods' immediate status is unknown — his quotes about Sunday were released in a statement so Eldrick did not answer questions. And more importantly his status for Augusta is unknown. In fact, the only thing that seems to be certain about Woods is the swirling uncertainty. About his health, his mental well-being, about his putting. About all of it.

— Tony Stewart took the checkered flag Sunday in Vegas. We approve of Tony Stewart. Dude has skills. Quick side question: If you're the fast-food chain Checkers, why are you not a big advertiser in NASCAR. Pay some coin for the final 10 laps being the Chase for the Checkers or something like that. Never mind, NASCAR folks are loyal as a good dog.

— Braves starting pitcher Tomm Hanson made his first start of the spring Sunday, going three innings before rain derailed the Braves-Blue Jays game. Hanson said the conditions were tough, and his manager Fredi Gonzalez agreed. The rainout did mean that Gonzalez was not able to burn through some relievers, but the season's still young (and yes, we're kidding, but we all need to keep a close eye on how Fredi G manages the best bullpen in baseball). Here's what catcher David Ross told the AP about Hanson: "He looked really good in the bullpen. His breaking ball was great, but it was just hard to perform under those conditions. We were all just trying to stay dry and get some work in."

— Our UT ace Downtown Patrick Brown had an interesting story on the class of 2013 in college football recruiting in the state of Tennessee (State solid for football 2013 recruits). (And that's not counting Ridgeland's Vonn Bell, who grew up in Chattanooga before transferring before last year.) It will be interesting to see how many of these guys Derek Dooley can convince to stay in state.

— If you did not see the Magic Johnson documentary "The Announcement" Sunday, you missed out. It was great, and it accurately depicted one of the true "We remember where we were moments" in our lifetime. And as much as we can belly-ache about ESPN, this was well-done. Well-done indeed.

— The Pac-12 agreed in principle this weekend to replace the BCS with a playoff. This is coming and we all know it, but the Pac-12 proposal includes phrasing that only conference champions would be allowed in the four-team playoff pool. (And if you think this is not a direct answer to two SEC teams playing for the whole thing, well, you're wrong.)

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    In this file photo, UTC coach John Shulman watches the UNC Greensboro game at McKenzie Arena on Jan. 27, 2011.
    Staff File Photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press

Today's question

OK, before we start, know that so much happened this weekend, that you have free rein to discuss any all matters. It's an Open Mic Monday.

But if you need a conversation starter, here's one:

UTC athletic director Rick Hart announced that John Shulman would return after the worst basketball season in the Mocs' Division I history. If you're surprised, we don't know what to tell you. We've been saying this for a while.

And if anyone hints that finances were not a driving factor in this, well, either they are delusional or they think you have an IQ around 58. We've always said, never fire a coach until you're sure can hire someone better. We may have to amend that to include, "Never fire a coach unless you are sure can afford to hire someone better."

The question: Rick Hart has excelled at marketing the Mocs, and that is a true feather in his cap. What exactly will be the Mocs' marketing campaign for the 2012-13 basketball season? We'll start — 'Mocs hoops: One year closer to respectability.' Discuss.

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 ...

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.
chas9 said...

Top Tenn Rankings, week 18--

We're tired of pretending there are 10 teams worth our time, so we're only ranking five in our final offering of the season. It's the five who made post-season play. We haven't been high on Memphis, but they're coming around. Though the NCAA thang is The Big Dance and the NIT is the Nobody's Interested Tournament, we think The Vols are better than Belmont. But we wish them all well. Even Vanderbilt.

1) Vandy

2) Memphis

3) Tennessee

4) Belmont


March 12, 2012 at 10:38 a.m.
Stewwie said...

[The other QB shuffle was the Washington Redskins sending three No. 1 draft picks to the St. Louis Rams for the No. 2 overall pick and the chance to draft Robert Griffin III. Wow.]

I think I'm ready to call this the worst draft trade of all time. Not that Griffin isn't worth the #2 pick, but the 'Skins gave up WAY WAY too much to move up only four spots in the draft.

The Saints' unloading of a bunch of picks just to get Ricky Williams comes to mind. However, as a consolation, the Saints benefited greatly from Williams having Master P as his agent...and negotiating a horrible deal for his client.

[What exactly will be the Mocs' marketing campaign for the 2012-13 basketball season?]

Restore the Glory!! Oh wait...that one's already taken.

Weeds wrote this on Saturday...

[Shulman can’t or won’t say it, but this year’s senior class was pretty much a disaster from the get-go, torn apart by everything from a canyon-sized rift between two of them...]

Whom or what is this rift referring to?

March 12, 2012 at 11:16 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

That Saban ... always oversigning....

Think he'll redshirt Peyton? Or will he enroll early to get a jump on spring ball?

You know, I usually get pretty stoked for the Tournament. There's always lots of good action - on the floor, not in any, say, "books" - but, um, for some reason, I can't seem to get that fired up for this year's field of 64+4. I can't even get the motor running for spring training. Do I miss college football that much already? (And don't say "you need help" 5, because you know full well I will send any therapist into their own counseling session).

March 12, 2012 at 11:50 a.m.
fechancellor said...

Ahhhhhhhhhh, the PAC-12, the only league with medical marijuana available on the side line.

As for Tiger, he got a text from Stewie Griffin inviting Woods to one of Stewie's "Sexy Parties" at an unknown hotel downtown.

March 12, 2012 at 12:16 p.m.
chas9 said...

In his Saturday evening sportscast channel 3 Sportstwerp Paul Shahen devoted all the time he had for the UT-Mississippi game to showing and reshowing and reshowing the bad call out of bounds play near the end that "cost The Vols the game." Nonsense.

And it was a close call, not an egregious error. Apparently Paul doesn't follow basketball much. In almost every game there are a few blown calls. Coaches tell players it's part of the game. Don't dwell on it. Paul dwelt on it. Boring.

This Vols team is too exciting to turn them into crybabies, which they aren't.

The sad thing is, there's more to the story of the game than that. He could've shown Golden's great performance, for instance. Or some of Maymon's double double. Maybe another turn in journalism school would teach him how to tell The Story.

March 12, 2012 at 12:20 p.m.

Like others who were interviewed, I too am dissapointed we cannot replace Coach Shulman but I understand the tight finances of the University's athletic department and trust AD Hart to do the right thing. He, Hart, kept Rodney Allison through his contact and was then able to hire Coach Huesman which I believe is still a great hire.

So we might as well bring back Chief Mocanooga (or was it Chief Chattamoc?) and make the non-fans mad, as well.

March 12, 2012 at 12:51 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Major-league kudos to you for the Top Tenn poll that rightly finishes as the Top 5 in Tennessee. And yes, we agree that UT is better than Belmont, but the rules be the rules. (And we think Belmont is going to scare the pants off of Georgetown.)

Did not see Paul's effort after the UT game, so we're unable to speak intelligently about it. That said, Trae Golden had a great season. Kid played with major-league onions throughout the season, and even properly handled a little bit of discipline from The Conz. Impressed all around by Golden's year.

Capt. Stew-being —

We thought of the Ricky Williams debacle as well (although great add on about Master P, who also reps his son Little Bow-Wow).

Yes, Restore the Glory has been used. And Restore the Gory is too easy and pertinent.

Spy —

We feel your vibe. The bracket is not as much fun, but we're expecting the basketball to be better this year. There's more talent in the college game this year since the days of Duke's back-to-back run, the Fab Five, the Unforgettables, Arkansas, et al.

And Manning probably wouldn't redshirt, but he better stay healthy or he might find himself on medical scholarship for the rest of his career.

FE to the C —

We love the Pac-12. They are soooo cute when they try to score.


Well said.

And we love the idea of hiring back the old mascot. Hey, if you're going to make onbe group mad, might as well make them all mad, right.

Kidding, of course.

— 5-at-10

March 12, 2012 at 1:57 p.m.
chas9 said...

5/10--Why I'm smarter than I look:

I figured all season Vandy was the biggest threat to KY. Some thought Florida or Miss. State.

I've been advising a while don't bet on Kansas and they won't be a #1 seed.

Why I'm better looking than I am smart:

I thought this young Kentucky team was too poised to take as many ill-advised shots as they did Sunday.

I thought the SEC would get more teams in The Dance. (But at least we're not the Pac-8/10/12).

Spy--Good post. You're figuring The Kentucky Invitational is a foregone conclusion?

March 12, 2012 at 3:41 p.m.
hcirehttae said...

Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods. Blah blah blah.

Was he the best man at your wedding or something? He's washed up, a has-been, and a sorry human being. Can we move on to real competitors now?

March 12, 2012 at 5:04 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

You get bonus points for the Vandy pick and you were anti-Kansas from the start.

Your Cats are going to have to have answers against a zone — we think they may see one or two from this point forward.

Four seems about right with Miss. State dropping the ball against UGA.

Hcirehttae —

No, Woods was not the best man at our wedding. (But Sweet Buckets of Divorce Papers, can you image the bachelor party Woods would throw? Man, he's a strong No. 2 seed in the "Best Men who would throw the wildest bachelor parties ever" behind Charlie Sheen, Hugh Heffner, Prince and Dennis Rodman. Nevermind, this is so its own entry.)

And while the Tiger love can feel over the top, what do you think the bigger story is: Justin Rose won some tournament that you don't know the name of or the greatest golfer of this generation had to WD with an Achilles' injury that — if serious — would cost him the season and may cost him the Masters either way?

As for the washed up (maybe), has-been (yes, but he could come back) and a sorry human being (no doubt), well, OK, but that still doesn't change the overwhelming story from Doral.

— 5-at-10

March 12, 2012 at 5:31 p.m.
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