published Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

5-at-10: NCAA hoops, Mocs spring primer, and the Braves report

From the "Talks too much" studios — and with an eye on the proposed Dukes of Hazzard reunion, let's put the pedal to the metal.

NCAA hoops

With less than two weeks until selection Sunday, here's what we know:

• Chas9 and Stuck have been telling us this for a while, but the Big Ten is flat nasty when it comes to hoops. THE Ohio State went to Indiana and won last night and looked great on each end doing it. Not unlike the SEC in football, in this year's Big Ten, the basketball — actual playing and passing and execution of the game — is several steps ahead of the rest of the country. Depending on the draw, we're picking three Big Ten teams to get to the Final Four because Indiana, THE Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin and even Minnesota have the weapons to get there. (Side note about THE Ohio State: Aaron Craft is a bulldog defender and rock solid point guard. We can see why Bruce Pearl had the Bar-B-Q for Craft. And how good would this Vols bunch be with Craft running the point? Wow.)

• Tennessee goes to Auburn tonight in a game that is an absolute must-win for UT. If Auburn, which is dreadful and has a BPI of 186 — four spots ahead of Elon and five spots back of UNC-Asheville — wins the only way the Vols get to the NCAAs is by winning the SEC tournament.

• As the craziness mounts, and we're expecting another Bubble Bible from Stuck tomorrow, one of our favorite things about the race to the bubble is the ripple effects. Know this: Johnny Vols Fans have to have a win tonight. We've covered that. They also have vested interest in other games involving teams floating on the bubble's periphery.

• The trudge in the mud sludge while eating fudge (Hey, it's Cat in the Hat week at preschool, role with it) that is the end to the SEC season had a couple of teams fall to the way side Tuesday. Alabama lost at Ole Miss and Arkansas got blown out at Missouri. If the SEC is lucky enough to get four bids, well, we know Florida will be a top-3 seed. Missouri looks to be the second choice. Then there's Kentucky, Ole Miss and Tennessee in some order playing for at most two spots.

• Duke looks the part with Ryan Kelly back on the floor.

• Our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer, who is a college basketball junkie for what that's worth, hits an NCAA tournament homer with today's column.

• Thoughts?

——————

Mocs spring primer

We have been committed to tossing around three questions about the spring football drills of the Bulldogs, Mocs and Vols this week with our ace beat aces. Yesterday, David Paschall hit us with the 4-1-1 about the spring drills in Athens.

Today, our man Johnny Frierson/Ned Ryerson answers some of your questions about the Mocs. Side note: We had a few more than three, so maybe we'll revisit this when they get close to starting. Also, we're going to do UT tomorrow, so if you have a question for Downtown Patrick Brown, pass it along. And we're going to do the rest of the SEC next week with Paschall and the TFP Sports Editor (Goofball). Let's share some knowledge:

From the ever-estimable Johnny Frierson esquire:

Who is the frontrunner right now to become the other starting LB alongside Wes Dothard and Gunner Miller?

There’s no sure-fire player with experience to plug into the lineup, like UTC had last season with Shane Heatherly. A name to watch out for, one that’s rather hard to spell, is Nakevion Leslie.

He redshirted last season as a freshman and is now bigger than the 5-foot-11, 205 pounds he’s listed at in the media guide. A defensive back in high school (Hillgrove HS, near Atlanta), Leslie could be the weakside guy to beat.

Who's going to run the ball? Strike that, who's going to get the most time at running back?

  • photo
    UTC quarterback Jacob Huesman removes his helmet between plays during a practice at Scrappy Moore Field in Chattanooga.
    Photo by Staff File Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Quarterback Jacob Huesman led the Mocs with 904 rushing yards on 195 carries last season. Fellow redshirt freshman Kenny Huitt was second on the team with 288 yards on 57 carries. Huitt’s stock got higher and higher as the 2012 season progressed and he may be the frontrunner at tailback heading into spring practice. Another back to watch is Tolerance Shepherd, who redshirted last season.

With that many starters back, what's the biggest concern on a defense that should be the SoCon's best?

I don’t know that there’s an area of concern, though UTC needs to give up fewer first downs and touchdowns in the fourth quarter. UTC returns loads of talent but lost coordinator Adam Fuller, promoting safeties coach Adam Braithwaite to DC and hiring former Moc Rusty Wright to coach the linebackers. Change can be a concern when things have been going well, but I doubt UTC will miss a step defensively. A team with Davis Tull, D.J. Key, Kadeem Wise, Derrick Lott, Dothard, Miller and others will have to get in their own way to not be successful.

————

Braves spring report

Your Atlanta Braves are toiling away at Walt Disney World, working to find their midseason form as soon as possible in spring training.

Considering the MONDO disappointment Dan Uggla has been since joining the Braves, he has found his midseason slump just 12 games into the exhibition season.

We have said for years to never get too emotional about spring stats.

The good numbers — like Joey Terdoslavich hitting .579 in 12 games — are most often a mirage. Normally those lofty stats are the product of guys pounding pitchers who will be bagging groceries in a couple of months. Remember two things: Joey Terdoslavich is the baseball-name version of Barkevious Mingo; and Joey T. wears No. 73, and there are not many everyday players wearing No. 73. That's not a coincidence.

The bad numbers — like Jason Heyward's .217 average — can also be explained away. Guys are working on different things, and for Heyward it may trying to drive the ball more, considering he has three home runs in his five hits.

The two stats to give pause are strike outs for hitters and walks for pitchers. Sure it's early and guys find their stride at different times. But sweet and sour chicken, Dan Uggla has fanned 12 times in 23 at-bats. We're going to keep an eye on this for the next few days.

We're not encouraged by a strikeout-rate of better than 50 percent.

————

This and that

— On the Yahoo! scroll this morning there was "Steven Tyler Act passes" and that's it. Unless you familiar with the in-state legislation in Hawaii, you may not be familiar with the Steven Tyler Act. We weren't. Anyhoo, there would be so many ways to define the "Steven Tyler Act." It could make it against Hawaii law for 70-plus-year-old men to dress like a high school girl. It could set a state limit how much collagen a person could have injected into their lips. (Although to be fair that would be the Meg Ryan Act.) It could cap the amount of make-up and eye-liner a grandfather can wear. It actually is designed to protect celebrities from overzealous paparazzi, which was kind of disappointing in the end. So it goes.

— Couple of smaller-school names to watch in the days leading up to the draft: Peter Lalich, the former UVa, Oregon State and Indiana University of Pennsylvania quarterback who is profiled here, and Terrell Sinkfield, the former Northern Iowa receiver who clocked a Smokey-and-the-Bandit fast 4.19 time in the 40-yard dash. (Yes, the details are sketchy, but 4.19 unofficial is at worst 4.3, and while not Bandit fast, that's still picking them up and putting them down. East-bound and down, in fact, loaded up and truckin'.)

— Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner was granted a fifth year of eligibility by the NCAA. That's good news for Johnny Wolverines Fans.

— We're planning on swinging by SportTalk on 102.3 FM with Quake and Cowboy this afternoon around 4:30ish. We've had some fun sitting in with the gang while Dr. B — he's a doctor after all — has been on vacation.

Today's question(s)

Remember the Friday mailbag. Remember that if you want to ask Downtown Patrick Brown a question about the Vols spring drills, get it in today.

As always, feel free to toss out a topic du jour (topic of the day... sounds good).

If you need a talking point, here are a few:

  • Watched the 1982 Iron Bowl last night — Bo over the top — and was stunned by two things. First, that 23-22 Auburn win was the only time Bear Bryant lost three consecutive games at Alabama. Second, the advances in graphics and coverage in the TV viewing experience are mind-blowing, but the announcing is actually worse today. Keith Jackson and Frank Broyles did that game for ABC in 1982 and slayed it. So it goes.

  • With 11 days until the selection, who are your 1 seeds?

  • The Duke of Hazzard, the iconic TV show that gave us Bo and Luke, Dasiy Dukes, the General Lee and all the rest, is planning a reunion in Georgia. The organizers said they have sold tickets to people in all 50 states and nine countries. They want it to be a country Woodstock. How about a Redneckapalooza? Now that Dallas is back on the air and The Duke may get the gang back together, what TV show needs to be revived? We'll start with Cheers 2.0. Whatcha' got?

  • SI ranked the 50 most powerful people in sports. Goodell was No. 1. SEC commissioner Mike Slive was the top college administrator. There were a ton of TV people too.

Discuss. And enjoy.

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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ordinaryguy said...

JG - Keith and Frank were college football...back in the day when ABC was you only choice to watch other than New Years Day...you are spot on they the kings of college football although back in the day when CBS had the Cotton Bowl with Lindsey Nelson that was good also...Looking very forward to Mocs football my observation is that the defense is plug in a player as it has become solid with lots of depth...In case you did not know this is second season for the revived Dallas, and the move from Thursday to Monday has cut ratings having to go up against the WWE juggernaut...there have been Dukes reunions before but not on this scale, then again was not a fan of the show but I hope all that attend have a great time...a Cheers reunion would not be too bad...but the Dick Van Dyke Show would top my list three of the main characters are still alive, then an NYPD Blue, followed by (don't laugh) The Partridge Family which would be a hoot with all the real life cast members sans Shirley Jones being total wack jobs...the 50 most powerful shocked me due to the number of agents and equipment companies...

March 6, 2013 at 10:28 a.m.
chas9 said...

Bring back The Bob Newhart Show. Or Newhart. Or Bob. Or Bob, v. 2.0.

What's the World Baseball Classic, and why should we care?

Yes, thanks to Weeds for his roundball insights. How bad are The Plainsmen-tigers? Auburn has lost 13 of its last 14 games, the program's worst stretch since 1947. Even Spy wasn't born in 1947.

After seeing The Hogs manhandle The Cats Saturday, it's shocking to see how badly Mizzou beat 'em up. Jay and others have noted how many teams smell like roses at home and beer flatulence on the road, and Arkansas is the phenomenon's exhibit A.

I'm not as worried by UK's weak game as The Goofball thinks I should be, because only Syracuse has won in Fayetteville this year. The Razorbacks got home W's over Florida, Oklahoma and Missouri, too, and stand 17-1 at home. They are 1-11 when not at home, including a 21-point stinker at SC, which lost to Sir Charles' alma mater.

March 6, 2013 at 10:51 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Loved the Mocs report even though none of my questions were answered specifically. But that's okay.

Didn't really think about the fact Dallas 2.0 was going up against WWE as I only watch that when nothing else is on and I need something to watch while eating and not having to think. On that note, I would be somewhat against a revival of the Dukes on the account the show would not be the same without Denver Pyle. When they made the first post-Dukes movie, Reunion, they knew Denver, like JR, was on borrowed time and they either needed to make it now or never. The second one stunk. While the new Dallas I believe will carry on for a couple of years, if at best at that, without some of the key players involved, it's not completely the same. Just my opinion mind you.

Longshot here, but with the success of "Arrow" on the CW (because they actually "got it" and "did it right") I was thinking of a possible "Batman Begins" live action show with Adam West playing old Bruce Wayne and the actor who plays "R" in Warm Bodies as Terry McGinnis, the new Batman. But not campy. Same style as Arrow.

I wouldn't mind seeing perhaps a revival of "Night Court". It would probably best fair on TBS.

March 6, 2013 at 12:02 p.m.
chas9 said...

Speaking of when sports was all ABC or CBS or ESPN, didja see that Rupert Murdock is taking on The Bigs with a new FOX Sports 1?

March 6, 2013 at 12:07 p.m.
ordinaryguy said...

JMC...sad but true JR's demise faced off against the WWE again this week and was piledriven into submission...sad but true...WWE was watched by approximate 5 million versus Dallas and its 2.7 million households...It was not a very smart decision by the folks at TNT...chas would love to see a Newhart reunion but would just not be the same without the sultry Suzanne Pleshette...who ironically was married to Tom Poston (from the second bob show) when she passed...GO MOCS

March 6, 2013 at 12:16 p.m.
chas9 said...

You're right about missing Ms. Fleshette. What's Poston got that I don't have?

March 6, 2013 at 12:24 p.m.
ordinaryguy said...

LOL...as a young teenager during the original airings of The Bob Newhart Show, Ms Fleshette was every bit the knockout hubba hubba

March 6, 2013 at 12:35 p.m.
chas9 said...

It's Heels vs. Terps in a death match. Maryland is one of Jerry Palm's first four out, along with Bama and Ole Miss. He's got UT and UK among last four in. This year it's the Suck-E-C.

But at the tourney, the Nashville Cats will paint the arena blue.

March 6, 2013 at 1:34 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

I thought we had already that Trailerstock with the Redneck Games in Dublin. Which, I believe, they are not having this year.

March 6, 2013 at 1:54 p.m.
jgreeson said...

OG —

WWE was the longtime cable ratings champ until ESPN got big-boy bowl games and Monday Night Football. That said, Nielsen ratings are virtually meaningless today because of the number of folks who OnDemand and DVR.

We've watched Dallas from the start last year and really enjoy it.

Tom Poston? Wow. Well-played, Tom, well-played indeed.

The Partridge Family? They could have a reunion on Celebrity ReHab.

9er —

We'll keep an eye peeled on the Heels-Terps for sure.

And we hear the TFP Sports Editor prefers Mr. Goofball if you please.

JMC —

The questions for the beat guys has generated a nice response. We'll revisit that mid-way through the spring, and we'll reserve a spot for you. Deal? Deal.

And Night Court was a vastly underrated show. And Markie Post also was extremely underrated. How did she not do anything after Night Court?

Spy —

The have bagged the Redneck Games. So it goes.

With Duck Dynasty, Honey Boo Boo and all the rest, we can't have any redneck activity unless it's on the TV and someone's making seven figures. Alas.

March 6, 2013 at 3:04 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

"And Night Court was a vastly underrated show. And Markie Post also was extremely underrated. How did she not do anything after Night Court?"

I found out recently she has been doing animated voiceovers for some of the newer Transformer cartoon series that air on speciality channels like The Hub which my current basic cable package built into my apartment lease does not carry. It may not be your cup of tea but it is something.

March 6, 2013 at 3:54 p.m.
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