published Thursday, March 14th, 2013

5-at-10: UT hoops' do-or-don't Dance, Hot Heat, and dismissed Pope names

We are committed to continuing Wednesday's trend of addressing commentors with an old-school, street gangster nickname. (Side gangster note: The end of Eric Clapton's Layla is on the Rushmore of popular song-movie connections, meaning when we hear the song we instantly think of the movie. Off the top of our heads, we offer Layla-Good Fellas, Lunatic Fringe-Vision Quest, Tiny Dancer-Almost Famous and Eye of the Tiger-Rocky III. Thoughts?)

Two reminders before we get the party started: One, we have a couple of spots open for Friday's mailbag; two, we're planning on Tweeting (@jgreesontfp) throughout the Tennessee-Mississippi State basketball game today. Check it out if you can.

From the Bubble bubble (toil and trouble) inside the "Talks too much" studios, remember the boulevard is not that bad.

Win or go home... for the NIT

We have said since early February, when the University of Tennessee basketball team was 11-10 and staring at a quiet spring, that for the Vols to get into the Dance, it needed to go 8-1 through the rest of the regular season and win two tournament games.

The first tournament game for the Vols (19-11) is today against Mississippi State at 3:30 p.m.

And know this Johnny Vols Fans: A loss today pops the bubble. Period. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

A win today the rest of the afternoon and the weekend about intrigue and scoreboard watching.

To paraphrase Col. Nathan Jessup, "We want the Vols on that bubble-wall, we NEED the Vols on that bubble-wall."

The Vols have a slew o' reasons to be motivated as our UT beat ace Downtown Patrick Brown tells us here. And Boise State's loss early this morning greatly improved the Vols' chance to dance.

Motivated or not. Pretty or not. This is a win-or-make-plans-to-see-an-MTSU-rematch-in-round-1-of-the-NIT game today.

We'll be back later today — and we're planning on Sawwed-Off Stuck to chime in too — with a list of the games of interest for the bubble-watchers.

———

Heat on fire

  • photo
    Miami Heat power forward Chris Bosh dunks against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second half at Game 2 of the NBA finals basketball series, Thursday, June 14, 2012, in Oklahoma City. The Heat won 100-96.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Miami has won 20 straight games. That's big-time.

Want to know when a streak becomes something: When you get up checking to see if the team won or the player got a hit or scored a point to extend the streak. We're there with this Heat bunch. Good times.

This group is playing at an elite level of efficiency and professionalism. And with a cutthroat determination that makes it seem like there are two questions — and two questions only — for these NBA playoffs: Who will face the Heat in the finals and how many games will it last?

Yes, the Pacers and even the Bulls (if Derrick Rose returns) could mount a challenge in the Eastern Conference, but right now the Heat are on a different plane.

And, for the few of us that are at least mildly interested in the NBA, here's a scarier thought about how tough LeBron and Heatles could be? What happens when LeBron starts getting calls the way Jordan did?

LeBron is an 18-wheeler that handles; Jordan was a 7-series BMW that could carry a load. James drives and absorbs punishment; Jordan would drive and if someone even looked hard at him it was two shots.

If there starts to become a James rule, the Heatles could be unstoppable.

———

Wes Welker's middle finger free agency

Bill Belichick does things his way. And his way has proved supremely successful in New England (finding the fifth golden ticket that is Tom Brady certainly helped).

Belichick's way did not include giving slot receiver Wes Welker a big contract. Whatever the reasons, the sides seemed split from the start, and the disconnect was never resolved despite Welker's place in the offense and in Brady's arsenal as an over-the-middle staple.

Hey, in big-boy sports, difficult decisions must be made. And in the NFL, teams frequently are forced to say good-bye to successful players. Often teams are forced to do it one season early because doing it one season late can wreck your salary cap.

So when Belichick and the Patriots opted not to sign Welker, Welker took his talents to the Rockies, signing a two-year, $12-million deal with the Denver Broncos. Yep, after catching a ton of passes from Brady, now Welker will line-up and light-it-up in the slot for none other than the chief Brady-and-Belichick nemesis, Peyton Manning.

Not to be outdone, the Patriots have found who they figure will be Welker's replacement, reportedly agreeing to a deal with Danny Amendola.

And if you think either Welker or the Patriots followed Michael Corleone's motto "this is business not personal, Sonny," well consider the following:

• Welker reportedly had another offer that included more money but decided to sign with Manning and the Broncos, who will visit New England in 2013 and are a legit Super Bowl contender.

• Welker is 5-foot-9 and will be 32 in May. Amendola is 5-11 and will be 28 in November. Each went to Texas Tech. Welker's career numbers are through the roof better than Amendola's, but that's a skewed comparison.

• Just to make sure everyone has hard feelings, the Patriots, who offered Welker a two-year, $10 million deal, gave Amendola a five-year, $31-million contract. And the guaranteed money? Yep, it's the exact $10 million offered to Welker. No, Wes it's not us, it's you.

Here are the two things we believe about the movement: One, the Patriots-Broncos game will be on Sunday Night Football and already checks in as must-see TV; two, a motivated Welker and a motivated Amendola will be fantasy football superstars.

———

This and that

— More free agent fuss: Baltimore released Bernard Pollard, their leading tackler and the guy that made THE HIT on Stevan Ridley that caused a game-changing fumble against New England in the AFC title game. Another big contributor gone from a Ravens frnachise that is now completely built around Joei Flacco and his contract. (Yes, Joei, because there is no 'I' in team but there is in Joei Flacco.)

— Draft results: If Mel Kiper Jr. were to grade the results form last night's T-Ball draft that included the 5-at-10, we're pretty sure we'd fare pretty well. First, we drafted our team names and minor league uniforms and we landed the Durham Bulls. (Whatcha need is a curveball? Huh?... You've been in the majors?) Plus, with limited info on the draft pool, we're sure Kiper would have noticed our value-based trend of drafting kids that know our son and vice versa. We call that system familiarity, and that's our story and we're sticking to it.

— As the Big East tournament is in high gear, news that the Catholic 7 — has nothing to do with the Pope mind you — will add teams in the next 10 days seems somewhat Big sacril-East, huh?

— Go ahead and get on the Seattle Seahawks bandwagon now. They are impossible to beat at home and have added Percy Harvin and Cliff Avril, the fleet-footed former Detroit defensive end who has 39.5 sacks since 2008. Yep, the Seahawks have addressed their two biggest needs with speed and playmakers. Well-played indeed.

———

  • photo
    This April 4, 2005 file photo shows Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Today's question(s)

Feel free to drop some science on any of the above topics.

If you need a talking point, here's a starter:

Congrats to Patty Knuckles and the rest of the Catholics around the globe for picking a new leader. He picked Frances as his papal name, and we're OK with that.

That said, what do you think was the first few Pope names marked off his list? Pope Barkevious I? Pope Da'Rick? The Pope you know better as Joe the Policeman from the 'What's Going Down' episode of "That's My Mama"? Rope-a-Pope? Bubba?

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 ...

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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.
BIspy4 said...

I still say the Pats make a move in the draft to get Ryan Swope out of A&M. Amendola is just window dressing.

And Welker is leaving Brady, whose arm is still intact, for Peyton? Get ready to get underthrown, Wes.

Bernard Pollard is also the cat who shredded T Brady's ACL, leading to Matt Cassel starting and cashing in fat bucks from the Chiefs eventually.

There might not be anything more excruciatingly drawn out as the last two minutes of an NBA regular season game. Let's walk it up, run an isolation play, chuck up a shot and find a way to call one of the 11 timeouts we still have left.

March 14, 2013 at 10:13 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Patty Knuckles —

Like where you're going with Ryan Swope, but we'll do you one better: If the Pats spend one of their 76 stock-piled second-rounders on Da'Rick Rogers, he could be a Hall of Famer catching passes from Brady.

Agree that the slowdown end to NBA games can be painfully slow, which is counter-productive. Yes, slowing it down allows you to set up a play, but slowing it down also allows the defense to get set too. If you have a Durant or a King James or a Kobe — and option that scores consistently — then you can set something up. For the rest of the 75 percent of the league, there are easier shots in transition.

We know you would go with Pope Diddy the First, which we could support. Do you or your brother see a possibility of a Pope Biggie Smalls the First in our lifetime?

March 14, 2013 at 10:24 a.m.
LaughingBoy said...

Quick reply..movie songs-I'm Alright, Kenny Loggins from Caddyshack, Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins from Top Gun, Footloose by Kenny Loggins giving him three. I'll even say his song from Caddyshack 2, the only redeeming quality from that movie, and he had at least one or two secondary songs from a couple of those films. Can You Feel the Love Tonight by Elton John from the Lion King is another and then obvious ones like Ghostbusters, 9 to 5, etc.

I'm liking the Titans moves so far. They could use some help on defense still but they seem to be expecting some of the young talent on that side already there to step up.

March 14, 2013 at 11:16 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Smilin' LB —

Kenny Loggins is the Bo Jackson of the category to be sure.

We left Ghostbusters off because it was obviously made specifically for the movie. The others were songs that movie used and then the connection was formed.

Yes, the Titans are being sound. We have a mailbag about them and will discuss that more tomorrow.

BREAKING NEWS —

Butch Jones and the new Vols football coaches are starting at break-neck speeds on the recruiting trail.

After landing four-star Todd Kelly Jr. on Sunday, five-star running back Jalen Hurd committed to UT this morning.

How good is Hurd, if dude was eligible, he be the starter right now. Seriously. He ran for 394 yards and seven TDs in the state title game for crying out loud. He ran for more than 1,400 yards in the playoffs alone.

Great get for the Vols. Well-played indeed.

March 14, 2013 at 11:51 a.m.
SmilingChuck said...

"Stuck in the Middle with You" — Reservoir Dogs. A cheery movie scene, courtesy of Mr. Blonde.

March 14, 2013 at 11:51 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent (part I)

BUBBLE UPDATE

OK- moved Cincinnati, Villanova, and Colorado into Lock status.

Where are we then? There are 25 teams on the Bubble with 14 open spots.

Here are those teams:

Atlantic Ten- Temple, LaSalle, Massachusetts

ACC- North Carolina State, Virginia, Maryland

Big 12- Oklahoma, Iowa State

Big Ten- Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa

Conference USA- Memphis

Mountain West- Boise State

Pac 12- Oregon, California, Arizona State

SEC- Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Alabama, Arkansas

Southland- Stephen F. Austin

Sun Belt- Middle Tennessee

WCC- Saint Mary's

Memphis, California, Oregon, Missouri, Oklahoma, North Carolina State, and Temple are all in very good shape. Massachusetts, Arkansas, Arizona State, Maryland, Middle Tennessee, and Stephen F. Austin are all in bad shape. Illinois and Minnesota are all in pretty good shape. That leaves Iowa State, Boise State, Tennessee, Kentucky, LaSalle, Virginia, Saint Mary's, Iowa, Ole Miss, and Alabama fighting for five spots if all those teams in good shape are in and the teams in bad shape are out. We'll see how the day develops because this can change rapidly.

March 14, 2013 at 11:57 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent (part II)

BUBBLE SCHEDULE FOR THE DAY 12:00 Minnesota-Illinois

12:30 Iowa State-Oklahoma

2:00 Virginia Tech-North Carolina State

3:00 Arizona State-UCLA

3:30 Mississippi State-Tennessee

7:00 Tulane-Memphis

7:00 Wake Forest- Maryland

7:30 Vanderbilt-Arkansas

9:00 Utah-California

9:00 George Washington-Massachusetts

9:00 Northwestern-Iowa

10:00 Texas A&M-Missouri

11:30 Washington-Oregon

Should be a great day of basketball. Biggest games are early (Minnesota-Illinois, Iowa State-Oklahoma) and late (Utah-California, where a bad loss for the Bears would put them on the Bubble, but a win puts them in more than likely, Northwestern-Iowa, Washington-Oregon, where the Ducks need to avoid the semi-bad loss, not to mention Maryland, Arkansas, and Massachusetts all having to avoid a loss to stay on the Bubble).

That afternoon is a little light, but features the Vols, the most interesting team of note for the TFP readers. So it should be a day full of highs and lows for a lot of teams.

March 14, 2013 at 11:58 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

No love for Madonna's "Crazy For You" from Vision Quest?

I'll also put "The Seeker" from "American Beauty."

No, 5, no Pope Biggie Smalls. There's a better chance for a Pope Tupac - complete with hydraulics on the Popemobile.

March 14, 2013 at 12:09 p.m.
ordinaryguy said...

JG not much to say today other than you had four great pics for your rushmore...fine job...lunatic fringe is classic...funny how tom cochrane tried to become a "hillbilly" singer in the early 90's with the release of his song "life is a highway" the country career did not pan out, but the song made him rich...would a red rider appearance at riverbend not be great?

March 14, 2013 at 12:13 p.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay - Popular songs/movie connections - The End by The Doors at the end of Apocolypse Now, Don't You Forget About Me by Simple Minds at the end of The Breakfast Club, and I Melt With You by Modern English at the end of Valley Girl. As I've said before, I'm older than I look.

March 14, 2013 at 1:11 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Smiling Chuck (because that is an old-school gangster nickname) —

That was on the list of the next four, along with the Breakfast Club mention by Fan the Man.

Stucky 2 times —

Why all the Boise State love from the experts? Of the teams you have fighting for five spots, we'll go with Iowa State, Tennessee, Kentucky, LaSalle and Virginia as of this moment.

We think Minnesota should be in; Illinois too.

OG (because that also works as an old-school gangster nickname) —

Thanks. Red Rider at Riverbend would Red Rock. Even if they only played that one song 8 times it would rock.

Fan the Man —

The End was excellent in Apocolypse Now, but it wasn't the most memorable for us. The choppers with speakers blasting over the waves was pretty powerful. "Smells like Victory."

You can make an argument that Valley Girl may have been the best acting of Nick Cage's career.

We're wiser than we look.

March 14, 2013 at 1:23 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

I Melt with you is now played on Easy Listening 92 in town, we're all older than we think.

5-at-10, Gossett has a game story earlier this week on an area high school pitcher hitting mid 90s, fact or fiction?

March 14, 2013 at 1:27 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

So Georgia Tech was up 15-0 to start the game against BC. The Jackets are now down by 25. BC is on a 75-35 run. Ouchstanding.

March 14, 2013 at 1:53 p.m.
mcpell3 said...

I'll throw out Soul Man for/by The Blue Brothers.

Re: Wrecking tech - is the new Pope pulling strings already?

March 14, 2013 at 2:03 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

sportsfan,

Nice call on Simple Minds. How about Tears for Fears' Everybody Wants to Rule the World at the end of Real Genius?

March 14, 2013 at 2:11 p.m.
jgreeson said...

We're about an hour from tip in the Big Orange and Twitter along. Who's with us?

Smilin' LB —

Ward said he saw 93 on one gun, but we all know not all guns are created equally.

There's something to be said about feeling old when you flip the channel and go from listen to Bon Jovi on the Classic Rock station to George Strait on the Classic Country station. OUCH-standing indeed.

Another one on the almost list — "Feels good to be a Gangster" by Geto Boys in "Office Space"

Patty Knuckles —

Of the loads of stuff we miss from the 1990s, Tech hoops being relevant is on the list.

Big Mac —

We say Blues Brothers, and the host of songs that are possible — Stand by Your Man (What kind of music do you have here? We have both kinds — Country AND Western), R-E-S-P-E-C-T, great turns by James Brown and Ray Charles. Cab Calloway's Minnie the Moucher. Blues Brothers is supremely underrated, you know it?

And pulling strings is better than pulling hamstrings.

Think about that.

March 14, 2013 at 2:16 p.m.
chas9 said...

How about "Born to be Wild" from "Easy Rider," "Bolero" from "10," and "Back Door Man" from "The Doors"?

As we go into the season of March Madness, CBS Sports has seeded all 74 of the tournament's historical champs in the usual bracket format, with just a few extra play-in games.

All-time #1 seeds are '72 UCLA, '63 Loyola (Chicago), '56 San Francisco and '48 Kentucky.

Neither of Florida's championship teams got much respect. Arkansas' 1994 team earned a #3 seed.

Of UK's seven other championship teams, the 2012 team and the 1996 team got #2 seeds and '78 KY was a #3 seed.

No other SEC team has a ring. Not even the Ernie and Bernie show.

I don't remember the Loyola (Chicago) team. Spy, what was the world like back in 1963? What about you, sportsfan?

I'll have a Big Orange. Hold the Twitter.

March 14, 2013 at 2:31 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

5, when I hear Tiny Dancer, I still think of the WKRP in Cincinnati episode with the Russian dude and Bailey.

March 14, 2013 at 2:32 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Chuckie 9-ball —

Orange Whip? Orange Whip? Three Orange Whips.

Have a hard time looking at those non-UCLA No. 1 seeds and believing the 1991-92 Duke squad or the 76 Indiana or the Florida repeat champs were not better. San Fran was Bill Russell and a couple of CPAs. What about the 1990 UNLV bunch that had four first rounders and a second-rounder in the starting five?

Patty Knuckles

Loni Anderson or Bailey is a much better question than Mary Ann or Ginger?

Discuss.

T-minus 45 minutes to the Twitter Blizzard.

March 14, 2013 at 2:47 p.m.
mcpell3 said...

"Loni Anderson or Bailey is a much better question than Mary Ann or Ginger?" - wow! just went on a brain lockdown with that. 5, that will take many adult beverages to solve.

March 14, 2013 at 3:01 p.m.
chas9 said...

JJ--Comparing teams from different eras is a fool's errand. I guess you have to look at how much a team dominated others in its time. None of the old-time teams could stay on the court with any of the recent teams.

Speaking of brackets, somebody's bracketed all-time sit-coms and they claim the final four is Cheers, The Simpsons, Roseanne, and Friends. In my humble opinion, WKRP is better than three of those.

And the burning question is: Loni or Adrienne Barbeau?

March 14, 2013 at 3:01 p.m.
chas9 said...

Cee-Lo is no Little Richard. Or B. B. King. Or even in the top 1,000 of performers who have played Chattaboogie.

March 14, 2013 at 3:05 p.m.
fechancellor said...

Why is it necessary to choose between Baily and Jennifer?

Ten Ring, The Doors, "The End" Apocalypse Now. Goodfellows, lots to like musically, but I'm going with the the Stones "Monkey Man."

The Big Chill! Pick any song on the sound track and you have a winner.

March 14, 2013 at 3:14 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Big Mac —

As Otter told Flunder, "Our advice to you is to start drinking heavily."

That's a plan to live by.

Chuckie 9-Ball —

Fair enough about comparing eras. Still, those are some weird choices. Would you say the Walton-led Bruins were better than the Alcinder-led Bruins?

And who is the FOOL that has Roseanne and Friends in a comedy Final Four? Sweet Buckets of day-time drunks and night-time nincompoops that is criminal. Rosanne? ROSANNE? That's re-DONK-ulous.

March 14, 2013 at 3:15 p.m.
jgreeson said...

FE toothpicks —

Big Chill is in the Soundtrack Hall of Fame, and the funeral scene where Jo Beth Williams starts the Stones' classic "Can't Always Get What You Want" makes a strong case to be on this Rushmore.

Well-played sit, well-played indeed.

The Vols and the Bulldogs are warming up.

Down goes Georgia. And with the way Jimmy Dykes has started his free throw critiques, up comes lunch.

Join us on the Twitter @jgreesontfp where we've asked for UT's MVP and how many "dirty baskets" Jimmy Dykes will discuss.

March 14, 2013 at 3:19 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

For the music-movie connection, I like Bob Dylan's "The Man in Me" from "The Big Lebowski".

One question concerning Wes Welker: Are the Broncos paying him more than the folks at Depends undergarment company? Professional athletes doing commercials is nothing new. However, to convince an active NFL player to run curl routes while wearing adult diapers I'm thinking the marketing guys at Depends had to drop some serious coin.

March 14, 2013 at 3:23 p.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

Bad early bubble news for the Vols/Cats. Iowa State was closer to the bubble than Oklahoma. Now the Cyclones, thanks to a late run, have beaten the Sooners, and they are probably in now. At the beginning of the day, they were one of the ten fighting for five. It's probably down to nine fighting for four now- and that assumes no bid thieves, and no late runs from UMass, Arkansas, Arizona State, Maryland, and that the committee doesn't take pity on Middle Tennessee and Stephen F. Austin (if SFA doesn't win the Southland Tournament- which let's hope they do because it would be good for the tournament if they did).

March 14, 2013 at 3:29 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Mr. Dawg (As in Mr. Wolf in Pulp Fiction) —

Great call.

Which is worse: A current NFL player doing the Depends commerical like Welker or a former two-time Super Bowl champ like Jimmy Johnson doing the erectile trouble pills commercial?

Irwin M. Fletcher, you choose.

March 14, 2013 at 3:31 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

Jay, those Jimmy Johnson for Extenze spots are something I have been trying to un-see since they started airing. You just can't unring that bell. C'mon Jimmy, your hair is big and hard...Now you're just getting greedy!

In related news: Did you see where a guy in Farragut pulled an armed robbery at a drug store demanding Viagra and pain killers? Somebody had big weekend plans.

March 14, 2013 at 3:52 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

Anything by the Bee Gees reminds me of Saturday Night Fever. It doesn't have to be in the actual movie.

Welker doing depends is worse because he's still on the field to catch grief about it.

Valley Girl was mentioned..interesting quick story-I ran into actress Deborah Foreman from the movie 15 years ago at an airport. During a delay she pretty much related the fact Hollywood and its underbelly are as bad as could be imagined-drugs, casting couches for both females and males, crime influences, and more. Getting out completely was the best thing she ever did with her life, she said. She went on the make a few more movies after Valley Girl like My Chauffeur and April Fool's Day, some of my favorites in that time frame (84 to 86)

March 14, 2013 at 3:53 p.m.
chas9 said...

How about "I've Got You, Babe" from "Groundhog Day"? And "Stand by Me" from the movie of the same name?

Stuck--I don't reckon the bracketologists or proctologists agree with me, but after their loss today, I'd disinvite the Golden Gophers and make room for UT and UK. In fact, I'd disqualify any team with a losing conference record.

G-Dawg--He who steals my purse steals trash. He who goes for my Viagra's got a fight on his hands. Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

March 14, 2013 at 4:08 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Mr. Dawg —

The big and hard hair line made us Guffaw. Well-played indeed.

As for the Farragut guy, if he was successful on his first attempt, here's saying he had to knock-off another CVS for some "protection."

Smilin' LB —

Agree about Welker. Locker rooms can be tough crowds.

Here's saying multiple teammates made reference to Welker's dependable hands matching his dependable underbritches.

March 14, 2013 at 4:11 p.m.
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