published Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

5-at-10: Jumping through hoops, Selection committee laments, Heat stay hot

Gang, remember our college basketball contest — First 1 out, last dog in. Pick the first No. 1 seed to lose and the double-digit seed that sticks around the longest. We need your entry by noon on Thursday. Easy, peasy, lemon-squeezey. It don't cost nothing and you could win stuff.

From the "Talks too much" studios,

  • photo
    San Francisco's Frank Rogers, left, and Mark Tollefsen defend against Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk (13) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in San Francisco.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Bubble watch

Hey, the bubbling emotions of the Bubble Watch and Selection Sunday have faded somewhat. Those that were left out and those that were seeded too high or too low, well, it's all history now, just like that $5 you floated on your office pool with Gonzaga in the Final Four. (C'mon, really? You bought into the hype right?)

OK, the debate and the difference between who is No. 68 and whether they are better than No. 69 was more passionate around these parts because your Tennessee Vols were likely No. 69.

The argument that we should analyze a little deeper is the Gonzaga as the fourth No. 1 seed over power conference powers such as Miami, Duke and Ohio State. And while each of those teams are in the Dance, let's flip the process to the football championship selection that will take place after the 2014 season.

Oh, yes, that got your attention, right? Now flip Gonzaga for Boise State and ponder that puppy.

In general terms, the No. 1 seeds are the best team from the best conference (Indiana), the hottest team in the country that also is the champ of the second-best conference (Louisville), the champ of the next-best big-boy conference (Kansas) and everyone's lovable mid-major who thumped a blah league (Gonzaga).

By that logic and the acknowledged basis that the football selection committee is going to lean toward conference champs with only one for sure spot reserved for at large teams, the four teams in the BCS most likely would have been No. 1 Notre Dame, No. 2 Alabama, No. 5 Kansas State and No. 6 Stanford. The rest of the SEC — which had four other teams in the top 10 — would be blanked.

And last year was not complicated by the presence of Boise State getting fat on a soft conference schedule. (We're also going to have to get ready for the duplicitous debate how the SEC teams do not play any non-conference football road games, but you can't hold Boise State's conference against them. OK, right.)

So if you think the BCS politicking is over-the-top now, wait until there are only four spots total, and really only one at-large spot.

And since there is but one at-large spot, Boise State (weak conference) and Notre Dame (no conference) will be the chief competition against the second-best SEC team for that coveted — and lucrative — at-large bid.

Here's saying the football four will be eight sooner rather than later.

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    Louisville's Russ Smith (2), Gorgui Dieng (10) and Luke Hancock, center, celebrate Saturday with the team after their 78-61 win over Syracuse in an NCAA college basketball championship game at the Big East Conference tournament in New York.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NCAA tournament picks`

We started looking at our bracket yesterday. Here's what we got (with our view and the view of our 5-year-old son, Lil' 5er, whose sheet finished fourth last year):

Title game

5-at-10: Louisville-Ohio State

Louisville guards like no one else in the field and Russ Smith and Peyton Siva make for the best backcourt in the country. Aaron Craft is arguably the toughest player in the country.

Lil' 5er recap: Louisville-Indiana

Yes, that's a lot of chalk and two No. 1 seeds has only happened six times since the seeding began in 1979, but my favorite toy as a baby was a red bird. We used to have an IU bib (a gift from UTC hoops ace David Uchiyama). Coincidence? I think not.

Biggest first-round upset

5-at-10: Davidson over Marquette

Marquette is very physical and has size, but Davidson is hardly a new-to-the-party player in this mess.

Lil' 5-at-10: Florida Gulf Coast

I love Florida. There's a lot of great mini-golf there.

Favorite 12 seed (because let's face it, a 12-seed always wins)

5-at-10: Oregon

Wow, the Ducks could really be as high as a 6 seed considering their struggles were because of injuries and now they are healthy. Oklahoma State is tough, and Oregon turns it over a little too much, but still, the Ducks can guard and rebound.

Lil' 5-at-10: Ole Miss

You gotta love Marshall Henderson. He's the only player in the field that acts like a bigger baby than my little sister.

First-round game that will stop everyone in the office to watch the TV above our desk

5-at-10: No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast is going to scare the Hoya our of Georgetown.

Lil' 5-at-10: Whoever plays Kansas first. Kansas always struggles. Always. Rock, Chalk,... hey I like chalk. Nevermind.

————

  • photo
    Miami Dolphins' Paul Soliai (96) applies pressure to Buffalo Bills quarterback Rayn Fitzpatrick (14) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in Miami. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Wake-up call

OK, it was not that long ago that Ryan Fitzpatrick was viewed as a franchise quarterback. While that may seem like a stretch, he was at least paid franchise-guy coin and the Buffalo Bills chose to give him a big extension and use the No. 3 pick in the 2011 on defensive lineman Marcel Dareus rather than quarterbacks Jake Locker, Christian Ponder or Andy Dalton — each of whom is now an NFL starter.

Well, fast forward to Monday, and Fitzpatrick was signed by the Tennessee Titans to be Locker's back-up, replacing veteran journeyman Matt Hasselbeck.

This message seems clear that now is the time for Locker to grab the steering wheel.

Fitzpatrick is 30, and threw for at least 3,000 yards and 23 TDs in each of the last three years. Locker will be 25 in June and played in 11 games last year, throwing for 2,176 yards with 10 TDs and 11 interceptions.

More importantly, each player is signed through the 2014 season — Fitzpatrick signed a two-year deal Monday; Locker's rookie deal was for four years. Yep, the future is now for the QB of the future for the Titans. Whether it's the veteran or the former first-rounder, well, that's up to those guys.

————

This and that

— Congrats to the UTC Lady Mocs for getting an 11-seed. We had hoped they would have been placed a little closer than College Station, Texas, but here's saying that JMC likley did a good-sized fist pump since he can drive 90 minutes or so and watch Wes Moore's bunch against Nebraska. Congrats also to the Lady Vols for getting a No. 2 seed (condolences for being in Baylor's bracket, however — OUCH-standing).

— The NFL is looking to change its rules. Under the banner of increased safety, the NFL is proposing that it become a 15-yard penalty for running backs to lower their heads into contact once they get 3 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Not sure how we feel about this, but we feel like the constant rule changes eventually are going to change the game. Somehow this feels like the high-water-mark of football, no?

— Interesting story on Yahoo!Sports http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/highschool-prep-rally/manny-ramirez-jr-looks-lot-dad-leading-img-171900655.html about Manny Ramirez Jr., a slugging outfielder that looks like just his old-man. If he does something goofy, do people shrug and say, "Ah, it's just lil Manny being a little Manny."

———

Today's question

We're here. It's all happening.

OK, let's open this for the masses, and MCA, get on the mic my man.

Feel free to freestyle as freely as your style will allow.

If you need a starting point, we offer this. We're here: We're at the point that LeBron is the biggest star in sports. He is must-watch TV. Period.

We'll go one step further, and hey, it's been a while since we've heard from JordanRules, so we'll offer this question for any and all:

If there was an all-time NBA draft, guys around which you could build your franchise, we have LeBron No. 2 on the draft board behind Jordan. And the gap is a lot closer than most are willing to admit. Know this, to win their 23rd consecutive game, LeBron went for 37 points, eight boards and 12 assists at Boston, and his biggest contribution was switching to shut down Jeff Green in the fourth quarter as the Heat completed the comeback.

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.
ordinaryguy said...

I actually watched the last two minutes of the Heat and Celtics last night...I for one am part of the majority of people who are not enamoured with the NBA (Neverending Basketball Association)as is evidenced by the tv ratings with saturation coverage it never makes a dent in the cable ratings...As far as Lebron being the biggest star in sports that is good argument, I think the casual sports fan will still say Tiger, and should he win in Augusta King James can go sit his butt down for a few more years...For all his pecadilloes, Tiger has a personality that most find far more friendly than Lebron...perhaps it is my age but I do not have a man crush on James like most basketball fans have...I tend to agree with Bob Ryan, one of the most respected journalists in sports who in a recent conversation said that if he could pick one player to win a game or series, the man who saw Russell and Bird day in day out, stated he would take a healthy Bill Walton over ANYONE...As for me, If push came to shove I would take the man who INVENTED showtime on the court: Pete Maravich...who truly deserved a better NBA fate than he was given (the crappy Hawks and New Orleans Jazz)for most of his career.

March 19, 2013 at 10:20 a.m.
chas9 said...

5'll get you 10--Props for calling the Lady Mocs 11 seed. May they live long and prosper.

Yes, it sux being bracketed with Baylor. The 2 seed Lady Cats have a better chance of getting by UConn. But let's face it. We know who's bringing home that trophy.

The men's side is less obvious, but in spite of the crazy season, I'll take Louisville, IU, Kansas and Ohio State and you can have the rest. All season I've thought The Zig-zags were ranked a bit too high. But it's always good to have a long-haired hippie or two in the tourney.

March 19, 2013 at 10:24 a.m.
mcpell3 said...

5/10 - I agree with Chas good call on the Lady Mocs. I'm glad to see they get some respect. For the contest I'll take Indiana & Ole Miss.

March 19, 2013 at 10:29 a.m.
jomo11 said...

Saw a great tweet from this weekend, after Ole Miss won Saturday "with 14 hours til Sunday's game, Marshall Henderson, in Nashville on St. Paddy's day/night, what could possibly go wrong ?"

Here are my top 5 coaches in sports who look miserable on the sidelines and seem to have NO joy on game day, whay do they coach ? If your that miserable, do something else 1. Tom Coughlin NY Giants 2. Bo Ryan Wisconsin 3. Nick Saban Alabama 4. Bo Pellini Nebraska 5. Bill Belichick New England

March 19, 2013 at 10:32 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

5, I don't know about Ryan Fitzpatrick ever being considered a franchise quarterback. I mean, I know it wasn't much of a franchise but I think that might be stretching it.

I actually watched most of the second half of the Heat-Cs last night and for once, the NBA staged an entertaining and compelling game. Guys made shots, guys took good shots, found open teammates to make passes to, played defense, you know, like the game is supposed to be played. Thought the Celtics and Doc Rivers (a vastly underrated coach) would have had a better end of game sequence. Alas.

Frankly, the biggest star in sports might be Lionel Messi.

March 19, 2013 at 10:34 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Ten Ring,

Not to cyber-smack you behind the noggin but....

You might want to pull up "Mapquest" and under driving directions type in simply "Dallas, Texas" in column A and "College Station, Texas" in column B.

It is exactly three hours on I-45.

Learning the news after coming back from a not-so fun open mic (new material needs work badly AND never eat both cheese sticks and buffelo wings before a set), I toyed with the idea and scrapped it when considering travel time, gas costs, hotel and tickets. Basically the full live experience would probably come close to $600-$800 of which I literally do not have. Plus, I'm dealing with everything from apartment issues to career issues to lord knows what else might be coming down the pike. That said, whether the game is televised on the Deuce or online on the Trey, I will be watching.

And then afterwards emailing Larry the Cable Guy and rubbing the pending victory in his face. :P Git R Done? Done!

March 19, 2013 at 10:40 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Same with Jammer if anyone has his contact info.

March 19, 2013 at 10:42 a.m.
chas9 said...

OG--NBA=Nobody Bothers Anymore. But I'd root for the Celtics if I bothered.

Did you hear that Tiger's helping Lindsey rehab her knee?

March 19, 2013 at 10:56 a.m.
HardCopy said...

Love the column, but Ohio St/Louisville isn't possible as a national title game matchup. Potential Final Four game, but not the natty.

March 19, 2013 at 11:21 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Anybody see the clip of the Huntsville TV gal reading her own marriage proposal on air? She used to be on in Chattavegas?

March 19, 2013 at 11:25 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

BTW Jay, I was smiling as I was writing all that. :P

March 19, 2013 at 11:28 a.m.
Stewwie said...

[We're here: We're at the point that LeBron is the biggest star in sports. He is must-watch TV. Period.]

I believe you are correct. Love him or hate him, he is indeed must-see TV. I watched the entire game last night and it was a good one. I am not a fan of anything Boston-related but I found myself pulling for the Celts to end the streak. Jeff Green played awesome...don't know why Doc waited so long to get him back in the game in the 4th. But now the Heat streak is still alive...now can they catch the '72 Lakers?

[For all his pecadilloes, Tiger has a personality that most find far more friendly than Lebron...perhaps it is my age but I do not have a man crush on James like most basketball fans have.]

OG, I am as critical about LeBron as the next guy, but I hardly think that Tiger is "far more friendly" than LeBron. If anything, LeBron isn't mean/tough enough. Here's a question...who has ESPN given more excessive coverage to over the years...Tiger or LeBron? That one is a close call.

March 19, 2013 at 11:55 a.m.
chas9 said...

Biff--I love Death of a Salesman. Wondering if, like the jerk in the play, you played the game without a helmet?

HC--Cut Jay a break. He's been busy.

Jay--Who's on your T-ball fantasy team?

I'm picking UK by double digits tonight. If Harrow pulls his head out of whatever dark place it's been in.

Like UL and The Buckeyes, The Vols and The Cats can't meet in the championship game, but I hope they get to play in the semis. I'd have to pick the guys in orange if the farm was riding on it.

The most famous coach who never smiled was Tommy Landry. He didn't grimace, just held a poker face.

March 19, 2013 at 11:56 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

chase wrote:

"The most famous coach who never smiled was Tommy Landry. He didn't grimace, just held a poker face."

Truth.

March 19, 2013 at 12:01 p.m.
ordinaryguy said...

Stewie you make a valid point I reference Tiger after the win at Doral when he mentioned the help he received from Steve Sticker who Tiger called "the greatest putter alive" the diffrence in Tiger and Lebron is there is some HUMILITY with he of the Sunday red shirt...I am so sick of the media rump kissing of Lebron I believe it is creating a big backlash...After seeing a SI cover devoted to Jordan's 50th birthday I cancelled my subscription...Perhaps they will do a cover for Lebron when he gets a cold...

March 19, 2013 at 12:08 p.m.
jgreeson said...

OG —

If any one thinks Tiger is a better guy than LeBron, please tell them they are mistaken. LeBron, by all accounts, is a good guy that not that long ago was viewed may be even too nice to reach his potential.

Tiger and Jordan have a lot in common more in common than just Nike making them billionaires.

9er —

Wonder how long Tiger and the recently divorced skier have been rehabbing together?

McPell —

Thanks and you are in.

Jomo —

That is an excellent top 5. Can we steal that for the mailbag, even though you gave us your answer.

Spy —

Agree about last night's NBA affair, and in truth, for the first time that we can recall, we'd rather watch a selected NBA game — Heat, Thunder, Spurs, etc.— than any non-Madness college hoops contest.

And Messi is likely the right answer on the global stage.

JMC —

We're good with that.

And great call on the Jammer — can remember him sending us some pro-Nebraska e-mail back in the day.

HardCopy —

Thanks for stopping by and feel to chime in anytime — don't cost nothing.

Alas, wish we were clever enough to say — well we think that semifinal will be the "REAL" title game — but no. Just mis-read the bracket in too big a hurry this morning.

Sadly, it's hard not to think IU-Louisville are headed for the big one.

One more category:

Biggest bracket buster in each direction: Michigan. We could see the Wolverines going to the Final Four or getting bounced in round 1.

— 5-at-10

March 19, 2013 at 12:11 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Stewwie —

We'll take that question and say Tiger because he has been in our eye since 1997 and maybe even before that.

But your question will serve as the basis for tomorrow's question. Well-played sire, well-played indeed.

9er —

Great call on Landry.

Also, not sure if Bear Bryant even had teeth he smiled so seldom. And pretty sure Rupp was not exactly cracking one-liners.

The T-ball team is super stacked. As long as they can overcome sketchy coaching, they'll be in there until the end. Our first practice was Monday, but rain washed us away.

Was there anything more depressing than a rain out when we were young? And is there a certain rite of passage when girls create more heartache than rainouts?

March 19, 2013 at 12:17 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Ten Ring:

Jay Scott is about as pro-Nebraska as they come back home. However, he would dawn some blue and gold on occasion (saw him at a couple of Mocs basketball games when he still had the mustache). I remember two years ago (I think) when Lockhart had him fill-in for Fred the Show or his old mid-day spot (he was just let go from 95.3) and he had Russ on there as a guest. I remember it was the year Nebraska was the paycheck game. He wasn't ugly to him, but he definitely made it clear by the repeated discription of his "Big Red" golf shirt who he was pulling for.

March 19, 2013 at 12:28 p.m.
chas9 said...

Great mentions. The brown-suited Baron Adolph was rarely, if ever, pleased with anything. And can you imagine being the UK AD trying to lead a meeting with The Irascible Baron and The Scowling Bear in the same room? Don't know if even Happy Chandler could manage that for long.

March 19, 2013 at 3:51 p.m.
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