published Monday, March 25th, 2013

5-at-10: Madness indeed, Tiger sightings and Updyke's sentence

Hope you enjoyed the weekend. It was a flurry of buzzer-beaters and bracket-busters that left everyone checking the scores and re-checking their sheets and wondering, "we should have known FGCU was going to make a run."

From the "Talks too much studios" let's make like Aaron Craft and do work.

The tourney

OK, we know that FGCU is the story of the first weekend, the Eagles knocking off No. 2-seeded Georgetown and San Diego State to become the first 15-seed to ever advance to the Sweet 16. We know their coach Andy Enfield, who married a former supermodel who notched covers of Maxim and Vogue and worked for Victoria's Secret, is in line for a monster raise that befits his many talents. Dude made $138K this season and delivered more bang for the buck than anyone this side of the person who bought the $338 million lottery ticket over the weekend.

Here's what else we believe after watching a season's worth of college hoops in a four-day span:

• College basketball, we miss you. Yes, the tournament and the drama are great, but that's the stage and the setting more than the game.

• The elite Big Ten teams — Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan — are still dancing and have provided some of the best games of the draw, especially Sunday's wins by IU and THE Ohio State, which advanced on Aaron Craft's pure 3 with less than a second left

• The brackets have been as entertaining as ever. Our bracket is perfect in the Midwest, and we have 13 of the Sweet 16. We're happy with this.

• The "First 1 out, last 'dog in contest" has three folks with a chance to sweep both entries — the 5-at-10, WarEagle and BackupQB — each of whom had Gonzaga as the first No. 1 seed to be dismissed and Oregon as the last double-digit seed. There are still other underdogs that could be the last one left, but those three are the winners. We need a tie-breaker. More on this to come.

• We know the Mountain West Conference is a complete and total farce. The league was listed as the top-ranked conference by most rankings and it has exactly as many Sweet 16 teams as the SoCon. Bagel. And nice one-and-done New Mexico.

• We know the tournament is a little less intriguing without Ole Miss shooter, scorer, antagonizer Marshall Henderson. Dude could get a shot off in a crowded elevator and had the Waffle House approach — always open and always ready to sling it — that we can surely appreciate.

• We also know that TNT, CBS and the rest of the folks that broadcast the tournament have done a nice job all the way around. Marv Albert and Steve Kerr are a good announcing tandem. (We could do without Craig Sager dumping a front-end-loader of yellow snow, but still.) We also commend the guys for using the strengths they have at their disposal, and the core group of TNT's NBA studio show of Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley is dynamite and has been outstanding TV.

• If you had a Rushmore of breakout stars in this March Madness, we'll list Enfield, Chuck Barkley (who has been aces on his commentary and starred in the credit card commercials), Aaron Craft and the folks making the Oregon uniforms. We dig Oregon's always changing color combos; it's their schtick. But some of the other threads — Cincy's was a debacle; Louisville's was less than good — have left a lot to be desired.

————

The controversies

The basketball has been engaging. The storylines have been enjoyable. The announcing has even been entertaining for the most part.

That said, the NCAA tournament is still not without controversy.

First, the seedings for a couple of these teams has been slap puzzling. La Salle got one of the last at-large bids and now has three wins and is a No. 13 in the Sweet 16. FGCU is a complete stunner, so that one was a wash.

But Oregon? There were several folks — notably StuckinKent — who emailed or texted us as soon as the bracket was released that the Ducks were seeded as many as six spots too low. Yes, SIX. And the Ducks, who struggled with injuries in their backcourt, are fully healthy and rolling. Oregon could easily take down top-seeded Louisville, yet the Duckers were a 12 seed.

Plus, the fact Gonzaga got a No. 1 seed seems laughable now. We believed it when the brackets were released, and it likely will be a long time before the Zags are placed on that type of pedestal again. The committee hit 11 of the 16 teams in which the seedings held true, however.

The committee's head-scratching placement though seems secondary compared to the bad officiating that has become the elephant in the room when watching these games. Yes, players and coaches are always going to complain about officials. And the next player who thinks he did commit a foul, point him out, so we can introduce him to any wide receiver who believes he's not open on every pass play ever.

Still, the calls have been bad at best, and at worst they have been season-ending. Iowa State got jobbed against THE Ohio State (yes, Craft made a big shot but without the bad call, that 3 is likely going to be meaningless), and that was far from the only mistake.

Calling a basketball game is tough stuff. We get it. But it's hard to remember a time when the officiating has been worse.

Here are the two things that drive the slide:

First, the charge has become the default call for officials. Whether they want to reward someone for trying to make the hustle play of taking a charge or not, who knows? What we do know is that it has become laughable, and sadly about 2/3 of the calls are now offensive fouls.

Second, and this is even more flummoxing, referees now are expecting contact. Be it in transition or against a post player or a guy that we all know is going to the basket, officials seem to believe they know a foul is about to happen and blow the whistle regardless.

————

Tiger on the move

OK, this is starting to get a little bit interesting.

Tiger Woods was only slowed by the weather Sunday, needing just six shots in two holes to take a three-shot lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Heavy rains and high winds — there was a fish in a large puddle in the 18th fairway for crying out loud — forced play to stop until 10 a.m. today, and if Woods holds on he would reclaim his spot as the No. 1-ranked golfer in the world.

Yes, Tiger Woods likely will be back atop the rankings by day's end. It's a journey that will generate a slew of spilt ink. And there will be more than a few discussions about whether he's back (he's not back to his dominating level because, let's face it, other than Barry Bonds, what athlete was better at 37 than they were at 25; plus Woods was at such a pinnacle in the early 2000s, returning to that status would be matching the greatest run in professional golf history).

Either way, it's great for the game of golf and could make the Masters even more entertaining, if that's possible.

And if he doesn't hold on today at Arnie's event, and one of the big names in the star-studded chasing Tiger catches him, it's still going to be entertaining in Augusta. Heck, if you had to pick right now, are you taking Tiger or the field in three weeks. (Take the field of course, but it's getting closer.)

One thing to watch today to see the status of Woods' game — his putting stroke on those 5-to-10-footers. When he's rolling those confidently, watch out. And keep watching, because something special could happen.

————

This and that

— Speaking of Bay Hill, UTC golfer Steven Fox missed the cut at Arnold's event, one of the several big events that extended an exemption to Fox after he won the U.S. Amateur last August.

— And, if you have not seen Sergio Garcia playing shot from a tree — yes, you read that correctly — well, here you go. And to prove that it truly is good luck only in Haiti as Al Czervik told us in Caddyshack, Garcia made a double bogey on the hole and later withdrew from the tournament.

  • photo
    UTC head coach Wes Moore instructs the Lady Mocs in the first half of a basketball game at McKenzie Area.
    Photo by Robin Rudd /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

— Tough loss for the UTC Lady Mocs in College Station against a Nebraska team that was easily the best No. 6 seed out there. Great year for Wes Moore and Co.

— And the Heat keep rolling, winning No. 26 in a row on Sunday with Dwyane Wade sitting out by destroying a Charlotte Bobcats team that is worse than bad. LeBron was awesome in his awesomeness as usual. Also of note, Juwan Howard made his season debut. Yes, that Juwan Howard of the Fab Five, who is playing in his 19th season. Wow, it's been 20 years since Webber's TO and the Fab Five.

— Derek Jeter likely will open the season on the DL for a Yankees team that may finish in last place in the AL East. How desperate and injury-riddled are the Yankees? They are about to trade for Vernon Wells, he of the nine-figure contract who managed all of 36 homers and 97 RBIs in 208 games since signing a monster contract with the Angels.

————

Today's question

Feel free to flow with the open mic-ness of a Monday, but if you need a talking point, here are but three:

One, what was the NCAA tournament highlight for you?

Two, how'd your bracket(s) fare?

Three, Alabama fan Harvey Updyke got three years for poisoning the famed trees at Auburn's Toomer's Corner. The trees got a death sentence and are scheduled to be removed in late April, a few days after Auburn's spring game. Updyke's sentence states he must spend at least six months in jail — he's already served 104 days — and serve five years of probation, which includes a 7 p.m. curfew and prohibits him from going to Auburn's campus and attending any college sporting event. Does this seem fair? (Nice touch by the judge on the college sports ban, by the way — that's hitting Harvey where he lives.)

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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JonathanMCook said...

Ten Ring- Bullet points.

-Shout out to Frierson for taking on the "Dallanooga Trail" + the three hours on I-45 to College Station. Now he knows how I FEEL the few times I've had to superchuck that monster.

-Was upset that the dreaded Lady Mocs "One and Done" curse is still alive. Had they won, I would have forgone tonight's open mic for ribs at Eastside Bar & Grille (Plano's #1 A&M institution) in full armor blue and gold as the game would have been on the Duece.

-Speaking of open mics, I got my work cut out for me for two weeks as I'm an official contendor for "Hottest Comic in Dallas" over at Taste of the Islands in Plano. The top three comics will get to perform a paid 10-15 minute set at the AT&T center (there's nothing I compare it to back home) Set is subject to change but topics will include:

Family Reunion (based on a popular TV show)

Being a 12 year old then and now (involves the Tennessee Titan cheerleader scandel)

Dallas Sign Language

Ordering at a Burger King in Texas (think the goo-back episode from South Park)

"Mom-ra"

The Ireland joke MAY be included but I am unable to find room unless one of the newer bits fails to work

March 25, 2013 at 10:39 a.m.
chas9 said...

I picked 9 of the remaining 16, which is probably a tad above average, but I'm no prophet. All nine are chalk picks. None of my upset picks came through. But all my final four are still playing.

I've been saying a long while that Gonzaga was overrated. Course I said the same about Wichita State.

Jeff Borzello reseeded the current 16. He has the Spartans at #4 overall, Florida at #6 and Lasalle at 16. He has the #15 seed wonders at #15, but here's saying that basketball team just sold a lot of caps and shirts with FGCU on them.

I caught Mack McCarthy on Sport Talk last week and was impressed anew with how much he knows (and can communicate). I'm hoping he emerges as our new Mocs AD.

It's official. More money bet on the March Madness than the Super Bowl.

What about UCLA releasing Howland? Are 25 wins not enough? With his showman chops, Bruce Pearl's a good fit for LA. And he loved Aaron Craft, so he can spot winners.

How do we break the tie between the 5@10, backupQB and War Eagle? Have you guess Sir Charles' weight. And BVD size. How did you and Stuck all know about Oregon?

March 25, 2013 at 10:41 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Oh, one last thing. I kept checking on and off regarding why Steven Fox was not on the air this past weekend. At first, I thought it was because they were just going to show the pros only and then I read just now: EPIC FAILLLLLL!!!

Not a good day to be a Mocs fan. -.-

March 25, 2013 at 10:45 a.m.
chas9 said...

Run JMC--I'd love to see your Titans cheerleader bit. Will there be a youtube? When I saw the story, I tried to make a joke, but I couldn't walk the line between my cheerleader fantasies and the abuse angle. If you pull it off, you're more creative than I am. Which is likely.

March 25, 2013 at 11:23 a.m.
Todd962 said...

If I were Mr. Cook I would be taking the angle of "where the hell were these teachers and cheerleaders when I was twelve? While these kids are bagging hot young teachers and NFL cheerleaders at 12, I was wearing the finish off door knobs and humping holes in couch cushions. Most of my middle school teachers looked closer to an ogre than a cougar. A young Todd could have been found out side this woman's house persuading her at how good I am at keeping secrets, just give me a chance to prove it. Im young and eager to learn."

March 25, 2013 at 11:37 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Chase-

There hopefully will be a YouTube video (either the actual contest or one of the open mics prior depending on audience [mostly other comics] reaction). In the meantime, I do have my last Taste of the Islands performance on my YouTube channel but it is unlisted. Anyone wanting a link (DO NOT POST ON THIS SITE PLEASE!) I will be happy to email it to you. Send all requests to: dallanoogacomedy@gmail.com. (Warning: material is politically incorrect and one or two of the jokes on there have since been retired [long story])

-Jay, sorry for the shameless plug. You're welcome to a copy too. But I imagine with NCAA bracket coverage with color commentary from Jake and the Neverland Pirates courtesy of 5 at 10 2.0, you would not have time to watch it. But let me know none the less.

Note: With a little "Roger Rabbit" technology, that may not be a bad idea. At least Jake can "pronounce" the word "terrible" correctly. (Is that Sir Charles giving me the harry eyeball for that burn?)

March 25, 2013 at 11:38 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Todd,

There a reason I just "list" the subjects but not the actual jokes. As Mr. Ten Ring will soon remind you, this is still a Family-Oriented, Web-based, whatever that thing he writes out.

However, I do address it simular to what you described and let's REALLY leave it at that. Thank you.

March 25, 2013 at 11:42 a.m.
chas9 said...

Door knob?

March 25, 2013 at 12:06 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Wow, happy Monday to the crew.

And this took an early turn into... wait for it... remember we're a family-oriented, interweb-based sports column.

"Holes in the sofa cushions" would be a boss name of a fantasy baseball team.

JMC —

Good luck and knock 'em dead. Make it big and we'll say we knew you when.

9er —

We're open to tie-breaking ideas. Maybe top two scorers from the next two rounds... and everyone can play. Win-win.

And wow, can't believe we forgot to include the Tony Stewart rant. Man-up Joey Logano, Smoke is coming and he's bringing heck with him.

— 5-at-10

March 25, 2013 at 12:07 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

The Thursday and Friday games were notorious for the lack of comparative drama. Enough one-sided wins to rival the women's tournament first few rounds (seriously ... look how many 30, 40 and 50 point wins there are in the first two rounds of the women's tournament. Kinda hard to take that tourney with any gravity when there is such a disparity in the teams and programs).

But Saturday and Sunday were sublime. It's that round that I think is always the best - there's always a game on and nine times out of 10, it's always compelling.

Not a good tourney so far for the Big East. Cincy done, Gtown done and Notre Dame done (and can Mike Brey be done at Notre Dame? Please? This has gone on five years too long).

Still not wild about all the games on TBS or TruTV (I ... just don't know what to do about that name. It's ... stupid). When you're at the office without cable, you're stuck with the game CBS shows and once that's done, that's it, there's no switching over. Which stinks.

March 25, 2013 at 12:25 p.m.
BackupQB said...

Good hoops, good announcing, good storylines, and some controversy ... What does the gang think about the quality of the coaching in the Dance? Yes, major up's to FGC's Einfield; but did anyone else question Kennedy's decision to let Wichita take the clock down for the last shot, while employing a soft zone (isn't the goal of a 2-3 zone to force an outside shot, rather than allowing an entry pass, or worse, a drive to the cup) that allowed the Shocker to get to the basket? Also, he didn't even have Henderson on the floor for the desperation heave to follow. Kennedy, who was already a sketchy dude (remember the cab driver incident), sold his soul by taking Henderson (his 4th school). Guess it was worth it - winning the SEC and an NCAA game - but Henderson could have carried the Rebel Black Bears further. As for the tie-breaker, I'll take the over on Chuck and 3 bills.

June Jones aka Backup QB

March 25, 2013 at 12:33 p.m.
jomo11 said...

Jay- Georgia Southern and Appy will announce going to the SunBelt Wednesday. your thoughts ?

March 25, 2013 at 1:22 p.m.
Todd962 said...

Door knobs? The humanity... Jokes, they open a window of possibilities. I switched my filter back off weekend mode though. We shouldnt have any more incidents...today.

While I enjoy the TNT firm of Greg, Greg, Kenny, and Chuck, I find that I have to be paying close attention to what they are attempting to get across. Between Charles' developing grasp of the English language and Kenny talking over people, it makes it difficult at times to catch everything. Their humor and insight makes the effort worth it most of the time.

PS, the wrestler from Cornell, Dake, won the matchup of the unstoppable force vs. the immovable object winning his fourth national championship in his fourth weight class. He became the first wrestler to accomplish such a task and only the third to win four straight titles. Thats boss stuff.

March 25, 2013 at 1:28 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

We prefer all the games on but can see the point about the check ins, especially on the first couple of days of the tournament.

Here's the breakdown of the Sweet 16 by conference:

Big Ten — 4 teams

Big East — 3

ACC — 2

Pac-12 — 2

SEC — 1

Big 12 — 1

A10 — 1

MVC — 1

A-Sun — 1

Backup QB —

Three-bills is the starting point for Chuck for sure.

And there have been a few questionable calls for sure. Kennedy's was for sure, especially not having Marshall on the floor. So it goes.

On the other end of the spectrum, UCLA runs Ben Howland after winning 25 games.

So there's that. A coach's life can be a tough one, no doubt.

March 25, 2013 at 1:29 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Jomo-

Source?

March 25, 2013 at 1:29 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Jomo —

It's a game-changer for the SoCon if that happens as expected. We may have to delve more into this later in the week.

Todd —

No harm, no foul. And yes, that is some big-time boss stuff. Four titles in four weight classes is doing work.

March 25, 2013 at 1:31 p.m.
chas9 said...

When I saw the dapper Ernie Johnson at the common tater's desk, I thought he looked younger and healthier than I expected. Lost track of him after the old Brave broadcast days. Guess I was thinking of dear old dad.

March 25, 2013 at 1:56 p.m.
jomo11 said...

If the SoCon replaces with ETSU, Mercer and Kennesaw ( all 3 want in ) then it is going to be fine for UTC. Football for UTC will move up to the top of conference and make UTC a regular in the playoffs. On the basketball side the conference might even be slightly better if you add those three. Appy has been decent, but Ga Southern has been no factor.

March 25, 2013 at 2:14 p.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay - didn't see a lot of bball this weekend due to other commitments. What I did see led me to the same conclusion as you regarding officiating. The third big thing I see, and I see it a lot, is nobody gets called for travelling any more. NBA influence?

March 25, 2013 at 2:33 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

EJ Jr. had a health scare a few years ago. Cancer if memory serves. And anyone who licks the Big C can do as they please in the fashion scene, although we recommend folks avoid the bow tie when ever possible (unless they are a weatherman, a pediatrician or host a TV show).

Jomo —

It will be better for UTC football, but the reduced profile of SoCon football in general will mean it likely will be a one-bid league.

sportsfan —

No walking. Every thing's a charge. Never the two shall meet.

March 25, 2013 at 2:52 p.m.
jomo11 said...

Jay- you talking about one-bid basketball or football ? It will always be one -bid basketball, but i would disagree with you on one-bid football

March 25, 2013 at 3:02 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

If App and Georgia Southern bolt for the Sun Belt, the SoCon is dead. Mercer and Kennesaw haven't hit the field yet, so they are years away from being competitive in football, if they ever are. Mercer has a very influential alumni base but it is small. Kennesaw has a lot of recent graduates but other than Larry Nelson (who went there when it was a junior college) and the cookie company guy, that's about it for big time alums to hit up for dough.

No, the SoCon is dying on the vine, and App and Southern's departure just ripped up the roots. And don't get me started on how blinded by the glitter of FBS the Southern fan base is and how delusional and misguided this move will be.

March 25, 2013 at 3:11 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Jomo —

If App State and GSU go, and with Furman struggling, the winner of the UTC-Wofford game gets in. The loser prays for a break.

It likely will be a one-bid league for each, although the SoCon may get a second one since the playoffs will keep expanding.

Spy —

Not sure App and GSU leaving would kill the SoCon per se, but it would surely hurt.

March 25, 2013 at 3:30 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

I grant you this doesn't count as a quality source but Appy and GSU are listed as future members going in 2015. Texas State and the "UTC" over in Arlington (University of Texas left on Cooper) ::rim shot:: joins this year.

March 25, 2013 at 4:05 p.m.
jomo11 said...

Appy and Ga Southern will be ineligible for FCS playoffs in 2013, as they have 2 years to transition to FBS. . . .so next year the 3rd place SoCon football team, assuming Appy and Ga South finish in 1st and 2nd, will be the conference champ receiving the auto-bid to FCS playoffs

March 25, 2013 at 5:01 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

I forgot to add Wikipedia in last post. But I can tell this is already beginning to die down.

March 25, 2013 at 5:37 p.m.
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