published Thursday, May 9th, 2013

5-at-10: NBA answers, 1988 movies extra-ganza and SoCon shuffles

Gang, remember the Friday mailbag and post any questions in the comments, email the sports editor at or send them along the Twitter (@jgreesontfp) if you're so inclined.

From the "Talks too much" studios, let's see than million-dollar arm rook, because we got a real good idea about that 5 cent head of yours.

Any questions?

There were two statement NBA playoff wins last night.

The Miami Heatles destroyed Chicago, winning by 37 and the game was not that close.

There were tempers flaring and technicals flying. There was physical play and mental warfare. It bordered on out of control at times.

It also was just one game. As Steve Kerr said during the final moments of Miami's 115-78 Game 2 win to even the series, the NBA playoffs are not the Tour de France, there is aggregate score. There also is no Lance Armstrong sneaking off for a PED cocktail, but that's another story.

It counts the same as Game 1, when the Bulls' final-minute shocked the Heat. That said, it showed us two things: First, the Heat knew the stakes and responded; second, when LeBron James posts up, he's nearly unstoppable. And when he posts up and passes like he did Wednesday, good night.

The other statement was made by the seventh-seeded Golden State Warriors, who suffered a kick-to-the-crotch, double-overtime Game 1 loss and rebounded with a convincing Game 2 win at San Antonio to even the series. The Warriors now head home — and to a rocking home crowd that provides a real home-court edge — and looks to be the better team.

And we discussed earlier this week, Steph Curry is a way better pro than we expected. He's also a maturing NBA star. He was harassed most of the evening by double teams and scored only 22 points but did not force shots and made sure hot-stroking Klay Thompson got as many looks as possible.

Each of the four conference semifinals is tied at 1-1. Good times indeed.


Celebrating a golden silver anniversary

We started talking in the office earlier this week about Bull Durham celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. We'll get more into this all summer, but doing a little research (scary, huh Spy?), we have determined that 1988 is arguably the single most underrated year for movies ever.

Consider the following evidence:

There were three genre-specific Rushmore-worthy movies in Coming to America (comedy), Die Hard (action) and Bull Durham (sports).

There were a litany of all-time performances from all-time stars. You can make an argument that Coming to America is Eddie Murphy's best and that Rain Man is Dustin Hoffman's best performance and Tom Cruise's best movie. There's no doubt that Bruce Willis' signature role is John McClane and Kevin Costner's is Crash Davis. Heck, the only reason Tom Hanks is not in that discussion is, despite how great Big was, Hanks' signature will be Forrest Gump, and that's all we have to say about that.

And while it's certainly underrated in most circles, the big three of 1988 (Coming to America, Die Hard and Bull Durham) are three of the most quoted movies we know of.

Yes, we know that 1939 had Gone with the Wind and the Wizard of Oz and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

And 1984 is pretty stacked in the modern era with some all-time comedies like Ghostbusters, Beverly Hills Cop, Sixteen Candles, Bachelor Party and Revenge of the Nerds, plus action all-timer Terminator, sports all-timer The Natural and classic 1980s throwbacks Red Dawn, Footloose and Karate Kid. Good times.

Where were we?


Davidson makes it official

OK, as our SoCon ace Johnny Frierson/Ned Ryerson has informed us all along, the Southern Conference, she be a changing. Here's today's report

Davidson has officially accepted an invite to the A-10, a big-boy basketball league. In truth, Davidson's move is the most logical of the flurry of departures that include football powers App State and Georgia Southern going to the Worldwide Sun Belt and Charleston going to the Colonial. Davidson, which plays nonscholarship football, moves its high-profile basketball program from the one-bid SoCon to an A-10 league that got five bids last year.

We get that move for Davidson, and think it's a no-brainer really. We understand that App State and GSU are trying to move up; we're not sure it will work though. Charleston, well whatever.

The main issue now is what can the SoCon do to salvage its infrastructure. The names of ETSU, VMI and Mercer have been bandied about, and that's OK. Not terribly exciting, but OK. The next moves need to come quickly, however, or the SoCon runs the risk of being the Big East of the FCS, and if you don't have a chair when the realignment music stops, that's on you.

One other point while we're here, if UTC stays in a SoCon without the aforementioned schools and rivals, then UTC should be expected to be the Florida Gators of the SoCon and be at the top of every sport. At least that's what we think.


This and that

— The UTC men's hoops search is down to three candidates, according to this report by our UTC hoops ace David Uchiyama. The three names are familiar — Alabama assistant John Brannen, VCU assistant Will Wade and former Georgia coach Dennis Felton — to those that have followed the search. And while Wade has been the perceived front-runner for a while now, the longer the process goes, makes this seem to be more of an open question that we may have originally thought.

  • Tennessee Titans caravan rolls into Chattanooga
    The Tennessee Titans caravan rolled into the Academy Sports + Outdoors in Hixson on Wednesday. Titans wide receiver Marc Mariani and linebackers Colin McCarthy and Zach Brown signed autographs and met with hundreds of fans during the two-hour stop.

— Some Titans were in town Wednesday, as our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer shares here. The voice of the Titans Mike Keith was on with the SportTalk guys on Wednesday, and he sounds super-pumped about the upcoming season. The Titans look improved in a lot of areas — they added two big-time guards and we think second-round pick Justin Hunter was one of the draft's best — but unless quarterback Jake Locker is ready to be Da' Man, the rest of it is background noise and promo tours.

— Ronde Barber is retiring after 16 years with the Tampa Bay Bucs. Wow, 16 years in the NFL. That's pretty awesome in its awesomeness. Question: Is Barber, with his 47 career picks and 215 consecutive starts but only five Pro Bowls, a Hall of Famer? Discuss.

— We love the draft. You know this. Two draft related things: If you have not watched Frank Caliendo's spot-on Mel Kiper impression — "Todd, Todd, Todd, Todd! Todd! Todd! Todd!" — you have our permission to go here and enjoy. Secondly, the real Kiper has come out with his 2014 rankings and there are three Tennessee players — Tiny Richardson, Daniel McCullers and A.J. Johnson — among his top 50. There are 17 SEC players in Kiper's top 50 and six Alabama players. Surprisingly, Aaron Murray is not among the group.


Today's question

Feel free to discuss any of the above items — and remember the mailbag.

If you need a talking point, feel free to kick around either of the following:

What's your favorite 1980s movie that you're almost embarrassed to tell folks about? C'mon Spy, you know you love Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo?

If you're a Mocs-backer and those are your three finalists for the men's hoops gig, who you backing and why?


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.
JonathanMCook said...

Ten Ring-

A BUNCH of good stuff on the board today. Before I get started, liked the poster/flyer I emailed you?

SoCon: The New Chapter. Had Kennesaw State been included in the mix, I would be all excited about the change. Right now, it is set up for UTC to be playing cupcakes for the next 3-5 years in all sports which will not sit well with fans, alumni, boosters, and people in the Chatlanta Metroplex who are fair weather fans. I know Spy has given sage-like warnings regarding drinking the FBS Kool-Aid but I do foresee a strong feeling in the Force for the push into the Sun.

UTC: My backing is on VCU assistant Will Wade. Hands Down! The pedigree of his current employer pretty much says it all. Period.

Dennis Felton may work given Georgia's program (SEC champs 2008, NCAA trips in 2008 and 2011). However, they have not reached the Sweet 16 since 1996. Alabama's program did make an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2012 but hasn't had a conference championship since 2002.

The only really bad 1980s movie that I'm guilty of watching that most people don't know about was a favorite of mine as a kid called "Midnight Madness". Think "Amazing Race" but all in metro Los Angeles. We also get to see a dirt-young Michael J. Fox (pre-EVERYTHING). In the closing credits he was simply listed as "Michael Fox". It was made in 1980. We also get to see Stephen Furst (Pre-St. Elsewhere; Hellloooo Norman!)

May 9, 2013 at 11:16 a.m.
Todd962 said...

Going to be hard for the Bulls to implement their "Ding the King" strategy when the Heat send out their hockey enforcer. They call him the Birdman, you may have heard of him, he fly's in any weather. Chris Anderson is one of those guys that when he is on your team you love his hustle and ability to annoy the other team to the point of madness, when he is on the team you are facing, you will want to punch him through your tv.

I know I am now "Hans and Franz Pumped" for game three. The Bulls are going to come out swinging for the embarrassment that was just schalacked on them and they are talking about D.Rose returning. Chicago's arena is going to possibly explode. However, if Lebron plays like he did last night with the other folks chipping in, it may not matter how crazy the Bulls get.

Jay, do you foresee any fines or suspensions stemming from the behavior of some of the Heat or Bull players last night? I dont know how the NBA works as a business with the players and refs being coworkers, but if I told a fellow employee here to go "self-stimulate" themselves in front of our customers(i.e. the fans), I have a feeling it may get brought up at our next round table. Thoughts?

May 9, 2013 at 11:41 a.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, I am most embarrassed to admit to have seen Smokey and the Bandit II. Not even the "Great One," Jackie Gleeson, cashing a check here, can save us from five hundred vehicle pile up a'la Ben Hur. I've never seen III, or Stroker Ace.

West bound and down loaded up with mule scat.

May 9, 2013 at 12:09 p.m.
jgreeson said...

You guys are bringing the money today.

Side note: UTC has hired Jim Foster as the women's coach.

Yes, that Jim Foster, who has more than 700 career wins and will be inducted into the women's basketball Hall of Fame next month.

HOME RUN hire for David Blackburn.

May 9, 2013 at 12:13 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

I just skimmed through his bio, HOW the (blank) did Blackburn convince someone of his pedigree to even consider the UTC gig? More importantly, how much coin was involved? Given what I read, he an't gonna be cheap. However, this will bold well "brand-wise" as far as recruiting is concerned. I sense a tribe of Britney amazons decked in blue and gold.

It's a beautiful thing. :D

May 9, 2013 at 12:31 p.m.
dawg747 said...

10 Cup: That has to be one of the greatest hires UTC has ever made. Be an alum I am so proud to see thing looking up. Recruiting should get a big, Big, BIG lift.

I wish there was a way the SOCON could convince Kennesaw State to make a move. The only problem there is how long they would stay. If they did move UTC would have to find some way to resurrect baseball because there would be some good rivalry games with them in football. softball and baseball.

May 9, 2013 at 12:38 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Foster is more than a home run hire.

He's a Joe Carter Game 6 walk-off-and-win-the-series hire.

That it happened on Lane Kiffin's 38th birthday is complete coincidence.

As for how, JMC, well, we know Foster loves our fair city.

And dude was without a gig and probably has a pretty nice nest egg set up. So he coaches the Lady Mocs into the twilight of his professional life and all is well.

We talked on here the other day about how would they fill Wes Moore's shoes. Well, hiring a soon-to-be Hall of Famer is a nice place to start.

May 9, 2013 at 12:44 p.m.
compspeed said...

RE: Jim Foster hire: Henry Davenport is doing a little dance in heaven right now yelling "Where's the defense?" and "Who's got the middle?"

May 9, 2013 at 12:50 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Compspeed —

Paschall said something similar. Good times.

Quick Henry story: Among his many catch phrases was "Maybe you are, maybe you're not."

He consistently called the TFP sports department for scores or to chat or what have you. Henry calls in here about 10:30 on a Friday night when things were starting to get hopping.

Deputy Sports Editor and Swiss Army knife Ron Bush answers the phone with about 75 things to do in the next 60 minutes and says, "Henry what do you need, we're on deadline."

Henry: "Deadline... Maybe you are, maybe you're not."

Good times indeed.

May 9, 2013 at 1:07 p.m.
MocTastic said...

Blackburn is getting $350,000 from OSU as his parting gifts..apparently they thought he wouldnt' win them a National Championship, so new direction...

as you said..not a home run, a game 7 of the World Series walk off grandslam!

May 9, 2013 at 1:11 p.m.
jomo11 said...

Jim Foster. WOW ! class guy, Hall of Fame coach . . . .how do you replace a coach with 588 wins ? . . . you hire a guy with 783 wins !. . ..

Great job David Blackburn, thanks

May 9, 2013 at 1:57 p.m.
mcpell3 said...

Ok, Blackburn is coming out throwing heat. Great hire. 80's movies - I did see Stroker Ace. Just think Smoke & the Bandit on a NASCAR track. Bonus though, it has Loni instead of Sally

May 9, 2013 at 2:14 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Actually, 5, my very guilty pleasure movie predates the 80s but only by a couple of years. "A Little Romance" starring a young Diane Lane. Whom to this day the Spy would very much like to have dinner with and perhaps take in a show, maybe go for a stroll ... where was I?

I also stop to watch "Real Genius" whenever it's on.

May 9, 2013 at 2:34 p.m.
bigbearzzz said...

hey let Smiddie know I appreciate him not dogging that home plate umpire that called the Central girl out for not touching home plate. I mean it was very obvious that missed the plate, even if it was covered in dirt. I mean after I clean...i mean...err...that other guy cleaned that plate you could still see where her cleat print was...about 3 inches short of the plate. Sometimes the hardest call to make is the right one especially when its in a close game like that. And then to watch as Central pulled within one and know that your cal...errr...that other dudes call made that big of an impact, thats a tough one.

May 9, 2013 at 2:43 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

"Jim Foster hire: Henry Davenport is doing a little dance in heaven right now yelling 'Where's the defense?' and 'Who's got the middle?'"

I had to think for a moment. I had completely forgotten about Henry. I do remember back in the early 2000s going to Lady Moc games during the Bullock/Dykes/Wilson era and hearing this faint but loud voice every 30 seconds going "WHOOOO'S GOT THE MIDDLE?" (This was before I knew who Henry was).

Good times.

May 9, 2013 at 2:44 p.m.
ordinaryguy said...

The Foster hire was indeed a huge home perhaps all these clorox orange loons, that sheepishly support the Mocs will shut up...all you could hear from the most vocal of them was hire someone with ties to Pat, hire someone with ties to Pat...who would your rather have some wannabe(adams or little summitt) or a proven WINNER...GREAT JOB DAVID BLACKBURN!

The SoCon is on LIFE SUPPORT and needs to be put out of its misery...the exit of Davidson was a shot to the head...for the mid majors has strong as football can is the life blood for tv money, etc...and with Davidson now gone the conference will be lucky to to survive...the RPI will now be at the bottom of the list...VMI, ETSU, and Mercer can't possibly replace what has been lost...I suspect Blackburn is already exploring all options, but if Chattanooga can't be the big dog then get out...Immarino is to quote Col Nathan Jessup is "messing with the wrong marine"...the conference can't survive by adding two football teams that do not truly exist yet, but the death blow from adding the basketball programs is even more sad

May 9, 2013 at 3:23 p.m.
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