published Monday, March 3rd, 2014

5-at-10: College hoops storylines, Tiger's back, Iverson Rushmores and crazy characters with Oscars

Here's hoping you enjoyed the fine weekend weather. Who knows what will be next?

The 6-year-old Bulls drafted on Sunday — we love the draft; you know this — and we're blessed to be able to coach a great group of tots again this year. War Bulls. "We're going to run the picket fence at 'em, and boys, don't get caught watching the paint dry."

  • photo
    This image released by Ellen DeGeneres shows actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyong’o Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyong’o and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a "selfie" portrait on a cell phone during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday in Los Angeles.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Let's have some post-Oscars fun (and we did not watch a minute of the festivities last night because a) with two young tots we have not seen many of the movies so we do not have a vested interest and, b) we're binge watching Game of Thrones right now so there's that... shhhh Mother of Dragons is talking... she's a bad woman).

Plus, it's not like there's a ton of sports news of major merit.

From the "Talks too much" studios, let's do work.

College hoops heating up

Let's delve into four quick angles of college hoops that have our interest.

First, the Tennessee Vols delivered a historic whipping of Vandy. It was just behind the Virginia win as the high point of a schizophrenic club that has swung the gamut this year. As our buddy Scott said on Twitter — and as Paschall has said consistently on Press Row — we are starting to think these Vols are inside the bubble because the bubble is so muddled. That said, UT has to sweep this week to confirm that belief, and they really need a an SEC tournament win or two to make Sunday a little less stressful.

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    Tennessee guard Antonio Barton celebrates after hitting a 3-pointer in the Vols' blowout win over Vanderbilt on Saturday. The Vols will need to keep winning down the stretch to have a shot at making the NCAA tournament.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Second, War Mocs and War Z Mason. It could have been very easy for Mason to be a distraction this year. Only senior, new coach, team that was picked to have little-to-no success. Mason flipped the switch in the other direction and authored a great season front to back. He capped that with 24-13-6 blocks effort on his game at McKenzie. Mason has fashioned himself into a guy that will get a chance overseas and who knows form there.

Third, John Calipari's act is tired. Little history: We all know that Coach Cal is an elite recruiter, even at UMass and Memphis before coming to Kentucky. (Because after all, how hard is it to recruit to Kentucky.) We've also long since believed that Calipari was an underrated X-and-Os guy. Dude's one of the forerunner of the dribble-drive offense and used that — with Derrick Rose and John Wall — to rise into the upper echelon of coaching. It was well-deserved. But he has crashed and burned with this group from the start. There was the 40-0 talk. There has been the constant reminders that these kids are freshmen, which is a system he has embraced so when the downside appears it is hypocritical to then blame the system. (And after four-plus months of NCAA action and 10 years of elite AAU competition, these kids are not normal freshmen.) There was the recent shots at unnamed players and calling them out. And now Cal skips a postgame news conference. Weak.

Finally, what do we make of Wichita State going through the regular season undefeated? We think it's pretty cool and are starting to hope they can finish the deal.



Back to the back

Tiger Woods quits. Rory folds. Russell Henley wins.

What do we know about the PGA Tour?

Very little, other than it needs stars, and as exciting as it is for guys like Henley or Speith or whomever to win their first event, it's not going to move the needle.

In fact, the order above is 100-percent the storyline sequence of events. Period.

It will be interesting to see how long this sidelines Woods, who pulled out of the tournament with back spasms five holes short of finishing Sunday.

If his back is seriously hurt, this could affect Woods' game forever. Ask Freddie Couples about the moodiness and devastation back ailments can cause on a golf game.

And if he is shelved, golf's public appeal takes a few steps back (and maybe more than a few).


Answer for Rushmores

The 76ers retired Allen Iverson's No. 3 this weekend. In truth, Iverson is on a contender for a slew of Rushmores during an incredible career. Let's examine some of them:

He's in the mix for Rushmore of best modern-day athletes (he was USA Today high school football and basketball player of the year as a senior), best NBA players ever under 6-feet, biggest bankrupt stories (dude made more than $115 million just in hoops), one of the early front-runners on the all-tattoo Rushmore and several more.

He's also a guy with an all-time news conference rant. His 'practice' routine is a classic. What's your Rushmore of all-time news conference meltdowns, and yes, we're a man, we're 43.

As for A.I. the player, the point guard nicknamed the Answer was the quickest with the ball in his hands we have ever seen. Ever.


This and that

— At the opposite end of the golf dilemma is NASCAR, which has two races with two stars winning — Dale Jr. at Daytona and Kevin Harvick this weekend at Phoenix, where Junior finished second. Great start for NASCAR, and it was kind of cool to see Harvick in the Jimmy Johns sub car with "Freaky Fast" on the side.

— Paula Creamer made a 75-foot putt to win a golf tournament. It was pretty fun to watch. Here's a clip.

— The NBA made LeBron switch from his black mask to a clear-ish mask. Booooooooo. Thought the NFL had the copyright to "No Fun League."

— Downtown Patrick Brown has been breaking down the Vols position groups heading into spring practice. Here's the most recent as the Vols look to replace their entire offensive line.

— Congrats to our man Weeds and Coach Mack and the rest of the group being inducted into the Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame tonight. Much deserved honors all around.

Today's question(s)

Gang, sieze the moment. (Wonder if southern Latin fishermen ever say "Carpe carp")

Rushmore of crazy movie characters that went on to win Oscars:

• Spigoli (Penn), check

• Wooderson (McConauhey), check

• Carl Spackler (Murray), check

• Mork (Robin Williams), check

Wow. Who else you got?

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.
MocTastic said...

A big shoutout and thanks to Chattanooga's Zuperman, Z Mason! He played hard and well. Just think what he could have done if the Mocs had any other inside threat?

March 3, 2014 at 10:23 a.m.
WilliamRscott said...

Saturday was MBB Lettermen's Day in K-town, and those present for the retirement of Dale Ellis' # 14 received quite an ovation [especially Ronrico's dad, the legendary Wizard, Tony White Sr]. For a guy that could not recruit and was very slow to embrace the 3-ball, Don DeVoe coached some good players. DeVoe's least favorite player was there: Kevin "Big Sexy" Nash, who got a loud ovation as well. Nash, who truly embraced the college experience off the court, could probably make a couple of Rushmore's.

Thanks to Weeds for a mention in his column Sunday. I think the last time I witnessed both the Mocs + the Vols win on the same day [in any sport] at the 1982 NCAAs in Indianapolis.


March 3, 2014 at 10:34 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent — Bubble Update:


American Athletic: Cincinnati, Louisville, Memphis, SMU, Connecticut Atlantic Ten: Saint Louis, Massachusetts, VCU ACC: Syracuse, Duke, Virginia, North Carolina Big 12: Kansas, Iowa State, Texas, Oklahoma Big East: Villanova, Creighton Big Ten: Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State Missouri Valley: Wichita State Mountain West: San Diego State, New Mexico Pac 12: Arizona, UCLA SEC: Florida, Kentucky


Atlantic Ten: George Washington, St. Joseph's, Dayton ACC: Pittsburgh, Clemson, North Carolina State, Florida State Big 12: Kansas State, West Virginia, Baylor, Oklahoma State Big East: Xavier, St. John's, Providence Big Ten: Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Indiana Conference USA: Southern Miss, Louisiana Tech Horizon: Green Bay MAC: Toledo Pac 12: Arizona State, California, Colorado, Stanford, Utah, Oregon SEC: Tennessee, Missouri, LSU, Arkansas Southland: Stephen F. Austin West Coast: Gonzaga, BYU

When you take all the one big leagues into account, and if you assume that a team from the Locks list wins the automatic bid in those conferences, that means that there are 35 teams for 17 spots. Harvard dropped off this list, not so much because they wouldn't deserve an at-large, but because to lose the automatic bid they have to lose the regular season championship in the Ivy League. To do that, they would have to lose back-to-back games to end up the season. No way they make the tournament if that happens. Stephen F. Austin, Toledo, Green Bay and Louisiana Tech are all very unlikely to get at-larges if they need them. There are others on here that the odds look bleak, but I kept them on here for one more day.

March 3, 2014 at 10:38 a.m.
chas9 said...

UT was ballin' and UK was bawling. Vols were all flow, Cats were all blow.

Seems like when you're playing well, with confidence, every shot goes in and you get every random bounce. When you play bad, without confidence, the converse is true.

Tennessee won big at home and Kentucky lost big on the road. Because the RPI discounts road losses and home wins, neither game affects the teams' dance chance much. Jerry Palm still has UT out in the cold.

But psychologically the games are huge. The Vols believe in themselves now and can play their way in. The Cats are hanging their heads and look like a team sure to flunk out in the first weekend of the NCAA tourney.

After shooting 34.2 percent in the home loss to Arkansas on Thursday, Kentucky shot 17.2 percent in the first half against the Gamecocks, 26.9 percent for the game.

UK made 33 free throws, which is a lot, but it's because that's almost their entire offense. The dribble-drive offense has to have more facets than a wing player driving to the basket and hoping to get fouled. But that's all this team seems to have mastered.

Julius Randle and Alex Poythress each missed six of seven shots. Aaron Harrison missed 12 of 16 shots. James Young missed eight of 12 shots. At one point, UK's only basket in almost 16 minutes of play was a goal tend against South Carolina.

The Cats don't get enough fast breaks and their alley-oop game hasn't clicked as it did in previous years.

Kentucky would've won if not for the three technicals, but The Cocks are a miserable team. UK's spurt at the end was impressive, but it shows how far short of their potential they play most of the time. Are they better without Cal? And I'm pretty sure Cal's technicals are a red flag on team-coach chemistry.

The SC loss seals the deal. Kentucky is not dangerous and is no bracket buster. Do not pick them to win more than one game. If they get in, Tennessee will be your new #1 bracket buster.

UK's recruiting is still strong for 2014, but Cal's unprecedented owning the recruiting game could crash quickly with another year like 2012 and 2013.

March 3, 2014 at 11:15 a.m.
MocTastic said...

chas9, UK might actually have better teams year in and year out if Cal quit signing all 5 stars. Sign one or two and a bunch of 3 and 4 stars and let them actually become a team after playing together for several years. Signing almost whole new teams every year is a huge crapshoot, win some lose some. UK probably has the most talent in college this year, but far from being the best team.

March 3, 2014 at 11:24 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

5, thanks for taking my comment. First time listener, long time commenter.

Rory had an epic crapfest on the back nine and then pulls off an unbelievable shot into 18 for an eagle and a chance to win. And then misses the putt. It did not help the PGA that their other luminary, one middle-aging Lefty, wasn't around for the weekend.

Bigger waste of time - Super Bowl pre-game or the Oscars? Both about as long. Both about as necessary. And really, you can replace Oscars with Golden Globes, Emmys, Grammys and any of the 18 country music awards shows there are and to me, the question is just as viable.

March 3, 2014 at 11:27 a.m.
chas9 said...

Yes, tip o' the Tam O' Shanter to Mack and Mark.

Robin Williams also deserves to be better known for a fine (crazy) role in The Fisher King.

Don't think Bill Murray has won an Oscar, but he's come close. If close counts, here are some worthies:

John Lithgow's Dr. Dick Solomon was a bit like Mork. Lithgow has won every award except for an Academy Award.

Danny DeVito (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, etc.) will win an Academy Award some day.

Joe Pesci has played any number of wacky roles that should qualify him.

MT--This UK team has several guys who will be back. That should help the recently rare "team" part.

Spy's right. All the awards shows are as boring as watching NASCAR, bowling and golf.

March 3, 2014 at 11:53 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

Everyone but Jerry Palm I've seen today has Tennessee in....barely. Admittedly, I've only seen three brackets today. If Tennessee wins two games this week, they may have it locked down, depending on the rest of the bubble. Probably need one or two SEC Tournament wins. In the Cuonzo Martin era, they have not fared well in that tournament. Actually, in any era, they have not fared well in that tournament. The bubble is not good, but it's never good.

Like I said, I'll have another update on Friday of the bubble.

March 3, 2014 at 12:05 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Once Busty Cops 2 wasn't nominated for an Oscar, I wasn't going to watch.

March 3, 2014 at 12:29 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

You know the Academy looks down upon sequels.

March 3, 2014 at 12:31 p.m.
Stewwie said...

We ain't talkin' 'bout da game. We talkin' 'bout practice, man.

Agreed that AI was the quickest with the ball. He played with a lot of heart and soul though he was also known for his selfishness and bad attitudes. The end of his "practice" rant said a lot about him: "How the (heck) can I make my teammates better by practicing?" Hopefully at some point, he came to the realization that basketball is a team game and not primarily about him or any other star.

Coming off of last season, it was clear that Z was a baller. At the beginning of this season, though, I was concerned that he may not be a good fit in Wade's system. Couple that with Wade's impatience with Z's tendency to pick up early fouls, and it appeared that he might have to spend more than desired time on the pine this season. But thankfully, he was able to shine well in leading the team to the 2nd best record in the conference.

Jay/MT/Jomo/Stuck/Billy (or any others), will the Mocs have a chance at a postseason tourney if they don't win the SoCon tournament? Not the NIT, but there are 2 or 3 others out there. Would the Mocs be good enough for any of those? I think it'd be neat to see this team in the postseason in McKenzie if we were to get one of those home games.

March 3, 2014 at 1:43 p.m.
WilliamRscott said...

Stew-Daddy: I think those other post-season MBB tourneys require an entry fee (?) The other guys can set us straight on that...

As for the 2014 PGA, even though he went to the little red school north of the river, I would like to see Harris English [or is it English Harris?] do well this year...Luke List also...


March 3, 2014 at 1:58 p.m.
MocTastic said...

Stewwie, you are thinking of the CBIT and CIT tournaments for those not in the NCAA/NIT tournaments. To host in the CBIT/CIT tournaments does require a good deal of cash, roughly $30,000 in prior years for the CIT and roughtly $60,000 for the CBIT. I don't think you pay to be a road team, but we would never see them in the Roundhouse without some significant cash.

My guess is that with the new agressive AD and coach, we would try to get in the CBIT or CIT tournament if we lose in Asheville, but have no idea if we would have the money to host. Require lots of quick ticket sales and some good sponsorship.

We are probably good enough for the those tournaments, but being good isn't always the invitation that gets you in the door.

thanks to a friend of mine for this:

The CBI has a minimum ticket guarantee, the amount a school pays to host a game: The guarantees are $35,000 for first-round games, $50,000 for the quarterfinals and $75,000 per game for the semifinals and the best-of-three finals.

Read more:

So I am GUESSING we might get in, but be a road team.

March 3, 2014 at 2:23 p.m.
Stewwie said...

Thanks for the info, MT.

March 3, 2014 at 3:03 p.m.
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