published Monday, March 10th, 2014

5-at-10: Surprises, College hoops, Chuck Norris and Will Wade

Where do we begin on this March 10, the 74th birthday of Chuck Norris?

From the "Talks too much" studios, Chuck Norris can cut through a hot knife with butter.

Didn't you used to be...

Maybe the craziness that is this March is formed because of the juxtaposition of a few of the familiar faces in the sports of this time.

Follow along:

Tiger Woods looked like Tiger Woods on Saturday at Doral with a 66. He looked like James Woods on Sunday. And when did we get to the place that Patrick Reed and Jimmy Walker are the best golfers on the planet?

LeBron James scored 61 a week ago and three games since, he has failed to match that total collectively. James has struggled mightily from the perimeter, going 3-of-27 from outside the paint in scoring 58 total points in three Heat losses.

Dale Junior is the fastest thing on four wheels. Read that again, and know that being the fastest thing on four wheels is way better than being the most popular thing of four wheels.

Also know that there once was a street named for Chuck Norris, but they had to change it because no one crosses Chuck Norris and lives to tell about it.

————

College hoops update

Love TFP ace columnist Mark Wiedmer's take today, and folks, there are few that have witness as much college hoops as our man Weeds.

  • photo
    The Lady Vols celebrate after beating Kentucky on Sunday in championship game of the SEC women's basketball tournament.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Here's our Big 3 — Chuck Norris Style

1) UT is in. Amid the constant hand-wringing and the familiar laments of a current family-oriented, interweb-based sports columnist, the Tennessee Vols have saved the best for last. The manhandling UT delivered to Missouri on Saturday was impressive. And thorough. While it does not wash away the inconsistencies of the season, the Vols recent surge has been fun. It also has been based on sharing the basketball. They had 17 assists at Auburn and 18 more against Missouri, and the offense started inside with Jarnell Stokes and worked out. So either UT owns all Tigers — they smashed LSU too — or UTR may have stumbled into an offensive identity. And Chuck Norris made a Happy Meal cry.

2) Who wants the final No. 1 seeds? Going in to the major conference tournaments, there appears to be Florida and unbeaten Wichita State firmly planted with No. 1 seeds. From there it's a mix, made even more fuzzy by Virginia's loss. Duke's win over UNC gives the Blue Devils a leg up. And remember, Chuck Norris is the only thing that can touch MC Hammer.

3) Major props to the Lady Vols for winning the SEC tournament and to Jim Foster's XX Mocs for advancing to the SoCon final tonight. And this year's Southern Conference tournament is example No. 1 for the conference tournament/regular-season champ discussion we had last week.

————

NFL Free agency

And they're off.

Free agency in the NFL starts this week and early moves leave some with heads scratched.

Minnesota signed defensive end Everson Griffen to a long-term, lucrative deal. Yes, Everson Griffen, no relation to Everson Walls who's no relation to Another Brick in the Walls.

Reports have the clock ticking on Chris Johnson's time with the Titans, and while we can see that play, it's not like the Titans are supremely cash-strapped.

Still the decisions made this week will help sharpen the focus of where teams will be headed in the draft in May. We love the draft. You know this.

Also, Chuck Norris once visited the Virgin Islands. They are now known as just the Islands.

———

This and that

— Rashard Mendenhall retired from the NFL. He's 26.

— The Braves are stuggling — huge — this spring at 2-9. Ouch-standing.

———

Today's question

We're close to the Dance, and we have some special things planned in the coming days here and on Press Row, our radio show with David Paschall from 3-6 on ESPN 105.1 FM.

Next week we'll have our annual first-out, last-in here and we're going to play in the ESPN 105.1 bracket challenge. Here are the early details:

Contestants must have an account on www.ESPN.com to enter. If they don't have one, they must create one. Click on "Tournament Challenge" under the "Fantasy & Games" tab. Search for the group name "ESPN 105.1 The Zone." Use the password "chattanooga." One bracket per player and prizes are still to be determined.

Feel free to weigh in on any of the above, but if you need a talking point here you go:

How does the one-and-done end change how we few Will Wade's first season at UTC? To fair, not a great deal, although it does feel somewhat anticlimactic, and is doubly painful since Davidson got bounced in the semifinals.

Go.

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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jomo11 said...

Will Wade squeezed every once out of this roster he possibly could. Remember the Mocs were picked to finish 7th. Next year with 6-9 Justin Touyo and "Duke" Etheridge ( the Ga Juco player of the year ) and hot shooting new guards Jocoby Mobley, Brandon Maxwell ( son of NBA Vernon Maxwell ) and Shaq Preston, who was the player of the year in New Orleans beating out heralded UTK Vol signee Jordan Cornish for that honor, The future is VERY bright for Will Wade's Mocs

Jay- Im going to enter your bracket challenge, who is going to finish 2nd to me ?

March 10, 2014 at 10:15 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Followed the highlight clips over the weekend in regards to the SoCon tourney. I personally imagined XY Mocs at least making it into the finals by the skin of their teeth, but this was a team that was 100% Shulman and like with Coach H on the pigskin, is going to take a good 2-3 recruiting classes before we start see a more Mac McCarthy type squad. On the flip side of the gender coin, the XX Mocs might as well walk to the Big Dance doing the "Keep On Truck'n" strut. Foster had a good squad going in and can build on that. However, I do have to give humor props to the UTC Athletic Department for the candid shot (on their Facebook page) of Jim and the girls in their sweatpants doing a hotel hallway walkthrough. Red Payne holding a Pom-Pom. XD (Did she bring her Rainbow Dash pony for good luck?) :P

On a sidenote, the "package" should arrive by Wednesday, Jay. Also, next week: Mocs Spring Practice.

March 10, 2014 at 10:18 a.m.
chas9 said...

T-Wreck--Did 10:00 come on time for you?

Stuggling is a good word.

Would Pearl go to IUPUI (pronounced you-ee-poo-ee)?

The steamrolling Vols clearly deserve an invite. If I were on the committee, I'd weight recent games. They'll need to win their first SEC tourney game. If they have to win two, they're outta luck, because they get Flo-Rida second game.

Speaking of The Gators, they spanked UK, no surprise. Only surprise was that The Cats won the second half. Who'd have thought that possible? So there's a glimmer of hope for the BBN. Look for another UK-UF matchup in the SEC finals. Problem for Kentucky in the NCAA's is they don't sustain effort.

Bleacher Report gives odds on winning the SEC tourney. UT is 25-1, UGA is 15-1 and UK is 10-1. All about the matchups.

The XX Vols edged the XX Cats in their SEC finals matchup, 71-70. To get there, UK beat the #5 Lady Cocks by 10. The Lady Cats led The Lady Vols by as much as 10.

But was this misplayed? Down by four, Kentucky guard Jennifer O'Neill was fouled on a three-pointer with less than a second to play. She went to the stripe and calmly sank three FT's. Wasn't she supposed to miss the third one to give her team a chance for a putback?

Still, both UT and UK have good shots at the XX Final Four. Not much chance to win it all.

March 10, 2014 at 10:18 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

So much to get to.

--The Vols are not locked and loaded in. They probably need one or two wins in the SEC Tournament to lock it in. I have them as the first of the last four in right now (meaning they are ahead of three teams currently in the dance). That's precarious. Remember you said worse than 12-6 in the SEC and they wouldn't be in. Seems like a long time ago. There is always more room on the bubble than you think there will be in January. That's what I've learned.

--The Mocs matched up with the team that was their second worst match-up in the whole SoCon (behind Davidson) when they played Georgia Southern. It's unfortunate. With Western's win over Davidson, I think the Mocs would have gone to the NCAA Tournament if they could have pulled out the game against Georgia Southern. I think Wofford and Chattanooga are the two SoCon favorites next year.

--I've got 29 teams on the bubble for 14 spots. If Gonzaga and BYU win tonight, they'll both go off the bubble and into the tournament. One would get the automatic bid, so that means 27 teams for 13 spots. Of course, I'm doing the completely idiotic thing of leaving Green Bay and Stephen F. Austin on my bubble. Because I want to. For now. And I haven't clinched Nebraska yet, though by the next time they play, I might.

--Arkansas obviously has to win on Thursday. Who would need to win Friday more- Tennessee or Arkansas? I'm not sure. They are both right on the cut line. I had Arkansas as the last team in as of yesterday afternoon. Like I said, I have Tennessee up a few spots from that.

--I'll spend some quality time this week working on the bubble and figuring out the bracket. Good times.

--I'll play your bracket game, but I must warn you. I did a SoCon bracket, and I have gotten exactly one game right so far. So I am clearly the player to beat. Clearly.

March 10, 2014 at 11:17 a.m.
chas9 said...

Stuckey--Good show. I agree exactly, except I think The Huskers are in. And as I said, UT won't win two, because The Gators are the Chuck Norris of the SEC.

March 10, 2014 at 11:39 a.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, damn I left Chuck Norris off my Rushmore of Greatest Actors. Well, I'm here to right that wrong. Mr. Norris is not only a great of film and TV, he's a martial artist, singer, long running pitchman and GOP activist. It's unfortunately he never had a breakout movie like "Stage Coach" was for the Duke.

This is a man who has killed more Vietnamese Communists than the 173rd Airborne Brigade. A man who killed more terrorists than the SEALS and Delta Force combined. Yes, Chuck Norris deserves an horary Oscar next year if not sooner by special ceremony.

Of Tigers and Lebrons.

I can't kick a man like Lebron during a bit of a slump. Don't you think opponents saying in the locker room, "He ain't bagging 61 on us?" The truth here, 10 Ring, there's must be lack of attention or ardor by you for Lebron recent days. Lebromainia can only be sustained by sports writers with the deepest commitment, who take their vitamins and eat their vegetables everyday.

For Mr. Woods on the other hand, there's nobody's hand in his face when he takes a shot, except his own. If Tiger has sought counseling to get over what he long running spree and life shattering after effects, it's time find a new doctor and method to make the all important swing change in his head. If he hasn't taken such steps, he might as well go back to what was working for him.

March 10, 2014 at 11:52 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

How did the Mocs lose to my Eagles? Sure, Jelani and Tre are good players. But that's just about all that team has.

March 10, 2014 at 11:53 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

JG...there is much speculation regarding the women Mocs...as of this morning their RPI is 43...should disaster strike this evening, can you see them being the first non tourney winner from the SoCon to make the dance? Moving on the Wade's Bunch...is there a possibility although remote they could end up in one of the "other" post season tourney's? It is only 11 days until the debut of the next person who could have a fat head displayed at Mocs basketball

March 10, 2014 at 11:56 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Chuck Norris is 74? His birthday cake candles blow themselves out, don't they?

March 10, 2014 at 12:39 p.m.
WilliamRscott said...

Chuck Norris on a Rushmore with 3 others? No way. Mr. Norris has his own Rushmore...by himself...4 profiles of CN.

C-Niner: good call last week on your XX Cats.

Billy-In-Brainerd

March 10, 2014 at 1:35 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Rushmore of Chucks?

Go.

Chuck Norris. Chuckie from Child's Play. Chuck Connors. Chuck Taylor.

Thoughts?

March 10, 2014 at 1:40 p.m.
Stewwie said...

Seeing how this SoCon tourney has played out has me more convinced than ever that something needs to be changed. If the Mocs could have played that game at home, the 6th man that is the crowd would have helped them get the W. Or if only the top 4 could make the tourney, then GSU and WCU can't spoil the party for the more deserving participants. But we all know that any idea that would result in less money for the SoCon would promptly be roundhouse-kicked to the face.

Losing Z will be a major loss for the Mocs, but the quality of players coming in will more than offset that. That said, the Mocs should finish no worse than 2nd place again next year (behind Mercer). Of course that assumes that Wade isn't going anywhere. I think it's a safe assumption for now. It's a matter of "when" not "if" he bolts to a bigger school.

On how Wade should deal with a close, heartbreaking loss to GSU, somewhere Russ Huesman might have said, "Just blame the refs; it worked for me!"

March 10, 2014 at 1:47 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

5, come on, you gotta put Chuck Person the (other) Rifleman in there.

March 10, 2014 at 1:48 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

Rushmore of Chucks...

Chuck Yeager. Yeager never played a badass on the big screen, but he has played that role in real life for the last seventy years.

Chuck Berry. One of the founding fathers of rock & roll music.

Chuck Bednarik. The NFL has seen a lot of tough guys in its history. None tougher than Bednarik.

Chuck Norris. When ghosts go camping, they tell Chuck Norris stories.

Honorable mention goes to the real Rocky, Chuck Wepner.

Those just missing the cut are Chuck Woolery and the "chuck-and-duck" offense.

March 10, 2014 at 2:58 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

How about Chuck Barris, game show producer, host of The Gong Show and if you believe him, well, he could tell you. But then he'd have to kill ya.

March 10, 2014 at 3:24 p.m.
fechancellor said...

Chuck Taylor, a shoe in.

Charles "Chuck" Bronson, no martial arts, but still got the job done in a zillion pictures, some big budget productions.

Jon "Chucky" Gruden, his outbursts legendary with Raider fans.

Chuck "Ground Chuck" Knox gaudy regular seasons and quick exits.

March 10, 2014 at 5:18 p.m.
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