Championship Week gets nasty: OK, NOW we're ready to hit it today, as I shake out the cobwebs from last night's sports-blogger reading event...
Big East: G'town vs. Nova, ND vs. Cuse. (Of course, with wins yesterday, Nova and Cuse are as good as locks. Damn: Nova's Scottie Reynolds is good.) Plus: Did
(By the way: Was there any bigger tempest-in-a-teacup than the new Nike spandex-style uniforms, which Syracuse showcased? In reality, the jerseys weren't nearly as tight-fitting as the released design photos seemed to indicate. Are they ugly? I actually like them. I finally get it: It's the "UnderArmour/Nike Dri-Fit" Effect on top – for performance -- with extra-baggy shorts on the bottom -- for fashion. It actually makes sense, and the players seem to like it. That should be enough for fans. 'Cuse fans are forgiven if they suspend judgment until they see how far the team gets in them.)
Meanwhile, the New York Times' March Madness blog, The Bracket, kicked it into overdrive yesterday for the start of the Big East Tournament. I counted 13 posts throughout yesterday alone. Pete Thamel and Co. are bringing it. Must-read for Big East coverage.
ACC: Clemson (MUST win!) vs. FSU;
Looking for the best blogging about Big Ten Hoops -- or any college hoops for that matter? You've got to add Big Ten Wonk to your daily routine, now more than ever!
Big 12: Quarters on Friday will be a little bit more crazy, but Texas Tech and Oklahoma State don't just need to win today, but a COUPLE of wins this week.
SEC: Tourney locks
My favorite Tournament-related Web site of the day: NIT-ology, a Bracketology for the NIT. Before you mock it, consider what you would have said about Joe Lunardi 10 years ago -- or Mel Kiper 20 years ago. (H/T: Deadspin via
Is Kevin Durant sticking around for his sophomore season? Hey, I'd love to see what he and his UT frosh classmates can do with another year of experience (um, national title?), but I agree with MJD over at Fanhouse: Wait until after the season ends for his decision-making process to change. (But hell, this year, he's No. 2 in the draft, short of Oden returning to school, too; if he stays until next year, he's the overwhelming No. 1. What happens if this kid is National Player of the Year as a freshman – as he should be – and comes back as a soph?!) See my post below on the NBA Draft for a follow-up on this Longhorns situation.
NFL Moves: Jamal Lewis to the Browns. Wait, how does that impact the presumption that
NFL Draft: The Florida Gators held their Pro Day, and early-entry DB Reggie "Effing" Nelson (no, seriously, that's the complimentary way Gator Nation refers to him, to pay appropriate homage to his eye-popping skills) might have vaulted himself up the draft rankings, running a 40 somewhere in the 4.3-something range. I'm obviously biased, but Nelson is the best defensive player I have ever seen in college football. He is going to make some team look VERY smart.
Meanwhile: You've read my Arenas-as-Obama. Now, here's FreeDarko's take on Kobe-as-Obama.
NBA: Lindsay Hunter suspended 10 games for testing positive for a banned substance. It should make him the butt of countless hilarity that he was busted for taking diet pills. (Was he in it for the Dexatrim high? Or in it to get rid of those unwanted pounds?)
MLB Spring: Pedro is on the road to rehab, and – speaking of rehab – Sammy Sosa hit his second HR of the spring. Prediction: With an unlikely dinger binge, he'll reclaim his role as a fan favorite. Meanwhile, safari-goer David Wells is a latter day Teddy Roosevelt.
MLB: My new favorite baseball team president is Matt Silverman of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who won the auction by that Armchair GM blogger (to benefit Pediatric AIDS Research) to blog about the auction winner's team all season long. And Silverman won. And not just $535 to win the auction, but he put in another $1,000 to add to the charity. What a stand-up guy. Manny Stiles owes that guy the best freaking blog ever.
Move over Gilbert Arenas: Curt Schilling realizes that there's a lot of amazing pub to be claimed by starting a blog -- and, more importantly, speaking frankly through it. I've taken my shots at Schilling over the years as a media-whoring know-it-all, but I tip my cap to him for his entry into blogging, 38Pitches.com. If he really gets into it, it will be a watershed moment for baseball coverage.
NBA Draft: I'm an Draft junkie, so I was excited to see the appearance of Chad Ford's annual Lottery simulator. A few thoughts:
(1) Oden goes No. 1. Oden goes No. 1. Oden goes No. 1. Just stop talking about Durant at No. 1. It's simply not going to happen. (That is, if he even comes out.)
(2) I wonder if it will affect Spencer Hawes, Thaddeus Young and DJ Augustin's decision-making process to know that Ford has them both as lottery locks. (UNC's Brendan Wright was a no-brainer from the day he stepped on campus earlier this fall.) I sure as heck would come out, particularly if I was 5-foot-10, like Augustin, in a year weak on PGs. Young seems like an early-entry no-brainer, given that he would have been a first-rounder if he had been able to come out LAST year.
(3) Am I the only one who watches Josh McRoberts play and thinks "He's the new Brendan Haywood?" I've never seen a player with the reputation of having such imposing physical skills be so utterly unable to take over a game -- particularly for a big man. I appreciate the criticism of Hansbrough that his game won't translate at all to the NBA, but at least that guy has heart and makes plays. McRoberts? Zzz...
(4) The Gators frontcourt all goes in the Lottery. Last year was a bonus: If this group doesn't win the national title this year, it will be an underachievement of superlative magnitude.
(5) Big men rule. Why is this draft so highly anticipated? Partly due to a one-year blip from the new draft age-limit rules and partly due to the number of 2006 Lottery-worthy college players who stuck around for another year, it is the deepest group of forwards and centers I can ever remember.
Marion Jones gets married: Is it true that, in lieu of rice, wedding guests threw pills?
Finally, HUGE thanks to everyone who came out last night to the Varsity Letters Reading Series event. (The Commenters were well-represented, led by Brian from