Saturday, February 24, 2007

Saturday 02/24 A.M. Quickie:
What Tiger Portends for March

As I settle in to watch a day of college hoops, I'm struck by Tiger Woods' third-round loss in the match-play championships. If Tiger -- the overwhelming "No. 1" seed and winner of 7 straight tournaments -- can lose in the equivalent of the Sweet 16, what does that say about the NCAA Tournament chances of a pre-Tournament favorite like Florida (not to mention Wisconsin/Ohio State, UNC or UCLA)? It says that whether it's golf or college hoops, in a one-and-done format, anything can happen. Just a little something to keep in mind as college hoops hits its climax. -- D.S.

Friday, February 23, 2007

2007 Oscar Picks

Reviving a Daily Quickie tradition:

Picture: Departed
Director: Scorsese
Actor: Whitaker
Actress: Mirren
Supp. Actor: Murphy
Supp. Actress: Hudson
Screenplay (Adap.): Departed
Screenplay (Orig.): Sunshine
Doc: Inconvenient Truth
Foreign: Lives of Others

Is it me, or is this the easiest field to pick in years? So in the Comments, present your locks or your darkhorses.

No. 23: Who's the Greatest?
(Besides the Obvious)

See post below for today's Quickie.

The movie "The Number 23" came out today. As with almost every Jim Carrey movie that isn't a comedy (except "Eternal Sunshine"), you could see it coming: Panned.

But it lends itself to an interesting discussion/debate: After Michael Jordan, who is the greatest No. 23 of all time?

Let's look at it two ways: Greatest No. 23 (besides MJ) in ANY sport, and greatest No. 23 in each of the major sports. (For the NBA, obviously, the greatest No. 23 after Jordan.)

My picks:
NBA: LeBron
MLB: Ryne Sandberg
NFL: Uh, Devin Hester?
NHL: Uh, Chris Drury?
College FB or BB: Hmm...

(Interesting trivia: No team in the NFL has ever retired No. 23.)

Have at it, and bonus points for inspired or non-obvious choices.

(Oscar picks coming soon!)

-- D.S.

Friday 02/23 A.M. Quickie:
Wow, Is It a Loaded Day

Oscar Picks coming later today! But before that, there's a ton going on today:

Wade Injury Update: If Dwyane Wade has season-ending surgery on his shoulder, the Heat's season ends, too.

Not only will they not make the playoffs, but they SHOULDN'T make the playoffs (given that they have no chance to win), and instead should take advantage of the rich NBA Lottery. (Who else has a "frozen Ping-Pong ball" sending Oden to South Beach?)

NBA Trade Dudline: Just make the commitment to yourself that you'll never get worked up about it again.

The Nets will regret not dumping Carter when he bolts for Orlando this summer. But I'm quite sure they'll get some value back in finding a new home for Jason Kidd this summer. (The Lakers blew it by not trading Bynum for Kidd. By the time Bynum is any good, Kobe will be too old.)

Meanwhile, this is the most publicity Juan Dixon has gotten since Maryland won the National Championship in 2002 (even if most of it is loaded with sarcasm).

"Violence in Vegas," Update: David Stern said that Sunday's violence won't deter the league from bringing another event there (or even relocating a team) as much as the lack of a new arena. At least he's being honest.

Dennis Johnson dies: I'm sure Simmons will give this full-court treatment, but for the non-Celtics fan, DJ was notable for:

5. His defensive prowess

4. His Sonics title in '79 (Finals MVP)

3. His role in the Celtics 80s dominance

2. Consensus pick as "least attractive NBA player of the 80's"

1. His role in Game 5 of the 1987 Eastern Conference finals, finishing the "Bird stole the ball!" play.

Rest in peace, DJ.

CBB Last Night: When you find out that Butler loses to Loyola, you can't help but file it away to take Butler no further than the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

Meanwhile, if you thought Washington State was a legit FF contender, they couldn't get the job done against Oregon. (In Wazzu's defense, it was in Eugene.)

Finally, Duke's win over Clemson puts the Tigers on the outside of the Bubble, needing a strong ACC Tournament push.

Women's College Hoops (2 Days in a Row!): But you know I love a good superlative, so "Longest Game Ever!" certainly qualifies. 5 OTs! (Who won? Who lost? Meh.)

CBB No. 1 vs. No. 2: Wisconsin at Ohio State. Both teams could use the win to bolster the cause for a 1-seed, but ultimately, it's the winner of the Big Ten Tournament title that will get it.

More CBB Weekend: Is Pitt at Georgetown a battle for a No. 2 NCAA Tournament seed? A little early, but the Top 2 teams in the Big East.

The Steroid Cops are coming to spring training, where they can expect their lack of enforcement power to yield the same "Eff off" as before.

MLB: Clemens Watch. Presuming that the Yankees and Red Sox will be neck-and-neck all season long, the Rocket is going to make a LOT of money (and make a LOT of people happy/mad) when he comes back.

Hide the mics: So the Red Sox won't be re-signing Curt Schilling next season, and he's already talking about being a free agent. No, THAT won't be a distraction this season or anything.

NHL: What does it say that the only time the NHL makes the radar is when two teams brawl it out?

CFB: Boise State's Chris Petersen got a new five-year deal worth more than $4 million. Which he SO earned. Who doesn't love Boise?

High School Hoops: Anyone else catch OJ Mayo scoring 47 last night against No. 1 St. Patrick's? What great foreshadowing of his one-year college career: Lots of points, but ultimately losing.

NFL Draft: I love the total arbitrariness of the coin flip to decide whether the Browns or Bucs get the 3rd overall pick. It happened this morning: The Bucs called Heads; the coin came up Tails. And the Browns end up with the 3rd overall pick, with the Bucs picking 4th. (The teams will flip-flop in subsequent rounds.)

What's the difference? Well, if both teams want an O-lineman and Joe Thomas sneaks past the first two picks, he's there. If both teams want a WR and Calvin Johnson sneaks past the first two picks, he's there. If the Bucs really covet Johnson as much as the mock drafts insist they do, then the Browns -- who might not really want/need Johnson, with Braylon Edwards as their No. 1 WR -- might be wise to swap picks with the Bucs, in exchange for flip-flopping their positions in Rounds 2, 4 and 6, allowing the Browns to pick ahead of the Bucs.

(But via the must-read ProFootballTalk, it sounds like the Browns are hot-n-heavy for JaMarcus Russell. Either he'll drop to them at No. 3, or that No. 3 pick gives them a better shot at trading with the Raiders for the top spot than having the No. 4 pick. Draft intrigue already sizzling.)

NFL Combine: I would love to have a all-access camera inside the team one-on-one interviews with the players. They sound fascinating, and the premium seems to be on "football smarts" over, say, Wonderlic. (How's that Vince Young uber-low score looking now? He should frame that Wonderlic scoresheet next to his Rookie of the Year trophy.)

NFL News: Is Corey Dillon going to retire? (Was anyone else surprised to see the stat that he's 14th all-time in rushing yards and the career leader among all active players? Given that he's "only" 32, that's a hell of a career (but not Hall of Fame).

More NFL : The Raiders dumped Aaron Brooks. Those cheers are from fans in Oakland. The Jags will stick behind Byron Leftwich, who is my favorite player on the team. ("My" team, of course.) But, again via ProFootballTalk, perhaps it's all a ruse to get the Raiders to trade them Randy Moss for Leftwich? Finally, which team will swipe new free agent Adalius Thomas from the Ravens?

Whitlock takes on the "Black KKK": If only he didn't compare himself to Rosa Parks for doing it, I might appreciate this column as much as I should.

DC Sports Bog does "The Big Picture": He had big shoes to fill this week (kidding), but it's a very interesting (long) interview.

Steve Rushin leaving SI: Excuse me if I can't get too worked up over this. I've always found his column to be overrated. We get it: You're married to Rebecca Lobo.

Cold Pizza leaving NYC: USA Today's Mike McCarthy confirms that the program is relocating to Bristol.

Most intriguingly, the show is getting a new name, finally shedding what was quite possibly the worst name in sports-TV history. (When the show was first announced, I suggested the sensible and self-evident "ESPN A.M." but was ignored. Of course, I also suggested that they steer clear of the fuzzy, non-sports content, which was also ignored.)

Prediction: The ratings will go up simply from dropping the name "Cold Pizza" and changing it to something better. Many viewers will think that it's an entirely new show. (Of course, they'll still run into Skip Bayless at 10 a.m.)

-- D.S.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thursday 02/22 A.M. Quickie:
Wade, Trades, Bubbling, Combine, More

Things were going a little TOO well for Dwyane Wade: Reigning NBA Finals MVP. Reigning SI Sportsman of the Year. In the debate over "Best Player in the NBA." Marketing superstar with his own personal "branding conference" at Las Vegas during the All-Star Break.

The good mojo had to end sometime, and it came to a screeching halt last night when he dislocated his left shoulder. He could be out up to six weeks, but – as with every injury – you never know how it will affect his game.

I remain committed to my original analysis of the Heat and of the East back when it looked like Shaq wouldn't play much during the regular season: As long as Miami makes the playoff field – at any seed – and Wade/Shaq can play, they'll win the East.

(But, just in case: Do you think that the Heat can pry Vince Carter away from the Nets for, say, promising youngster Dorrell Wright?)

NBA Trade Deadline: Speaking of VC, it shouldn't hurt his trade value that he put in 46 last night in a Nets loss. (Jason Kidd, who it turns out has been playing with cracked ribs, had 6 points on 2/14 FG. Of course, he also had 14 assists and 9 rebounds.)

Meanwhile, I wonder what naysayers of the old "prep-to-pro" draft rules have to say about the fact that the Lakers aren't willing to trade 19-year-old soph Andrew Bynum for future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd.

Again: I'm for trading both Carter and Kidd. The Nets aren't getting any better, and the rebuilding might as well start now. They risk losing Carter this summer (for nothing in return). With Kidd, I don't mind them holding him for now, but only if the inevitable end-game here is that he's shipped out for some sort of value back to the team in time fo rhte move to Brooklyn.

The biggest name being thrown around, beyond the pair in Jersey: Mike Bibby. Whee. (Here's a hint: The Cavs don't win the East with Bibby. Or without him. Either way.) Is it me or has the Trade Deadline been gutted in the last 10 years?

College Hoops: The ACC is fascinating. Upstart Virginia Tech upended BC, and surprising Virginia lost to bottom-feeding Miami. Meanwhile, Maryland is suddenly on the right side of .500 in the conference (which should put them in the field of 65, for now), beating Florida State (which has lost 5 straight -- and all mo from earlier this season).

Is Texas A&M for real? Consider this: They beat Oklahoma State. By 20. In Stillwater. More and more, I'm getting ready to go long on the Aggies in the NCAA Tournament, and less and less I'm thinking they are a fluke.

So. Ill. wins Mo Valley regular season title. As any good mid-major fan knows, winning the conference regular-season title doesn't mean much. At this point, the league needs to be defined by how deep its teams go in the NCAA Tournament.

SEC: Newly ranked Vandy suffers a classic let-down game in a loss to Mississippi State. (Meanwhile, the Gators rebounded from the loss with win over South Carolina. That's one win down, 11 more in a row to go until the Repeat.)

Women's Hoops: I don't talk much about women's college hoops, but it's worth noting that Oklahoma's Courtney Paris could be the most dominating women's college player ever. Last night, she had 32 points and 13 rebounds for her 53rd straight double-double.

NFL Combine: Starts today. Meh. I'll take the Pro Days. (Actually, forget 'em all. If all we're doing is empty posturing, give me the mock-draft industry.)

However, one of the more intriguing prospects is former Florida D-lineman Marcus Thomas, who was arguably the Gators' best player before being booted off the team for repeated rule violations involving pot. (Can you imagine what the D would have done to Ohio State if he had been available?) He's a First Round talent with Moss/Sapp-style baggage. Somehow, I think that NFL GMs will be ready to overlook the baggage.

NFL Coaching: Lovie and Bears still apart. If I was Smith, I would play out next year, then cash in with a huge deal from, say, the Redskins.

MLB: Manny being Manny. It's so sweet when "family issues" really means "attending a car auction." This instantly jumps into one of the Top 5 Manny stories.

MLB Arbitration Mania! Chad Cordero was a big winner, earning a huge raise from $525K to $4.15M. (It's not like the Nats didn't recognize his value, given that they offered $3.65M. But, given the woeful state of the Nats pitching, Cordero's value can't be diminished.)

Matsuzaka Watch: Here's a great synopsis of the "gyroball."

U of Cincy Sex Scandal: Perhaps you're like me, just waiting for the alleged "video" to hit YouTube.

(However, I'm trying to figure out where the issue is. Is the allegation that the four football recruits somehow sexually assaulted the former UC soccer player, or was it consensual? Is it that they were drinking? Is it that it was videotaped? Because I have to say: Football recruits having sex where drinking was involved is hardly scandalous, unless there's some coercion involved. Have yet to see that here. Let's get the players involved to step forward and talk about it openly.)

Boxing: Tommy Morrison is a Morr-on.

Wimbledon: It's nice to see the women finally getting paid as much as the men (particularly because the women's side is a hell of a lot more interesting than the men's). If they were REALLY going on "value," the women could/should/would actually be paid MORE than the guys.

-- D.S.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

SBJ's Top 20 Most Influential in Online Sports

Sports Business Journal came out with the Top 20 Most Influential People in Online Sports, dominated by media and league dot-com execs (as it should be). Notably, Bill Simmons ranked 12th, Peter King ranked 19th (WTF?) and Deadspin's Will Leitch ranked 20th, which feels like "let's add a blogger for some cred."

But if you truly understand online sports, you know that Will should be ranked somewhere just outside the Top 10 (and -- sorry, Bill -- definitely ahead of Simmons). I cannot begin to explain King's placement when a site like ProFootballTalk is so much more influential. So I guess it's a good thing I've been working on my own ranking (tease)... coming soon.

NBA Blog Awards: 2007 Edition

The Pro Basketball Writers Association put out their annual awards list, and – both predictably and lamentably – there wasn't a single blogger to be found.

I presume that's because they don't allow bloggers to be members, which is their loss. (Funny: I didn't see the "Sam Smith Award for Original Reporting." Maybe he should talk to Dan Steinberg about that.)

Meanwhile, the NBA blog universe has become one of the most active, vibrant, enthusiastic and entertaining in sports. And it all seems to have really exploded this season, which was the best news for NBA fans.

Because the PBWA can't (or won't) do it, here are this year's winners of the NBA Blogger Awards*:

Best Blog, Individual:
True Hoop
(Henry Abbott)

Best Blog, Group:
NBA Fanhouse
(MJD, BigLead, Shoals, Skeets, Mutoni, Edwards, Watson, Ziller, Miss Gossip, Jones)

Best Team Blog, Game Coverage:
(Kevin Arnovitz)

Best Team Blog, Entertainment:
("Darvin and Dana Ham")

Best Commentary Blog:
Free Darko
(B. Shoals, Dr. LIC, Brown Recluse)

Best Podcast Blog:
The Basketball Jones
(Tas Melas/JE Skeets)

Best Photoshop Blog:
Yay! Sports
(The Cavalier)

Best Resource Blog:
(Jason Gurney)

Best Blogroll:
(Matt Bernhardt)

Best History Blog:
Jones on the NBA
(Nate Jones)

Best Newspaper Blog:
DC Sports Bog
(Dan Steinberg)

Best Owner Blog:
(Mark Cuban)

Best Player Blog:
Gilbert Arenas

Lifetime Achievement:
SlamOnline's The Links
(Lang Whitaker)

There are a LOT of great NBA blogs (particularly team-specific blogs) that I short-shrifted here, so please feel free to use the Comments section to add your own nominees and favorites. This is a celebration, not a competition.

-- D.S.

* - As voted on by, um, me. Which seems a lot more trasparent than, say, the way traditional sports-media cabals (like the PBWA) do their awards voting.

UPDATE (2/22, 10 a.m.): I got an email from Steve Aschburner, the president of the PBWA, who took issue with the first two sentences of this post. (And I certainly don't blame him.) Regular readers of this blog know I can go heavy on unsupported snark, but in a post that had the potential to reach a much wider audience, I should have either ratcheted it back or shot a quick email to Aschburner for a clarification of their awards policy and membership. (Ironically, the PBWA doesn't seem to have an online presence for me to know how to contact him.) I think it's important to keep in mind that the primary intent of the post was to showcase the best NBA bloggers, using the PBWA's annual awards as a news hook to lead into my topic of choice.

Wednesday 02/21 A.M. Quickie:
Wisco Boots, Brady "Excited," Combine Zzz's

College Hoops: Wisco instantly irrelevant as No. 1, after a loss to Michigan State. Wow, that let-down was fast.

The good news is that it affirms that this season's Final Four will be tougher than ever to predict.

What's the marginal difference between the presumed 1-seeds (Florida, Wisco-Ohio St survivor, UCLA) and the teams sitting at 2- or 3-seeds?

One thing is obvious: There is no clear-cut No. 1 team. (Of course, last year there were a few clear-cut favorites and we ended up with Florida over UCLA in the National Title game, which very few -- if any -- saw coming.) I still think Florida is the favorite, but that isn't saying much in a field this competitive.

The hotter drama is at the margin, where the bubble feels insanely packed and should make conference tournaments much more intense.

Today's MUST-READ: Dan Steinberg of the amazing DC Sports Bog (the "gold standard of newspaper sports blogs" -- D.S.) breaks Sam Smith over Smith's ridiculous anti-blog rant from last week. The best is that he didn't use a sledgehammer; he used the stiletto of Smith's own "original" work. Here's the link, and if you didn't read my defense of sports blogs against "old sports media" haters (like Smith), here's the link to the interview on The Big Picture. (It's long, so just skip down to Question 8.) I have a feeling that Steinberg's post will resonate across both blogs and traditional media, because he carries both the cred of being one of blogging's finest along with the cred of being a writer for the Washington Post.

More CBB: Mid-Majors. Should we be watching UNLV more closely than we're watching Air Force? LV beat AFA by 10 last night.

Kevin Durant Watch: "Only" 17 points in a 29-point Texas rout over TX Tech. (Mark my words: He'll be a great, but not transcendent, NBA player. In the best-case scenario, he's the next Dirk Nowitzki. In the wrong situation, he could easily be merely the next Rashard Lewis.)

Tom Brady Baby-Daddy Update: Brady's agent says he is "excited." (Yes, if "excited" means "whoops.")

NFL Combine: I'm thinking that "Pro Days" at individual college campuses has gutted the value of the combine as a way to gauge top picks.

There's still the drama of which players will emerge as "workout warriors" (see Vernon Davis in 2006), but otherwise? Meh.

NBA: Given the way that the Spurs shut down the Carmelo-AI tandem (24 points), how did anyone EVER think the pair would lift the Nuggets to West contention?

Gilbert Arenas Item of the Day: Off his 30-some points last night in a Wiz win, here's a link to a great story (from a reader) that has been pinging around lots of sports blogs. It's a great story of fandom, of Agent Zero and of sneakers. What more could you want?

NBA Trade Deadline: Kidd and Carter remain the biggest names. The standard litmus test will be if either/both/neither are playing tonight.

Rumor has it Carter is more likely than Kidd to go. Given the likelihood that Carter will bolt as a free agent in the offseason, why not get even 20 cents on the dollar today?

Bonds arrives at Spring Training: He's going to break Aaron's record. And you'll watch. But the coverage will drive you crazy.

"Let them investigate": Sounds like Bonds is going with "defiance" as his theme this spring.

Meanwhile, the "Don't Ask Me, Ask Barry" T-shirts are pretty funny. Will the Giants be selling those to the fans?

MLB: A-Rod vs. Jeter. In response to A-Rod's spirit of openness in his "media therapy" session about his strained relationship with Jeter, Jeter says that he's not going to talk about it. Stay classy, Cap!

The Cubs will pay Zambrano $12.4M for a year, while they either renegotiate a longer-term deal or watch him walk away for huge money. Nice to see the Cubs finally give some cash to a GOOD pitcher.

Charlie Weis Trial: Apparently, one quick way to get a mistrial as a defendant doc in a malpractice case is to rush to the aid of a juror who passes out.

Golf's Match-Play "tournament" should, in theory, be the sport's March Madness, complete with office pools. But they're not, which is a shame. Who doesn't love a good bracket?

It's the end of an era tonight for Chief Illiniwek, the Illinois mascot I saw first-hand in college. I understand the passions of the alums and students on this subject, but it's time for him to go.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tuesday 02/20 A.M. Quickie:
On Norv! On Kidd! On A-Rod! On Wisco!

Wow, can you say "slow" today? No NBA, weak college hoops lineup last night, MLB still revving up, most NFL news in hibernation. It almost lulls you into forgetting that Tom Brady is the new Shawn Kemp. And away we go...

(So, the most senationalized story of the day will be A-Rod 'fessing up to his shitty relationship with Jeter. I'm not going to lead with that, out of protest. The obsession with A-Rod and the Yankees is starting early this year, it seems...)

Chargers hire Norv Turner: Presumably, Turner sold them on a vision of making Rivers, Gates and LT the new version of Aikman, Irvin and Smith. He might be able to do it (esp. if the D gets some specialist help, see next item), but aren't Chargers fans a little disappointed to hire a classic NFL retread coach?

And they also hire Ron Rivera: After Rivera was dumped by the Bears, he signed on with the Chargers as LB coach, which is a step down for a guy most fans probably figured would be a head coach by now.

More NFL Coaching news: Dungy back with Colts. With no pressure, he can relax next year during the inevitable year-after-title let-down.

NBA Trade Mania: Kidd to...where? Jason Kidd to the Lakers for a package of ugh (Mihm, Brown, Farmar, draft pick?) seems not only lopsided, but unlikely. Rumor has it they'll need a third team to get a deal done. But all signs point to Kidd on the move, by far the biggest name being thrown around. (I'm trying to figure out if Kidd and Kobe would be the greatest backcourt ever or a complete disaster?)

Let me get to the bigger point: It's time for the Nets to trade both Kidd and Carter. Neither will be with the team by the time they make their move to Brooklyn – and they certainly aren't contending in the East in the short-term anyway – so they might as well start the rebuilding now, around Richard Jefferson, Nenad Krstic, Marcus Williams and whatever they can get from the deal-making.

It was a nice try by NJ to make a run, but it's time to rebuild. There's no shame in that.

NBA All-Star Post-Mortem: So it sounds like the mayhem began AFTER the game, when beatings and shootings and all sorts of "-ings" went down. If you had to guess that an NFL player was allegedly involved, and I'd give you a hint that he doesn't play for the Bengals, who would you guess? (If you said, "Pac-Man Jones" -- as you immediately should have -- you would be correct.)

MLB: A-Rod admits that his relationship with Jeter is strained. Which means it sucks. But I choose to look on the bright side here: That A-Rod might finally be shedding his robotic, everything-is-fine image for something a little more natural and... human. He doesn't like Jeter? Well good for him! Welcome to the club. The hundreds of thousands in the "ABJ Club" are glad to have you.

More MLB: Manny will be late to camp this year. (Does that even surprise you?) Meanwhile, Carlos Zambrano goes to arbitration today. He made a bargain $6.5M last year. He wants $15.5M. The Cubs are offering $11.025M. As the best (and/or Most Valuable) pitcher in the NL, Zamb deserves the bigger number. The word is that they'll negotiate a deal before arb'ing.

CBB Top 25: Glad to see that the pollsters had their head screwed on right and vaulted Wisconsin over Ohio State (given that Wisco beat the Buckeyes head-to-head earlier this season).

Let's not overrate next week's rematch in Columbus. Even if Wisconsin loses, they can earn a No. 1 NCAA Tournament seed by winning the Big Ten Tournament title, whether or not they beat OSU to do it.

Meanwhile, among notable Top 25 details, apparently Florida is still commanding respect, even if they dropped to No. 3 (behind a team they beat earlier this season by 26). After beating the Gators – no, crushing the Gators – Vandy made its Top 25 debut at No. 17, which is as high of a debut I can remember seeing.

And among the Mid-Majors, So. Ill. enjoyed a nice bump from winning the Mid-Major Game of the Year over Butler. The Salukis reached No. 13, their highest ranking ever.

If XM and Sirius really do merge (and I doubt that regulators will let them), that will be a hell of a sports-radio powerhouse.

-- D.S.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Monday AM (Very) Quickie

So I sent this from the road on my Blackberry at 9 a.m. this morning, but I finally get home from about 12 hours of traveling only to find out it didn't post! Damn it! Here's what I had:

DAYTONA: Did the wild finish help the sport or merely highlight the primary (and random) role of accidents in determining the sport's outcomes?

NBA ALL-STAR: The parties better have been epic, because the actual events -- particularly yesterday's game -- were duds. (The notable standouts: Bavetta-Barkley kiss, Dwight Howard slaps a sticker near the top of the backboard, Shaq's dancing, Arenas' trampoline dunk.)

CBB: Who's Number One? I'm saying Wisconsin, but I'm willing to listen to other offers. Let's all agree that the Wisconsin-Ohio State winner will probably be No. 1 after this coming weekend.

Brady Baby-Daddy: He's an MVP alright -- Most Virile 'Pregnator. Will out-of-wedlock fatherhood tarnish his Golden Boy image? (And will he and Leinart form a new club?)

(I actually posted -- or TRIED to post -- an entire thing about Brady on Sunday afternoon. Here it is: "So what will it do to Tom Brady's image that is ex-g/f is pregnant with his baby? Think she pulled the goalie when she realized he was about to dump her? Or maybe he dumped her after he found out? Either way, it confirms his uber-virility, doesn't it?)

-- D.S.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Sunday AM Super-Quickie

A few thoughts from the road, where a wedding among my extended in-laws means a Saturday afternoon spent watching the Gators with super-fans... And you can imagine how that went:

*Gators lose at Vandy: All credit to Vandy for playing out of their minds and all but locking up a Big Dance ticket. I'm no fan of "good" losses, but with 12 games between now and the national title game, I'd certainly rather lose now than later.

* So Ill beats Butler: Salukis are the new "hot" midmajor.

* So who's No. 1 now? I'd give it to Wisconsin, but the game at OH St next weekend looms huge.

* NBA All-Star: Dunk? More like thunk. Who knew Kapono had it in him? (Or, more intriguingly, who knew Barkley had it in him?) And David Lee means the weekend wasn't an entire loss for the Gators.

* D-500: I'm in Atlanta right now... Wow, is NASCAR big down here. Pick: Tony Stewart.

*Michael Irvin done at ESPN: The tell-tale sign will be the reaction from fans, ranging from ambivalence to schadenfreude. But no lamentation, to be sure. He could reinvent himself as a podcaster, but I don't think he's savvy enough to see that. Good riddance.

*I know I'm missing a bunch. Feel free to weigh in on these and more. It's peak season for college hoops over the next six weeks. Love it!

- D.S.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry