I feel bad for Brittney Griner, if only for the fact that she is a 6-foot-8 super-talented, YouTube-sensation freshman for a Baylor team that should be poised for a run into the Elite Eight of the women's NCAA Tournament, and she will now be known almost entirely for clocking that Texas Tech player last night.
However, it did inspire a bit of Quickie-esque shorthand for today's SN column lead: It was her "One Shiner Moment."
I don't think that if this happened in December or January that Griner would be suspended through the end of the season, including the NCAA Tournament. (Who knows: Maybe.) But the fact that this happened in March means that Baylor and the Big 12 can't possibly NOT suspend her through the Big 12 and NCAA Tournaments. That's, like, all of 8-10 games, which is probably not enough for throwing a full-blown punch on the court.
But the reality is that like LeGarrette Blount, this will migrate from niche sports news to mainstream cable news, and Baylor and the Big 12 won't be able to avoid a month-long suspension, because of the extra scrutiny from the national glare.
Anyway, if it was DeMarcus Cousins, I wonder what would happen. You know that Calipari would want to suspend him for the SEC but not NCAA Tournament (Calipari doesn't care at all about winning the SEC; he only cares about NCAA seeding). I would be curious what the SEC would do, given that Kentucky represents the league's best hope for an NCAA hoops title this season and Cousins is an integral part of that run.
More you'll find in today's column:
*Good for Notre Dame! (See: I don't hate everything about ND. Just Charlie Weis and the football team. As far as hoops is concerned, I totally respect their season-ending run.)
*You all know that even though I dislike Duke, how much I like Jon Scheyer -- arguably the greatest Jewish college basketball player of the past 50 years. But watching Maryland beat Duke last night -- what an atmosphere -- I have to give Greivis Vasquez the nod for ACC Player of the Year ahead of Scheyer. No one saw a Maryland regular-season ACC title coming, and that's in large part due to Vasquez's skill -- and demonstrative sensibility, which I love.
*Kansas beats down K-State: I will be curious to see how universal the attitude is to take Kansas to the Final Four on everyone's bracket. I cannot imagine not giving them 4 wins to start the Tournament. (I learned a painful lesson last year not to overthink myself -- that, and the field looks so top-heavy this year... at least among the Top 3.)
*Kennesaw. This is why conference tournaments are fun -- but truly make a mockery of the regular season. As long as a team does the minimum to qualify for their conference tournament, they can offset an entire season's subpar body of work by simply winning 4 straight games in March. There isn't a major-conference Bubble team that has the same level of pressure as the minor-conference regular-season champ that won't go to the Tournament unless they win their league tournament.
*If you were starting an NBA franchise today, trying to win over the long-term, LeBron would be the obvious No. 1 pick, with Kevin Durant likely being No. 2. But today, I think you can make a strong case that Carmelo Anthony is superior to Durant, and I'm not just saying that because Melo put up 30 to Durant's 19 last night in Denver's rout of OKC. Melo has the better team around him -- for now. But in all the hoopla to celebrate Durant's breakthrough this season (and he deserves it), Anthony is more quietly having his best season ever and affirming himself as a top-tier player at the same level as LeBron, Kobe, Wade, Howard and, yes, KD.
*Anyone want to put Jake Peavy in the Top 5 for 2010 AL Cy Young predictions? I'll do it, lumping him in with Greinke, Sabathia, Lackey and... well, I know I'm forgetting someone. (UPDATE: Cripes, how could I forget King Felix and Cliff Lee?)
Tons more in today's column. Check it out here. And check back for more later.