Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday (Very) Quickie

Let's start with the notion that Tim Tebow might/could/will start today in Oakland for the Denver Broncos. Now that's out of the way...

UConn women go for consecutive win No. 88 -- tying UCLA's legendary streak -- today vs. No. 10 Ohio State at Madison Square Garden, the biggest stage possible for one of the biggest wins in women's college hoops history. (Now that I'm back in NYC, I'm a bit bummed I'm not going to this game. I would love to have taken my kids, so they could see the history.)

Magic center of NBA mega-trade(s): This was a fun one. The Magic improved their offense considerably, dumping Vince Carter for Jason Richardson and old fan favorite Hedo Turkoglu (while giving up underrated Dwight Howard backup Marcin Gortat), then swapping overpriced tall 3-point shooter Rashard Lewis straight up for Gilbert Arenas, who is a better shooter than Lewis (and desperate for a career reboot).

*The upshot: The Magic need to try to win now. Dwight Howard is a free agent after the 2012 season, and they have to try to show him they are committed to chasing a title; the old roster wasn't cutting it. J-Rich is an upgrade over VC. Arenas is high-risk/high-reward. They might miss Gortat. (They won't miss Rashard Lewis.)

*The Suns are dismantling themselves -- Carter's massive salary comes off the books after this season. Pity Steve Nash, the franchise star who will never be traded, but has to suffer through the descent to rock bottom. Gortat will actually help a lot, I'll bet.

*The Wizards get rid of the face of the franchise, replacing him with a shooter who they can't wait to dump off the books in a year or two. Like almost every other Wizards fan, I adored Gilbert -- at least, I was obsessed with him during that glorious run when he was not only playing like a 1st-team all-NBA player, but being eccentric and wacky and blogging and doing freakish things that showed a joy for the game and a joy for life. That changed with the injuries and the "guns incident," but I will never stop appreciating how good Arenas made it to be a Wizards fan. No matter what team he plays for, I'll always be a fan of Agent Zero.

Wizards nearly beat Heat: And, in typical fashion, the Wizards -- playing without Arenas, without Wall, without Rashard Lewis and without much talent to speak of -- took the Heat to the final seconds (up 4 with 13 seconds to play!)... but ultimately choked in only the way the Wizards can (and, predictably, do).

It's possible to claim moral victory that the Wizards didn't lose by 40 -- as I honestly thought they would -- but it was deflating that they came so close to their biggest (and most unlikely) regular-season win in franchise history, only to bumble it away at the end.

CFB Bowl season starts: With blowouts! Frosh QB Jake Heaps led BYU to its final win as a member of the Mountain West... Northern Illinois and its hilariously candid interim head coach throttled Fresno State... Troy walloped Ohio in New Orleans (behind a huge performance from another frosh QB, Corey Robinson). By the way, Troy's punter has the greatest beard ever.

1-AA Playoffs: It'll be Delaware vs. Eastern Washington for the national title.

CFB Coaching Carousel: Mike Leach to Maryland? (Or is that "Marrrrryland?" I have to get on trademarking that pirate-speak version of the school's name.) Leach's issues at Texas Tech aside, this would be the ideal hire for Maryland. Leach is brilliant. His style of play is incredibly entertaining (meaning that even if Maryland doesn't win the conference, they will be fun to watch). And he is buddies with Maryland uber-booster Kevin Plank, CEO of Under Armour.

CBB Upset Du Jour: Illinois lost to Illinois-Chicago, in the kind of regional-guppy-beats-regional-powerhouse win that MAKES a program for a mid-major conference.

Plus: Gonzaga over Baylor. Gonzaga had seemed "down" this season, but this was a big win over a very good Baylor team -- probably enough to right the Zags and keep them on track for an NCAA bid.

(Meanwhile, I am baffled at how Florida locked down Kansas State. Florida has not been impressive at all this season. K-State is precisely the kind of "tough" team that typically gives Florida fits. Instead, Florida held KSU under 50. Many fans will file this one away when they look at Florida on their bracket next March; I see it as a near-annual "great" win for Florida that shows how much potential they have... but ultimately sets you up for a let-down loss when it matters most. Wow: We've come a long way since 2007, where my expectation was "National championship or bust.")

Josh Selby's Kansas debut: Showcasing a sweet shot, he is as good as his prep reputation that preceded him. He is likely one-and-done, but he will make KU much more of a threat to go into the 2nd weekend (maybe the final weekend) of the NCAA Tournament.

Congrats, Penn State women's volleyball: 4th straight national title.

NFL Week 15: Rex Grossman is starting in the NFL. That is all. (Actually, there's a lot more. More later.)

-- D.S.

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