Monday, March 07, 2011

03/07 Quickie: Ohio St, Hoops, Heat

Don't forget to sign up for the "Quickish" group of the Tournament Challenge.

Heat reaction: There was a flurry of opinion about the Heat yesterday -- mostly about the "crying" thing -- but I found clarity in the simple reality that none of this matters until the 2nd round of the playoffs in May.

And even then, the Heat not winning a title this year will merely illuminate the reality that no one really expected them to win it this year, did they?

I did like Dan LeBatard's reaction (and I'm usually not a big DLB fan) that among fairly equal teams, players who know their roles (as with the Bulls) might/can trump players who don't (yet or ever, as with the Heat).

(As for Heat coach Eric Spoelstra blaming the media for "crygate," the coach is both a dope and out of his depth. He's the guy who said it -- and he was an idiot for saying it.)

Ohio State scandal-ish: It's a simple question, really -- "What did Jim Tressel know and when did he know it?" I trust the Yahoo reporting, but there is no more secure coach in college football than Tressel. He won't lose his job -- I laugh at the thought (and cringe that Urban Meyer would be the logical choice to replace him) -- but he will lose a smidgen of the reputation he has worked so hard to cultivate.

College hoops: Congrats to Old Dominion (an early-round upset special), Saint Peter's, Wofford and Gonzaga.

Today's automatic bids on the line: Arkansas-Little Rock vs. North Texas (Sun Belt), Butler vs. Milwaukee (Horizon), Oral Roberts vs. Oakland (Horizon).

Plus! Princeton at Penn. If Princeton loses, Harvard wins the Ivy League's automatic bid. If Princeton wins, Harvard and Princeton play a one-game playoff for the title on Saturday.

Big East Tournament starts today: The first round is headlined by UConn and Villanova, both NCAA locks regardless of whether they win or lose today. Marquette, which plays, Providence, would be in a bit more trouble if it lost; if Marquette wins, it solidifies their place.

That the Big East has 15 percent of the NCAA field gives it star power, but does it have any real consequence if it doesn't matter whether a team wins or loses? Pride, yes. But if your eye is on a national title, then it feels more like an opportunity to get injured or gassed.

Wes Leonard, remembered: Fennville HS won its first state playoff game since Wes Leonard collapsed on the court and died at the end of the regular season. It seemed like an epically sad event, but the players and Fennville fans seemed to think it was the most appropriate way to celebrate Leonard's life. Cannot imagine how tough it was for those players.

Book Club: "Extra 2%," by Jonah Keri, which is like "Moneyball 2.0" and revolves around the way the Rays reinvented themselves behind a team of Wall Street smart-guys. Keri is a friend, and the book is terrific. You will see it around the Web a lot today and this week.

Give Quickish a look-in or two (or more) today -- and, if you have a chance, tell some friends about it.

-- D.S.

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