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Add-on posted very early Wed. a.m.
9 FAU vs. 4 Tennessee
3 K-State vs. 7 Michigan St.
8 Arkansas vs. 4 UConn
3 Gonzaga vs. 2 UCLA
1 Alabama vs. 5 San Diego St.
6 Creighton vs. 15 Princeton
1 Houston vs. 5 Miami
3 Xavier vs. 2 Texas
To me, in terms of pure basketball interest, K-State-MSU stands out as a potentially great game, ditto Gonzaga-UCLA, and Creighton-Princeton.
As much as my bracket sucked, I’m guessing I’m in the top half in terms of having three of my Final Four picks still in it…Creighton, Gonzaga, and Miami.
I had the Hurricanes winning it all because they have a terrific backcourt and great role players, along with a good coach.
And in Miami’s tough opener against Drake, ACC Player of the Year Isaiah Wong was 1 of 10 from the field. To me, the classic case of a star, and a team, surviving that initial game that would be their worst of the tournament.
5 Miami then played great Sunday, 84-69 over 6 Indiana, Wong with 27 on 9 of 17 shooting, 4 of 6 from three, 8 rebounds.
I expect the Hurricanes to hang down to the wire with the No. 1 seed Cougars Friday night, and then we’ll see if it’s Marcus Sasser or Isaiah Wong who comes up with the big play in the end.
--I forgot to note Sunday that in the K-State-Kentucky contest, it was a Wake transfer, Ish Massoud, who hit a critical three at the end. Massoud made a big mistake transferring to the Wildcats as he’s played little the last two seasons. He probably would have developed more staying at Wake.
But let’s see what he does against Michigan State.
Speaking of which, with MSU’s win over 2 Marquette, that marked the 16th time Tom Izzo has beaten a higher-seeded team in the NCAA Tournament, a new record. It’s also the sixth time he has gotten to the Sweet 16 with a team seeded fifth or worse.
And the 15th Sweet 16, overall, and 25th consecutive NCAA tournament under Izzo.
--There was lots of talk about the ending of the TCU-Gonzaga game Sunday night, won by the Zags 84-81. The thing is, it was 84-78 when TCU’s Damion Baugh hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make the score closer, like big deal, except to the betting world it was a big deal.
Gonzaga was a 4.5 point favorite.
--On the coaching change front….
Rick Pitino wasted no time and agreed to a six-year deal to become head coach at St. John’s and talk about working the transfer portal, you’d think that Pitino will have players contacting him.
Pitino informed his Iona Gaels on Monday afternoon, and in a series of tweets said: “…I’m not sad it ended. I’m so grateful it happened. To my players, the last three years. All I can say is you know how much I love you.”
Heck, he did what he said he’d do…kept the Iona program at a high level, two NCAA Tournament appearances in three seasons.
Pitino is the only coach to lead three programs to the Final Four (Providence, Kentucky and Louisville), winning national titles at Kentucky and Louisville.
He’s going to need a major commitment from St. John’s, including significant support for the program in the name, image and likeness space, and he’s reportedly received it.
Give him two years and Pitino will turn the program around and have Gotham in his palm, the Garden packed for Big East contests like in days of yore.
[By the way, when I told you a few weeks ago that Pitino was going to St. John’s, per a secret source who had talked to Fordham alum Michael C., it was P.J. Carlesimo.]
Also wasting no time, Iona then named FDU’s Tobin Anderson head coach, a 5-year deal, as Anderson was smart to just grab it.
It turns out that back in 2020, Anderson was one of three finalists for the job when the Gaels hired Pitino, so Iona already knew and liked him.
Boy, it’s going to be interesting to see what the rosters look like at both St. John’s and Iona next season, and where the transfers come from.
[FDU hired one of Anderson’s assistants, Jack Castleberry, to be the new head coach, Anderson taking two other assistants with him to Iona.]
Meanwhile, I was kind of surprised longtime Providence coach Ed Cooley, 12 seasons, 7 NCAA Tournament appearances, including this year, 242-153 overall, is going to be the next head coach at Georgetown.
I mean to me this is a lateral move, at best. But, whatever.
Providence is a good job for a currently successful mid-major coach. The Friars were trying hard to keep Cooley, a Providence native.
So with players decommitting and entering the portal, the Providence program will likely be a mess next year. They have to act quickly to fill the void.
As for John Calipari, what does he do? He has a lifetime contract but many of the big donors want him gone, and he probably wants to exit himself, but only on his terms…as is his right.
Some are talking about the Texas job. But the Texas players want interim coach Rodney Terry to get the full-time job. If they make it to the Final Four, this will be a problem for the AD, who doesn’t want to hire Terry.
--Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes has used the transfer portal to great benefit. Two seasons ago he came up with Alondes Williams, ACC Player of the Year, and Jake LaRavia, first-round draft pick in 2022.
This past season he came up with Tyree Appleby, who was runner-up for ACC Player of the Year (writers/coaches ranking).
So us fans were eager to see what Forbes would come up with for 2023-24 and we didn’t have to wait long. His name is Kevin “Boopie” Miller of Central Michigan, a point guard being given the keys, as Forbes has done with Williams and Appleby; Miller an All-Freshman MAC player two seasons ago, and then an 18.5 points, 5.3 assists player in four games last season before he was shut down with a foot injury.
Miller talked to Appleby before meeting Forbes and the deal was sealed. I’m guessing the kid is going to be good.
--Antoine Davis of Detroit Mercy, the five-year guard who finished 4 points shy of breaking Pete Maravich’s all-time Division I scoring record, is bitching the College Basketball Invitational didn’t invite the team to give him a shot at breaking Pistol Pete’s sacred mark.
“I’m upset about it,” Davis said in a phone interview with the Associated Press. “I feel like I got cheated out of something that they can’t ever give back to me. I think it’s selfish – and weird – that people emailed or called the CBI to say we shouldn’t be in the tournament because they didn’t want me to break the record.
“But there’s nothing to hold my head down about. I still feel like I’m the best scorer in my generation, especially finishing No. 2 behind him.”
I checked the records of the 16 teams in the bogus CBI, which is a pay-to-play tournament ($27,500 per), and only one of the 16 had a .500 record, the rest were above .500, and it’s all mid-majors, no Power Six schools.
Detroit Mercy was 14-19…they simply didn’t deserve to even be in this tournament, but it would have been so bogus because Davis’ points would have counted in his career total.
A victory for us guys who were right and said so.
--On the Women’s side, their Sweet 16 looks like this after No. 1 seed Stanford was taken out by Ole Miss, Sunday night, 54-49. And then Monday, 9 Miami upset 1 Indiana, 70-68.
Friday and Saturday…
1 South Carolina vs. 4 UCLA
3 Notre Dame vs. 2 Maryland
9 Miami vs. 4 Villanova
3 LSU vs. 2 Utah
8 Ole Miss vs. 5 Louisville
6 Colorado vs. 2 Iowa
1 Virginia Tech vs. 4 Tennessee
3 Ohio State vs. 2 UConn
--On a different and sad note…. St. Francis Brooklyn announced on Monday it was shelving the entire athletics department, after the board of trustees approved a strategic realignment plan, effective after the conclusion of the 2023 spring semester.
The school’s coaches were informed of the news Monday morning and the athletes were told during the afternoon prior to the official announcement.
“I come to you today to share the news of a decision I never anticipated during my time at St. Francis College,” athletic director Irma Garcia said in a statement. “I am heartbroken that a decision has been made to eliminate the College’s athletics program.”
The men’s basketball program, which dates back to 1896, was the oldest college program in New York City and a charter member of the NCAA.*
The school cited “increased operating expenses, flattening revenue streams, and plateauing enrollment in part due to a shrinking pool of high school graduates in the aftermath of the pandemic” as reasons for the need to restructure.
The school announced it was moving to a new campus in May 2021 that didn’t include a gym or pool on site, and at the time it hoped to develop partnerships with nearby institutions to share indoor spaces for games and practices and continue to use off-site fields for outdoor sports.
St. Francis, which featured 19 teams, will honor student-athletes’ scholarships, but you can imagine the better athletes are scrambling to transfer and find some financial aid.
*St. Francis alum Johnny Mac glumly noted, now the Terriers are assured of never making the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
You see, St. Francis Brooklyn was one of just four Division I programs eligible for the tournament since day one never to have made the Big Dance, the others being Army, William & Mary and The Citadel.
It was back in 2017 when Northwestern, once part of this group, got their first ticket.
--What a crushing, unreal loss for the Knicks Monday night at the Garden, as your editor watched the entire contest.
The undermanned Timberwolves were in town, desperately in need of a win, and at the half it was 79-70 Minnesota…79-70!...as the T’Wolves shot 71% from the field, 10-13 from three.
But there were the Knicks behind Julius Randle’s 26 first-half points.
So then Randle comes out in the third quarter and puts on the best single-quarter performance in Knicks history, 26 points, so 52 after three, and the Knicks trailed 109-108.
Randle always sits out the first 4-5 minutes of the fourth quarter and when he came back the Knicks had a 5-point lead and then they led 131-129 with two minutes to go, when they imploded, countless mistakes, Randle getting a ‘T’ for throwing the ball against the basket stanchion in frustration, and the Knicks lost 140-134. Just awful.
Randle ended up with 57 on 19 of 29, 8 of 14 from three, 11-13 at the line, far above his previous career-best of 46.
For the T’Wolves, though, it moved them to 36-37.
--Ja Morant returned to the Grizzlies on Monday but didn’t play in their 112-108 win over Dallas, Memphis 6-3 in Ja’s absence. It looks like he’ll return Wed. against the Rockets.
--Down to the wire, thru Tues.
1. Milwaukee 51-20
2. Boston 50-23
3. Philadelphia 48-23
4. Cleveland 46-28
5. Knicks 42-31
6. Brooklyn 39-33
7. Miami 39-34
8. Atlanta 36-36
9. Toronto 35-37
10. Chicago 34-37
11. Washington 32-39
1. Denver 48-24
2. Memphis 44-27
3. Sacramento 43-29
4. Phoenix 38-33
5. Clippers 38-35
6. Golden State 37-36
7. Oklahoma City 36-36
8. Dallas 36-36
9. Minnesota 36-37
10. Utah 35-36
11. Lakers 35-37
12. New Orleans 35-37
--Finally, Willis Reed died. He didn’t appear at the Knicks recent 50th anniversary celebration of their 1973 championship, and it was clear he wasn’t physically able to. Willis died at the age of 80.
I have his autograph, from when he came to Summit during his Knicks days, part of a Christmas festival in our downtown shopping district, when I also got Don Maynard’s autograph (and then stupidly put a thumb tack in it to put it on my bulletin board, thereby making it worthless. I did the same with Willis’).
Not a month goes by when Reed’s name doesn’t come up, and it’s all about one day.
This is from Bar Chat three years ago:
--50 years ago, May 8, 1970…the most storied moment in New York sports history occurred, completing a 15-month period of unparalleled success with Gotham’s teams never seen since. What a great time to be a young sports fan, transistor radio under the pillow to listen to west coast Knicks and Mets games.
Jan. 12, 1969, Joe Namath leads the Jets to a stunning upset of the Colts in Super Bowl III.
Oct. 16, 1969, the Miracle Mets wrap up the World Series over the Baltimore Orioles.
An then in the spring of 1970, the Knicks, who had gone 60-22 in the regular season, and then beat the Baltimore Bullets and Milwaukee Bucks in the first two rounds of the NBA playoffs, squared off against Wilt Chamberlain and the mighty Lakers.
The Knicks took a 3-2 lead in the series despite losing captain, and center, Willis Reed to a severe leg injury early in Game 5. With Reed out for Game 6, Wilt had a monster game of 45 points and 27 rebounds, the Lakers romping 135-113 over the defenseless Knickerbockers.
The scene was set for Game 7 at Madison Square Garden, but there was little hope for Knicks fans, Reed out of action again…until he wasn’t.
Marc Berman / New York Post
“In what is arguably the most significant moment in New York sports history, Reed [Ed. shot up with 44 milligrams of carbocaine and 8 cc’s of cortisone via Dr. James Parkes’ needle to mask the pain of a torn right thigh muscle], limped down the Garden tunnel 15 minutes before tip-off… The night halted and NBA history changed.
“ ‘We were all shooting around,” (Walt “Clyde”) Frazier told The Post last month. ‘When Willis came out everybody stopped. The Lakers stopped, our team stopped. The crowd went berserk. I know I was facing the tunnel. I didn’t have to turn around when he came out. I saw him right away. It was so emotional and the crowd never shup up from that point on. They were only able to sing half the anthem before (the crowd) drowned it out.’”
Reed’s status for Game 7 had been a mystery.
“ ‘When we get to the game, Willis is in the trainer’s room, everybody keeps going in, checking him out,’ Frazier said. ‘He’s in there getting the treatment. (Coach Red) Holzman said, ‘Hey close the door.’ He said ‘Whether Willis plays tonight or not, guys, we got to play. Forget about Willis. Focus on what you guys are doing.’ We’re on the court, Willis is in the trainer’s room with the door closed. We had no idea if he’s playing or not. I was thinking how are we going to do this without Willis?’
“Former Knicks forward Bill Bradley had just lifted a warmup shot when he heard thunder.
“ ‘The Garden erupts,’ Bradley told The Post. ‘It doesn’t erupt. It explodes. You look at the other end of the court and there’s Elgin Baylor, Jerry West and Chamberlain, they all stopped shooting. Chills were going up and down my spine when he came out.
“ ‘I learned later (Dave) DeBusschere was the last one to leave the locker room,’ Bradley added. ‘He said, ‘Can you give us just some minutes? We’ll be able to do the rest.’
“In The Post 50 years ago, Lakers coach Joe Mullaney said, ‘You could see Willis hobbling and we thought we could take advantage of it.’
“And that is not how the story went. And it never gets dusty in its retelling, especially on its 50th anniversary. Reed hit his first two shots – baskets that elevated the Knicks to a championship-level performance.
“ ‘On the first two plays, he gets an open shot around 15 feet, Chamberlain hangs under the basket,’ Bradley said. ‘He hits it. He hobbles up and down two times more. Then he gets another shot, 17 feet. He hits it – Chamberlain again backing off. After that, it was all over.’
“Reed said on MSG Network this week it was Frazier’s idea for Reed to launch early.
“ ‘Clyde wanted me to see if I could make it,’ Reed said in excerpts obtained by The Post. ‘I was surprised that he passed (to) me that first shot. But that’s the kind of team we had, open man.’
“Frazier went on to be an unstoppable force on May 8 – in 44 minutes, Frazier dropped 36 points on 12 of 17 shooting, 12 of 12 from the line with 19 assists and seven rebounds while harassing West on defense.
“Bradley calls it ‘the best seventh game of any NBA player. Frazier flew that night.’”
Frazier was actually a little pissed after the game because, Reed, not him, got Finals MVP.
“I’ve never held a grudge against him because of that. But at the time I was upset. I was trying to get on par with Oscar Robertson, West. I was 25 years old. If I could’ve been the MVP, that would’ve meant a lot at that time.”
Instead, being a Knicks champion became everlasting. “ ‘Your money is no good in here’ – I got that all over town for a long time after the championship,” Frazier said. “Free cab rides, drinks. It was really amazing. I couldn’t pay for anything.”
Bill Bradley looks back on that magical night and marvels at Willis Reed. “He put his whole career on the line for the team. That courage is what got the audience – and then got the team.”
Just a few sidebars from Game 7, which the Knicks won 113-99. Wilt was 1 of 11 from the free throw line. Reed played 27 minutes but only hit those first two shots. DeBusschere, befitting his career, was big…18 points, 17 rebounds.
--Yes, I watched the WBC final last night and it was indeed a classic, fairy tale ending, Shohei Ohtani striking out Mike Trout for the final out in a 3-2 game, Japan winning its third World Baseball Classic.
The WBC was great for the sport. But Commissioner Rob Manfred wants to see more star pitchers perform in the next Classic.
--Baseball America Top 25 (3/20)
4. Wake Forest*
10. East Carolina
12. Texas A&M
14. South Carolina
15. Ole Miss
16. Texas Tech
17. Boston College
19. North Carolina
20. Oklahoma State
22. Florida Gulf Coast
24. UC Santa Barbara
Wake is hosting Miami this weekend. We’ll find out how good my Deacs are. Two out of three and I’ll be a happy guy.
[Wake beat Elon, Tuesday, 20-0.]
--The Rangers had beaten the Penguins 6-0 on Saturday at the Garden, and then Sunday, they destroyed Nashville 7-0, six in the first 13:36 of the game.
But then the Rangers lost a biggie at home to Carolina last night, 3-2, giving up all three goals in the third period.
Carolina, first in the Metropolitan division, is at 46-15-8, New York 41-20-10.
--The bracket for the NCAA Division I Men’s Hockey Championship came out Sunday night and the four top seeds for the 16-team field, four regionals, are….
1. Minnesota 2. Quinnipiac 3. Michigan 4. Denver
The Colgate Red Raiders are squaring off against Michigan Friday night in Allentown, PA, a big break for alum Pete M., who was fearing his boys would be sent out to Fargo, ND.
--If you were thinking of the upcoming Masters and whether Fred Couples, at age 63, may still be able to make the cut, there was a good sign he could with his play last weekend in the PGA Tour Champions event at Newport Beach (Calif.) Country Club, Couples shooting 66-66-73, -8, and just five off the winning score turned in by Ernie Els.
Bernhard Langer, 65, was looking for his Champions-record 46th victory but ended -10, T7.
We know that Langer is capable of still going low at Augusta.
--Funny how I focused on Webb Simpson this past weekend and his needing a good performance, which he got with a T7 at the Valspar Championship.
Because Monday, he parted with his longtime friend and caddie, Paul Tesori.
“After over 12 years of working together, Paul Tesori and I have made the hard decision to change directions,” Simpson said on Instagram.
Tesori is going to be caddying for Cameron Young, Simpson and Young former Wake Forest stars.
--So last Sunday I totally forgot to write about LIV Golf’s second event of the season in Tucson, and aside from the fact it ended after I posted, there was a good reason for me forgetting.
Early in the afternoon I was trying to look up the leaderboard on the LIVGolf.com site and it was inaccessible for hours! How freakin’ bogus is that?!
It works now, a day after.
But I saw that Danny Lee won a four-way playoff with Brendan Steele, Louis Oosthuizen, and Carlos Ortiz; Lee’s first win since 2015.
Lee’s 54-hole winning score was -9.
Among the others…
Phil Mickelson was T30 (out of 48) at 1 under.
Bryson DeChambeau was T44 at 7 over! In eight LIV events, Bison has two 10th place finishes, that’s it. Wow, he’s good.
By the way, the LIV Golf television ratings on The CW have been beyond abysmal. Like fewer than 300,000 for Saturday and Sunday, both of its first two events, compared with 1.51 million and 2.38 million for the Saturday and Sunday of the Honda Classic, a non-designated PGA Tour event held at the same time of the LIV 2023 debut.
--Golf Digest’s Alan Shipnuck reported on a mandatory LIV Golf meeting with the players ahead of last weekend’s Tucson event and understand that LIV had accelerated the timeline…as in 2023 was originally supposed to be ten tournaments and instead it became 14, which wasn’t supposed to occur until 2024.
Shipnuck: “Says one player, ‘Some guys thought their contracts for this year are for 10 tournaments, not 14. But even with more tournaments there is no bump in the guaranteed money they signed for. Last year the players kept their share of the team winnings’ – Pat Perez famously own more than $8 million on the season despite an average individual finish of 32nd – ‘but now that money goes back to the team. I heard one guy say, ‘Why are we standing on the podium spraying each other with champagne when we don’t get the money?’ So that’s interesting. And now there is talk that [LIV leadership] wants to put more of the total purse toward the team component. But, again, guys have it in their contract they would be playing for $20 million on their own. So you can imagine there is a lot of conversation right now.’
“It is often said that LIV has unlimited resources, so shouldn’t all of this be easily solvable with more barrels of money? LIV could just add $10 million to each purse for the team component and everyone would be happy, right?
“One LIV executive counters that its financial forecasting extends for 10 years, so a purse increase of only $2 million per tournament quickly becomes a $250 million expense that has to go into the model.
“ ‘Jay Monahan himself said this is an arms race the PGA Tour can’t win, so let’s win the arms race,’ says the player. ‘But that isn’t the climate out here anymore.’
“Indeed, the most important barometer is the press room lunch: Last year featured decadent buffets with hot entrees and a cornucopia of desserts, but in Tucson it was the same cold sandwiches and pre-packaged cookies day after day. OK, that’s not the most important barometer, but it is symptomatic of larger belt-tightening. To get things off the ground in 2022, LIV covered all of the travel expenses for the players and (most of) their entourages, but now those costs have been offloaded to each team….
“ ‘Every expense is getting double- and triple-checked now,’ says another player. ‘Just take a look at the musical acts.’ Last year LIV hosted post-round concerts for fans featuring headliners including Diplo, Jason Durelo, Nelly and, not least, the Chainsmokers, stolen away from the warm embrace of the PGA Tour. On Friday in Tucson, the music came courtesy of a DJ with minimal star power.”
But in the end, LIV is trying to pump up the team concept and will add more money in that regards, though all expenses are borne by the team, including the hiring of social media folks.
The player contracts eventually expire, so some of the lesser talent among the chosen 48 will be jettisoned. But as Kevin Na summed it up with Alan Shipnuck: “There is a shit-ton of money out here, and I already got a shit-ton. If you play well, you’re gonna win a shit-ton more. I’m not worrying about the details.”
What Na does have to worry about is just how committed the Saudis are to continuing with the venture. They just got fleeced $1.5 billion on the Credit Suisse debacle, for example.
--There was a story on ESPN’s looming round of layoffs with “no sacred cows,” and how frustrated you must be if you are an ESPN employee, worried about your job, after the network shelled out $18 million per year for Troy Aikman, and $15 million per for Joe Buck, and $12 million per year for Stephen A. Smith (I had no idea on his comp), and yet Chris Fowler, who to me is as valuable to the network as anyone, isn’t being offered more than $3 million per to stay, and you just kind of shake your head. Oh, the priorities.
--Alabama freshman defensive back Tony Mitchell attempted to evade policy by driving at 141 mph before his arrest last Wednesday, according to police records obtained by AL.com.
Mitchell “admitted to fleeing law enforcement,” and claimed his passenger, Christopher Lewis, told him to “punch it.”
Police found $7,000 in cash and 226 grams of marijuana – as well as a loaded gun – in the car, a black Dodge Challenger.
Mitchell and Lewis were each charged with possession of marijuana and intent to sell and/or distribute. Lewis received a gun possession charge.
Boy, that SEC really recruits some high character kids, don’t they.
Next Bar Chat, Sunday p.m.
[Posted Sunday p.m., before the evening NCAA games.]
Brief Add-on up top by noon, Wed.
Professional Bowlers Association Quiz: Yes, for us older folks who enjoyed watching bowling back in the day on ABC with Chris Schenkel and Billy Welu, every few years I have to ask, who is on the top ten list in career titles. No. 1 is at 47, No. 10 at 26. The list is according to PBA.com. Answer below.
It was pretty amazing that for both CBS Sports and ESPN’s Tournament Challenge, after the first two days there wasn’t one perfect bracket left after 16-seed Fairleigh Dickinson’s titanic win over 1-seed Purdue.
Consider that 98.7% of CBS brackets selected Purdue to defeat FDU, while just 0.4% picked FDU to reach the Sweet 16. The network said 38.4% had Purdue in the Final Four and 8.8% had the Boilermakers winning the national championship.
ESPN had a similar story for its 20 million+ brackets.
So speaking of Fairleigh Dickinson, I was thrilled for them Friday night and immediately called my friend Mary in Newark, whose son, the late Mubby Swain, played for FDU for two seasons before transferring to William Paterson; your editor, Mary and her extended family watching many a game at the Rothman Center, sitting immediately behind the bench…subtle pressure for then coach Tom Green to put Mubby in the game. [Mubby, a two-time Newark scoring champion, rode the pine his two seasons there, but the games were entertaining. The year after Mubby transferred, 1997-98, FDU played UConn in the NCAAs, a 2-15 matchup, and Mubby’s good friend, Elijah Allen, had one of the great games in tournament history, 43 points on 14 of 17 shooting, as the Knights played terrifically but lost 93-85.]
Joey Chandler / NJ.com
“And you thought nobody could match that historic NCAA Tournament run by Saint Peter’s last year? C’mon, the Peacocks are so yesterday. Meet New Jersey’s newest Cinderella – the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights….
“ ‘We shocked the world!’ said coach Tobin Anderson, who is in his first season at FDU.
“Anderson, in his postgame speech after a play-in victory, boasted that he believed his team could upset Purdue – ‘The more I watch Purdue, the more I think we can beat them,’ he said. ‘Let’s go shock the world!’ – leaving critics to chuckle at the thought and question whether he should have said that on camera. But his players backed him up with a historic upset.
“ ‘I mean, I just trust our guys,’ Anderson said immediately after the game. ‘We have faith in what we do. I’ll do a better job with this locker-room than the last one. It was the right message, but maybe the wrong audience. I love our guys. They’re tough. They’re gritty. They play their tails off. That’s an unbelievable win.’”
Steve Politi / NJ.com (Star Ledger)
Politi, one of the great sports writers in America, wrote the following after 15-seed Princeton beat Arizona, and last year’s Saint Peter’s run, but before FDU’s stunner.
“Great for Princeton.
“Great for NCAA hoops.
“Great for New Jersey.
“Here’s a wild thought: Can this become our thing now? Can we put monumental college basketball upsets on the list of our specialties with the Jersey Shore, bagels, pizza and The Sopranos? I know it would be hard to remake nine million license plates, but maybe we can even adopt a new motto.
“New Jersey: The Cinderella State.
“Gardens are boring. Cinderellas are awesome. New Jersey already was the home state to the original Cinderella Man, the great boxer James J. Braddock, whose statue looms large in a Hudson County park. Rocky, the ultimate underdog movie, was based on the life of Jersey guy Chuck Wepner. We’ve got the history, and right now, we’ve got the mojo.”
And then FDU happened.
Yes, Governor Murphy, with the stroke of the pen, have our prisoners start making new license plates…The Cinderella State.
FDU was a 25-point underdog and yet led for 25:42 of the game in their amazing 63-58 first-round victory, just the second 16-seed to take down a 1.
And here FDU didn’t even win the NEC Tournament, but got into the Big Dance because of Merrimack being ineligible.
But the Knights looked terrific in their play-in win, Wednesday, against Texas Southern, 84-61, and clearly gained a lot of confidence from that performance.
And consider FDU committed just nine turnovers to Purdue’s 16.
But it was the defense on 7-4 All-American center Zach Edey that stood out. Edey got his 21 points and 15 rebounds, but he didn’t get a shot off the final nine minutes.
This is what FDU’s 6-6 forward Ansley Almonor (their biggest player), who defended Edey (with help), said after:
“Today, they showed us a video about a lion. What makes a lion the king of the jungle? It’s not his speed, it’s not his smarts, it’s just his mentality. We needed to have a lion’s mentality to go out there and be the king of the jungle, go out there and be the better team. And that’s what we did.”
Dan Wolken / USA TODAY
“Matt Painter is as straight a shooter as there is in college basketball, so he should take these words in the same spirit with which he would offer them to someone else.
“As of Friday night, Purdue is the choke artist program of the decade. There isn’t even a close second. And something in the DNA of what Painter has built desperately needs to change.
“Those calling for Painter to be fired in the wake of Purdue’s latest Chernobyl-level meltdown, becoming just the second No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed in NCAA Tournament history, are missing the mark. Painter is a tremendous basketball coach, and Purdue is a reliably good program that has advanced to the Sweet 16 or beyond in six of the last 14 years.
“You don’t burn that to the ground and start over. Not at Purdue. Maybe not anywhere.
“But the trend this program has built over three straight March disasters cannot stand. It’s not acceptable.
“North Texas. Saint Peter’s. And now, Fairleigh Dickinson.
“Once is a fluke. Twice is a problem. Three times isn’t just embarrassing, it’s damning.
“Purdue losing 63-58 to Fairleigh Dickinson was like watching a cruise ship steer straight into an iceberg in perfect weather. It was like a surgeon dropping a scalpel and clipping an artery. It was like a pro golfer sending a 1-foot putt into a sand trap.
“When things got even a little bit tense, Purdue completely curled up and turned what had been routine all season into catastrophe.
“How do you win the Big Ten regular season by a significant distance, roll through the conference tournament and then come out and lose to a team ranked 275th in the kenpom.com efficiency ratings? A team, by the way, that only got into the NCAA Tournament because Merrimack, which beat Fairleigh Dickinson in the NEC championship game, was ineligible for the Big Dance….
“When the game was in the balance, Fairleigh Dickinson never wavered. Purdue ran, hid and hoped for a collapse from its opponent that wasn’t going to come….
“Fairleigh Dickinson played harder, played smarter and was the more fearless team under pressure. Purdue, for all its regular-season success, is going to be remembered as one of the biggest goats in March Madness history.”
--In other games of note, Thursday and Friday….
11-seed Pitt beat 6-seed Iowa State 59-41 as the Cyclones had an historically awful shooting night.
They missed their first 12 shots, fell behind 20-2, but came back to make it 30-23 at the half, only to then shoot 5 of 29 in the second half, 1 of 10 from three-point range.
For the game, Iowa State was 14 of 60 from the field, including 2 of 21 from three.
--Thursday, No. 13 seed Furman stunned 4 seed Virginia, 68-67, in a wild ending that will live on forever.
Trailing by two with under 10 seconds left, Furman trapped Virginia guard Kihei Clark, with over 160 games of experience in a Cavaliers uniform in five seasons, and Clark threw an inexplicable desperation pass (despite the team having a timeout to use) straight into the hands of Paladins big man Garrett Hien.
Hien fired a pass to JP Pegues, who nailed the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2.4 seconds left, UVA’s final attempt from half court off the mark.
It was simply the dumbest, stupidest play any good basketball fan, given the stakes, has ever seen. From such an experienced guard?! You could see the look of frustration (actual anger, really) from his teammates.
But awesome for Furman, the Paladins first NCAA Tournament win since 1974.
--No. 1 seed Houston won its first-round game Thursday against Northern Kentucky, 63-52, and Cougars coach Kelvin Sampson rolled the dice with All-American guard Marcus Sasser, inserting him in the starting lineup despite Sasser having a strained groin injury, and in a surprise to no one, Sasser didn’t even make it to halftime, reinjuring his groin.
As Nancy Armour of USA TODAY wrote:
“Sampson is the coach. It’s his job to make decisions in the best interest of his team. Sampson is also the adult. It’s his responsibility to step in when a teenager or 20-something is about to do something reckless or naïve.
“He failed in both cases. And the Cougars might pay for his gobsmacking stupidity with their title aspirations.”
Well, some of us shouldn’t have been so outraged. Sasser was back Saturday and the Cougars, after falling behind 41-31 to 9-seed Auburn at the half, roared back to win 81-64. Sasser looked terrific, 22 points, and Tramon Mark had 26 and 9 rebounds.
Also Saturday, 8 Arkansas took out No. 1 Kansas, 72-71, the Hogs in the Sweet 16 for a third consecutive year behind coach Eric Musselman. Now they’ll go for a third consecutive Elite 8 when they match up against the winner of St. Mary’s-UConn.
Arkansas, which was just 3 of 15 from three-point range, got a terrific game from Davonte Davis, 25 points, 8 rebounds.
And 15-seed Princeton became the first Ivy League school to make the Sweet 16 since Cornell in 2010, a second straight upset over 7 Missouri, 78-63.
The Tigers are obviously for real. They have size up front (6’6” freshman Caden Pierce with 16 rebounds, while the other bigs go 6’8” and 6’9”), a terrific senior guard in Ryan Langborg (22 points), and a helluva coach in Mitch Henderson.
Next up for Princeton is the winner of Creighton-Baylor.
One of my final four, 5-seed Duke, exited meekly, falling to 4 Tennessee, 65-52, who manhandled the Dookies. It was 27-21 Vols at the half and back in the studio, Wally Szczerbiak made a terrific comment. When he was a freshman, Szczerbiak, a star at Miami of Ohio, was 210 lbs. Three years later, he was 245. And that was how it looked with Duke’s freshmen bigs going up against Tennessee’s veteran front line.
I told Duke alum Ken P. after that I was particularly pissed with the play of 7’1” freshman Dereck Lively II, who I’m guessing is bound for the draft after a game in which while he had 11 rebounds, took zero shots…zero…and lost his man on defense for layups and slam dunks time after time after time. He’s a loser. At least Kyle Filipowski, beaten to a pulp and almost TKO’d in the first half, played his heart out.
Meanwhile, for the Vols, that mystery big man from Finland, Olivier Nkamhoua, had another monster game, 27 points on 10 of 13 from the field (3 of 4 from three).
I’ve written of him in the past when he’s had similar efforts, but they are few and far between. Can he string a few such efforts together? If so, Tennessee is in the Final Four. Book it.
In games Saturday night, form held…
1 Alabama over 8 Maryland 73-51; 2 UCLA beat 7 Northwestern 68-63; and 2 Texas felled 10 Penn State 71-66.
Today, 3 Xavier, which barely survived 14 Kennesaw State on Friday, 72-67, looked terrific in beating 11 Pitt, 84-73; six Musketeers in double figures, Colby Jones with 10 points, 14 rebounds and 7 assists.
And then 3 Kansas State took out 6 Kentucky, 75-69, Kentucky coach John Calipari either resigning or getting fired early this week.
K-State guard Markquis Nowell, listed generously at 5’8”, was superb, 27 points, 9 assist.
For Kentucky, rebounding machine Oscar Tshiebwe, who had 25 rebounds in the first-round win over Providence, had 25 points and 18 rebounds in a losing effort.
--In the NIT Wednesday, the ACC suffered two losses…Morehead State took out Clemson 68-64, while Cincinnati beat Virginia Tech 81-72. Wake should have been playing Cincy, not VT.
This afternoon, I watched a lot of a terrific game between Liberty and Wisconsin, won by the Badgers 75-71 before a raucous home crowd in Madison. Exactly what the NIT is supposed to be about. Liberty had knocked off Villanova.
--Huge win Saturday at the Garden for the Knicks, 116-110 over Western Conference-leading Denver (47-24). Jalen Brunson was back and he scored 24, the Knicks, after stumbling on the West Coast and then righting themselves, now 42-30.
--The NBA suspended Memphis guard Ja Morant for eight games without pay because of his gun incident.
“Ja’s conduct was irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement Wednesday.
Morant and Silver met face-to-face at the NBA’s offices in Manhattan and this came after a league investigation into his conduct.
The investigation found that Morant didn’t possess the gun while traveling with the team or in any NBA facility.
“It also has serious consequences given his enormous following and influence, particularly among young fans who look up to him,” Silver added. “He has expressed sincere contrition and remorse for his behavior.”
Morant can return March 20, Monday. Memphis is 5-3 without him.
For his part, Morant said during an interview with ESPN’s Jalen Rose: “Honestly, I feel like we put ourselves in that situation with our past mistakes, and now it’s only right that we focus in and lock in on being smarter and more responsible, holding each other accountable for everything,” referring to his inner circle. “I feel like in the past we didn’t know what was at stake. And now finally me having that time to realize everything, have that time alone, I realize that now.
“I realize what I have to lose, and for us as a group, what we have to lose. It’s pretty much just that being more responsible, more smarter and staying away from all the bad decisions.”
You’re an idiot. And you can’t just get rid of your posse. They’ll go after you.
Morant said the gun displayed in the video “wasn’t mine” but did not specify who it belonged to or how it ended up in his hands.
“It’s not who I am,” Morant said. “But in the future, I’m going to show everybody who Ja really is, what I’m about and change this narrative that everybody got.”
--Bar Chat, 2/13/23
“The World Baseball Classic, March 8-March 21, will interrupt spring training, some teams more than others.
“Mets fans, for example, have their whole starting infield…playing for their countries, but they’re all veterans.
But among the other Mets participants is closer Edwin Diaz, and as a fan I’m most concerned he overdoes it.”
Bar Chat, 3/15/23…Add-on…
“Sorry, I can’t get into the World Baseball Classic. I just want my Metsies involved to stay healthy, especially closer Edwin Diaz….”
I posted that at 7:00 a.m. A little over 15 hours later, the Mets’ season was over, Diaz, celebrating striking out the side and Puerto Rico’s win over the Dominican Republic, suffered a season-ending knee injury, a torn patellar tendon.
On hearing the news, I had a pit in my stomach. There was one player we couldn’t afford to lose and it was Diaz. We have experienced relievers, namely David Robertson and Adam Ottavino, but they are both 37 (Robertson turns 38 next month) and they were to be the setup men for Diaz, along with Drew Smith, and neither can be run out on consecutive days, at least not often, and they just aren’t Edwin Diaz, last year the best in the game.
And so for good reason, us fans can say the season is already over.
Mets owner Steve Cohen, who more than anyone also had to be sick to his stomach on hearing about Diaz, issued a classy tweet: “Edwin Diaz is a great human being and a fierce competitor. All of us at the Mets are shaken but determined to sustain our quest for a great season. We wish Edwin a speedy recovery.” *
The standard recovery timetable for a patellar tendon, a rather common basketball and football injury, is around eight months.
I’ve said my piece on the World Baseball Classic. I never gave a hoot about it, while recognizing the players love it.
I can see why it’s meaningful particularly for those on the Puerto Rican and D.R. squads, and Japan (with Shohei doing his thing), and Mexico, but these guys owe their first allegiance to the teams that are paying them $millions!
But as I noted a month ago with the Braves and Ronald Acuna Jr., they have to appease their stars.
Yes, players can get hurt whether they are in spring training (as the Mets have learned multiple times this spring) or the WBC. It’s just infuriating because Diaz’ injury only happened because he was in the WBC.
Meanwhile, Cohen’s financial wounds with Diaz’ five-year, $102 million contract were salved some since Major League Baseball will reimburse the Mets for $18.64 million, the value of the first year of Diaz’ deal. The reason is because he got hurt playing in the WBC, MLB has insurance in place to protect the team. It’s unclear whether his salary will still count against the luxury tax.
*As The Athletic reported, the Mets were fortunate in that both their team physician, and the club’s medical director, Dr. David Altchek, happened to be in Miami when Diaz got hurt and it was important to operate on him quickly…like just hours after. And then he was returned to his home in Port St. Lucie, Florida, to begin his recovery. Waiting for him there was a trainer, nutritionist and personal chef, courtesy of Cohen and the Mets.
Cohen called Diaz to tell him, “We’re going to do everything we can to get you better and take care of you.”
“It’s important to have a personal touch,” Cohen said last month when discussing how he tries to build personal relationships with players. “I think that matters, it shows you care.”
Sure does. We love our Uncle Stevie!
Mike Vaccaro / New York Post
“While representing one’s country is a fine and respectable thing, it’s a player’s MLB team that lays out and pays out for their services. The WBC has tried, every few years, to honor its mission of growing the game, and there are places – including the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico – where these games matter deeply. It was impossible not to see that Wednesday night at loanDepot Park.
“That is of little consolation to the Mets right now.
“Diaz is a fundamental and essential part of the Mets’ makeup… The familiar brass of Timmy Trumpet accompanied (him) in from the bullpen Wednesday. He whiffed Ketel Marte, Jean Segura and Teoscar Hernandez. A joyous celebration ensued.
“And seconds later a baseball season in Queens was toppled upside down. And fairly or not, the WBC is going to have to answer for that.”
--Last night, Trea Turner hit a late grand slam to give Team USA a 9-7 win over Venezuela that moved the Americans into the semis. Jose Altuve, playing for Venezuela, was hit by a pitch in the hand and it does not look good….
….and then today we learned it was a fractured right thumb, Altuve out indefinitely.
Altuve hit .300 with a .921 OPS in 2022, fifth in the MVP vote. This would be a crushing loss for the ‘Stros.
--In College Baseball, Wake Forest took 2 of 3 from Notre Dame this weekend, so two straight ACC series wins, Wake now 18-3, 4-2.
Big test next weekend vs. Miami.
I do have to add that Demon Deacon pitcher Rhett Lowder, a consensus top-20 pick in the next draft, won the first game of the series, 4-1.
--Aaron Rodgers announced Wednesday on “The Pat McAfee Show” that he wants to play quarterback for the Jets, and that he had not given the Jets a “wish list” of players for them to target, saying, “It’s so stupid to think I would do that.”
The problem is working out the compensation and the Packers are playing hardball. This could drag out a while, especially as Green Bay has major cap reasons for waiting until June 1.
On the other hand, by waiting they’d lose out on getting some 2023 draft picks from the Jets.
--The Cowboys released Ezekiel Elliott, making him a free agent.
Elliott, 27, was set to count $16.7 million against the salary cap with a $10.9 million non-guaranteed base salary. He will be designated a post-June 1 cut, which means the club will save nearly $11 million against the 2023 cap.
Fellow running back Tony Pollard was given the $10.091 million franchise tag. Elliott could still return but he’d have to accept a substantial pay cut, though it seems the Cowboys didn’t make an offer.
In seven seasons, Elliott had 8,262 yards on the ground, a 4.4 average, but he only averaged 3.8 last year and looked highly mediocre, especially at the end of the season, albeit he’s had injury issues.
--Jalen Carter pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing, his attorney told ESPN.
The former Georgia defensive lineman and once surefire top-five pick in the NFL Draft was sentenced to 12 months of probation, a $1,000 fine and 80 hours of community service and will attend a state-approved defensive driving course.
By doing so, Carter won’t face any additional charges in this case.
Carter’s attorney said his client did not cause a car wreck on Jan. 15 that killed Georgia football player Devin Willock and recruiting staffer Chandler LeCroy. Police alleged LeCroy was racing Carter before the wreck.
Carter recently had a pro day and was 9 pounds heavier than he was at the combine. He didn’t finish his position drills and didn’t participate in other aspects of the workout, including the 40-yard dash and cone drills. His stock is plummeting like one of the regional banks.
--Entering the final round of the Valspar Championship at the Innisbrook Resort, Palm Harbor, Fla., we had….
Adam Schenk -8…looking for first win
Jordan Spieth -7
Tommy Fleetwood -7
Webb Simpson -6
2 others at -6
Once again, Fleetwood really needs to hold his position. If he finished T2, he’d move from 97 to 42 in the FedEx Cup standings. Spieth would move to 31 from 65.
For Webb Simpson, who has been off in the wilderness, with a T4 he’d move from 181 to 115 and be back in the game.
This is why these non-designated events are still big.
And so despite the NCAA hoops action, I watched a ton of this, and after a stupendous 71-foot putt for birdie by Adam Schenk on No. 12, we had….
Schenk -10 thru 12
Taylor Moore -8…13
Fleetwood then bogeyed the par-5 14th. Drat. But Taylor Moore birdied it to go -9.
At this point I went to catch the end of the Kentucky-Kansas State game, and upon return….
Spieth -10 thru 15
Moore -10 thru 17
Schenk -10 thru 15
Fleetwood -8 thru 16…he must stay there…
Then on No. 16, Spieth clutch bogey putt, Schenk clutch par putt….
Moore finishes -10.
Schenk with another awesome par putt on 17. Spieth, after a superb tee-shot on the par-3, misses the birdie putt.
Fleetwood finished -8…great…preliminarily moves to No. 66 on FedEx Cup points list…huge. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m one of millions in the Tommy Fleetwood Fan Club.
Adam Schenk then hit a horrendous tee-shot on the par-4 18th, up against a tree. Has to play lefthanded and at least gives himself a chance for par. Taylor Moore, like Schenk, looking for his first tour win.
Both Spieth and Schenk hit disappointing approach shots, Spieth needing to birdie to tie Moore, Schenk needing another clutch par putt, but this one nearly impossible, and….
….Spieth misses, Schenk’s attempt was awesome but too bold…and Taylor Moore is a PGA Tour winner. Massive.
If you aren’t paying attention to the non-designated events, you’re making a big mistake.
Spieth, inexplicably missed his par putt….-8 with Fleetwood. And it seems Fleetwood with the T3 is now 61st on the points list.
Webb Simpson finished T7, moving from 181 to 124 in the standings…a start. He needs a bunch more top tens to make the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
--Freddie Couples and Will Zalatoris share the same agent, so that’s probably the genesis of Couples saying this week that LIV Golf offered Zalatoris $35 million, initially, and then hiked it to $130 million after Zalatoris’ near-misses in multiple majors.
But Zalatoris stood strong. Go Deacs!
--LIV Golf received a win in the courts.
Last month a federal magistrate judge ruled that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and its governor can be deposed and must produce documents in the ongoing antitrust lawsuit with the PGA Tour. But the other day, Judge Beth Labson Freeman ruled the motion has been stayed pending further investigation.
Freeman said there are “a number of thorny issues, including application of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, whether Mr. Al-Rumayyan is entitled to common law immunity from enforcement of PGA’s subpoena.”
--The Rangers are back on track, winners of three straight, including what was called an offensive masterclass at the Garden last night, a 6-0 blitzing of the Penguins.
--But the real story on the ice this weekend was the various conference tournaments in D-1 College Hockey for the automatic berths into the 16-team NCAA field that ends up with the Frozen Four.
There are six major conferences in Division I men’s hockey and in the ECAC championship, Pete M.’s Colgate Red Raiders (I get fined $42,000 for each time I write this, but the International Web Site Association has to come after me for it) pulled off an upset for the ages.
In the semifinals, they beat No. 2 in the country Quinnipiac, 2-1 in double overtime, and then followed that up with a 3-2 win in the finals against No. 7 Harvard. [PairWise rankings, like KenPom.]
So Colgate awaits the bracket release to see where they are headed for their regional.
Ten at-large bids will be awarded, with Quinnipiac and Harvard receiving two of them.
Colgate was ranked No. 25 last week, but the real Cinderella in the championship will be No. 41 Canisius, winner of the Atlantic Hockey Conference.
I do have to also note that Colgate had beaten Trader George’s St. Lawrence Saints, 4-3 and 3-2, to advance to the ECAC semifinals in the first place. Mega beers were pounded as these two watched their boys, cuz that’s what hockey fans do.
It’s kind of like rugby and their fans.
Speaking of Rugby…on Saturday, Ireland won the Six Nations Grand Slam, held between England, France, Scotland, Wales and Italy.
Ireland will be the No. 1 ranked team heading into September’s World Cup, which will be held in France.
Play was split between the PL and FA Cup this weekend.
Friday, Newcastle had an important 2-1 win at Nottingham Forest.
Saturday, Tottenham had a 3-1 lead late at cellar-dweller Southampton, and the Saints tied it with two, 3-3, the tying score on a penalty kick, a controversial call. A crushing draw for the Spurs and a critical point for Southampton.
Afterwards, Spurs manager Antonio Conte, a real asshole, blistered his team once again. He wasn’t kind to ownership either. Fire him! Now!
Sunday, Arsenal whipped Crystal Palace, 4-1.
Joshua Robinson of the Wall Street Journal had a big piece on the Premier League’s relegation battle and while drama has been lacking at the top of the table, there is no shortage of it at the bottom.
“All of them are locked in a desperate scramble to remain in the world’s richest soccer league, where simply showing up is worth more than $100 million a season.” Think astronomical increases in television rights payments to the league “that dwarf those of every other soccer-playing country… So staying in the top tier is about far more than competitive pride – it’s also mission-critical to a club’s business model.”
“Even with the league’s so-called ‘parachute payments’ for teams on their way down, relegation blows a $50 million hole in a club’s finances overnight.”
The most popular option to try to shake things up as the season winds down and to avoid relegation is to fire the manager, which six of the nine clubs in trouble have already done, including Crystal Palace, which fired its manager Patrick Vieira on Friday after a run of 12 league games without a victory. [The CP move didn’t work, witness today’s result vs. Arsenal]
Standings…26/28 of 38…Played – Points
1. Arsenal…28 – 69
2. Man City…27 – 61
3. Man U…26 – 50
4. Tottenham…28 – 49
5. Newcastle…26 – 47
12. Crystal Palace…28 – 27
13. Wolves…28 – 27
14. Leeds…27 – 26
15. Everton…28 – 26
16. Nottingham Forest…27 – 26
17. Leicester City…27 – 25
18. West Ham…26 – 24
19. Bournemouth…27 – 24
20. Southampton…28 – 23
The Champions League Quarterfinals are set….
Real Madrid vs. Chelsea
Inter Milan vs. St. Benfica
Manchester City vs. Bayern Munich
AC Milan vs. Napoli
There are two legs for both the quarterfinals and semifinals. The final is June 10.
--The World Cup Alpine Ski season is over, the finals held this weekend, and first off, I’m glad they managed to finish with all 38 races eventually coming off after major lack of snow issues at times.
Mikaela Shiffrin ends 2022-23 with 88 career titles, winning her 21st career giant slalom in Soldeu, Andorra (I’d love to go there someday), Shiffrin passing Vreni Schneider for most giant slalom victories. [But Ingemar Stenmark won 46.]
Shiffrin finished third in the final slalom race, and set a personal best of 2,206 World Cup points from 31 starts.
Sunday’s GS win also marked Shiffrin’s record 138th career World Cup podium, one ahead of Lindsey Vonn’s 137.
On the men’s side, Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt was overall champion. Shiffrin’s boyfriend, Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, was the downhill champion and second in the overall standings.
What will Shiffrin do for an encore?
--The 2023 Formula One season looks like it will be all Red Bull once again, teammates Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen finishing 1-2 in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, which your editor watched. The coverage is just outstanding.
So the finish was a reversal of the first race in Bahrain.
And like in the first one, Fernando Alonso finished third, the 100th podium finish of his great career.
--A plan to build the world’s first octopus farm has raised deep concerns among scientists over the welfare of the famously intelligent creatures.
The farm in Spain’s Canary Islands would raise about a million octopuses annually for food, according to documents seen by the BBC.
They have never been intensively farmed and some scientists call the proposed icy water slaughtering method “cruel.”
The Spanish multinational behind the plans denies the octopuses will suffer.
The octopuses would be killed by being put in containers of water kept at -3C. Prof. Peter Tse, a neurologist at Dartmouth University, told the BBC that “to kill them with ice would be a slow death…it would be very cruel and should not be allowed.”
Adding that they were “as intelligent as cats” he suggested that a more humane way would be to kill them as many fishermen do, by clubbing them over the head.
I hope the octopuses overwhelm the scientists and guards, strangling them, and then stage a massive break for the ocean.
As to being compared to cats, octopuses are more intelligent than much of the American electorate.
--I know you’ve seen this, but I have to get it down for the record that the French bulldog has ousted Labrador retrievers from the top spot of favorite dog breeds, according to the American Kennel Club. Labs had the top spot for a record 31 years.
Personally, I’ve never met a Lab I didn’t like, but I haven’t had enough experience with Frenchies.
--We note the passing of Lance Reddick, Baltimore police lieutenant Cedric Daniels in HBO’s “The Wire,” a great drama that ran from 2002 to 2008.
Reddick told the Guardian in 2010 that he thought the show would be a “hit” but did not anticipate it “would become this phenomenon.”
--Bobby Caldwell died. The singer and songwriter behind R&B hits like “What You Won’t Do For Love” and “Open Your Eyes” was 71.
“What You Won’t Do For Love” hit #9 on the Billboard pop charts in 1979, a very solid tune that has held up well.
--Taylor Swift returned to the concert stage Friday night at Arizona’s State Farm Stadium, her first performance in five years, and the 80,000 fans got their money’s worth…a 3-hour, 15-minute extravaganza, including 44 songs from across her career.
Despite Ticketmaster’s initial massive fail, Swift sold 2.4 million tickets for the Eras tour…in a single day.
Top 3 songs from the week 3/16/63: #1 “Walk Like A Man” (The 4 Seasons) #2 “Our Day Will Come” (Ruby and The Romantics) #3 “You’re The Reason I’m Living” (Bobby Darin)…and…#4 “The End Of The World” (Skeeter Davis) #5 “Rhythm Of The Rain” (The Cascades) #6 “Ruby Baby” (Dion) #7 “Hey Paula’ (Paul and Paula) #8 “Blame It On The Bossa Nova” (Eydie Gorme) #9 “What Will Mary Say” (Johnny Mathis) #10 “He’s So Fine” (The Chiffons…B week…British Invasion coming…)
PBA Quiz Answer: Top ten all-time wins….
Walter Ray Williams Jr. 47
Earl Anthony 43
Norm Duke 40
Pete Weber 37
Parker Bohn III 35
Mark Roth 34
Jason Belmonte 30
Dick Weber 30*
Mike Aulby 29
Don Johnson 26
11. Brian Voss 25
12. Marshal Holman 22
*Younger folk may find this hard to believe, but back in the 1960s, early ‘70s, Dick Weber (father of Pete) was viewed as the Arnold Palmer of bowling. A good-looking guy with relative charisma, considering the sport.
Other names you will remember….
Dick Ritger 20
Wayne Webb 20
Nelson Burton Jr. 18
Dave Davis 18
Billy Hardwick 18
Dave Soutar 18
Carmen Salvino 17
Steve Cook 15
Mike Durbin 14
Johnny Petraglia 14
Jim Stefanich 14
Wayne Zahn 13
Larry Laub 12
Barry Asher 10
Gary Dickinson 8
Roy Buckley 7
Don Carter 7
Bob Strampe 7
Skee Foremsky 6
Mike Limongello 6
Jim St. John 6
Art Task 4
Teata Semiz 3
Ray Bluth 3…my fave because of the way he held the ball…
*Billy Welu had five wins.
The show had a perfect formula….90 minutes, like four matches…maybe 100 people in the audience, winner took home a check of perhaps $2,000. Perfect entertainment, especially at a time, 1960s/70s, when bowling was big.
The other day the local lanes I grew up on in Madison, NJ, closed. A big blow for the area, but never recovered from the pandemic. Believe it or not, my father and I opened those lanes every Sunday for a number of years, 9:00 a.m., bowled three quick games, came home, and I went to church.
Add-on up top by noon, Wed.