I had reconciled enough with the tourney to know that I was going to watch at least three of the four games last night. I wasn’t sure about Louisville and Kentucky, but I had to sneak a peak and then I was done. What a game.
New York, New York---
Leave it to the NCAA to make Madison Square Garden look like every other building they emasculate in the name of commercial anonymity. It’s only the most famous indoor sports venue in the world—let’s do everything we can to make it totally unrecognizable. Ridiculous.
Bye, Bye Big 12---
The Big 12 was slightly exposed in this NCAA tournament. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, K-State all went one and done. Kansas, Texas were two and through, with Iowa State and Baylor bowing out in the Sweet 16. That’s 6-7 with no one in the Elite Eight for those of you scoring at home. Granted, KU and Iowa State both sustained difference making injuries late in the season, but the Big 12 was clearly a tourney big bust, especially after being considered the best league in the country all season.
You wondered when Iowa State was going to run out of shots---it was last night in New York. DeAndre Kane and Melvin Ejim combined for 23 points, but they needed 31 shots between them to get it.
Michigan’s Jordan Morgan did an incredible job on Tennessee’s Jarnell Stokes, who committed a costly charge with 0:06 seconds left in a one point game as the Wolverines outlasted the Vols. All-American guard Nik Stuaskis, held scoreless through the first 15 minutes of the second half, had 7 of his 14 points in the last five minutes and Michigan needed every one of them in a game they largely looked to be cruising in. Frankly, neither of the early winners last night looked like they had championship mettle
It was a remote control’s dream---darting back and forth between two outstanding matchups. Games that early on had the look of being one sided, but featured incredible second halves with little to choose between Louisville and Kentucky and Michigan State and Virginia.
Kentucky, which had beaten Louisville earlier this season, was more poised down the stretch than the defending national champions. Shocker fans had to have taken some solace from the UK win, even if there were struggling the whole game with the thought that it should have been their team out there. Michigan State showed their versatility against a pace that was dictated by the defensive minded Cavaliers. I would be surprised if the Wildcats and Spartans weren’t the two to move on. Florida should end Dayton’s run tomorrow, but the Arizona-Wisconsin matchup is too close to call.
DeSean Jackson was coming off a career best 82 receptions for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns and was signed through 2016. But the Philadelphia Eagles just released him yesterday—didn’t try to move him, didn’t try to get fair value for one of the most explosive receivers in the league, a receiver still in his prime. Though he vehemently denies it, the speculation was that Jackson was released because of what the team thought was his involvement in a gang.
Anyone is innocent until proven guilty, but NFL teams simply don’t give up on difference makers unless something is very, desperately wrong. Jackson is sure handed playmaker who runs a 4.35 40 yard dash and is still only 27 years old. It’ll be interesting to see where he lands, especially since the coach who drafted him is in Kansas City, a team with a desperate need for down field threats.
It brings up a compelling dilemma doesn’t it? What, exactly, do the Eagles know that would force them to jettison Jackson without even trying to trade him? How hard does another team have to swallow to acquire his talent and his baggage…does one outweigh the other? We’re probably going to find out very quickly.
It looks as if a bone spur in an elbow is going to land Omar Infante on the disabled list to start the season for Kanas City. The Royals are expected to insert Pedro Ciriaco at second and bat him in the nine hole when they open next week in Detroit. Manager Ned Yost says he’ll go with Alcides Escobar, the worst every-day hitter in the American League last year, in the two hole until Infante returns.
Yost, who many have questioned as the leader of this team as they move into contention in the American League Central, says he has players where he likes in the lineup and won’t disrupt that over Infante’s injury…huh? Yost’s job is to give his team the best chance to win, I can’t imagine how having, essentially, a sure out batting second in your order does that, but I’m not a Major League Manager. This morning Royal’s fans are probably wondering if Yost is.