Monday, March 30, 2009

From the Weekend That Was

The Final Four is set, minus Missouri, Pittsburgh and Louisville as it should have been. Or at least according to my bracket. Instead of me winning money, Connecticut, Villanova and Michigan State will join North Carolina in the Final Four. I’m not terribly upset (other than I will receive no money in yet another Tournament pool) that Villanova and Michigan State made it in because both teams are well coached and play extremely hard. Yes, Michigan State is hard to watch at times and they play in the Big Ten, which means I should hate them (apparently, it’s a rule written down somewhere), but it was enjoyable to watch them from a basketball standpoint as they dismantled Louisville in the second half of Sunday’s game.

But as for UConn, seeing them in the Final Four (or in general) makes me want to vomit. On my desk. On my computer screen. On my shirt. Everywhere. And not the liquidy, mush stuff, but those big, beefy chunks of vomit. The Huskies have always struck me as one of the shadiest teams in college basketball, which is already a terribly shady business. Plus, watching them play is incredibly painful. They’re great on defense when they want to be, but offensively they’re sloppy, undisciplined and often rely on one player to bail them out. I know there’s nothing wrong with having the most talent possible on a basketball team, but to me there’s nothing like a well-coached team playing well with each other and to the best of their abilities. The constant one-on-one breakdown plays often work, but that doesn’t always constitute a good basketball team.

And let’s throw in that on this year’s team a convicted felon, A.J. Price, is not only still on the team, but is arguably its best player. And of the number one seeds (Louisville, Pittsburgh and North Carolina), UConn has the worst graduation rate. Sure, that’s just a small sample of schools, but the U of L and Pitt aren’t what I would call bastions of academia. Oh, and finally, the whole business of the possible rules violations that were discovered last week, which I can assure you is not an isolated incident in the UConn men’s program.

Nate Miles, the recruit at the center of the violations, was dismissed from UConn after violating a restraining order 16 MINUTES AFTER IT WAS ISSUED. But here’s the real kicker: Calhoun and company continued to recruit him after he was expelled UConn and enrolled at the College of Southern Idaho. A first rate program in Storrs.

Ole Miss baseball takes the lead in the SEC West, then promptly washes its hands of the responsibility of leading. After winning two of three games in their first two SEC series, the Rebels lost two of three to LSU in Baton Rouge over the weekend. In some Ole Miss circles, this would mean the shit is hitting the fan in the young conference schedule. However, this is not one of those circles. When these collapses become a habit, I’ll start to care.

For more coverage of Ole Miss baseball (as in coverage that tells you more than who won or lost), I refer you to the Red Cup Rebellion link on the side of the page. They follow it much closer than I do and often know our entire starting lineup. When baseball starts to make large chunks of money, I will learn more than five players’ names. Or if they ever win a damn Super Regional.

Grown men begin taking half-days at work to watch non-contact drills between 18-22 year olds. That’s right, spring practice is in full-force in Oxford and across the SEC. In fairness to those grown men, the drills will soon become contact drills and actual scrimmaging will begin taking place.

My only hope for spring practice is that no one gets hurt and guys who have never started and will probably play this year get as much experience as possible. And by experience, I mean getting cursed at and berated as much as a starter would when they screw up something that should be really simple. That’s about it for me.

One good story that has come out of practice so far is this alleged Bobby Massie story involving a conversation he had with Nick Saban. I have no idea if this is true (but hey, there’s no accountability here, it’s a blog!), so judge for yourselves:

“He (Massie) was asked to give a good Nick Saban recruiting story, and he had a pretty good one to say the least. Bobby said he called Coach Saban the night before signing day to let him know that he was going to sign with Ole Miss. Bobby did not even inform the Ole Miss staff that he was going to be a Rebel until the night before signing day, per Bobby, but he did say, "I had a pretty good idea where I was going in December."

Anyway, Bobby calls Nick and Coach Saban stops him before he tells where he is going and said this, "Bobby, do not even tell me where you are going, because if you are not going to Alabama I am turning you into the NCAA. You know you have a chance to start at Alabama at right tackle as a sophomore, and nobody would turn that down unless they did something illegal."

Bobby was stunned. He said he just listened to Coach Saban rant and never said another word about it. He was offended to say the least. That is why he made such a scene at the press conference when he threw the Alabama hat on the ground and put on an Ole Miss hat.”

Let me also refer you to the Red Cup Rebellion again for spring practice reports if you want to know who’s really excelling in seven-on-seven drills or running through the square of cones the fastest. They have someone or someones in attendance for every practice and for the most part it’s not sunshine pumping, unlike some other Ole Miss sites.

Tyson Lee remains the one-eyed man in the land of the blind. Lee will most likely be Mississippi State’s starter at quarterback heading into next season unless Tyler Russell is the next…well, he doesn’t have to be the next anybody. He just has to be average. State fans, you can thank Sylvester Croom at:

Sylvester Croom
c/o St. Louis Rams
1 Rams Way
Earth City, MO 63045

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