Coaches on the Move

George Mason Coach Jim Larranaga met with the president of Providence today about the opening with the Friars. Larranaga played at Providence and would be the perfect choice to rebuild his alma mater. If that happens, look for former assistant Bill Courtney to be the leading candidate at George Mason. Courtney was intrumental in the recruitment of the personnel on the Final Four team.

Reach the Sweet Sixteen, get a new job. That’s what Darrin Horn of Western Kentucky did. He will be announced as the new head coach at South Carolina. Look for the Hilltoppers to go the assistant route as they did with Horn. Former assistant and current Texas assistant, Ken McDonald will be involved heavily.

Staying put for the time being. Washington State’s Tony Bennett has rebuffed Indiana out of concern for possible NCAA penalties. Also, look for him to be the leading candidate at Cal. How upside down is college basketball when a coach turns down Indiana for Cal. Are you kidding me? On another note, I was glad to hear that Isiah Thomas said he wasn’t interested in the job. Talk about overinflated opinion of yourself. He bankrupts the ABA then destroys the Knicks. Time to get off scholarship and find another profession.

Rumor has it that Bill Bayno (former UNLV, current Portland trailblazer) is the leading candidate at Loyola Marymount. His connections with the Pump Brothers, who run camps on the Marymount campus, is the main hook is this scenario. However, the other day Bo Kimble came out in the newspaper and said he wanted the job. Makes perfect sense. He’s 41 never coached a day in his life, but he was a great player there. That is an insult to all of the coaches out there who have worked their tails off perfecting their craft.

Also, look for Geno Ford, current Kent assistant, to be bumped up as the head coach to replace Jim Christian. Makes sense since he already has head coaching experience.

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Hot button issues in the NFL

The NFL’s annual meetings kick off Monday and the general focus this year is integrity and establishing trust in the league – two things Bill Belichick needs to start focusing on moving forward.

Among some of the topics up for debate this year:

– The disharmony between the NFL owners and the NFLPA
– The length of player’s hair
– Sideline-to-helmet communication device
– Playoff re-seeding (i.e. giving Wild Card teams the chance to play home playoff games if they have a better record than division winners)

It’s going to be interesting to see what the NFL does about the length of player’s hair. Troy Polamalu doesn’t keep his hair that length as a fashion statement – it’s a tribute to his Samoan descent. Unless it’s a safety issue (which the league is sure to claim it is), than it’s kind of hard to tell Polamalu to tuck his hair into his helmet.

I love the idea of re-seeding the playoffs. If a Wild Card team had a better regular season record than a division winner, isn’t it fair to give them a home game? Why reward a team with a home game if they didn’t even have a better record than a Wild Card team?

Top five yearly events in sports

I did a column for last year on the top five yearly events in sports and I thought it would be cool to re-visit it.

Opening Day ranks third for me behind the Super Bowl and the opening weekend in college football and the NFL.

3. Baseball’s Opening Day
As previously noted, Opening Day in baseball is great for so many reasons. Even though football has seemingly passed baseball as “America’s Game,” Opening Day still signifies so much. Spring, warm weather and the start of a long journey are all on display during Opening Day. For some reason, on Opening Day and Opening Day alone, it’s easy to forget that your favorite team finished fourth the previous year with only 76 wins. Once you see the ace of the rotation take the hill for the first time in a new season, you think to yourself, ‘Yeah, this is the year we put it all together.’ And when your team wins Opening Day, nothing can ruin it for you. Until they lose the second and third game to drop the opening series and you remember how daunting 162 games really is.

Merry Opening Day to everyone!

Kansas Crushes Davidson’s Glass Slipper

You could see it on Stephen Curry’s face when he started the game 0-5. This was going to be a different game for him. Soon as I started to think that Kansas’ defense would put the clamps on him, he proved me and the Jayhawks wrong. He exploded for 10 quick points and was on his way to another big game.

At each TV timeout in the first half Davidson was in the lead or tied until the end of the hald when Kansas went up 2. I kept waiting for Rush or Chalmers or Collins to take over. They never did! Thas is the Jayhawks achilles heel. Too unselfish for their own good. I know I am picking on a team that is 35-3, but that’s what people do in Kansas. Much maligned big man Sasha Kaun came up big going 6-6 fro the field and leading them in scoring. Mark my words he will be a 8-10 year player in the NBA.

Back to today. In the second half Curry made shots and kept the Wildcats close. Just when Kansas started to pull away he got a little help from Bryant Barr who knocked down three three’s to keep them in it and give Curry a chance to regroup for the final push. Kansas had a couple of opportunities to put the game away, but Collins and Rush couldn’t deliver. Curry did hitting a 3 and cutting the Jayhawk lead to 2.

On the final possession Kansas played four guards and won it on the defensive end. They forced Curry to give it up and escaped a missed three point shot by Richards at the buzzer. They say defense wins championships. On this day it did for the Jayhawks.

Now that Bill Self has gotten the gorilla off his back (first final four), he has an opportunity to get the little monkey (Roy Williams) off his back. Here’s hoping that Self can quiet all the Kansas fans who wanted Roy back forever.

Underdog Memphis Wins Big

All tournament long Coach John Calipari has been saying his team is the underdog because they play in Conference USA. I know it’s a coaching ploy, but come on Cal, do you really expect anyone to believe you. Of course Cal can sell ice to eskimoes. How else could he get a roster loaded with NBA talent to come to a depleted Conference USA. As I said before he has a chance to do what Tark did at UNLV. I just hope he stays out of the NCAA’s cross hairs.

Derrick Rose showed why he is the top point guard in the country. No disrespect to DJ Augustin, but Rose dominated this game on both ends of the floor. Rose almost finished with a triple double (21 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds). Chris Douglas Roberts looked like a man amongst boys. And this was a Texas team that was 31-6.

As long the Tigers can keep the game moving at high pace they can win it all. Joey Dorsey seems focused and out of the night clubs. He had 12 rebounds and could have easily had 20. This team reminds me of the Houston Phi Slamma Jamma team. The only difference is that Coach Cal won’t slow them down when they get a lead. He will just have them step on the gas even more.

Their matchup with UCLA will be a sight to see. You have two talented teams that like to get after it. My only question is can Memphis make free throws in the clutch. Today they made 30-36, but then again, the game wasn’t tight enough to tell if they can do it under pressure. However, if these underdogs keep jumping to double digit lead will never find out.

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