Posted on: April 1, 2008 6:57 pm

Well done, Lute Olson

Kevin O'Neill had to go at Arizona, but frankly I'm surprised Lute Olson had the wherewithal to know it -- and the stones to do it.

O'Neill, who joined Olson's staff before this past season and then replaced him on an interim basis, has been ripping Olson behind his back. Just crushing him. How do I know this? Because I've talked to several people -- not one; several -- who were on the receiving end of O'Neill's rants against Olson. O'Neill isn't as smart as he thinks if he thought his hammerings of Olson weren't going to come out. Good grief, Kevin. This stuff always comes out.

O'Neill wasn't just the Wildcats' interim coach. He was their next coach, or at least, he thought he was. Arizona made him that verbal promise months ago, and O'Neill accepted it. Last week when Olson announced he was returning to the team for the 2008-09 season, O'Neill said he would be back at Olson's side.

Apparently not. Olson seems to have fired O'Neill, and let me tell you, the pink slip was deserved. This is a bad guy, OK? Kevin O'Neill is simply not a good dude, and Olson -- whose program has been crushed by other bad dudes masquerading as players -- was able to sniff this one out. Good for you, Lute Olson.

Shame on you, Kevin O'Neill.

Go back to the NBA, you back-stabbing leach. You don't deserve to work in college basketball ever again.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 25, 2008 9:54 am

It's Tim Donaghy's fault

The officiating in this NCAA tournament has ranged from bizarre to plain bad, a problem whose roots can be traced to the NBA scandal involving alleged point-shaving referee Tim Donaghy. The NCAA wanted to avoid any such nefariousness and subjected its potential tournament officials to background checks. Good idea.


Bad execution. Two of the college game's top officials, Jim Burr and John Higgins, found themselves ensnared in the process -- not because of background issues, but because of timing issues. For various reasons, Burr and Higgins weren't able to be cleared before the NCAA's deadline. Again, there was nothing objectionable about those two in particular. They've been allowed to officiate games in the 2008 NIT, also run by the NCAA. They just couldn't get cleared in time for the big event.


Removing two top officials from the NCAA tournament pool has done nothing to help the quality of the on-court product. The officiating for the Georgetown-Davidson game was almost as bad as Stephen Curry was good. Hoyas center Roy Hibbert in particular was treated unfairly, or incompetently, by officials who turned every 50-50 call against him ... and made some 90-10 calls against him as well. That's no excuse for the Hoyas. Even without Hibbert the Hoyas led Davidson by 17 in the second half. You don't blame that loss on the officials. But the officials were awful.


They might have been worse in Omaha, where my colleague Dennis Dodd was so appalled by the officiating that he devoted his entire column from his second-round game to the men in stripes.


And then you have Curtis Shaw, the most volatile official in the game. Shaw is the guy who ejected ISU coach Larry Eustachy in a 2000 Elite Eight game. He's the guy whom the SEC unofficially banned from working its games because of his temper And he's the guy who ejected Stanford's Trent Johnson on Saturday in the second round. Johnson became the fifth guy ejected from a game officiated this season by Shaw. Most zebras go an entire year without ejecting anyone.


It says something about the quality of officiating in college basketball when Curtis Shaw continues to work important games. Then again, there's a shortage of officials. Two of the best weren't eligible to work the 2008 NCAA tournament. Yet they were allowed -- by the NCAA -- to work the NIT. Explain that one.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 17, 2008 7:23 am

Morning after: Bracket's up!

After Virginia Tech didn't make the field of 65, I went trolling through papers in Virginia to find out how hard Virginia Tech Seth Greenberg was taking it.  And he is taking it hard. But classy. Very classy.

On behalf of the ACC, Florida State's Leonard Hamilton didn't take it so well.

It's a good question: Why was Julius Peppers at a Denver Nuggets' home game?

At least what happened to LenDale White didn't happen to Peppers while he was in Denver. Were Peppers and White in town together? What the heck's going on in Denver, and why wasn't I invited?

Meanwhile, on the court ... the Nuggets turned back the clock to the 1970s. In a good way. Not in a "those shorts are gross" way.

Jim Leyritz popped into the Yankees' clubhouse and said goobye to some friends for a long, long time.

Brady Clark was at bat and Carlos Delgado was at third when a horror flick broke out.  "It was a lot more blood than I wanted to see," Delgado says.

A horror film almost broke out in Atlanta, too. Poor Jeff Francoeur.

Speaking of scary ... Dontrelle Willis started shaking his pitching arm like it was hurting, sending alarms through the Detroit dugout.

People in Texas are figuring out fast why Cincinnati fans used to call Josh Hamilton "The Natural."

Some outfit called ICON held something it called a "world championship" MMA bout, and hilarity ensued as Phil Baroni went hard for two minutes and then ran out of gas worse than an Edsel.



Posted on: March 15, 2008 11:55 am
Edited on: March 15, 2008 12:01 pm

SEC decision is brilliant

The SEC had no choice but to make the call it made on the SEC tournament, which was to move the event from the crippled Georgia Dome to another (smaller) venue and keep all the fans out. It was the kind of logic you see in elementary school, and what worked then works now: If there aren't enough tickets for everyone, then there can't be any tickets for anyone.

And clearly there aren't enough tickets for everyone. Georgia Tech's home court holds 9,000. The Dome holds 26,000.

Fans with tickets and hotel rooms and airfare are ticked off, and how can you blame them? But this was a natural disaster, and in natural disasters, the rules change. People don't always -- can't always -- be taken care of when nature steps in and reminds everybody of its dominance.

Every other option sucked, and you know it:

1. Move the games to various SEC cities: And that works for the fans in Atlanta? They can pick up and move hundreds of miles just like that? What about the ones who flew into town? In theory this sounds nice. In reality, it's dumb. Please.

2. Delay the tournament a day and return to the Dome on Sunday: Who said the Dome will be ready on Sunday? And even if it is, do we really move the entire NCAA Tournament selection process, complete with travel plans for 60-odd schools and their fans, back a day to accomodate one league? Come on, SEC fans. You're not that self-centered are you?

3. Find a way to parcel out game tickets so everyone with a ticket to the Dome can get into Georgia Tech for at least one game: OK. How? There are probably 20,000 Kentucky fans in town. Are the 15,000 who don't get into the UK-Georgia game -- UGA fans get 4,500 of those 9,000 seats too, you know -- really going to be happy watching two non-UK teams play later in the day? Of course not. Even if Kentucky wins and moves on, more than half the 15,000 fans who missed the first UK game would miss the second UK game, too. Do the math. It's not that hard.

This was a no-win situation for the SEC. It's up to SEC fans to show some class, and some understanding.

Stop your bitching.


Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 14, 2008 7:24 am
Edited on: March 14, 2008 1:21 pm

Morning: Billy Donovan hates his team

After its horrible, season-crushing loss to Alabama in the SEC tournament, Florida coach Billy Donovan threw his team completely under the bus. Money quote: "I'm not excited about these freshmen becoming sophomores."

Louisville coach Rick Pitino went the other way when asked about his team's bad loss in its conference tournament opener. He threw the reporter under the bus.

UConn coach Jim Calhoun, meanwhile, put the loss for his team's atrocious Big East tournament loss right where it belongs: on the players. Because that abomination sure wasn't his fault.

It's a great question: When the Brett Favre movie comes out -- and you know a Brett Favre movie will come out -- who plays the starring role? Twenty years ago it would have been Dennis Kevin Costner.

Marcus Stroud got busted for steroid use -- he blames a supplement (har har) -- and nobody in Buffalo seems to be angry about it. Nobody but this guy.

A "funk" has cost Chris Duhon his place in Chicago, and given the way his career has gone, maybe his place in the NBA. It's not like this guy was very good.

The Nets hired Kiki Vandeweghe to be a telemarketer. Apparently he's not bad at it.

Channing Frye says Sacramento is a rat-infested town full of homeless people. Frye being the softy that he is, he determined one sleeping citizen was homeless by opening his fancy flip phone and letting the illumination shine on the homeless guy. Nice.

It's been awhile since Scott Boras has screwed up, so here's the latest chapter: This pitcher wanted four years and $40 million. He got a whole lot less.

Daniel Cabrera is tired of being asked about his control problems? Yo, Danny boy. Orioles fans are tired of watching it.

This seems to be a first: An MMA belt holder is pulling out of a title bout to enter himself into a substance abuse program.


Posted on: February 28, 2008 9:18 am
Edited on: February 28, 2008 12:34 pm

Rick Majerus is losing his mind

St. Louis coach Rick Majerus, who already has raised eyebrows this season by stating a pro-abortion pro-choice stance that conflicts with the Catholic leadership of his university, was quietly reprimanded this week after coming unhinged Saturday during an 81-64 loss at Charlotte.

According to people at the game, Majerus lost control of his emotions after a shot-clock issue went against his Billikens. Majerus approached the scorer's table, found the offending official and unleashed verbal obscenities. One source said Majerus made an obscene gesture as well.

Officials at Charlotte and the A-10 confirm that Majerus was rebuked by the league and has apologized to Charlotte.

Of course the real question is this: What would Ashley Judd think of Majerus now?


Category: NCAAB
Tags: Rick Majerus
Posted on: February 22, 2008 9:00 am

Call their bluff, Rick Greenspan (morning!)

Thanks to some tremendous reporting by's Gary Parrish, we're now aware of the ridiculous ultimatum posed to Indiana AD Rick Greenspan by several Hoosiers, who said they'll walk out on the team if Greenspan follows through on his plan to get rid of phonin' Kelvin Sampson.

Do it, Greenspan. Get rid of Sampson and let the chips idiots fall where they may.

This is a toothless threat, first of all. D.J. White is going to give up his last shot at playing in the Final Four? Eric Gordon is going to give up his only shot at the Final Four? They can't be that dumb. And if they are ... do it, Greenspan. Send the message right now that Indiana will not be told how to run its shady business by college kids.

Right now Greenspan looks terrible for bringing in Sampson in the first place. He'll look even worse if he refuses to kick the cheater to the curb. And if he caves in to the players? He'll end his own career. He's finished.

But if he stands up to the players, even if they follow through on their threat, he will look noble for the first time in his miserable career at Indiana. And Indiana will recover.

If Indiana gives in to college kids who love their cheating coach? Greenspan won't recover from that. Neither will Indiana. Not ever.

Call their bluff, Greenspan. The college kids might have more cards in their hand, but you've got something more valuable.

The knowledge that you're right.






Posted on: February 13, 2008 8:19 am

Morning! Calvin Johnson sucked!

 Can't-miss NFL prospect Calvin Johnson whiffed like Pete Incaviglia.

Wow. The Milwaukee Bucks' head coach just called out his team  for being selfish. Impressive.

The Big Ten Network = not very good.

Thus far David Beckham has been a waste of MLS' money.

Alcohol ruined Keith Closs' time in the NBA, but he wants another chance.

Two of the more intriguing guys from the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter are going to get it on. (I mean, they're going to fight.)

Cro Cop is leaving the UFC already? In like a lion, out like a loser.

UFC newcomer Tom Boetsch turned one clutch performance into a career.






Category: NCAAB
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