Speed Read: It’s March (And Then April) Madness

Why do we continue to give college basketball a pass on “March Madness” when the Final Four takes place during April? Sure, you’re sitting there and thinking, “So only 61 of the 64 games happen in the right month? So?” It’s the principle of it all, damn it! I can’t make a PG movie that turns R-rated in the last 5 minutes. It’d be like that one Mandy Moore movie A Walk to Remember, where (SPOILER ALERT!) she dies at the end, except in this version it’s by getting her head ripped off by naked zombies. Actually, get Hollywood on the phone; that idea sounds like a winner.

Bracket pic

But we digress. Even people in the deepest of comas know that today is just the first day of a week in which worker productivity plummets and everyone, for at least a couple days, is a college basketball fan. Today is reserved for staring at a bracket, cursing the fact that the talking heads on ESPN like the same upsets you do (making them both popular and wrong, which completely disqualifies them as keys to winning your pool). Lots of office printers being tied up today. UPSET PROTIP: Think about American in the Elite 8. You’ll be happy you did. High fives all around!

Who’s your Cinderella?

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Technically, yes, the rest of the sports world doesn’t stand still, and there’s plenty of things to talk about away from the parquet. We’re happy to report that your national pride has been granted an extension of legitimacy, as the USA defeated the Nether Region Netherlands, 9-3. Up next is either Venezuela or Puerto Rico, depending on who loses between the two teams tonight.

Dunn ROberts WBC

On the other side of the WBC bracket or however they set this thing up, Japan and Korea have jumped out to strong positions, while Mexico and Cuba fight to avoid elimination tonight. Quick question: why is the Mexico-Cuba game being played, essentially, in the middle of the night? And we get that this is a “world” classic and this time makes it possible for the rest of the world to watch, but 95-99% of the people who actually give a single crap about this game live in Mexico and Cuba (not a slight at those two countries, by the way; you could substitute any two teams in there, and the fact remains the same), and you’re essentially playing the game while they sleep. Wouldn’t almost anything be better than a start time that’s still late (8 pm) in San Diego, where the game is being held.

And speaking of situations in need of repair, can we talk about Jay Cutler and Denver? Talks have gone swimmingly after that trade kerfuffle from earlier, and Cutler is eager to get started on the 2009 season and develop a positive relationship with his new coach. LOL JUST KIDDING I AM LYING BADLY. Cutler has now left the city of Denver and demanded a trade, according to the DENVER POST.

Jay Cutler Broncos
(In this case, “thumbs up” means “I hate you.”)

And perhaps it’s just us, but like the Denver Post’s Mike Klis, we get the notion that Bill Belichick is probably a bigger factor in this mess than it would initially appear.  Here’s how Klis’ version of the situation basically went down.

Josh McDaniels: I’m the coach at Denver now! Isn’t this great, Bill?
Belicheck: Call me Mr. Belichick, you little sh*t. How are you doing at quarterback? You want Cassel?
JM: Not particularly. We have Cutler.
BB: Cassel’s better. We can get a 3-way trade done. You want Cassel.
JM: Um, that’d be kinda cool, but we have Cutler.
BB: Oh. Huh. Weird.
NFL: Cassel has been traded to Kansas City for basically nothing.
BOSTON GLOBE: Denver was talking about trading Cutler for Cassel.
Jay Cutler: What the hell. Screw you. I’m leaving.
JM: Say, Mr. Belichick? Now I have neither Cassel nor Cutler.
BB: NYEAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I always liked Pioli better!
JM: I hate you, Mr. Belichick.
Some more links to peruse while you’re still thinking, “American? They face Villanova in Philly in Round 1! That’s stupid!” Stupid like a fox!

  • Phil Mickelson shook off heat exhaustion and dehydration to win at Doral. Mickelson’s game improved after he milked himself to stay refreshed.
  • Manny Ramirez is already on the shelf with a bum hamstring. Good thing those injuries don’t linger.
  • And speaking of WBC injuries, Chipper Jones, Dustin Pedroia, and Ryan Braun are all out. Why do we get the feeling George Steinbrenner would never stand for this?
  • BLACK SPORTS ONLINE has the trailer for the Mike Tyson documentary. It … okay, we were going to make a “eat your children” joke, but it looks really good.

  • UCLA’s freshman safety E.J. Woods just got hit with six counts of battery and sexual battery. The Fulmer Cup asplode.
  • If you heard that your favorite NBA team scored 130 points in a blowout, odds are pretty good that you’d be thrilled. Except, of course, if you live in the Bay Area; that optimism would be replaced by fear and dread. Yes, today’s hilarious lack of NBA defense comes from… the same team it always comes from, the Golden State Warriors. Yes, they dropped 130, but they gave up 154 points to Phoenix, and that’s with most of the Suns’ starters on the bench for the vast majority of the 4th quarter. Jason Richardson dropped 31 points on only 15 shots.
  • VOICE OF YANKEES UNIVERSE has some pictures of the new Yankees stadium. It looks big and unfinished.

New York construction
(Neat?)

Speed Read: Orange Top UConn In 6 OT Classic

So where were you when one of the greatest college basketball games of all time was played? For those of you on the east coast, the answer is probably “asleep.” Unless you were at Madison Square Garden, where, at 1:22 a.m., the buzzer sounded for the final time as Syracuse beat UConn 127-117 in six overtimes in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament.

Syracuse beats UConn

It was the longest game in Big East history, and came up just one overtime short of tying the longest game in the history of college basketball. And it was nearly over an hour and a half earlier. Eric Devendorf buried what appeared to be the winning three-pointer at the regulation buzzer, sending the Orange into a frenzied celebration. But then came the review, and a long review it was. And after talking it over the refs decided this shot didn’t count:

So on we went to a second overtime. And a third. And a fourth. And so on. UConn led in each of the first five OTs but couldn’t close it out. Syracuse finally took the lead in OT number six and pulled away.

To put the whole thing in perspective, the game lasted three hours and 46 minutes. There were 70 minutes of basketball, and Syracuse point guard Jonny Flynn played 67 of them. Flynn had 34 points, 11 assists, and six steals. UConn had five players in double figures…in rebounds.  Four guys on each team fouled out, so guys who don’t even normally play were in the game for the final OT. Astonishingly, Jim Calhoun didn’t keel over at the three hour mark.

UConn loses

The previous longest game in the Big East Tournament was the 1981 final, which went to three OTs. Syracuse beat Villanova 83-80, and the game featured Leo Rautins, whose son Andy was the key to Orange’s win last night. Andy Rautins hit a three with 10 seconds left in the third OT to tie it up yet again, then hit another early in the sixth OT to put Syracuse up for good. Somehow, the Orange have to recover and play tonight against West Virginia.

The busiest day in conference tourney action saw some other big names fall, and some bubbles burst.

Pittsburgh, Kansas, and Oklahoma were among the victims of the quarterfinal round in their respective tournaments. Pitt was run out of the Garden by the Mountaineers, while Kansas was handled by Baylor and Oklahoma clipped by rival Oklahoma State.

The best finish of the day prior to the SU-UConn battle was earlier in the day at MSG, when Villanova blew a huge second-half lead to Marquette but rallied to get a buzzer-beating layup by Dwayne Anderson to crush the Golden Eagles 76-75:

It was the only basket Anderson had all game.

Meanwhile, Miami (FL) probably is on the outside looking in after getting blown out by Virginia Tech. Rhode Island needed a good showing in the A-10 tourney for a shot at an at-large bid, but instead lost to Duquesne. Kansas State came up short against Texas, Vegas was dumped on its home floor by San Diego State, and New Mexico flamed out against Wyoming. And finally, Northwestern, seeking a first-ever bid, turned a late 49-47 lead into a 66-53 loss to Minnesota in the Big 11 tournament.

Northwestern

(Not yet, guys)

• As a guy with an iPhone who is obsessed with the NCAA Tournament, this is the best thing that has ever happened in the history of the world. For $5, streaming video of every tournament game. Boom.  Thank you for brightening my day, MEDIA DAILY NEWS.

Mark Prior’s trying to come back yet again. And yes, everything that’s happened the last five years is still probably Dusty Baker’s fault. Put the frying pan down, Cub fan.

• Your daily economic downturn update: Posh Spice Beckham has, shockingly, been spotted by GABBY BABBLE wearing the same outfit in public … TWICE. This follows news that hubby Dave has had to come up with $3 million of his own cash to pay the Galaxy part of the loan fee owed by AC Slater…err, Milan. Are the good times over?

Posh Spice Victoria Beckham

• Buried in this story about Johan Santana throwing a couple of good innings for the Mets today is the revelation that Tim Redding, who the Mets have guaranteed $2.25 million to this year, can’t get anyone out. He gave up nine runs and three home runs in two innings against the Marlins yesterday, after failing to complete a full inning in an outing against the University of Michigan on Sunday. (He gave up five runs in that game, including back-to-back jacks. To college players.)

Jason Richardson had a bad 20 seconds in the Suns’ loss to Cleveland last night. First, he attempted a 360 dunk that was blocked by LeBron James. Second, the refs didn’t call a foul even though Bron Bron clearly hacked him. Third, he got a T for complaining. LeBron had a triple double, with 34 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 calls nobody else in the league would get. Video of the play:

• It’s Friday the 13th for the second consecutive month. To commemorate the occasion, HOME RUN DERBY picked the all-time team of guys who wore (wear) #13. The only excuse to put Blue Moon Odom and Nate McLouth on the same team

• JUICED SPORTS sat down for a 25-minute interview with Bill Laimbeer, who says that Isiah Thomas liked practice about as much as Allen Iverson does.

• UNPROFESSIONAL FOUL has the story of Danny Mountain, an up-and-coming soccer star whose career was cut short by a tragic injury. But he picked himself up off the deck and got it together … in porn. Now he’s “acting” six days a week and is married to porn starlet Eva Angelina. And yes, Danny Mountain is actually his real name. Here’s one of the few pictures of Ms. Angelina we could actually run on this site:

Eva Angelina

Chad Cordero will be looking stupid in a Mariners cap this year, according to the SEATTLE TIMES.

• WALKOFF WALK implores you, adult fans of the (Devil) Rays, to not wear this replica AL Champion ring in public. Apparently, every fan at the April 14th game will get one. And, since it’s still April baseball in Tampa, they’ll only be handing out 47 of them:

Rays AL Champion Ring

(Photo by James Borchuck, St. Pete Times)

Which team’s NCAA seeding was hurt most by its performance on Thursday?

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Shaq Juking And Jiving With The Jabberwockeez

• Nothing sums up the NBA All-Star Weekend like the Shaqawockeez.

Shaquille ONeal Shaqawockeez

• Of course, there were other wondrous sights to be seen in Phoenix, such as Snoop Dogg, Japanese reporters, and mascots abducting children.

• The bad economy is even putting the squeeze on Little League Baseball.

Mike Tomlin was quite the wideout for William & Mary.

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NBAer: 90 MPH In 35 Zone With Beltless 3 Year Old

AZFAMILY.com reports today that NBA player Jason Richardson has been charged with reckless driving and endangerment after he was popped for speeding Sunday night in Phoenix.

Sgt. Mark Clark said the officer followed Richardson onto 64th Street, where Richardson’s car hit speeds up to 90 mph. The speed limit there is 35 mph. The officer pulled Richardson over. The 28-year-old Suns player stopped without incident, identified himeself as a Suns player and admitted to speeding, Clark said.

Jason Richardson

(Lazy eye or impairment? Police say the former)

Richardson’s 3-year-old son was in the back seat of the car. Police said the little boy was not in a child seat, which is required by Arizona law. Clark said Richardson told the officer he had taken his son to dinner and was on his way home. Richardson’s wife met him and officers at the scene of the stop and took her little boy home.

Shocking I know. Can you believe Richardson’s baby mama is actually HIS WIFE?!!! Read more…