Video: Butler Fans Celebrate Final Four Victory

Tonight, the Butler Bulldogs take on the Duke Blue Devils for the national championship, hoping to strike a mighty blow for mid-majors everywhere. (But hey, the BCS is a much better system than this March Madness tournament thing, right?)

Butler fans

However, you’d think Butler has already cut down the nets, based on the wild celebrations from Bulldog fans after Saturday’s Final Four win over Michigan State.

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Women’s Final Four More Interesting Than Men’s

That’s not a question, it’s a statement.

WNBA Live 2008

(’Coach’ Mode: Michael Cooper impregnates opposing team’s center)

I love Bob Huggins and his breast pocket mini bottles being in the Final Four, and Butler is a great story, especially in Indy. But if I could pick one game to attend this weekend at gunpoint it’s Brittney Griner vs. The Streak in San Antone on Sunday.

The sports media finally has a legitimately compelling women’s basketball matchup, but somehow the Sunday game isn’t getting more than the normal, politically-correct deference the women’s Final Four always receives. At least so far.

As I’ve written on more than one occasion here, Griner has a chance to be the Gretzky of not just women’s basketball, but the most dominant female athlete in the history of women’s team sports. Her dominant physical skills are like nothing we’ve ever seen from a team sport female.

In other words, she can dunk. Easily. That’s everything. Read more…

Video: Duke Fans Aren’t Bedeviled By All The Hate

So, of all the #1 seeds in the tourney, only Duke has survived to make it to this year’s Final Four - much to the delight of Dick Vitale & the chagrin of so many other college basketball fans.

Duke fans

But every good drama needs a villain. And with Butler, Michigan State and West Virginia all making surprising trips to Indianapolis next weekend, the Dookies will be happy to play the bad guys.

And how do Blue Devil fans feel about all the animosity aimed at Coach K & the Cameron Crazies?  They say - bring it on!

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Pickpockets Steal Indy Mayor’s Phone At Final 4

Detroit’s gone through some tough times lately, so it’s perhaps not entirely shocking that there are some people trying to take advantage of the tourists that have descended on the city for the Final Four.

Indy Mayor Greg Ballard

One such tourist was Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard, whose city is hosting the 2010 Final Four. On the walk back to his hotel from Ford Field after Saturday’s games, Ballard saw a man who he thought was having a seizure, so he did the good samaritan thing and stopped to help. Well, you know what happens next. Seizure guy was actually just fine, and a second man walked up to Ballard and grabbed his cell phone and took off. Ballard isn’t happy with Detroit, and Detroit is now unhappy with Ballard.

Find out why after the jump.

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Speed Read: Baseball’s Back! And It’s Snowing!

Leave it to Major League Baseball’s old and tired leadership to open half of the league’s games in cold climates, many of which will force postponements during the very first week of the season. While the proud and downtrodden denizens of Philadelphia should be have been celebrating the first professional sports crown in the city of brotherly love for decades, they instead found some of their press stolen because of a cancellation of the season opener between the White Sox and Royals a day before the game was scheduled to be played!

chicago snow doppler

That’s right folks,  it’s baseball season, and it’s snowing in Chicago.

It’s ludicrous that a professional sports league that employs as many marketing consultants as locker room attendees could sign off on a plan designed to wreak havoc on the schedule year after year.

There’s a simple solution to avoid the annual cancellations, travel headaches and  furious dispossesed fan bases: Play the entire first two weeks of the season in markets that are either: A) on the West coast, B) below the Mason-Dixon line or C) have domed stadiums. Stop kowtowing to the need for a New York opener and season-starting series in places like Cleveland and Chicago, and the season might actually work the way it’s supposed to on paper.

white sox field before snow

Of course, there’s never any weather-related problems in basketball, but there are plenty of crowd issues when the basketball is being played by women. If you tuned into the NCAA Women’s Final Four last night, ESPN would like to hear from you (they don’t believe the Nielsen ratings could possibly be that low) and Courtney Paris would like to apologize for crying so much the tears started flowing out of your screen.

courtney paris oklahoma

Put those two stories together — the blown, $64,000 guarantee by a Joe Namath-sounding women’s basketball player and an utter lack of attendance (at least heading into the Final Four; no overnight attendance numbers were available last night) — and add in undefeated UConn’s seemingly inevitable drive to a perfect season, and there are plenty of fascinating story lines in St. Louis. Yet the bottom line, as it so often is with women’s basketball, no one cares.

That’s a shame. After all, when’s the next time an NFL great will have twin daughters playing in a Final Four, one of whom has an impulsively gregarious moment that costs him $64,000? When’s the next time we’re going to get to see that face? Priceless folks, priceless.

Somehow, despite the odds and ethical questions, a 19-year-old jockey is on the verge of competing in his horse racing’s signature event. If that doesn’t seem stunning enough, this is: Joe Talamo has already earned some $4 million en route to spitting range of his ultimate goal: the Kentucky Derby.

joe talomo jockey

What’s even more amazing about Talomo, as first exposed by LAIST, are hisTwitter updates. For instance, check out these recent inputs from the rider of derby contender “I Want Revenge”.

  • “30 til derby: Am at Santa Anita. Worked out 3 horses this morning…Right Round by Flo Rida is my song of the day. Big month ahead,”
  • “30 til derby: just got home from dinner at the ivy and tim’s show. great night! going to bed. gotta wake up early”
  • “29 til derby: Working a couple more horses after the break. Then filming a scene at Clocker’s Corner for Jockeys. LA Times interview at 10.”

Hmmm, tough life you got there kid. Now, about that L.A. TIMES interview. Would you prefer a Bill Plaschke kiss up, or a clueless T.J. Simers job? Your choice.

ufc fight eye

jose mourinho lap dance

  • Only in Italy: World famous soccer manager Jose Mourinho gets a lap dance on national TV …

    … and finds a way to appear completely uninterested. As if.

If my life depended on it, the college champ tonight will be

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UNC Thumps Nova in Conceivable Final Four Semi

In the worst possible type of basketball contest, the University of North Carolina jumped out to a quick double-digit lead against Villanova University and then refused to extend it for the rest of the game.  This led to the painful 8-to-15 point lead that lasts all night but can never be resolved by an amazing comeback or a blowout that provides quick death to an outmanned opponent.

Jay Wright shouts at Villanova players against North Carolina

(Boo. Boo. Rubbish. Filth. Slime. Muck. Boring. Boo. Boo)

The fans that remained behind after Michigan State’s mildly unlikely ascent to the final game booed the Tar Heels as long as they could, but drowsiness eventually set in. The few remaining fans left in Ford Field by the end of the 83-69 snoozer did rouse long enough to boo throughout the post-game face time for Roy Williams and Tyler Hansborough.

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Home Court Advantage Spurs MSU To Final 4 Win

In a game played in front of about 70,000 rabidly partisan Spartan fans in Detroit (and roughly a couple dozen Husky fans), Michigan State outran, outmuscled, and outhustled UConn en route to an 82-73 victory. The leading scorer for the Spartans was Kalin Lucas with 21 points, but every time we looked up, Durrell Summers was making one big play after another, like a ferocious dunk in transition that capped a decisive 17-7 run.

Durrell Summers Dunk

UConn hung tough, to say the least; the teams battled to a 49-49 draw midway through the second half. But shoddy play at the line and on the glass doomed the Huskies, who had looked like (arguably) the most impressive team in the tournament up to that point. We would go on, but you just want to watch Summers dunk in Stanley Robinson’s face, don’t you? Video, courtesy of THE HOOP DOCTORS, is after the break. Read more…

Proof That UNC’s Lawson Is Quite The Gambler

We’re just hours away from the Final Four, and right on cue, we’ve got an NCAA ethics scandal. According to the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER North Carolina point guard Ty Lawson has been hanging out in Detroit casinos, though it’s not known whether he’s been doing any gambling or not. The Inquirer piece comes complete with an immediate Roy Williams defense, but it took blog BUSTED COVERAGE only a matter of hours to get snapshots of the guard in earlier action … off the court.

north carolina ty lawson gambling craps

That’s why the bigger issue for Williams and co. now is the set of photos BUSTED uncovered, shots which show Lawson gambling at craps tables in Reno, Nev. on New Year’s Eve. Why is that such a big deal? Well, considering the fact that the NCAA still has an ongoing investigation into the University of Toledo’s programs for alleged point-shaving, Nevada casinos probably aren’t the best places to be hanging around killing time … or placing bets that can land you in debt taht would warrrant, say, shaving points in a Final Four game.

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Speed Read: Come and Kneel Before Tiger! Kneel!

Rick Reilly stands this morning as the sports media’s Jack O’Halloran, the ever-prodding manchild from Superman II: every time he throws a bus at Tiger Woods, Tiger crawls out from underneath just a little angrier.

Tiger Woods and Superman

Sunday, Bay Hill stood in for Metropolis and Sean O’Hair pulled over the black bedazzled robes to take the Terence Stamp role to Tiger on Sunday, seemingly in control until he saw that red swoosh fill the camera.  At that point, O’Hair dropped from the Saturday leader to a Sunday round of 73 and Tiger dropped a 15-footer for the one-shot victory at 18.

Tiger Woods

In drama worthy of a Donner-esque cut of a better sequel, Tiger took his first title after last year’s knee surgery on a long putt at hole #72 just like he did last spring.  After the win, he met again with the namesake of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, who we think might be Perry White in this analogy.  Or Lois Lane.  This one may need some work still, unlike Tiger’s knee.

Want Tiger to show you how the heat vision works, Rick? No, you’re good?  Fair enough.

Roy Williams trims for the Final Four

Sunday held little heat for the Final Four as Michigan State and North Carolina committed to a weekend in Detroit in April, otherwise known as “the best weekend of weather ever”.  No, really… just listen to every sportswriter go on about it next weekend, assuming they don’t spend the whole time in Windsor.

Neither game was particularly close, leaving casual sports fans hunting for Tiger or smaller game (as mentioned below).  Sadly, even Clark Kellogg’s stale “versatile like baking soda” line couldn’t get any vinegar for a volcanic explosion.

At least the ticket sales should improve with a state team available to attend.  Villanova and Connecticut will fill out the other two slots as we all spend all week polishing our convoluted plans to justify picking against a UConn-UNC final Monday night. (Oh, and is Roy Williams finally accepted at UNC? Just checking.)

Vancouver murder

A foreign country bordering the United States has such a horrific crime problem due to a drug war that it could affect their ability to host international tourists.  Of course, we’re talking about Canada.  Specifically, Vancouver’s inability to get decent amounts of cocaine has caused a gang war to break out, raising the murder rate dramatically.

The area has grown so desperate for warm bodies with badges that two officers that “smelled of alcohol and uttered racial slurs” while allegedly beating and robbing a newspaper delivery man in Vancouver won’t have to stand trial for a year because the police can’t spare a single person to be a witness at the trial during the 2010 Winter Olympics. (h/t RAINCOASTER)

After having to spend most of last summer listening to the incessant whining about the safety of the 2008 Beijing Games, we can’t help but notice the silence surrounding the 2010 Vancouver Games. We can’t quite put our finger on what could be different about the two countries.  Maybe journalists feel safe after watching a “Da Vinci’s Inquest” marathon?

In case you suspect we’re overstating the case, listen to a local activist: “I’m really apprehensive about going out in the evening.  We’ve turned into an American city.” Does that mean you’re not interested in two free Final Four tickets?

Speaking of a hail of bullets, duck even though you don’t feel threatened in your job by Todd Jones

  • We’re with Ray Ratto: we’re not sure Oakland A’s owner Lew Wolff has a plan anymore for a new stadium.  He’s the Underpants Gnome of owners.  He knows “back up garbage trucks of taxpayer cash to my home” is Step 3, but he’s damned if he knows what Step 2 is anymore.
  • Congratuations to Bemidji State for advancing to the Frozen Four in NCAA hockey.  We don’t have anything more to add; for that, please check out THE HOOVER STREET RAG.  We just always wanted to link to the BEMIDJI PIONEER.
  • Finally, we know a referee that will be working the NBA Finals next in about 2024 after nearly injuring the future of the league by getting tangled underfoot of LeBron James:


Your 2009 NCAA men’s basketball champions are…

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UNC Finishes Off The Boringest Day Of B-Ball Ever

Boringest is a word. Oh, it may not be in your fancy “dictionary” (whatever that is) or anything, but any one word that so perfectly encapsulates the five hours of brain-killing boredom that unfolded today on CBS is an absolutely legitimate part of the American vernacular. And these utterly drama-free contests sent fans scampering for the remote… or the Vivarin.

Knowles Lucas MSU Louisville
(Not even the rarely-seen “Reverse Bavarian Ear-Pooping” could save this snoozer.)

Perhaps we were spoiled by the epic ‘Nova-Pitt game from yesterday, but it’s always such a disappointment when there’s such a lead-up to such a letdown. MSU’s win wasn’t competitive in the last 10 minutes. But UNC? They barely even needed 10 minutes of their own to put Blake Griffin and Oklahoma away.

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