This year’s NCAA basketball tournament is apparently going to be the first one played without any #1 seeds, because nobody seems to want to claim any of them. This week, Pitt decided to be the latest top-ranked team to tank it, trailing by as many as 20 points in the second half in an 81-73 loss to Providence. The Friars are suddenly looking pretty good for an NCAA bid, with 9 Big East wins and 17 overall. This was their first win over a #1 team in nearly 33 years. Luckily for all involved, Jonathan Xavier was not at the game.
Professional golf, which ceased to exist last June when Tiger Woods got hurt, will finally resume today. Nobody’s happier for this development than the other golfers who Tiger will be competing against, whoever they are. Tiger’s first round match at the Accenture World Match Play Championships tees off at 2:02 Eastern time this afternoon. His opponent is someone named Brendan Jones, who just learned how to play golf last week. How confident is NBC that Tiger will make it to Saturday’s semifinals? They’re airing ads promoting Tiger’s appearance on the NBC broadcast this weekend.
(He didn’t win anything. This is just the trophy he gets to carry around every day for being Tiger Woods)
Do you have World Baseball Classic fever yet? Does anyone? This WBC seemed like a good idea a couple of years ago, but this year’s rosters are devoid of many of the sport’s biggest stars. Your U.S. roster features such giants of the game like Chris Ianetta, Jeremy Guthrie, and Matt Thornton. The Dominican team is without Albert Pujols and Manny Ramirez (who’s from New York City, mind you), but now gets to deal with the distraction that is A-Roid. It’s all moot, of course, since the powerhouse Italians are winning the whole thing. Who can stop Val Pascucci and Nick Punto?
As a reward for winning the title last year, the Celtics get to have 29 players on their roster. Case in point: the C’s have signed the recently waived Mikki Moore, who was playing for the Kings. And now the long-rumored acquisition of Stephon Marbury is about to happen, since Steph was finally bought out by the Knicks. Shockingly, New York was not successful in swinging a trade for a guy whose salary is $21 million and has spent his season hanging out at bus stops and buying tickets to see his own team play.
• TMZ says that Charles Barkley might have to don a pink prison uniform during his five-day stay in the same jail that houses rapper DMX. Although, it appears as if Chuck has been given “work release” and only has to be in jail from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. So, basically he’s staying in a crappy hotel for five nights and wearing a pink snuggie.
• Charles Goldberg of the Auburn blog THE GOLD MINE writes that highly-regarded high school running back David Oku has moved from Oklahoma to Lincoln, Nebraska to be closer to some girl he met while on an official visit to Nebraska. And his parents are OK with their kid taking off to go live on his own and date a college girl. This seems like a great idea.
• Speaking of Stephon Marbury, the poor guy had to accept a buyout of around $2-3 million less than his salary for “playing” this season for the Knicks. But Darren Rovell of CNBC says that Marbury earned enough that he could’ve bought a pair of his Starbury sneakers every nine seconds.
• The CFL isn’t recognizing there’s a recession, according to the VANCOUVER SUN. Four CFL cities (all of which are home to teams called the Roughriders) are in the process of securing funds for new stadiums or improvements to their current facilities.
• Former major league pitcher Rick Helling on steroids: “There is this problem with steroids. It’s happening. It’s real. And it’s so prevalent that guys who aren’t doing it are feeling pressure to do it because they’re falling behind. It’s not a level playing field. We’ve got to figure out a way to address it.” When did he say this? 1998. TIME has the story of a guy who went ignored way too long.
• The SPORTS HERNIA points out that the Mets’ Fernando Tatis missed Monday’s intrasquad game with a rather unusual injury:
• PRO FOOTBALL TALK says that Eric Mangini and the rest of the new Browns staff is “lukewarm” on Brady Quinn. Which is rather insulting, considering Quinn won all those national championships in college.
• As if there aren’t enough Shulas running around, Dan Shula — son of David and grandson of Don — has been hired as an assistant coach at Illinois State.
• The Supreme Court may be hearing a case that results in a ban on public school coaches participating with members of their teams in prayer or other religious expression, according to the TENNESSEAN. Current precedent doesn’t allow coaches to initiate prayer, but doesn’t necessarily ban them from participating.
• The Oakland A’s have scrapped plans to build a new ballpark in the East Bay suburb of Fremont. San Jose has now apparently emerged as a new contender to rip the team away from the Mausoleum.
• WITH LEATHER says that Jason Giambi has aspirations to be a bouncer at a strip club after he retires from baseball. And Rick’s Cabaret in New York City is first in line with a job offer (link somewhat NSFW).