5:00 PM Former UConn athletic director John Tonerdied Tuesday at the age of 91. Toner had hired Huskies basketball coaches Jim Calhoun in 1986 & Geno Auriemma in 1985 and chose to have UConn join the Big East Conference in 1979.
4:45 PM Three soldiers of Afghanistan's national army who went missing during training exercises at Camp Edwards in Massachusetts were discovered trying to cross the border into Canada, but not before visiting a Cape Cod strip club first.
Last night I reported that part of the motivation for Missouri Athletic Director Mike Alden in his futile pursuit of Purdue coach Matt Painter was former Missouri senior associate AD and current SIU Athletic Director Mario Moccia’s optimistic view - expressed to Alden - of Mizzou’s chances of landing Painter as its next basketball coach.
(SbB Report Confirmed; AD Claims Painter Coveted Mizzou ‘nearly year ago’)
Following my report, Moccia confirmed his involvement in the process to KANSAS CITY STAR reporter Mike DeArmond while also providing insight into what he may have communicated to Alden about former SIU coach Painter.
In the aftermath of the Frank Haith hire, many Missouri basketball fans have pointed to Athletic Director Mike Alden’s inability to close the deal with Purdue’s Matt Painter as the moment the Mizzou coaching search officially went off the rails.
(Did former Mizzou staffer Paint Alden into a corner?)
But from what I’ve been told by multiple Missouri athletic department and administration sources, Alden doesn’t deserve all the blame for what was a clear miscalculation of Painter’s intentions.
There’s a reason Alden was confident enough about snaring Painter’s services that he flew to Florida - amid an ungodly media crush - to try to bag the Boilers coach. Read more…
Earlier this season, Michigan had to deal with the suspension of Jonas Mouton after he was caught sneaking in a quick sucker punch on a Notre Dame player. All of this was much to the chagrin of Rich Rodriguez, who had maintained that Mouton had not done anything wrong and would not be punished by the team. After that, RichRod became the conference’s most vigilant film studier, pointing out a questionable forearm shiver by Purdue’s Zach Reckman on a defenseless Northern Illinois player as that game ended. Out came the Big Ten Banhammer once again, and Reckman caught a one-game suspension from the conference. Video of both offending plays is after the break.
Surprisingly, Reckman and Boilermaker head coach Danny Hope weren’t terribly impressed with Rodriguez’s involvement in Purdue’s disciplinary procedures and took it a little personally. So even as revenge is a dish best served on a scoreboard–Purdue 38, Michigan 36, in this instance–Hope and Reckman decided to make the most of the opportunity of meeting RichRod at midfield after the game. Commence catty slapfight ownage. Read more…
And now a quick recap of Saturday’s early finals, with some selective commentary thrown in.
After last weekend’s exciting matchups, it was back to business as usual for the Big Ten’s big boys, doing what they do best - beat up on MAC schools. Coming off of a heartbreaking loss to USC, Ohio State took out its frustrations on Toledo, blanking the Rockets 38-0 in a game played in Cleveland. Now maybe Buckeyes fans won’t be so miserable & unhappy.
It’s another Saturday, meaning another full plate of college football action - also meaning tens of thousands of fans are setting up shop outside stadiums to tailgate their tails off.
(”It’s coming right at me! Noooooooooo!”)
One of the newest members of the tailgating scene is Joe Tiller, the former Purdue & Wyoming coach. Tiller left West Lafayette at the end of last season, and is enjoying his retirement in the small Wyoming town of Buffalo. Although he’s no longer in the coaching profession, Joe still has an itching to partake in the pigskin festivities. Fortunately for him, he saved up & got himself an RV, so he can travel the country campus to campus and continue to soak the collegiate atmosphere all in.
The recession’s hitting us all pretty hard. Well, as long as our name isn’t Jerry Jones, anyway. But at our institutions of indentured sports servitude higher learning, the cuts are coming hard and fast, and across the board.
Prime example: the Pac-10, which is actually seeking to ban players from staying in hotel rooms before a game. The thought goes that the cost of putting up the players can be better allocated elsewhere, if not just saved. But then where would the players sleep before a game, you ask? Why, their own dorm rooms.
There was a lot of attention surrounding UConn entering last night’s Sweet 16 matchup with Purdue, and it was all for the wrong reasons. In the midst of an ongoing investigation of the school’s recruitment of now-departed super-stud prospect Nate Miles, no one has received as much heat as UConn’s architect himself, Jim Calhoun.
So what is a Hall of Famer like Calhoun to do? That’s easy: Win the whole thing, then walk away. If Calhoun’s Huskies get out of the gate as well as they did against Purdue last night. Not only did UConn sprint to an 8-0 lead and never look back, the Huskies showed the balance and Hasheem Thabeet-led inside dominance that could lift them back to another national title.
Sure, they’re out West, but with the additional inspiration UConn has received since its exit from the Big East tournament — first Calhoun’s hospitalization, then the Yahoo! investigation — UConn suddenly looks like the biggest beast left in the dance.
Meanwhile, Missouri proved that John Calipari - a past subject of NCAA indiscretions & Calhoun’s scorn after he stole onetime UConn recruit Marcus Camby- still has some work to do if he’s ever going to deliver a national title to the C-USA program he’s taken under his wing. Mizzou did everything that Memphis tries to do — run, trap, press and run some more — except they did it more effectively and efficiently. Even a late heat-check from Tyreke Evans and near-collapse from Mizzou couldn’t resuscitate Memphis, which means that the one team standing between Calhoun and a return trip to the Final Four is Mike Anderson. At least we know what the game plan will be come Saturday: Everybody press! Ready, break!
That wasn’t the case back East, where UConn once assumed it would be, and where No. 1 seed Pittsburgh struggled through another lackluster tourney win. It’s certainly not what Pitt fans will want to hear, but the Panthers just don’t seem to be clicking on all cylinders. In fact, one could argue that Pitt hasn’t played on its top speed since knocking off UConn … again … near the end of the regular season. In fact, let’s run the gauntlet of recent Pitt performances: Lost to West Virginia in Big East tournament, underwhelmed in beating No. 16 seed, trailed No. 8 seed Oklahoma State throughout much of second-round win, then eked past a Xavier team that should have been completely overwhelmed.
If that sounds like Pitt has set the table for a suddenly hot Villanova team to swoop in a steal a ticket to the Final Four, well, maybe they have. The Wildcats smoked a Duke team that was finally exposed at the point, with streaky shooters and with no semblance of a legitimate interior game. Perhaps not surprisingly, Duke again rolled snake eyes in the tournament because it was over-reliant on outside shooting and couldn’t stop a deep set of athletic guards and swingmen. Let’s see, Virginia Commonwealth (Eric Maynor), West Virginia (Joe Alexander), anyone in the Villanova starting lineup. Hmmm, anyone else see a pattern?
But there were other sports outside of the tournament right? Well, we suppose.
We’ve seen plenty of big sports stars in bad movies in the past — Kazaam comes to mind, no? — but none may be worse than the upcoming flick Never Surrender, which features Quinton Rampage Jackson, Anderson Silva, Heath Herring, and Georges St. Pierre and B.J. Penn.
This is just made for a bad-karma jinx. They’re plenty of points away from clinching a division title, but you can already get your hands on Washington Capitals Southeast Division Championship gear if you know where to look.
Speaking of the Caps, coach Bruce Boudreau is more than sick of people bitching about Alex Ovechkin’s celebration of his 50th goal. He can’t even take it anymore.
The thing about bribing bartenders is that, if you do it right, you get a better deal on your booze and you don’t get arrested. Well, evidently Dallas Cowboys linebacker/defensive end Anthony Spencer missed the memo, because he was arrested early Sunday morning outside an Indianapolis bar for drunken belligerence in public after a local bar refused to let them pay to keep it open after closing time.
(The Anthony Spencer contribution to Mug Shots R Us.)
Ironically, the bar was called Have a Nice Day Cafe, which is precisely what the former Purdue Boilermaker (hence why he’s back in Indiana) isn’t having today. What constitutes drunken belligerence in public, you ask? Try this choice quote, for example, as gleaned from this report by Indianapolis NEWS CHANNEL 6, via their web site THEINDYCHANNEL.com:
Off-duty Indianapolis police officers, who were working security for the bar, said Spencer told them, “I don’t give a f*** if you’re the police,” when told to leave the bar peaceably.
Hmmm, wonder why that wouldn’t go over so well with the Indianapolis police, huh?