College Hoops Blogger Makes “Mockery” Of Draft

You’re probably familiar with Mark Titus, the Ohio State basketball walk-on whose CLUB TRILLION blog has made him something of a cult celebrity, mainly because it’s an honest and frequently painfully funny look at life on the end of the bench for a major college program. You might remember back in January when there was a big flap about NCAA violations regarding T-shirts he was selling on his blog, which turned out to be a non-issue.

Mark Titus

But now Titus has managed raise the ire of a group with even less of a sense of humor than the NCAA: THE DAGGER says after being asked by the NBA to stop blogging about the draft because they feared he “was making a mockery of the process,” the league has now informed him (through Ohio State’s Director of Basketball Operations) that he needs to remove his name from the NBA Draft entirely…”or else”. He’s not sure what the that means, but speculates he might be forced to star in an NBA Catalog video like Larry Bird in 1987:

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Speed Read: Allen Outduels Gordon, Saves Celts

With three minutes left in last night’s Bulls-Celtics tilt, it looked like Ben Gordon was going to will the Bulls to an astounding 2-0 series lead. But then, as Paul Pierce wilted down the stretch, Ray Allen finally woke up and saved Boston’s season with two huge threes, including the game-winner with two seconds left as Boston won 118-115. Rajon Rondo bounced back from a sprained knee/ankle/hip he suffered just before halftime to finish with a triple double: 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 16 assists.

Ray Allen

Gordon scored 42 for Chicago, but the Bulls couldn’t keep the Celtics off the offensive boards all night, and it cost the Bulls dearly in the fourth quarter. With about 30 seconds left and holding a one-point lead, Chicago was unable to corral a loose ball that eventually ended up in Allen’s hand — and he nailed a three to give the Celtics the lead. Gordon answered to tie it, but never got another chance as Allen hit a tough shot over the outstretched arms and hair of Joakim Noah to end it.

Well, there were two seconds left, but Vinny Del Negro plowed through all of his timeouts too soon (and at least one of them seemed completely unnecessary, considering the Bulls’ only play in the final three minutes was “give it Ben Gordon and get out of his way”), meaning the Bulls got a 70-footer from Tyrus Thomas at the buzzer. Still, a split in Boston is all the Bulls could reasonably ask for, and knowing that they can compete when the series comes back to Boston is going to be key.

Ben Gordon

Can the Bulls actually win this series?

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In the other playoff game, the Spurs got 38 points from Tony Parker and beat the Mavs 105-84. Still, it seems like Dallas is winning this series, doesn’t it?

In the NHL, the Bruins moved within one game of their first playoff series win in 10 years with a 4-2 victory at Montreal, taking a 3-0 lead. Meanwhile, the Caps scored a huge 4-0 road win over the Rangers at MSG after dropping the first two games at home. And in Calgary, the Flames got back within 2-1 in the series by beating Chicago 4-2. It was Calgary’s first win in seven games against the Blackhawks this season.

• If you’re a Cubs fan and you’re dead, there’s still a way for you to support the team that probably hastened your death in the first place. That’s right, a Cubs-themed cemetery called Beyond the Vines opens for business on Wednesday.

Cubs cemetery

Billed as “eternal luxury suites for Cubs fans,” the cemetery features an ivy-covered brick wall and will have some other Wrigley touches, such as a stained-glass replica of the ballpark’s scoreboard.  CNBC’s Darren Rovell says that if this works, the guy who came up with it is going to take it to Yankee fans.

• You might have noticed that Chien-Ming Wang sucks now. Even worse is that he’s out of options so the Yanks can’t send him down to the minors without sending him through waivers, and someone would surely claim him (the Orioles can always use a guy with a 34.50 ERA). Worse for Wang is the fact that he’s signed to a one-year deal, which means he’s this close to pitching for the Newark Bears next year. Or, you know, Wang could throw 45 consecutive scoreless innings and get his ERA under 4. RIVER AVE BLUES is searching for answers.

• Yeah, the Marlins were 11-1, but you don’t just go into Ross Ohlendorf’s house and expect to win ball games. The Pirates now have four shutouts this year after beating Florida 8-0. They had two all of last year.

• American running hottie Kara Goucher almost won the Boston Marathon yesterday. She actually had the lead in the final stretch, but was passed up by a Kenyan and an Ethiopian and finished third, just nine seconds off the winning time. The BOSTON HERALD says she would’ve been the first American to win the race since 1985.

Kara Goucher

• A record-low crowd of 12,473 paying customers saw Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmerman make his major-league debut last night. Actually, it was a lot less than that because a pre-game rain delay chased all but a few hundred fans from the park. By the time Joel Hanrahan saved a 3-2 win over the Braves, the WASHINGTON POST estimates there were 70 people there. I know it was a crappy night, but isn’t it great that D.C. spent millions on that new ballpark?

The Detroit Lions have a new logo. Actually, it’s not really a new logo at all.  It’s just the same logo, with some fierce teeth. It’s all part of a new attitude. This year, Dan Orlovsky’s going to get really angry when he takes a safety.

Lions logo

• The Arena Football League is off this season (which I’m sure you’ve noticed), but when the league comes back next year, the L.A. Avengers won’t be a part of it, according to ESPN. This is bad news for, uh, Todd Marinovich?

• DRAFTEXPRESS says Stephen Curry is going to skip his senior year and declare for the NBA Draft, where he should be picked somewhere in the late-lottery range.

• WFAN’s Mike Francesa says the Yankees need to somehow fix their new stadium as soon as the team leaves for its road trip this week to try and cut down on what he calls an “amusement park” atmosphere with balls flying out of the yard to right field at an alarming rate. But how? Even if it was physically possible to change the dimensions of the park in-season, that’s against MLB rules. So the only solutions are either changing how the wind blows through the park (a little unlikely) or getting rid of Chien-Ming Wang (see a few paragraphs above).

Reinsdorf Slams Bulls Coaches, Tempted To Boo

A little more than a year after pulling the plug on his then-head coach Scott Skiles on Christmas Eve, Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf is up to his old tricks. With his team floundering well under .500, he’s not only said that he’s been tempted to stand up and boo this season, but he’s ripped the organization and the coaching staff, specifically new head coach Vinny Del Negro’s relationship with his assistant coaches.

Jerry Reinsdorf and Vinny Del Negro

Last Friday on the “Monsters in the Morning” cable TV show, Reinsdorf said that the season was a “disaster” and that he viewed it as an “organizational failure” - but not the fault of GM John Paxson. Most people took that as a thinly-veiled swipe at Del Negro. But now the CHICAGO DAILY HERALD is reporting that Reinsdorf is singing a different tune:

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Blog-A-Roni: Johnson Bringing Bengals Together?

• CINCY JUNGLE argues that Ocho Cinco’s oddball behavior might actually be bringing the rest of the Bengals together.

Chad Johnson smiling

• Meanwhile, ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio reports that the New York Giants are dealing with their own mini-camp malcontents (i.e. Jeremy Shockey & Plaxico Burress).

• BABES LOVE BASEBALL finds a couple of factual errors about Chicago State’s new full-time coach.

Andrea Reiher of BUGS & CRANKS also doesn’t like the way Rick Sutcliffe was speaking on-air about Erin Andrews’ skirt.

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Bulls Bet On Black, Offer Del Negro Coaching Job

K.C. Johnson of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE reports that the Chicago Bulls are ready to name Vinny Del Negro as their new head coach.

Vinny Del Negro Bucks George Karl

(Hope George Karl [background] has taught Vinny well)

After Mike D’Antoni declined and Doug Collins called it off, the Bulls have offered the job to the 41-year-old Del Negro, who’s currently the Suns’ assistant GM. But sources say Vinny is ready to vault from the Valley of the Sun to the Windy City, with an official news conference expected later this week.

Although he’s never coached before, Del Negro does come to Chicago with a pretty good basketball pedigree. Read more…