Happy Monday everyone, here's my Top 5 for March 14, 2011 from Len Berman at ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
* The NFL locks out the players. The players sue the owners. Good times.
* The NCAA basketball tournament begins tomorrow. The #1 overall seed is Ohio State. Kansas, Pittsburgh and Duke are the other top seeds. A record 11 Big East teams made it.
* Today's the deadline to enter my Top 5 NCAA contest.
* The Mets deny a report claiming ace pitcher Johan Santana is not progressing from shoulder surgery and may miss the entire season.
* Former Buffalo Sabres star Rick Martin died in a car accident. He was 59.
* Next week's World Figure Skating Championships, scheduled for Tokyo, have been called off due to the earthquake disaster in Japan.
2. Here We Go Again
When I was a kid, I would only buy the newspaper if the Yankees won. Who needed to read bad news? So I can only imagine the groans that any mention of the NFL labor situation incite. Sorry, it can't be ignored. But any action or proclamation by either side has to be taken in context. Both sides simply want a bigger piece of the pie. That's it. So don't let lockouts, lawsuits, 18 game schedules, rookie wage scales or safety conditions make your eyes spin. In fact save yourself the time and don't bother caring about it. Trust me, neither side is thinking about you.
3. Fan Appreciation Day
March 11, 2011 didn't have sports fans dancing in the streets. The NFL talks collapsed, and in New York, Madison Square Garden raised Knicks ticket prices an average of 49 per cent for next season. One halfway decent season, and fans get socked. Look at the bright side Knicks fans. If Isiah Thomas had returned, the Garden would have been so giddy they probably would have doubled prices.
Shame on the NCAA for not including Harvard in this year's NCAA tournament. OK, they didn't deserve it, but why quibble? They had their chance. In Saturday's one game playoff to decide the Ivy League bid, they lost at the buzzer to Princeton. Harvard's last NCAA tournament appearance? 65 years ago, 1946. It was their only appearance. In fact they've never, ever won an NCAA tournament game. But wouldn't you have loved to see them matched up against Southwest Eastern Cupcake University? Two squads of "student athletes." A bunch of future world leaders taking on a collection of misfits who struggle to pass remedial reading. Now that's my dream bracket. Maybe it was too embarrassing for the NCAA to ponder.
5. Quote of the Day
The Jets, despite the labor dispute, continue to lead the league in quotes. Jets owner Woody Johnson said, "It may take longer than we all had hoped, but New York Jets fans should know that a deal will get done and I remain confident that there will be NFL football in 2011." To which Rex Ryan probably countered, "Even if there's no football next season, we'll still win the Super Bowl."
Happy Birthday: Baltimore/Washington Bullets rebounder extraordinaire, Hall of Famer Wes Unseld. 65.
Bonus Birthday: Please come back as Oscars host! Billy Crystal. 63.
Today in Sports: This kid has potential. Henry Aaron homers in his first exhibition game for the Milwaukee Braves. 1954.
Bonus Event: Can we talk? The first town meeting is held in Boston's Faneuil Hall. 1843.
LAST CHANCE to enter the Top 5 Men's NCAA Basketball contest here.
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