TGIF everyone, here's my Top 5 for March 26, 2010 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
* There are 4 more NCAA tournament games tonight. After this evening's action there will be 8 teams left standing.
--Tennessee/Ohio State 7:07pm
--St. Mary's/Baylor 7:27pm
--Northern Iowa/Michigan State 9:37pm
--Purdue/Duke 9:57pm All times Eastern.
* Butler, West Virginia, Kentucky and Kansas State were last night's winners.
* Anybody want to coach St. John's basketball? Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt says no thanks.
* Alex Rodriguez talks to federal authorities today in Buffalo about his relationship with a Canadian doctor under investigation for drugs.
* Former ABC, NBC and ESPN executive Chet Simmons is dead at the age of 81.
2. Reality Bites
Ouch. I'm sure some Cornell fans fancied a trip to the Final Four, and even a ride to the championship. But after watching those athletes from Kentucky for a couple of minutes, you knew it wasn't going to happen. Oh, that 10-2 Cornell lead was heady. But then they managed only 35 points the rest of the way. Maybe the same fate awaits Northern Iowa tonight. The tournament gives you little glimpses of "anything is possible," and then talent and pedigree throw cold water in your face. Is that an argument for or against expanding the field to 96 teams? Cinderella will always run smack into midnight, but it's a fun ride while it lasts.
3. Filtering the News
What's the difference between the University of Florida football program and China? That's a trick question. There isn't much difference. While China messes with Google, Florida is dumping on reporters. Coach Urban Meyer didn't like how the quotes of one of his players turned up in a column so he confronted the reporter. The newspaper was threatened with banishment, and players and coaches were off limits to all reporters after practice the other day. Just the latest example of a college coach who doesn't know how to lead. But of course the school will stand behind him because he wins football games.
4. Friday eMailbag
In response to Education Secretary Arne Duncan's proposal that college basketball teams should have a 40% graduation rate to qualify for the NCAA tournament, G.M. writes, "Since 40% is a failing grade in any school, might it be more appropriate to require players be able to sink 70% or more of their foul shots? After all, if we're preparing these basketball players for life after college in the NBA, being able to make free throws would seem more appropriate."
When I wrote about Cornell broadcasters vis a vis Syracuse's, A.K. added the following to the Cornell list: "Bill Maher, Ann Coulter and Ken Dryden (Miracle on Ice).
Editor's Note: Oh yeah, I'll see you and raise you Orangemen Ted Koppel, Dick Clark, and Joe Biden... no, wait a second.
S.L. wants to know if I'm working on a Passover-related Top 5. He suggests the Jews trekking through the desert was the "longest marathon.... 40 years."
Editor's Note: Just typical athletes where "bread" was the issue.
And when I mentioned the Nets Jewish Family Night and facetiously suggested they should stage a live bris at halftime, D.P. suggested on twitter @LenBermanSports that with the Nets shooting accuracy, the mohel would probably miss.
5. Reeling Them In
So what sport has been booming during the recession? Fishing. Fishing license applications are up, and in 2009 the number of fisherman in the U.S. showed a rare increase. Obviously with unemployment, people have lots of time on their hands, so off to the lake/river/ocean they go. So can Olympic fishing be in our future? Ice fishing for sure in the Winter Games. The winners could stand on the podium with their medals and their catch. Good times.
Happy Birthday: Raiders running back Marcus Allen. 50.
Bonus Birthday: Stop in the Name of Love. Diana Ross of The Supremes. 66.
Today in Sports: Led by Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West, the LA Lakers set a record of 69 wins in an NBA season. (Later broken by Michael and the Bulls.) 1972.
Bonus Event: Dr. Jonas Salk announces his polio vaccine. 1953.