Saturday, March 24, 2007

Elite 8

Thank you Mr. Green! With Jeff Green's determination, passion and grit to the basket Friday night, Georgetown (and more importantly, me!) are is on the way to the Elite 8 with a victory over Vanderbilt. OK, yes, he may have traveled. I openly put that out there. But it's a great individual move nonetheless! By overcoming a 13 point Commodores advantage, the Hoyas (and my 2007 champion) get at chance to knock off #1 North Carolina in the final game of the regional finals Sunday at the Meadowlands. UNC also had its hands full, down 16 to USC before getting a Tim Floyd techincal-enhanced 10-point win. So, my final of Georgetown vs. Florida in the Championship Game April 2nd is still in tact as is my other side of the bracket: Ohio State vs. Kansas. We'll find out more on Saturday.

As for the Red Sox, a good week all around. Dice-K and Curt Schilling put forth their longest outings of the spring, 5 2/3 and 7 innings respectively. The Captain, Jason Veritek ended his 0-for-17 slump with his first spring homerun. And yes, we now have a closer. Or should I say, we continue with the closer we had, Jonathan Papelbon. All in all, a good move considering the circumstances. Is it as good as having traded for a bonafide closer like Chad Cordero or Billy Wagner in the off-season and putting Paps in the rotation, NO. Yet, after a month of looking at the Piniero, Donnelly, Timlin (if he could throw), Hansen and pitchers ad infinitum auditions, it's the Red Sox best option right now. The best thing is that Papelbon wants and can fill the role. With 35 saves last season, we know he can handle the pressure. The doctors apparently have told the Sox that there is no more risk of hurting his shoulder and having another sublaxation by being a closer than by being a starter. It also allows the rest of the pen to take their natural spots. Joel Piniero and Brendan Donnelly take over the 7th and 8th until Mike Timlin returns after the opening road trip. JC Romero and Hideki Okajimi are your lefty specialists. Kyle Snyder is your long guy. Now, the question is who is the fifth starter. My answer is what the Sox have put forth. Let Julian Tavarez try to continue what he did in September last year: be a consumate fifth starter. If he fails, you have options. Jon Lester will get a look after strenthening his body by starting in Pawtucket. Snyder has shown his ability to bounce back and forth between the rotation and long relief in the pen. Kason Gabbard is a lefty on the rise with good stuff. And yes, there's always the penchant to trade and sign a free agent by the front office. Me worried on March 24th? Nope. Right now, the Red Sox are a better team than they were a week ago.

The Bruins and Celtics. Let's continue the countdown to the end of the regular season quickly!

Some treats before I leave:

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Selection Sunday

That's right, the most anticipated day in all of the college basketball season is upon us. It's Selection Sunday. At 6pm today, schools from Gonzaga to Georetown and everywhere in between will await their fate from the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Selection Committee chaired by former PC Friars head coach, now Princeton Athletic Director Gary Walters.

Now, as for our locals, PC and URI await a different fate. It's that from the NIT roundtable. Do both deserve to go, yes. Will they, that's a toss-up. Why, you may ask? Well, it's simple math! The NIT is now governed and run by the NCAA and they've down-sized the tournament to 32 teams. Add in that regular season conference champions that don't win their postseason touranments to get to the Big Dance automatically qualify for the NIT and you've got your answer. The Friars will get in no problem. They could even host a game at the Dunk Tuesday night. Find out officially tonight at 9pm. As for the Rams, they should go in based on their 18-win season and a great showing in the Atlantic 10 tourney, including knocking off top seeded Xavier. If I'm the NIT, I have some fun with Rhode Island and pit PC vs. URI in a rematch at the Ryan Center Wednesday night!

As for the field of 65, the Big East only gets in seven (7). Before this weekend, I thought West Virginia would be in, but based on all the upsets, teams like George Washington, New Mexico State and with wins today, possibly Arkansas and North Carolina State, will take WVU's spot based on winning their conference tournaments.

My top 4 seeds:
Ohio State
Kansas (Wisconsin if they win and Kansas loses Big 12 finals)
North Carolina (with a win over NC State today, UCLA takes it with a UNC loss)

Memphis simply doesn't play a tough enough schedule to warrant a #1 seed. Sorry John Calipari.

Don't forget, Dice-K pitches today at 1pm on NESN.
Also, it's Crowe and Chips joining Bryan Morry on the Sportsbeat Monday at 3pm!

A treat for Sunday:

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Saturday update

How about those free-spending Patriots! With the announced signing of Adalius Thomas, Kyle Brady and Sammy Morris, the Pats have shed the "we don't spend earlier and often in free agency" tag with an explosive Saturday.

Good moves all around. And this is coming from a Jets fan! Thomas fits the bill at LB and gives the Pats another guy who can get to the QB. The only question comes in coverage. As for "the other Brady in Foxboro," Kyle's one of the better blocking TE's in the biz and aptly takes the place of the departed Daniel Graham. Morris is one of the guys New England tried to get before Sammy signed in Miami a few years ago. Good backup to Laurence Maroney and fits another need on special teams.

Still on the horizon could be Dolphins WR Wes Welker. The Pats appear headed to signing him to an offer-sheet, which if not matched by the Fins, would cost NE a second-round pick. Not bad for a guy who can come right into this system and produce with Tom Brady. Plus, like Morris, he's been a special teams bonus baby.

Now, onto other things:
Dice-K: 200 media members for 2 innings of work Friday night vs. Boston College. Let the craziness begin in Beantown.

Call me crazy, but I like Alberto Castillo.

PC ends the regular season at St.John's Sunday (1:45pm on the Score!). Friars need to keep momentum going into the Big East Tournament where they will play either at 12pm or 7pm Wednesday (listen on the Score!).

Treat for the day:

More later!