SPORTS w/The Jock 3-10-11

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
There has been a flurry of games this past week, mainly with the mid-major Conferences holding their respective tournaments. The winners of those tournaments are all going to play in the 68-team NCAA Tournament, a/k/a ‘The Big Dance‘. And so the ‘little guys’ that we always see pulling upsets during March Madness, including Butler, Gonzaga, and Belmont, among others, are now all gearing up to the possibility of making a post-season run.
Meanwhile, this weekend features all the major conferences holding their own respective tournaments. While the champions all advance to the Big Dance, we know that a number of teams already have shown enough moxie to get in, via at-large selections.
Of course there are always a few number of teams that are ‘on the bubble’, with their fate uncertain.
On Sunday night, when all the conference tournament play is complete, we’ll hear which 68 teams have been selected to play. CBS will be the main broadcasters for that.
After that, starting on Tuesday, we’ll see the start of the NCAA Tournament. All games will be seen in their entirety, on either CBS, TNT, TBS, or TRU TV. it’s a little different than in the past, when the only place to catch all the games was your local sports bar.
It seems this year there is no definitive, solid #1 team. While there is no question Ohio St. and Kansas will be #1 seeds, we’ve seen them both get beaten in the past few weeks. Other teams ranked in the top ten right now have also been upset, including Duke and Pitt. And there have been NO outstanding teams playing in the SEC or PAC-10.
And so it’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top during these conference tournaments, and who is favored. Then, we’ll have all kinds of fun watching and waiting to see who will play whom once the pairings are announced on Sunday night. And I’m sure every single basketball expert and analyst will come out and give you their CERTAIN picks for the Final Four!
Enjoy…

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
The rhetoric surrounding this whole situation has continued. As we all know, the NFL owners and the NFLPA (the players) have been trying to negotiate out an agreement to get things back in motion.
Obviously, both sides want as much as they can get out of this whole thing. Both sides feel they deserve more than what they’re getting as of now.
The various issues under debate include the split in revenue between the two factions…the creation of a rookie wage scale…the possibility of an 18-game season…and the altering of the salary cap.
There are so many directions in which this scene can head, and to me at least, it’s a mystery as to which side the NFL fans are taking. There simply isn’t enough information being presented to the public for people to get a fix on who is in the right and who is in the wrong…or better yet, who deserves what!
I am going to assume both the players and the owners will agree to one more extension to continue their discussions and possibly come to agree on all the various issues that have yet to be decided. If not, then it would become on ugly, nasty deal, leading to a very long and drawn-out process.
So, we’ll see how things play out…should be interesting, to say the least!

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Back last Summer, when we heard so much talk about free agents and where they might be going, the Miami Heat pulled the biggest coup, getting Lebron James and Chris Bosh to come play alongside Dwyane Wade. When the signings were a done deal, the feeling was almost certain that the heat were going to be Finals contenders, if not champions.
And now here we are, a month away from the end of the regular season, and we are seeing that the Heat are nowhere NEAR being a strong, solid, championship team. The evidence bluntly points that out, with Miami giving us an ugly five-game losing swing in the past week or so.
James and Wade are easily two of the best players in the NBA, and their play and production has been consistently upper-level. Bosh, however, has not played nearly as well as he has in the past, during his years in Toronto. Meanwhile, the rest of the Heat roster has been lame and mediocre, forcing Miami to realize that you need more than two All-Star players to produce a team with a championship quality.
With less than twenty games left in the regular season, the Heat will certainly make the playoffs, barring a complete collapse. Where they end up in the seeding is another story.
The bottom line here is that the Miami Heat are not anywhere near what the owners, players, coaches, and fans thought they were going to be. It remains to be seen as to whether they can make the necessary changes, even with the roster moves they made in the past few weeks, in order to compete with the Celtics, Magic, and others. In the meantime, they certainly will garner all kinds of attention, on a daily and nightly basis, no matter where they go, no matter who they play, or when.

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