March 23, 2004
Bracket guru
Rob McVie:

Impressively, the dude picked 15 of 16 Sweet 16 teams -- 15 of 16!! -- to jump out to the early lead of the Tourney Challenge.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Convinced your office's resident hoops geek to start the "second-chance" Sweet 16 pool yet? It's just not as fun to watch when three of your four Final Four teams have seats no better than yours -- on the couch. There's still time ...

New I-am-So-Duke Due Picks:
Midwest (St. Louis)
UAB d. Kansas; GTech d. Nev.
Final: UAB over GTech
Why UAB? Most fun to root for

East (East Rutherford, N.J.)
Wake d. Joe's; OK St d. Pitt
Final: Wake over OK St
Why Wake? Have 04's Carmelo

South (Atlanta)
Duke d. Ill; Texas d. Xavier
Final: Duke over Texas
Why Duke? Crushed TX in Dec.

West (Phoenix)
'Cuse d. 'Bama; Conn d. Vandy
Final: UConn over Syracuse
Why UConn? Too much everything

Final Four
"Cindy" semi: Wake over UAB
"Power" semi: Duke over UConn
Title: Duke over Wake

See "Big 5" for other combos.

Melo-ing Out
Count me among one of the cranks who were ready to strip the "Co-" from the NBA's Rookie of the Year ballot after Carmelo decided to pout (and sit out) at the end of Friday night's game.

Apologies count, but actions speak louder than words -- and nothing says "I'm sorry" like racking up 22 in a rout of the Clippers last night that reclaimed the West's 8th playoff spot for Denver.

Prior's First Start
Mark Prior's lingering foot injury will keep him from his first scheduled start, which should be a good reminder to everyone as they consume season previews

UNC: Big 3 stars all reportedly coming back next season
Mariano Rivera: 2yr/$21mil deal extension nearly finalized
QB Billy Volek: Returning to Titans; he WILL see action
Kobe to Knicks: Someone's smoking some quality stuff ...
NFL ass't coaches: P'off-related hiring policy unchanged
East NCAA powers: As big a bunch of chokers as West teams
that every prediction is based on an ideal -- let's call it "guesspectations."

If the Cubs are projected to win the NL Central by only a game or two, and Prior sits this first one -- and who knows how many more? -- then we may look back and recognize that this missed start (or two) had huge implications.

Not content to simply enjoy its upcoming Greatest Season Yet, MLB reportedly is considering a "Turn Back the Clock" event -- in the league office.

It's a return to ... 1998! What else would explain that MLB's online group is considering an IPO?

MLB Salaries
Speaking of bubble, USA Today produced one of those league salary analyses, this one looking at guaranteed deals between '05 and '10. The Yankees owe $566.7 million; the next highest is Philly ($181 mil). Upshot? $3 bil in upcoming salary debt is no joke; enjoy $25 hot dogs in 2009, everyone.

Foreman's Comeback
George Foreman will reportedly be a part of the new reality series "The Contender" (think "Apprentice" meets boxing).

My initial suggestion was to have Foreman's comeback fight be against the winner, which would get more viewers than anything else on TV.

But given the crib from "Apprentice" (What next? "You're KO'ed"?), the pay-per-view dollars on a Foreman-Trump fight would be even better.

2004 Olympic host Athens:
Announced small construction snafu: Swimming venue won't have a roof (as planned). Expect more snafus all the way up to -- and through -- the Games.
Today on
Page 2: Sports Guy on the Tourney
Fantasy: Top 200 players
NFL: Busy offseason in NFC East
Telegenic Final Four combos
Cinderella Madness
UAB/NV, St. Joe's, Xavier, 'Bama
Best Available
GTech, OSU, Duke, UConn
Smart Schools
GT, Wake, Duke, Vandy
The Usual Suspects
Kansas, Pitt, Duke, UConn
Big 12 Ugh-ly
Kans, OSU, Texas, Whoever

John "Mike Me" Lynch is joining the Broncos, a team that always seems to think "rebuilding" means "find aging, overpriced vets" ...

New Colorado allegations: Recruits and hookers! (Small print: In 1995. Please: Want *real* violations? Try the '70s) ...

NBA Draft Watch: 7-1 Russian teen Ivan Chiriaev. Here's a humble quote from him: "The NBA wants and needs Ivan Chiriaev." How nice ...

Top NFL Draft pick Larry Fitzgerald apparently did nothing yesterday in a workout for scouts to hurt his top-3 status ...

Funny that you always hear about "Parcells guys," but you never hear about, say, "Belichick guys" or "Gibbs guys" ...

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