March 22, 2005
Curtis Sumpter:
Injured Villanova star will miss Sweet 16 game vs. UNC, seriously hurting the Wildcats' chances of upsetting's No. 1-ranked Sweet 16 team. (No!)
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Today's Quickie Vocab word:


It means: "Taking pleasure in a top Tournament team's suffering."

And, frankly, that feeling sustains most of us in March. (After all, you sure can't rely on the pleasure of your bracket once it's busted.)

But we're being denied!

Peeking around the weekend bend, you can see we're on a collision course with the unprecedented, the unthinkable:

All four No. 1 seeds making the Final Four.

No! Where's the fun in that?!

In fact, Illinois, UNC, Duke and Washington all making the Final Four would be the worst thing to happen to the Final Four -- ever.

The NCAA Tournament -- riding its highest TV ratings since 1993 -- could actually be ruined by accurate seeding.

If we wanted to watch the top seeds all advance, we'd watch tapes of the NFL playoffs.

The NCAA Tournament's lifeblood is the unexpected.

But when the expected happens? It's the opposite of madness.

Which No. 1 seed would you MOST like to see go down? Vote in today's poll.

Bonds' Ex Speaks
What's most damning isn't the 'roids stuff, ironically enough. It's the accusations that Bonds used her as an unofficial tax shelter.

You see where this is going, right?! The Feds and media will use the "Capone" strategy: They can't nail him on the steroids, so they'll get him on the tax problem.

McGwire Hated
Has McGwire's popularity taken a hit from his performance in front of Congress?

Politics' most-watched metric is "Favorable/Unfavorable," the percent of people who like you (and the percent that don't.)

Key? Watch trends over time.
(In McGwire's case: Uh-oh.)

Pat Summitt: Could top Dean Smith all-time W mark tonight
Tourney on TV: Viewer ratings are highest in 11 years
"Popping the jersey": When NY Times even talks about it ...
NFL labor talks: Tagliabue says NFL, union at "dead end"
Ron Artest's reinstatement: Not this season, Stern says
"Whuppergate": AI tries to defuse altercation with ref
McGwire's favorability rating in a new Gallup poll has plummeted from its 1998 high of 87 percent to 53 percent today.

And his "unfavorables" have jacked up from only 3 percent in 1998 to a whopping 25 percent today.

Chaney Stays
Circle your calendar: Temple at St. Joe's, early 2006. That's when John Chaney -- returning for another season -- will wander into Hawk Hill for the most hostile reception ever.

What is Temple thinking? If they won't fire him now, then when?! Maybe there's a side deal that he'll retire after next season.

Davis staying, too? Even more inexplicably, Indiana coach Mike Davis will reportedly keep his job.

Indiana is one of the top five jobs in college hoops; keeping Davis is a huge mistake.

Silas Fired
This era's Doug Collins? Coaching the NBA's best player in his early years, only to be ousted just in time for the player to go on a tear of titles.

Who's next: I've heard noise about Flip Saunders, but hasn't Flip shown that he can't take a single-star team to the Finals?

My vote: Phil Jackson. And I bet he'd take the call. It's precisely his m.o. to hitch a ride with the league's best on the elevator up.

(He also happens to be the best ever at getting great players over the hump to championship success.)

Duncan Done?
Out 2-4 weeks (ankle): So the Spurs won't finish with the best record in the West. Who cares?

The only thing that matters is that Duncan will be back in time for the playoffs, at which point the Spurs will return to dominance.

NFL Meetings
Week 1 preview:
Opener: Raiders at Pats
Oakland debut for Randy Moss
Sunday Night: Colts at Ravens
Top O vs. Top D: Who'll give?
MNF: Eagles at Falcons
Rematch of '04 NFC title game

"Miami Proposal":
Permanent Super host cities, specifically fitted to maximize the two-week Bowl extravaganza. Tags lauds thinking "out of the box."

Mexico City game:
Cards-49ers confirmed. Apparently, the NFL is now outsourcing its worst games.

Orlando Magic:
Lose Francis for 3 games (suspended), then lose to the lowly Bobcats, as Charlotte ends a 10-game losing streak. The wheels are off the Magic train.
Today on
Page 2 Invitational
Rank the Sweet 16 teams
Women's Tourney coverage
Ranking Tourney
North Carolina
Been WAY too easy
Due for upending
(Kind of sympathetic)
No! LOVE dissed UW!
Okla St/Arizona
2s aren't fun either

Cards announcer apologizes for saying Rockies' Todd Helton was "on the juice"; you can't throw that stuff around in this era.

UConn F Charlie Villanueva, whose matador D was a big reason the Huskies lost to NC State, is reportedly declaring for the NBA. G'luck with that.

Chamique Holdsclaw never met the MJ-like expectations for her in D.C. Maybe playing Kobe to Leslie's Shaq in L.A. will energize her career.

Bills RB Travis Henry said he'll sit out until Buffalo finally trades him. They'll sure miss his sunny personality.

NFL FA watch: Ravens lose LB Ed Hartwell to Falcons, whose D just got even nastier.

NBDL, westward ho: Expands to Fort Worth, Austin, Tulsa, Albuq. Stern is right: Won't fulfill promise until each NBA team has an NBDL "minor."

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