Sports Stew Today …

The UConn women lost in the semi-finals of the women’s tournament last Friday.  Mississippi St. played tenacious defense and won the game with a shot at the buzzer in overtime.  The win snapped UConn’s 111-game winning streak.  This was no fluke; Mississippi St. deserved to win this game.

According to this report in Saturday’s Las Vegas Review-Journal, a bettor placed a $7000 wager on the UConn women to win the game on the money line.  Had they won, he would have collected $7100 – a $100 profit.  Instead, he is out the full $7K.  Meanwhile at the same casino, another bettor put $200 on Mississippi St. on the money line.  He collected $4200 – – a profit of $4K.

Someone sent an anonymous letter to the President of Coastal Carolina University alleging that members of the cheerleading squad

  1. Participated in prostitution,
  2. Purchased alcohol for underage members of the squad
  3. Paid others to do their homework.

The second and third entries on that list are not unheard of on college campuses; the first one however must have gotten the president’s attention because he suspended the cheerleading squad and they will not participate in competition scheduled for later this week.  The police have interviewed team members but as of this morning no charges have been filed.

This is either an extreme over-reaction on the part of the school or there is unreported information from the ongoing investigation into this matter.

If – – I said IF – – there is any substance to the allegation of prostitution by the cheerleaders, it gives new meaning to:

“Two bits; four bits, six bits a dollar …”

Gonzaga beat South Carolina by 4 points on Saturday with the game going pretty much to form.  When the Zags were able to run and/or to get open shots they scored; when they had to run pattern offense against South Carolina’s defense, they struggled.  Here is my conclusion based on that game and the rest of the tournament performances by South Carolina:

  • Frank Martin is a damned good basketball coach.

My pregame assessment of the UNC/Oregon game was off-base.  I thought that if Joel Berry did not have a top-shelf game, UNC would lose the game.   Berry had – for him – a less than mediocre outing but UNC still managed to win because Kennedy Meeks played at a level that I have not seen from him in the past several years – – let alone games.

I want to offer one more observation here that will probably draw some ire.  Dillon Brooks was named the PAC-12 Player of the Year.  He is a good player to be sure but I wonder if his tournament play lived up to the level of that accolade.

The line for tonight’s championship game is:

  • UNC – 2 (152.5):  I think this game will be a track meet so I would take the game to go OVER.

A report says that Georgetown has agreed in principle with Patrick Ewing to become their new head basketball coach.  This hiring decision keeps the coaching position “in the Georgetown family” and it puts some extra pressure on Ewing to succeed with the program.  He was the anchor of the Georgetown team that was a fixture in the Final Four in the early 1980s before going on to his NBA career and his “return” to the Georgetown bench will necessarily draw comparisons.  Ewing has had plenty of assistant coaching experience in the NBA since his playing days ended but this will be his first time in the head coaching position.

Bonne chance, Patrick Ewing.

I read a report saying that Americans will bet $36B on baseball in the upcoming 2017 season and that the expected handle in Nevada casinos for baseball will be $2.1B.  the rest of the money will be wagered “illegally” through bookies and internet sites.  These estimates need to be taken with a grain of salt because they come from the AGA [American Gaming Association] which is a trade group representing casinos and gambling interests.  This group seeks to make sports betting legal and regulated in any jurisdiction that may want to have a sportsbook operate in the open.  While I agree with the goals of the AGA, I find the estimate of $36B bet on baseball hard to understand.

Finally, Steve Rosenbloom of the Chicago Tribune is obviously unhappy with the Bears’ quarterback situation.  Consider this series of comments from his column, The Rosenblog:

“Patriots owner Robert Kraft said Tom Brady told him he wants to play another six or seven seasons.  That’s 24 starting quarterbacks in Bears years.”

And …

“After swooping down on Tampa Bay backup Mike Glennon with what looks like a slick bit of bidding against themselves, the Bears completed their apparent forfeiture of the position by signing Cowboys castoff Mark Sanchez, and congratulations to the Bears:

“They’ve managed to make their quarterback signings feel worse than their actual quarterback play.”

And …

“My look at the Bears’ projected quarterback depth chart:

  1.    Mike Glennon

  2.    Whoever They Draft

  3.     Mark Sanchez

  4.     Your Name Here

  5.     David Fales

  6.     Some Guy Eating Cheetos On His Couch

  7.     Connor Shaw

  8.     That Guy Over There

  9.     Yeah, You.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



2 thoughts on “Sports Stew Today …”

  1. As noted here, eventually UConn would run into someone that on that particular day would beat them. It is what makes sports in general so compelling (as long as it’s not rigged) because the outcome depends upon the game played that day, not reputation, swagger, uniforms, school money, etc., that the bookies consider. What makes this all the more amazing is that MSU was savaged last year by UConn in the tournament so revenge was that last little bit of focus needed to do in the Huskies this time and it still took OT (and “playing against 8” depending upon your viewpoint). Don’t get on UConn’s case, they went out as a champion should, kicking all of the way.

    Injuries also changed the landscape, it’s why Stanford was ushered out in the Final Four as well. The Cardinal lost their glue with no practice time to develop another option. Baylor was doomed when their star went out in the regionals. I do not know if it is a higher rate or merely more noticeable because of who went down, but depth is the answer. At least in the ladies’ game the chances of “one and done” players is exceedingly low.

    1. rugger9:

      I did not mean to “get on UConn’s case” as you say. They lost to Mississippi St. because Mississippi St. played very well on a night when UConn did not play its best game of the season. When NC State beat “Phi Slamma Jamma”, it was a similar situation and I have never implied that Houston tanked the game or took it lightly or whatever.

      I also agree that the absence of “one and done” from women’s basketball is a big plus.

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