The men’s basketball team of the New Jersey Institute of Technology broke its 51 game losing streak this week. The Highlanders defeated the Bulldogs of Bryant University 61-51. [Was it karma that set the score for the Bryant team at 51 points when that broke a 51 game losing streak? Only The Shadow knows…] Prior to this win, the last time NJIT won a basketball game was in February 2007 when they defeated the Lancers of Longwood College. Congratulations to NJIT.
Ole Miss Basketball coach, Andy Kennedy, has been embroiled in a controversy with a Cincinnati cabdriver for about a month now. The cabbie claims that Kennedy assaulted him and the cabbie has sued; Kennedy claims defamation of character based on a false accusation and Kennedy has counter-sued. Obviously, I have no insight into what did or did not happen in or around that cab in Cincinnati, but I think it is clear that there will be a need for some sort of mediation/arbitration in this matter.
However, based on a recent report, this case has taken on a tinge that is uncommon in such “he said/he said situations”. Reports say that Andy Kennedy’s wife, Kimber Kennedy, has also filed a suit against the cabbie and a witness in the matter who must support the cabbie’s version of the events claiming that as a result of their accusations and lawsuit, she has suffered “lack of consortium” with Andy Kennedy. Translation: I’m not going there. Regardless of the merits of her case and stipulating that a cornucopia of consortium beats the bejeepers out of lack of consortium, her allegations fall squarely into the category of Too — Much — Information.
Mike Krzyzewski got into a verbal spat with one of the local papers saying that the Blue Devils were not getting sufficient local coverage once they climbed to #2 in the country in the polls over other local teams such as NC State and UNC. Try to put aside the cognitive dissonance that comes with the juxtaposition of the words “Duke basketball” and “insufficient coverage” and focus on a larger issue. Who really cares who is #1 or #2 in the polls in mid-January?
What really matters is who is #1 at the end of the NCAA basketball tournament on the first Monday of April. Since that is what really matters, one might then conclude that poll rankings are important because they correlate to the ultimate winner of the tournament. One might conclude that and one would be wrong. Only once in this millennium has the team ranked #1 entering the tournament in March been the ultimate winner. [That was Duke in ’01.] Other than that, teams ranked #1 late in the year have managed to lose out as national champions. So, who is #1 and who is #2 in the polls in mid-January is sufficiently unimportant as to extend into the realm of the uninteresting.
I have a question regarding baseball’s Hot Stove League transactions:
If Derek Lowe was the third-best free agent pitcher available this winter (behind Sabathia and Burnett), why did his most recent team, the Dodgers, evince no interest in signing him?
As a follow-up question, why did it take until January for a team to sign him?
Did you happen to tune in to watch all or part of the NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day? The results are in and that game – played in Wrigley Field – drew the largest TV audience for an NHL hockey game since 1974. I can picture the euphoria in the NHL executive suites when this news arrived and the flurry of activity there to figure out how to play more games outdoors to attract a wider audience to hockey. And then I can picture the execs realizing that outdoor NHL games in Phoenix and Tampa and Miami and LA just aren’t going to work…
The following item is from the column Morning Bytes by Frank Fitzpatrick of the Philadelphia Inquirer. I believe the item stands on its own requiring no commentary:
“NASCAR note of the week: If the idea of a NASCAR dating site weren’t frightening enough, consider some of the posters. Here’s one enticing come-on I found on NASCARMatch.com from a 29-year-old woman in Denver named Belinda:
“ ‘Hello peopel I will like to meet poepel and share ideas for a relationship.’
“I will like to share this, Belinda: Poepel who need peopel are the luckiest popele in the world.”
ESPN decided to drop MLS from ESPN2 as a regular Thursday night scheduled event. ESPN2 will continue to carry a game of the week but that coverage will move around on the weekly schedule. ESPN and MLS say this will allow for more interesting games to be on the air; they say this is a form of “flex-scheduling” which has worked well for the NFL. [Aside: ESPN has no recent experience with flex scheduling of NFL games since MNF games are involved in any potential “flexing”.] ESPN said it had hoped to see a “ratings climb” for MLS games on Thursday night but it had not happened. In fact, ratings started out in the anemic range and then dropped to just above infomercial range.
The good news for MLS is that they continue to receive the $8M a year that ESPN pays them for broadcast rights. More good news is that by having time flexibility, MLS and ESPN can focus on a few of the teams in an attempt to try to make those teams generate a larger following. The bad news for MLS is that this is yet another concrete example of the failure of the “David Beckham Grand Experiment”.
Finally, since I mentioned the NCAA basketball tournament above, here is an item from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:
“The karaoke machine was declared history’s most annoying invention in a government survey of 2,500, the London Telegraph reported.
“If the Brits ever had to listen to Billy Packer, you have to assume, it would’ve been the microphone.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…