Congratulations to Baylor as the NCAA men’s basketball national champions for 2021. Their win over previously undefeated Gonzaga last night was dominant and authoritative; that was not a “fluky win”; the better team on the court won the game.
With a little less than 12 minutes to play in the first half, I wrote on my notepad that Baylor led by 15 points, was totally dominant and that the “winner tonight is not in doubt”. There were two important areas where Baylor dominated:
- Three-point shooting: Baylor made its first six tries in a row and shot 10 for 23 from outside. Gonzaga hit only 5 of 17 tries.
- Team defense: Gonzaga got few open shots all night long; and uncharacteristically, they turned the ball over 14 times.
People today lament the extinction of species; they say that the white rhinoceros is about to join the passenger pigeon and the wooly mammoth as things you can only see in a museum after a lot of taxidermy. I want to report that something else is about to be declared extinct:
- The three-second violation: On one play in the first half, I counted out 6 seconds in the lane and was halfway to 7 seconds with no whistle. In the second half, I had another count at 5 seconds.
When Roy Williams retired, folks were wondering who – within the UNC basketball family – would get the call to succeed him. I mistakenly wrote here that the UNC tradition of naming former players or assistant coaches started with Dean Smith; that is wrong. The tradition started when Frank McGuire left UNC and his assistant – – Dean Smith – – took over the program. Well, now we know; Hubert Davis has been hired as the head basketball coach at UNC.
Davis played 4 years at UNC graduating in 1992. He played in the NBA for 12 seasons and has been an assistant under Roy Williams at UNC since 2012. He is the first Black man to be the head coach at UNC and joins a noticeably short list of Black head coaches at any of the “blue-blood basketball programs” in the US. If my “blue-blood list” contains Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, UNC and UCLA, then Davis is only the fourth Black man to have a head coaching job at any of these schools. Tubby Smith was the head coach at Kentucky more than 40 years ago and UCLA was led by Larry Farmer and then Walt Hazzard in the 1980s. That’s it, folks; that’s the list.
Another big announcement from yesterday was the NY Jets trading QB, Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers. In return, the Jets will receive:
- A 6th round pick this year.
- A 2nd round pick and a 4th round pick next year.
Considering that Darnold was the third pick overall in the 2018 Draft, that seems like a meager return for the Jets, and it puts them squarely in the business of drafting a QB in the upcoming Draft. Currently the two QBs on the Jets’ roster are James Morgan and Mike White and you are free to ask in both cases, “Who’s he?”
The Panthers’ QB situation is even more interesting because of this trade. Last year, the Panthers signed Teddy Bridgewater as a free agent to a 3-year contract worth $63M. Bridgewater did not light up the league – – but he did not throw up on his shoes either. So, is he still the starter there or has the Panthers’ braintrust decided to move on? Bridgewater’s contract should not make it difficult to move him if that is what the Panthers decide to do.
To some extent, I think Darnold has gotten a bum rap in NY. Hear me out; I am not going to try to make him into some tragic figure who has been wronged for his entire career. Sam Darnold has started 38 games in 3 seasons with the Jets; his record in those games is 13-25. He has missed 10 games over the course of his career and – – if I have counted correctly – – the Jets are 0-10 when someone else starts at QB. My conclusion is that he was a young QB learning the pro game on a bad team and that he made them significantly “less bad” when he was on the field as opposed to when he was on the sidelines.
I recognize that storyline will not play in NYC – – but I think the Panthers got a good deal here if what they choose to do is to work with Darnold and Bridgewater as a tandem so that both men can improve their skills. Sam Darnold will be all of 24 years old when he reports to the Panthers’ minicamp in June; it is too early to give up on him as a bust.
Fernando Tatis, Jr. injured himself swinging the bat yesterday. He took what anyone would call a “healthy swing” and collapsed in pain at the plate; he was removed from the game and subsequent examination determined that he had a “shoulder subluxation” as a result of that swing and miss. A subluxation is a partial dislocation; with that swing and miss, Tatis managed to partially take the ball of the ball and socket joint that is the human shoulder and partially remove the ball from the socket.
My knowledge base for orthopedic injuries has now been exhausted but it would surely seem to me that this kind of injury would take more than a couple of days to heal – – particularly since when he returns to the game Tatis, Jr, would be swinging a bat at pitches as a mandatory part of his play. This is not good news for Padres’ fans…
Finally, here is an item from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times:
“Working title for a documentary about MLB managers’ worst umpiring nightmare: ‘Angel’s In The Infield’.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………