Posted: Tuesday March 13, 2007 10:09AM; Updated: Tuesday March 13, 2007 11:32AM
1. Idle thought: Does Disney get a royalty every time the phrase "Cinderella" is used during March Madness? If so, the Mouse might soon own CBS in addition to ESPN.
2. No. 1-ranked Ohio State only graduated 10 percent of its basketball players in the most recent figures available. And now another poor, misguided freshman might leave school early. How on earth will Greg Oden support himself without a degree?
3. The Cardinals dismissed receivers coach Richie Anderson after he was arrested in a prostitution sting. Anderson insists he always has his pupils get hands-on when learning the fly pattern.
4. Kobe Bryant has been assessed a flagrant foul for yet another elbow to an opponent's face. Hey, if he's not careful he's going to ruin that choirboy image.
5. Knicks coach and team president Isiah Thomas got a multiyear extension on Monday. Well, sure, the Knicks had to pre-empt the inevitable Isiah bidding war for teams desperate to make the Oden-Durant lottery.
6. Quote of the day: Lakers coach Phil Jackson, whose team has lost six straight while desperately waiting for some key players to return from injury, told the L.A. Times, "Jesus Christ could come back and we still wouldn't have a chance." Uh oh, this could be trouble. To paraphrase Eddie Harris from Major League, is Phil saying Jesus Christ can't run the triangle offense? And doesn't he have demonstrated expertise in returning from the dead? Phil must have an old scouting report.
7. Gary Matthews Jr. has apologized to his Angels teammates for causing a "distraction" during spring training. To make it up, he intends to go online and buy them something nice.
8. The Penguins have reportedly reached a new arena deal with the city of Pittsburgh, ending years of speculation that the team would relocate. A rally of ecstatic Penguins fans was held in a downtown phone booth.
9. New York's City Council is considering a ban on metal bats. If approved, muggers would have to use wood.
10. Everyone into the pool: As I've mentioned in the past, I no longer enter NCAA bracket pools. Instead, I am in a suicide (knockout) pool and, as always, could use some help in making my picks. The rules this year have been stiffened to weed out competitors even sooner. One must pick four teams to win in the first round, three teams in the second, two in the third and one in each round thereafter. If any of your teams lose, you are out. The big catch is that you can pick a team only once the entire tournament; if you run out of teams to select, you are also eliminated. Thus in the first round, I am looking especially for highly ranked teams that should win their opening game but could run into trouble relatively quickly in the next few rounds, which means there's no sense in trying to "save" them for later. In other words, high seeds that I don't really love.
That's one reason I'm leaning toward Wisconsin (no Brian Butch) and Memphis (who knows with those guys?) in the first round, where only four No. 2 seeds have ever lost. (Of course, this is the same strategy that led me to pick No. 2 seed Iowa State over Hampton in 2001, and look where that got me.) I'm also thinking about picking UNC in the first or second round, because I would be too nervous to select them in potential third- and fourth-round games against Texas and Georgetown. I'm considering as well Texas A&M and Oregon, the third seeds I feel more confident about in the first round (Wright State and Oral Roberts, the other No. 14 seeds, really scare me).
What do you think? Am I being an even bigger idiot than usual? In any event, I'll reveal my first-round picks in Thursday's 10 Spot.