Quick Takes


          “The economy grew 3% the last 12 months. That wasn’t as good as Barry Bonds; he grew 30%.” Jay Leno.


          Bud Selig is seriously looking into the steroid issue. Based on Bonds’ success with steroids, it’s rumored Selig is considering taking them himself.


          It was announced yesterday that Basketball Team USA will train in Las Vegas from July 19-August 4. They will compete in the World Basketball Championships in Japan commencing August 19. Our team finished sixth in the tournament in 2002, even though it was on USA soil (Indianapolis).

          My reaction..........stupid!! Based on its last showing, Team USA should set up camp in Ogallala, Nebraska; no distractions is precisely what this team needs. The only hooker in Ogallala is a virgin. Besides being the most active 24/7 city on the planet, Las Vegas’ ladies of the evening are not interested in basket-balls. Team USA is really gonna get a lot of playing time in here………and maybe even some hoops.  


Story of the Week



Several e-mails have asked me why 65  (and not the even number of 64) NCAA Division I teams qualify for basketball’s March Madness. Also, I’ve received questions re: the format of the Big Dance. So here it all is.   

A total of 65 teams qualify for the tournament played in March and April. Thirty of the teams earn automatic bids by winning their respective conference tournaments. Because the Ivy League does not conduct a post-season tournament, that regular-season conference champion receives an automatic bid. The remaining teams are granted "at-large" bids, which are extended by the NCAA Selection Committee.

The tournament is split into four regions and each region has teams seeded 1-16. The best team in each region plays the #16 team, the #2 team plays the #15, and so on.

Two teams play a play-in game on the Tuesday preceding the first weekend of the tournament, with the winner of that game advancing to the main draw of the tournament and plays a top seed in one of the regionals. (This year, NE Conference Tournament winner Monmouth defeated Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament winner Hampton in the play-in game.) This game has been played at the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio since its inception in 2001. Thus, the tournament has 65 teams, although in practice most brackets only include the 64 teams, with one spot blank (to be filled in after the play-in game). Since no #16 seed has ever beaten a #1 seed in the men's championship, the result of the opening round game is largely deemed irrelevant for bracket-filling purposes.

As if basketball fans need to be reminded, this year’s national champ will be crowned on April 3 in Indianapolis. Four unlikely teams will be competing for the title. My MemphisTigers were an embarrassment against U.C.L.A. last weekend. Memphis made more mistakes than they made points. Pure and simple, they beat themselves! 45 points for a #1 seed is a joke. And 50 points for the #2 seed Bruins is also a joke. The game was replete with very ugly stats for both teams.

Not one #1 seed goes to the Final Four. That hasn’t happened since 1980. Dick Vitale loves it. It’s parity, baby! It’s awesome! Indy is cupcake city for U.C.L.A., L.S.U., Florida and George Mason (11 seed. Incredible.). Wanna know who’s gonna win it all? After last weekend, I absolutely don’t have a clue.  


Last Week’s Trivia


On May 26, 1959, Harvey Haddix of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitched 12 innings of perfect ball against the Milwaukee Braves. In the thirteenth inning, Don Hoak, the Pirates third baseman, made an error to allow Felix Mantilla to reach first base. After a sacrifice, Henry Aaron was intentionally walked. Joe Adcock then hit a shot over the fence that was an apparent home run. However, he passed Aaron on the bases between first and second (Aaron saw Adcock’s ball clear the wall, and headed for the dugout before rounding the bases), and was given credit for just a single. Since that was the second out of the inning, the runner on second was allowed to score to make Haddix a 1-0 loser. Haddix’ pitching performance was one of the greatest of all time if not at the very top of the list. But not to be overlooked is the fact that Lew Burdette pitched 13 shutout innings for the Braves, allowing 12 hits but no runs. That game was about two absolutely brilliant pitching performances for the ages.


I have some very knowledgeable readers, one of whom I’ve mentioned on this site before; he is Jonathan Krost. His answer to this trivia question was even more detailed than mine. In addition to my answer, I had thoughts of copying and pasting his here. But I’ve never done that, and I really don’t wish to establish that precedent.


Trivia Question of the Week


          This fighter was the middleweight champion of the world. And during his career, he faced “Sugar Ray” Robinson four times, never able to beat the great one. Name him. See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.