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Showing posts from March, 2013

Would Wooden cut it at UCLA today?

UCLA basketball might be a destination place to coach, but who still wants to coach there?

Oh, I'm sure there are plenty of candidates that will step up and interview for the job. But there's no chance the next coach will retire and be celebrated in Westwood.

Ben Howland was canned Sunday as coach of the Bruins.

He won a Pac-12 championship this season and posted a 25-win season.

That wasn't good enough. The Bruins lost in the first round, something that was rumored would get him fired.

Turned out to be true.

He compiled a 233-107 record, pretty darned good. He also went to three straight Final Fours, something most fans would consider a dream.

Howland's teams struggled the past couple years, and that was enough to do him in.

He's a good coach. No, strike that, an excellent coach.

He resurrected the Pitt basketball program. He took UCLA to some pretty good heights.

But he wasn't John Wooden.

The ironic thing is, if John Wooden were alive, he wouldn't last l…

If Dixon leaves Pitt, things could get messy

The rumor mill is churning and Pitt coach Jamie Dixon is the one being tossed about.

USC reportedly is after Dixon, who just suffered another early exit in the NCAA tournament as the Panthers' coach.

If Dixon does go, would it help Pitt?

It's a tough question to answer.

Pitt has had some good regular seasons under Dixon. They are an annual choice for the Big Dance, too.

It's when the postseason comes around that Dixon has his troubles.

It's hard to imagine that his teams haven't been able to live up to their billing at tourney time, so it would stand to reason that finding a new coach could change this.

I'm not opposed to seeing Dixon leave, but I don't think it's an easy answer.

When Ben Howland left Pitt for UCLA, people around Pittsburgh thought the Panthers would be able to get a big-name coach to fill the vacancy.

To their surprise, they couldn't. They had to promote Dixon, then an assistant.

It worked out, but it also shows how the rest of the…

Another year, another early exit for Pitt basketball

Is anyone shocked that Pitt lost the opening game of the NCAA tournament Thursday?

Well, maybe if you believe everything you read in some of the newspapers.

I've argued in the past that the Pittsburgh media has a homer complex when it comes to Pitt basketball. Either that, or they really can't objectively watch the game.

Leading up to the tournament, we heard that Pitt could be seeded as high as third but probably would settle for a sixth seed.

Try eighth.

And they didn't even play like a No. 8.

The Panthers lost to Wichita State 73-55.

Another disappointment.

Their staunch defense slipped (Malcolm Armsted had 22 points and averaged 10.4 this season). They found no go-to scorer when they needed it. And they lost to a team they were supposed to beat.

Steven Adams led Pitt with 13 points and 11 boards, but that was it.

Trey Woodall let the Panthers down, committing five turnovers and having only one assist.

Let the excuses begin.




Bracket Racket is back, ready to pick your NCAA winner

This is the fifth version of Bracket Racket, my way of picking the NCAA champion.

Last year was a darn good year for the Racket.

Heck, let's be honest. It was an excellent year. My formula correctly picked the championship game -- Kentucky vs. Kansas -- and it picked the winner.

How do you top it? I guess simply do it again.

I've tweaked the equation over the years, and after last year's success, there's not much to update.

Here's the path to narrow your picks to one champion:

First things first, first-round games are a joke: Honestly, no national champion will emerge from this group. And why does Dayton get to host this every year?

The Sour 16: While we're being honest, no 16 seed has beaten a No. 1 seed. Go with history.

Capital losses: It's easier to say UNLV instead of University of Nevada at Las Vegas. It still doesn't make them a threat to win it all. Take all teams that use capital letters off your list (UNLV, UCLA, VCU).

Let me state this simply: S…

Thanks for the memories, James Harrison

Steelers linebacker James Harrison is now former Steelers linebacker James Harrison.

Harrison tweeted his goodbye to fans Saturday.

I have plenty of memories of Steelers' Super Bowls, including Lynn Swann's catches, John Stallworth in Super Bowl XIV and Santonio Holmes' game-winner against the Cardinals.

Harrison's interception return is probably my favorite.

His slam of a Browns fan running on the field was a classic. Any hit of a Cleveland player ranks up there, too.

Thanks for all the memories and living up to the Steelers' hard-hitting tradition at linebacker.

Malkin looks marvelous for Pens

Geno's back.

Evgeni Malkin's unassisted goal in the third period against the Tampa Bay Lightning was a thing of beauty.

It's good to see him back on the ice.

And, not to be outdone, Sidney Crosby had a nice one-timer for a goal in the third, too.

The Pens look good and they're fun to watch.

Can't wait for the playoffs.

Ravens are too wacco for Flacco

Apparently, the Baltimore Ravens are wacco for Flacco.

Me -- I think they overpaid.

Big time.

Flacco cashed in on his Super Bowl-MVP performance with a six-year, $120.6 million contract, making him the NFL's highest-paid player.

He's not worth it.

Not even close.

Heck, Flacco shouldn't have been the MVP of the Super Bowl. The award should have gone to Jacoby Jones.

On the bright side, the contract takes away cash from others who might be willing to go to the Ravens.