Carlos Beltran watched an Adam Wainwright curveball go past him and the Cardinals celebrated their pennant. The 2006 New York Mets would not be going to the World Series, which was sad for Mets fans, but they’d be back. This was just the beginning of a dynasty, or at least a string of playoff appearances. Except it wasn’t. The Mets haven’t been back to the playoffs since.
I keep reminding myself that all but one team goes home unhappy every season. Keep telling myself that the Michigan basketball program—with its great coach, modern facilities, and incoming talent—has a bright future. But chances like Monday night don’t come around too often. Louisville, a basketball blueblood, was playing in its first title game since 1986. Indiana has been once since 1987. Kentucky won in ’98 and didn’t get back until last year. UCLA went to the final in 1980 and has made it back just once since, despite four Final Four appearances. The list goes on.
Continue reading Louisville Beats Michigan, Wins NCAA Tournament →
The ladders were in place. There were scissors, too, I imagine. But there would be no photograph of Rick Pitino or any of the Louisville players with a piece of the net, not from Madison Square Garden or Lucas Oil Stadium.
Pitino decided after winning the Big East Tournament his team would wait a few weeks to get their nylon souvenir. And so the cutting supplies went unused in Indianapolis after Louisville dispatched Duke to reach the Final Four.
A bold move, but the Cards are one win from it looking like a genius motivational ploy.
Standing in their way are the young Wolverines. Remember Kentucky last year, and how everyone made such a big deal about all those freshmen winning the national title? Michigan is younger than those Wildcats, according to KenPom.com’s measure, which uses eligibility class weighted by minutes played (a freshman has no years of experience, a sophomore has one, etc.). Michigan’s weighted experience is just .73 years; Kentucky’s was .77. Both were the sixth youngest teams in the country and the youngest, by far, in the NCAA Tournament.
Continue reading Michigan-Louisville: NCAA Championship Game Preview →
Mike Rice is shouting at his star player, Eli Carter, and Carter is shouting back. There are 30 seconds left in the game and Carter, seeing an opening, took the ball to the hoop with Rutgers up two points. With the shot clock turned off, it’s a shot that’s only advisable if it’s wide open; it wasn’t, and Carter’s lay-up in traffic rimmed out. A Rutgers player grabbed the offensive rebound and was fouled, bailing out Carter.
While Carter’s teammate was shooting free throws, Rice and Carter screamed at each other, the coach asking how he could take that shot, the player not realizing it was a rhetorical question. Someone unfamiliar with Rice would side with him—how can you talk back to the coach? Those who know Rice’s history, however, might ask a different question: Why do players put up with this?
In December, the public learned about Rice’s behavior at practice—belittling players with offensive language and throwing basketballs at them. It was shocking but not surprising. A (moving) picture’s worth a thousand words, and yesterday ESPN released video of these practices. To see Rice in action—whipping a ball at a player’s head, shoving a player, kicking another, all while showering them with profanity, much of it anti-gay—is stunning. It was the same video Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti viewed last summer before deciding to suspend Rice for three games last December, fine him $50,000, and order him to attend anger management classes—a slap on the wrist. It’s fair to ask if Pernetti, who has been at Rutgers since 2009, should be fired for not taking a tougher stance. It’s not even a question whether Rice should be fired now.
Continue reading Mike Rice Must Be Fired →
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