March 29, 2004
Dream Job winner
Mike Hall:

Survived final vote by fans to win "Dream" -- then nailed five sports-trivia questions to boost his salary by $25K (to $95K). Umm, boss, can we talk ...?
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

With the Final Four's top two teams -- UConn and Duke -- playing in the semifinal, watch for the usual whining this week about the need to re-seed the Final Four.

Silly gripers: You tried that on Selection Sunday, ranking the No. 1 seeds -- even though everyone knows that all four No. 1 seeds never make the Final Four.

Let 'em play it out: The beauty of the format is that teams have to take it as it comes; re-seeding would corrupt the bracket, which is just about the only uncorrupted thing left in college hoops.

Besides: You might get an argument whether Duke and UConn are even the top two teams left ...

The Slept-On Semi
You could say that UConn and/or Duke are playing better right now than the two teams in the other semifinal, but don't ignore precedent:

11/26/03: Ga Tech 77, UConn 61
3/3/04: Ga Tech 76, AT Duke 68

Meanwhile, Oklahoma State's backcourt just toppled the consensus "nation's best," and its frontcourt is athletic enough to give either Duke or UConn fits.

So as titanic a matchup as Duke-UConn might be, don't jump on the bandwagon calling it the de facto national title game.

Looking Ahead
Semi 1: Ga. Tech/Okla St.
Lacks the other semi's cachet,
but it'll be the better game:
Why? Not nearly the pressure.

Semi 2: Duke/UConn
Despite UConn's cupcake route,
Remember that '99 title game:
Calhoun simply out-Coached K.

St. Joe's Salute
Everyone seems too polite, but someone has to say it: Told you so.

Ga Tech PG/MVP Jarrett Jack: 29 p, 9 r, 6 a, 4 s vs KU
Coach K: Reaches 10th Final Four; in this era, that's huge
Grizzlies: Clinch first-ever playoff spot (5 str. Ws, too)
Nomar: Likely to miss opener; not way to start off w/ fans
Cinderellas: Hey UAB, Nevada, Xavier ... thanks for nothing
Jerry Orbach: Leaving "Law/Order?" Who'll make the jokes?
Come on: Didn't everyone predict St. Joe's to fall short of the Final Four?

That said: Here's permanent respect to Joe's for not taking a TO at the end of the game and giving star Jameer Nelson the team's best (last) shot possible to send the game to OT.

Griffey to Seattle?
Are reporters that bored with spring training? I'm sure the M's ownership is just dying to trade for Griffey's huge contract and limited talent. Thank god the regular season starts this week.
Will the greatest slugger of all time become the greatest blogger of all time? TMFTML, Gawker and Kausfiles have little to worry about.

Weekly postings aren't enough to make his new Web site useful: This only works if he does something groundbreaking, like not speak to the media at all -- but post after every game.

Fan Behavior
Selectively silencing student-section chants at Maryland hoops games is a slippery slope (and regular readers know I loathe those "slippery" theories); before long, clever Duke or Stanford student chants will be banned as "insensitive" to visiting teams.

NFL Owner Meetings
Replay will be re-affirmed (but not permanently approved), but here's wishful thinking for a few other rules NFL owners should approve at their meetings this week:

*Weekly Thurs. Night Football
*Al Davis: New fantasy commish
*SB XXXIX: Janet Jacksonville!

Dream Job runner-up
Aaron Levine:

No SportsCenter glory, but Stanford senior will land on his feet as your friendly local small-market weekend sports anchor.
Today on
Page 2: What the Heck Were They Thinking?
Women's Tourney coverage
MLB: Spring training coverage
Top Final Four storylines
'99 rematch
Duke-UConn: "New" rivalry
John Lucas III
Transferred from Baylor
Duke's Deng/Duhon
Super-frosh/selfless senior
GT's point-guard legacy
Jack *better* than Marbury
Anyone else bored by these?

Hubie Brown clinched NBA Coach of the Year when his Grizzlies clinched their first-ever playoff spot Sunday ...

Where's that Benadryl endorsement? Despite nearly blowing it with a throat-closing shot on 18, young Adam Scott won The Players Championship ...

That game-deciding call at the end of the Tennessee-Baylor game Sunday was so bad it opens up "Vols conspiracy" talk ...

Forehand or foreshadow: Serena says Athens security concerns may keep her from the Olympics; she won't be the only U.S. pro athlete to skip out ...

While Carmelo does a Sunday Convo lamenting his fading Rookie of the Year status, LeBron's 41/13 game Saturday still worth marveling over ...

You might hate the Yankees, but you have to love live baseball at odd times; hey, I'm up at 5 a.m. tomorrow anyway ...

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