Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Leave a good thing alone

So the rumors have intensified the NCAA Tournament will expand to 96 teams sooner rather than later and that makes me ask, 'Why?'

I understand all sports, professional and amateur, are looking to make a buck, but when it comes to the NCAA Tournament, why mess with a playoff system that is as close to perfect as you can get?

We don't need 31 more teams added to the pool. And if the NCAA chooses to go this route, then why don't they just include every Division I team. I believe there are more than 200 Division I institutions. I'm not sure how many have men's basketball teams, but throw them all in.

Render every NCAA game in the regular season irrelevant. Eliminate a once-proud tournament like the NIT so we can all see Pacific play Virginia Commonwealth in an early-round game. But somebody please wake me up when the game is over.

I mean how ridiculous can this get.

If I had a say in this -- which I don't -- I would say we need not mess with a good thing. The NCAA Tournament is special because there's at least some credibility to each of the 65 teams that qualify.

You add 31 and you lose quite a bit of that credibility. The NCAA Tournament and those of us who follow it don't need that.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Right decision

So the Yankees decided to make Phil Hughes their fifth starter.

As someone who had always been in the corner of making Joba Chamberlain a starter I'm here to say the Bombers made the right call.

Although Hughes did a great job as the Yankees' primary eighth-inning set-up guy last year, I believe his stuff is better suited for the starting rotation. Conversely, watching Joba as a starter for most of last season, I believe he belongs in the pen.

Joba's stuff is better suited for the pen, which was apparent when he was throwing 90, 91 mph last year as a starter as opposed to 98, 99 mph as a reliever. Plus, I think he will be the man to take over as the closer when Mariano Rivera decides to retire.

You have to hope both excel in their roles. It would make a strong Yankee team even stronger.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wild about the Wildcats

So now that my NCAA bracket is all but useless -- thanks Kansas, Georgetown and Villanova -- it's time to predict who has the best chance to win it all.

I picked Kentucky before the tournament and I haven't changed my mind. Tonight's game against Cornell is intriguing and a lot more than the David vs. Goliath matchup everyone thinks. Cornell is the real deal but it doesn't have enough to hang with Kentucky.

Expect the Wildcats to cruise tomorrow night and win three more times to give coach John Calipari his first national title.

There are a lot of really good teams left in the tournament. Kentucky is the one great one remaining.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Just wanted to take a minute to offer a belated congratulations to the three area teams that played this weekend in the state basketball final four.

The John A. Coleman boys basketball team was so close to winning it first state title, while the Coleman girls and Red Hook boys were more-than-competitive in their semifinal losses.

I'm sure the sting of defeat will remain for all three teams, but hopefully -- in time -- they will be able to step back and realize how difficult it is to get as far as they all did.

Job well done!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Random thoughts

* So Tiger Woods is coming back for the Masters. Are you as surprised as me? I truly figured he would not back until the middle of the summer. But let me ask you all this: If Tiger Woods wins the Masters next month, is it a sign of his greatness as a golfer or an example of how weak the PGA Tour has become the past couple of years?

* Has everybody filled out their NCAA brackets? I know I'm already behind the 8-ball with my bracket since I didn't pick Arkansas-Pine Bluff to win the play-in game. That could upset the whole apple cart, right? But seriously, is it just me or does it seem like this NCAA Tournament might have the weakest field. There are no TRUE great teams out there, but I wouldn't be shocked if all four No. 1 seeds get to the final four because the field is generally underwhelming.

* The Yankees are still searching for a fifth starter. With that lineup, does it really matter?

* The Mets are still trying to field a completely healthy team. When will the pain stop for them?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Great job

Just wanted to take a moment to recognize our local Section 9 basketball champions -- Red Hook and Coleman in boys and Kingston, Highland and Coleman in girls.

It's great when area teams meet and surpass goals when maybe quote a few people not in this area didn't think it was possible.

Getting to the state final four is always a difficult chore, although the Coleman girls punched their ticket already with their Class D win, putting the Stateswomen two wins away from defending their state title.

Kingston girls are a win away from their fourth straight final four trip, while Red Hook and Coleman boys and Highland girls are two wins from making their trips to states.

Good luck to them all.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Getting back to normal

The big question following Sunday's Olympic hockey gold medal thriller is whether the NHL will reap the benefits of this widely-watched showdown between the champion Canadians and the underdog Americans?

My guess is no!

Yes, Canada's 3-2 overtime win was thrilling and will be talked about in Olympic circles for years to come, but, say, a week or two from now, Sidney Crosby scores the game-winning goal in OT past Ryan Miller to give his Pittsburgh Penguins over the Buffalo Sabres, will anyone other than Penguins or Sabres fans care?

Maybe it's the professional aspect of it that bothers me, but I see Olympic hockey and it kind of reminds me of the Ryder Cup, where professional golfers every two years play for national pride over a weekend (the U.S. vs. Europe) and then you see them three days later competing against one another in the (insert name of any PGA Tournament).

I just don't see a long-term carryover for the NHL.

But, pros or not, it was one heck of a game.