By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, my head spinning from watching all the bouncing basketballs and listening to folks tear up their brackets. Not even Joe Lunardi could help me. Among all my losers, I did pick Ohio University over Virginia. . .thank you very much, Bobcats.
—There is no doubt, no question, that LeBron James is a world-class athlete. He is an NBA mega-legend. And he was good enough in high school to have Ohio State offer him a football scholarship.
And James loves baseball, as he showed by becoming a minority owner of the Boston Red Sox. That made Cleveland Indians owner Bob Dolan scratch his forehead because he is begging for investors. And James was born and raised in Akron and had two stints with the Cavaliers.
Maybe he took a glance at the current Tribe roster and said, “That would be like investing in the Cincinnati Reds. No thanks.”
Anyway, it was evident a few years ago that James never played baseball as a kid. And it showed how difficult it is to hit a baseball, even for a world-class athlete.
The Cincinnati Reds were in Cleveland for an interleague series when LeBron played for the NBA’s Cavaliers. For some reason, James asked if he could take batting practice with the Reds.
They agreed and assistant pitching coach Tom Hume pitched to him. Hume fired his first two pitches and James missed badly. Hume toned it down until he was lobbing pitches.
The best LeBron could do was a couple of dribblers (and not basketball dribbles) that rolled in the grass about 30 feet.
It was the old case of, “Hey, LeBron, stick with you night job.” And, no, James didn’t challenge Hume to a one-on-one game of hoops.
And yet, this was a guy who last week, at age 36, played 37 minutes for the Los Angeles Lakers and scored 37 points.
—QUOTE: From LeBron ‘King’ James: “You can’t be afraid to fail. It’s the only way you succeed. You’re not gonna succeed all the time and I know that.” (He must be remembering his day at home plate facing Tom Hume.)
—After just one day, after half of the first round NCAA tournament games were played, I lit my cigar with my bracket. That’s all it was good for after Friday’s games.
When Ohio State, Purdue, San Diego State, Colgate, Virginia Tech, Utah State, Tennessee, Clemson and Michigan State all lost, my bracket was marked up with so much red ink (losers) that it looked like one of my graded college term papers.
And that’s why the NCAA should cease including seven and eight Power Five conference teams in the tournament and include more mid-majors.
It says a lot when Oral Roberts of the Summit League beats Ohio State and North Texas of Conference-USA beats Purdue. And, uh, Oral Roberts finished fourth in the Summit League and North Texas finished third in the Conference-USA West division.
—QUOTE: From college basketball coach Jim Calhoun: “Basketball doesn’t care what color your skin is. It doesn’t care what language you speak or what religion you practice. It doesn’t care if you’re big or small, fast or slow. It just asks you to play, to compete, to lose with dignity, to win with humility.” (And it doesn’t care where you are seeded in the NCAA tournament.)
—E.J. Liddell scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in Ohio State’s 75-72 overtime loss to Oral Roberts. That wasn’t good enough for one nutcase.
After the game, Liddell received a social media message that read: “You are such a f——— disgrace. Don’t show your face at Ohio State. We hate you. I hope you die. I really do.”
It serves that degenerate right because he probably lost his house, his car, his dog and his wife by wagering on the Buckeyes.
—Oral Roberts launched 35 three-pointers against Ohio State and made 11. While 35 three-point launches is a lot, it isn’t come close to the NCAA record.
Grinnell College fired up 88 treys in a 2018 game against Emmaus Bible College (Division III). Grinnell made 42 treys en route to a 164-107 win.
If you play defense at Grinnell, you sit the bench.
—While most of the Pioneer Football League is playing games this spring, the University of Dayton begins spring practice Monday.
The Flyers opted out of participating in league games this spring while eight of the 11 PFL members are playing — San Diego, Drake, Morehead State, Stetson, Valparaiso, Butler and new member Presbyterian. UD, Marist and new member the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minn. opted out.
—Quarterback Andy Dalton will play with the second of the three ‘CB’ NFL teams when he straps it on next season for the Chicago Bears.
He has played for the Cincinnati Bengals (CB), now the Chicago Bears (CB), but the odds are heavily against him ever playing for the Cleveland Browns (CB).
If he played hockey, there is the Columbus Blue Jackets (CB).
—While Dayton’s Flyers were hanging tough against Memphis, ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg said, “Dayton’s back court can with with anybody in the country.”
He was right-on with that one, but UD has no under-the-basket prescence, offensively or defensively. And it showed against Memphis. The Flyers were outrebounded 44-26 and gave up 17 offensive rebounds. And they lost, 71-60.
—QUOTE: From former NBA coach Pat Riley: “No rebounds, no rings.” (And very few wins.)
Sage advice from Charles Barkley, The Round Mound of Rebounds: ”These are my new shoes. They won’t make you rich like me, they won’t make you rebound like me, they definitely won’t make you handsome like me. They’ll only make you have shoes like me.”