OBSERVATIONS: Analyst predicts NCAA title for Dayton’s Flyers

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, filling out a questionnaire asking, “Coke or Peps,’’with Royal Crown Cola, and “Wheaties or Cheerios” with Quaker Oats and “Ford or Chevrolet” with Dodge. Bet they don’t send me any more questionnaires.

—ESPN college basketball analyst Mark Adams is a brave, bold and hopefully not a foolish man. As they say, only time will tell the tale. And his tale is as tall as Wilt Chamberlain.

Adams put out a tweet early Friday that he had a personal prediction, a real stunner, a real shocker. He would reveal it during the Saint Louis-Richmond telecast Wednesday night, a game on which he was the color analyst.

He said he had a prediction about a team destined for the Final Four of the NCAA’s annual Basketball Ball.

“And I’m right a lot,” he said. Indeed, he is. In the past few years he has predicted that Butler would make that Final Four, in another year that Wichita State would make the Final Four, in another year that Chicago Loyola would make the Final Four and last year that Houston would make the Final Four.

The predictions came before the tournament started and he was right, right, right and right.

So on the air, during the game, he said that sometime in the next three years, not only will the University of Dayton make the Final Four, but the Flyers will win the National Championship.

And why?

“Focus on the Dayton Flyers,” he said “They have the second youngest roster in the country — 11 freshmen or red-shirt freshmen. They started 1-and-3, then they knocked off Miami, then they beat Kansas, then they Belmont, then they beat Virginia Tech.

“I’m going to give a qualifier. . .if the Dayton Flyers keep their roster together, sometime in the next three years, not only will the Dayton Flyers make the Final Four, they’ll win the National Championship,” he said.

“Since that 1-and-3 start, they’ve been one of the most prominent teams, offensively and defensively,” he added. “Anthony Grant (UD coach) has put together a juggernaut. The Obi Toppin team (29-2 in 2019-20) was good, but this team is better.”

Full disclosure time: Adams, who coached at three small colleges before becoming an analyst, lives in Springboro, just beyond UD Arena’s three-point line.

—In these modern times of baseball specialization, what does it take to pitch a complete game, other than a court order from a friendly judge?

That’s a question for Captain Obvious. . .a no-hitter or a perfect game.

In Homer Bailey’s final five seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, he started 69 games and completed two, both no-hitters.

Mike Fiers made 199 starts and completed two games, both no-hitters. Tim Lincecum pitched five years in the majors and completed two games, both no-hitters.

And then there is Phil Humber. He pitched eight years and had one complete game, a perfect game.

—QUOTE: From Duane Decker, author of ‘Good Field, No Hit’: “A no-hitter is a freaky thing. Most of the greatest pitchers never pitched one. It’s a combination of a lot of little accidents.” (That’s mostly true, but Nolan Ryan begs to differ.)

Some greats from the past with long careers, but no no-no’s: Grover Cleveland Alexander, Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, Lefty Grove, Steve Carlton.

And some current guys who have been around a while and are without a no-hitter: Clayton Kershaw, David Price, Stephen Strasburg, Cole Hamels.

—Because there is no baseball, there is no Ask Hal in the Sunday Dayton Daily News. So I’ll answer this question from Scott Hannig, Nadine’s favorite jeweler.

He asks: “Why does the baseball commissioner represent the owners and not all of baseball?”

That answer is as easy as 1+1. The commissioner is hired by the owners, he is their guy. The players have no say in it. So, if Rob Manfred doesn’t genuflect to the owners every day, he can kiss his act good-bye and the $11 million a year they pay him.

It is like the players refusing to accept a salary cap. It is not in their best personal interests. What is good for the game never is considered.

—Many folks, including the St. Louis Cardinals, believe 36-year-old Matt Carpenter is done, his baseball fuel tank on empty. The Cardinals didn’t pick up Carpenter’s $18.5 option after last season.

Why would they? Over the past three seasons, Carpenter’s slash line is .203/.374/.346. So he is a free agent, wondering about his future.

So he turned to 37-year-old Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who resurrected his career last season with some major adjustments. Votto gave Carpenter a positive slap on the rump with some sage advice.

Carpenter told Ken Rosenthal of ‘The Athletic’ that Votto provided him with tips on how to workout and how to take extended batting practice.

“If he (Votto) would have told me, ‘I think you’ve peaked, I think this is it,’ honestly, I probably would have retired,” said Carpenter. “But he said, ‘I think you do have a lot left. I think you’ve kind of lost your way a little bit.’”

There was a time when Carpenter’s bat was more hazardous to the Reds than a three-packs-day habit and he would be as welcome calling Votto as a cockroach on an ice cream sundae. Votto, though, is a compassionate guy.

—Why didn’t somebody tell me about the TV series ‘The House of Cards?’ I thought it was about the St. Louis Cardinals, so I avoided it.

Nadine and I discovered it last week and we have been binge watching it. There is no sign of Tony LaRussa or Yadier Molina.

—From Chris O’Brien of WGRR (103.5) in Cincinnati, who hosts me every Monday during baseball season on a short show: “I accidentally wore a red shirt to Target today and, long story short, I’m covering for Debbie this weekend.” (Remind me never to wear a dark blue shirt to Best Buy.)

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