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Steve Lavin’s tenure at St. Johns is over after 5 years

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—-St. John’s University and head hoops coach Steve Lavin have “mutually decided to part ways”, the school announced Friday afternoon.

“Coach Lavin returned high expectations to our men’s basketball program and represented St. John’s in a positive way,” said (Athletic Director Chris Monasch.) “We appreciate his commitment to the program and to our student-athletes over the past five years. Our student-athletes represented the University well, especially our five-member senior class who excelled on the court, inside the classroom and within the community.”

 

St. John’s was bounced for the first round of the NCAA Tournament by San Diego State following to cap a 21-12 season.

Lavin had this to say:

“In life change is inevitable, so I take the long view. I’m grateful for my time teaching at St. John’s University,” said Lavin. “I will take with me the lasting friendships forged during my tenure as Head Coach. I’m proud of our results both on and off the court – in particular our memorable runs to the NCAA tournament in 2011 and 2015. Most importantly, I take pride in our performance in the classroom having graduated our student athletes who will represent the institution in a first class manner.”

 

 

Theo Epstein is sticking to his guns-still thinks it’s a good idea for Kris Bryant to start season in the minors

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-Cubs GM Theo Epstein will not allow prospect Kris Bryant to start his Major League Baseball career Sunday April 5th in the Cubs season opener. Instead he prefers that the most anticipated incoming player to the majors in a while begin the season on the farm.

No matter that Bryant has hit .406 with nine home runs in 32 at-bats this spring training. Epstein has a rule and he’s sticking to it.

During a telecast Thursday Curt Schilling asked Epstein  (h/t  hardballtalk.nbc.com ) if he could honestly say that he was breaking camp with his 25 best players if he left Bryant off the roster. You can view the conversation in the video posted below.

 

Via Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) of ESPN Chicago:

I’ve never put a guy on an Opening Day roster who hadn’t played in the big leagues previously. In 13 years, I’ve never done it,” Epstein told ESPN. “I’m not saying I’d never do it, but the general rule, the presumption, is to allow those guys to go out, play, get comfortable, get in rhythm and come up when you handpick just the right moment for them to have success.”

From everything we’ve all read, heard from the experts and have now witnessed, Bryant is as close to a sure thing as there is.

Bryant is noted for his maturity beyond both his years and talent but to his credit isn’t exactly thrilled about the improbable decision. He told ESPN Friday, “I look at it as ‘Why not me?'”

“I think I’m the type of guy that can go out there and do it,” Bryant said. “I’ve made it a point of mine to come out here and show them that I can.”

Bryant’s agent, the legendary Scott Boras said Wednesday on The Dan Patrick Show that Major League Baseball is broken if Bryant doesn’t start the season with the big league squad.

Via the Chicago Sun-Times:

“I think the integrity of the game requires that we do not let advantages to individual clubs get in the way of the overall scope of what Major League Baseball stands for,” Boras said. “It’s the principle. The best players play in the big leagues. … [Fans] know the team is not whole because one of their best talents is not on the team because of business practices. I don’t think that’s good for Major League Baseball.”

What it will come down to is if Bryant is called up performs well and smashes the cover off the baseball then Epstein is a genius. If Bryant struggles or does not live up to the hype Epstein may take a share of the blame right or wrong.

Daily Buzz: Leave Daxter Miles Jr alone- “There’s nothing wrong with having confidence”

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Digital Sports Daily Buzz for Friday March 27th 2015

West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins was asked after Kentucky doubled up his 78-39 Thursday night if he thought freshman guard Daxter Miles Jr.’s prediction that Kentucky would be 39-1 had any influence on the game.

His response:  “No. You know what, honestly, I think that’s a bunch of BS.”

Huggins continued, “I think once you throw the ball up, you play. It was a freshman that said it and I’m kind of happy he had some confidence. I’m kind of happy he wasn’t hiding under a chair somewhere, you know? There’s nothing wrong with having some confidence and wanting to go out and compete. They just were way better than we were.”

If you read Daily Buzz yesterday , or any other digital outlet, we brought you the quotes of  Miles Jr prediction WVU would give UK its first L. It was the next best story line other than “Kentucky is going to Wollap WVU-watch out.”

Miles Jr. then of course became the most mentioned name on social media during Thursday night’s drubbing. But enough is enough. And yes I will use the age old excuse “these are kids”  and the age old rhetorical question “How many of still to this day well beyond our teen years say something for a reaction unaware of the unintended consequences.” Because its so cliche but it fits so well.

Well Miles Jr did just that. He said something that he probably didn’t think through. He just happened to have microphones and recorders and smartphones within distance, manned by overeager reports needing a pregame story for what would likely be a Kentucky W.

When drilled post game by reporters regarding his failed prophecy, Miles Jr went Bill Belichick and answered each question with “Kentucky played great.” He’s learning the game. The media game. Yes he is.

As it turned out Kentucky showed no mercy to Huggy Bears boys. Final Score 78-39.  For those of us who flunked freshmen division, that 78 is exactly divisible by 2. Kentucky matched and then one upped the Mountaineer scoring output. The “Press Virginia” will have to wait for next season, it was not effective last night.

Kentucky can shoot.

“I think pretty much what I was afraid could happen (happened),” Huggins said.

“They shot the ball really poorly the last game, and they’re too good to have a probably back-to-back bad days shooting the ball, and they came out and made a bunch of shots. We’re trying to scramble around and leave the right guy open. They were aggressive, they took it to the basket and we couldn’t score, which was my biggest fear was that we would have a hard time scoring.”

Stat of the Day:

West Virginia’s 39 points were the fewest scored in a Sweet 16 game since the tournament expanded to 32 teams in 1975. It’s also a school record for fewest in an NCAA tournament game and the fewest scored by any team in this year’s tournament. Via ESPN Stats and Information

 

Vine of the Day: 

Tyndall fired for “cause”

Tennessee has fired head men’s basketball coach Donnie Tyndall, as first reported by Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com. Tyndall is currently being investigated for infractions committed while head coach at Southern Mississippi.

The school released the following press release:

The University of Tennessee announced today that it has terminated its employment agreement with head men’s basketball coach Donnie Tyndall for cause. The decision was made based on information the university received during the NCAA’s investigation of another institution.

The university concluded that Tyndall is highly likely to be found responsible for serious (e.g., Level I and/or Level II) violations of NCAA rules that occurred during his tenure as head men’s basketball coach at another institution.

“It is disappointing that we have to take this action.” said Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Dave Hart. “It is highly likely that Coach Tyndall will face significant penalties at the conclusion of the NCAA’s infractions process. We believe that this decision is in the best interests of the University of Tennessee.”

 

Barnes on slightly warm seat

Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com reports that according to sources, Texas athletic director Steve Patterson is requiring head coach Rick Barnes to make “significant changes” to his program in order to keep his job.

The question is what’s to change? Fans don’t like seeing early exists in the Tournament. What do you change to make your team a tournament winner? Recruit better, coach better?

No Twitter for UConn Women

Via the New York Times 

For the past four years, UConn’s coaches have not allowed their players to use Twitter from the first day of practice until the last day of the season.

Dean Smith’s amazing gift

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Via the News & Observer 

Dean Smith left each of the varsity letterman he coached at North Carolina $200 for a “dinner out,” according to a letter one of his attorneys sent to his former players that was posted to Twitter on Thursday.

Tim Breedlove, a Charlotte accountant who is the trustee of the Dean E. Smith Revocable Trust, confirmed the authenticity of the letter during a phone interview on Thursday.

Breedlove said on Monday he’d mailed “about 180” of the letters – with a $200 check enclosed – to Smith’s former players.

Breedlove said he was still tracking down the addresses of a few of Smith’s former players.

Hope Solo opens up about 30-day suspension
“Hope Solo entered therapy for the first time to deal with “pain and anger” issues during her U.S. Soccer-imposed 30-day suspension last month, the U.S. women’s national team goalkeeper revealed this week in a blog post on HopeSolo.com.

During my month away from the national team, I had a lot of time to think, and to reassess my life and career. I also learned a lot about myself. I wanted a place to continue that process and share my experiences with you – about our team, my teammates and our quest to win the World Cup this summer.

Wisconsin’s other guy

If Dekker’s brilliant performance was merely a flash rather than a breakthrough, at the very least it was a well-timed one. Wisconsin needed a hero to emerge to keep its Final Four hopes alive with national player of the year candidate Frank Kaminsky off to a slow start, Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig misfiring from the perimeter and upset-minded North Carolina burying threes and scoring in transition at an unnerving clip.

Jonathan Martin released

The 49ers have released offensive lineman Jonathan Martin. Martin most known for taking the abuse of teammate Richie Incognito, went to San Fran to play for his college coach Jim Harbaugh who of course had a split with the Niners and is in Ann Arbor as the head man.

Mariotti in Print

Former ESPN and Chicago Sun Times writer/commentator Jay Mariotti has found new work, he is now sports director and columnist for SF Weekly. SF Weekly editor Mark Segal Kemp defended his hire by stating it was “In the spirit of Gonzo”.  Via Awful Announcing

Today in Sports History:

March 27th 1989 Sports Illustrated exposed Pete Rose’s gambling activities. The magazine article alleged baseball’s all-time hits leader bet on baseball from the Riverfront dugout using hand gestures with an associate. via The Sports Network:

Sports Quote of the Day: “Champions keep playing until they get it right.” – Billie Jean King

Daily Buzz: Freshman predicts Kentucky Loss

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Sweet Sixteen (CBS/TBS) Four Game Slate

North Carolina forward Kennedy Meeks is a game time decision due to a sprained knee  as is with guard Wisconsin guard Traevon Jackson who has yet to play in the tournament game after breaking his right foot in a loss at Rutgers on Jan. 11. Badger head coach Bo Ryan says Jackson will play tonight if ready.

If you were to ask West Virginia Freshman guard Daxter Miles Jr.,  the juggernaut that is Kentucky 2015 will get an L before it’s done. Via ESPN 

“I give them their props,” West Virginia freshman guard Daxter Miles Jr. told reporters Wednesday.

“Salute them to getting to 36-0. But tomorrow they’re gonna be 36-1.”

Miles went on to say Kentucky does not “play hard” and “they should be more intimidated”

One strategy to beat Kentucky: “Press Virginia” 

Kentucky guard  Tyler Ulis thinks the Wildcats will be able to handle the Mountaineer press.

“With two point guards in most of the game it’s hard to press us,” Tyler Ulis said.

“(Andrew Harrison) can get the ball, I can get the ball, Aaron and Book can also handle the pressure, and Trey (Lyles). It’s hard to press us, and then once we get in the open court it’s lobs.”

Thursday’s NCAA Schedule

7:15 pm ET CBS #3 Notre Dame vs #7 Wichita State  (Cleveland Regional)

7:47 pm ET TBS 1#Wisconsin vs #4 North Carolina  (Los Angeles Regional)

9:45 pm ET CBS #1 Kentucky vs #5 West Virginia (Cleveland Regional)

10:17 PM ET TBS #2 Arizona vs #6 Xavier (Los Angeles Regional (AP Game Preview)

Today in Sports History:  1949 Kentucky routed Oklahoma State, 46-36, to capture the NCAA Championship.

Quote of the day:  “The invention of basketball was not an accident. It was developed to meet a need. Those boys simply would not play “Drop the Handkerchief.”
~ James Naismith

Stats of the Day:   Kentucky has advanced to play in the Elite Eight on 34 occasions, owning a 34-10 (.773) record in the round of 16.  UK is 20-3 (.870) in NCAA Tournament games under head coach John Calipari.

End Zone Replay Gently Suggested

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick strongly voiced his displeasure regarding the NFL’s refusal to put up the dough for end zone cameras for use with instant replay.  Via Sports Illustrated

Via NESN Schefter told ESPN’s Keith Olberman:

And Bill Belichick got up there, and in profane language, told the NFL: ‘We spend money to send the Pro Bowl to Brazil, we spend money to go overseas to London, but we can’t spend money to have four cameras in the end zone, four cameras to help determine the correct call in the end zone on certain plays?’ He went off, and the way it was explained to me, from people in the room at the time, they were laughing at it because his language was so profane and because he was so incensed about it, and the NFL didn’t know how to handle it.

New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin tells of his displeasure with Siri, who he calls the “GPS Lady” in his iPhone.

Two weeks ago I’m trying to get to a roller hockey game that my grandson is playing in, so Marc Ross [the Giants’ director of college scouting] had showed me how to talk to this phone,” Coughlin said. “I don’t trust the lady in GPS, I don’t trust her, because they don’t send you the right way. I hit the button and I go ‘Park Ridge, New Jersey.’ And she comes back on, she’s giving me directions. So now I figure out where I am. I hit the thing and I said, ‘Thank you very much, I know exactly where I am now.’ And she comes back and says, ‘You don’t have to thank me.’ I swear to God that’s what she said. And then I couldn’t get her to shut up. Every turn. ‘Take a right here.’ I know where I am. I know where I am. I’m a block away from my house, and she’s telling me where to go. I said, ‘I know where I’m going.’ “

Via Yahoo Sports

Playoff Picture-if the NBA Season ended Today 

Eastern Conference

(1) Atlanta vs 8) Boston

(2) Cleveland vs (7) Miami

(3) Chicago vs (6) Milwaukee

(4) Toronto vs (5) Washington

Western Conference 

(1) Golden State vs. (8) Oklahoma City

(2) Memphis vs. (7) Dallas

(3) Houston vs. (6) San Antonio

(4) Portland vs. (5) Los Angeles

The Return of Rose

Derrick Rose wants to return sometime before the start of the playoffs, reports ESPN Chicago.  Rose is hopeful to begin practicing this week or next.

The Bulls are doing just fine without him, having won 5 straight after defeating the Toronto Raptors Wednesday night.

Steph Curry 

Steph Curry may be the best shooter the NBA has ever seen. No Joke. The key may be his confidence. Via the Sacramento Bee:

“I’m never afraid of a shot,” Curry said calmly and firmly. “Never.”

Dead solid truth: Curry is not afraid of any shot, even the ones you can’t imagine, because he has already pictured them, tried them and made them.

Woods 50/50 for Masters

There is a 50/50 chance Tiger Woods will play in The Masters according to friend Notah Begay. 

“I think his golf game as a whole is in a great place. I think it was good for him to take a step back and assess a variety of things and do things on his timeline. It’s easy to get bullied into trying to acquiesce to the media’s concerns, or the PGA Tour’s concerns, or other people’s agendas.”

Deep Fried Nachos on a Stick

Darren Rovell of ESPN reports  the Milwaukee Brewers will feature Nachos on a stick at Miller Park this season. The concession features “a stick of beef, loaded with refried beans, rolled in Doritos, and then deep fried and drizzled with sour cream and cheese.”

NCAA vs USC

USC AD Pat Haden says internal e-mails which the NCAA fought to keep sealed show USC was treated unfairly.

Via SI.COM

Nike re-ups with Sprinter Justin Gatlin

Nike reportedly has renewed a contract with U.S. Sprinter Justin Gatlin who served a four year doping ban from 2006 to 2010- and some are not happy about it. 

Vine of the Day

 

After alleged gambling related private messages go public, Marlins pitcher Cosart will be investigated by MLB

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Before Tuesday night, the most notable thing about Jarred Cosart’s Major League Baseball career thus far probably would be that the Houston Astros were willing to give up on a promising young thrower last August when they traded him to the Miami Marlins.

Before that Cosart made headlines for the use of a gay slur in reference to Justin Beiber on Twitter. That too was noteworthy and made headlines.

By all accounts he is a serviceable but outspoken righty.

That changed sometime Tuesday night on Twitter.

Based on screen shots surfacing through Twitter, Cosart had a conversation with someone about placing bets, and not just anyone. The private chat took place with “a noted Twitter gambling expert” (many are given this title, the vetting process is not strenuous ) going by the Twitter handle “Ghostfadekillah“.

Now on to the messages. You can view screen shots here. We have chosen not to display them at this time.

Cosart allegedly wrote, “No Prob. I bet LARGE. Shhhh lookin for some help anywhere I can.”

In a second “Direct Message” Cosart wrote, “Saw a retweet on your underplay and hammered it”.

Further screenshots reveal a conversation that someone using Cosart’s Twitter account  (if not Cosart himself) had on March 2nd, conversing about placing wagers on a game between Baylor and Virginia.

Cosart’s Twitter account was then deleted. Then a second Twitter account under his name posted the following statement:

Around two weeks ago, my Twitter account was accessed by someone else. They began to send incriminating DM’s to a number of accounts to make it appear that I am addicted to gambling & have bet on baseball. I did not realize that this was happening until last evening. There will likely be more “screenshots” released in the coming days. I have not, nor will I ever, bet on the game of baseball.

The Miami New Times as well as ESPN  both report that Major League Baseball will officially look into the matter.

The timing is of course just by coincidence, but just last week Pete Rose formally requested new commissioner Rob Manfred to re-evaluate his petition to lift a lifetime ban for betting on his own team as the manager of the Cincinnati Reds.

Rose also bet on other sports.

Major League Baseball rules do not prohibit betting on non baseball events.

Cosart of course appears guilty of betting on something. What remains to be seen is whether in fact he bet on baseball or if Major League Baseball could prove that he did so. The timing of the alleged private messages and content make it seem unlikely he was discussing baseball bets in the private messages.

Cosart is set to be the second man in Miami’s five-man pitching rotation.

 

 

Stanford Robinson transferring from IU

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Zach Osterman of the Indianapolis Star reports that sophomore guard Stanford Robinson is leaving the program, via transfer.

Sophomore guard Stanford Robinson is transferring from the Indiana men’s basketball program, according to an official release. Robinson spent two seasons in Bloomington.

A program release Wednesday suggested Robinson plans “to transfer to an institution closer to his home where he can earn more playing time.” He saw his minutes-per-game average shrink considerably from last season to this one.

Via Stanford Robinson transferring from IU.

Mark Price a good hire for UNC-Charlotte if it happens

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Update 3/25/2015 7:55 pm ET Mark Price has agreed to become the next head coach at Charlotte. 

Mark Price, the four-time NBA All Star, and current Charlotte Bobcasts assistant coach has been offered the head coaching job at UNC-Charlotte according to Jeff Goodman of ESPN and various media outlets.

Price, originally from Oklahoma, has roots in the south, having starred at Georgia Tech for four years from ’82-’86 before a successful NBA career which ended after 12 seasons in 1998.

This would be a great hire for Charlotte. When you think Mark Price you think fundamentals, tremendous shooter and solid individual with big time NBA experience.

According to reports Price is thinking over the offer. Price may in fact have bigger options on the horizon…..NBA head coaching job in the future?

 

The Odds are in your favor: Where to play March Madness Contests Online

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I once read a story about a professional contest entrant. All this lady did was enter contests, and the odds were in her favor, that was her job to enter contents and eventually she won. It’s with that same mindset I’ve wasted countless hours of my life I can never get back.. Either way it’s the spirit of March Madness-doing something other than the work we’ve been assigned-and goofy around on the internet.

With those thoughts in mind here is a compilation of currently running March Madness Bracket Contests, worth entering-and remember the odds of actually picking a 100% correct bracket are 1 in  148 pentillion (that’s 1 in 148,000,000,000,000,000,000)

Yahoo https://tournament.fantasysports.yahoo.com/t1

ESPN http://games.espn.go.com/tournament-challenge-bracket/2015/en/bracket?addata=2015_TCMen_BracketURL

CBS http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/ncaa-tournament/brackets/games

Sporting News http://rtbrackets.sportingnews.com/ *Offers the ability to update your bracket as you the tournament progresses. *Society gone soft?

Sports Illustrated http://sportsillustrated.collegehoops.upickem.net/collegebasketball/registration/login.asp

Arizona enters NCAAs on 11 game win streak-why they could win it all or at the very least challenge Kentucky

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“We’re in the conversation.”

That’s how Arizona coach Sean Miller accessed his team’s chances at a obtaining a No. 1 seed after his team easily defeated Oregon 80-52 Saturday night in Vegas to win the Pac-12 Tournament.

Over at ESPN Joey Brackets still has Arizona as a two-seed.  Make of it what you will, but the Wildcats, upon defeating Oregon easily  80-52 Saturday night in Vegas, have won 11 straight games and appear to be hitting the proverbial “peak” college basketball coaches die for, stay up at night devising plans for and all of us amateur bracketeers give extra credence to.

Arizona has an RPI of 7 and a 30-3 record, with no losses to teams in the RPI Top 100. The losses include:

Arizona Losses 2015 Regular Season.

RPI DATE OPPONENT SCORE
103 Dec. 23 @ UNLV 67-71
133 Jan. 11 @ Oregon St 56-58
101 Feb. 7 @ Arizona St 78-81
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