Monday, March 7, 2011

Bring On The Tournaments... Please!

Thank goodness its tournament time because maybe people will quit talking about Charlie Sheen.
The local teams are all playing better and better. Ohio State destroyed Wisconsin Sunday and looks like the number one team again. U.C. and Xavier appear to be safely in the top half of the bracket. Kentucky finally got the kind of road win in the SEC that should inspire some confidence. Louisville found a tough way to lose at West Virginia Saturday, but the Cardinals still own the 3 seed in the Big East tournament.
Xavier has the A-10 Player of the Year (Tu Holloway) and Coach of the Year (Chris Mack), so it will be an upset if they don't win the A-10 tournament. Of course one bad half of basketball can sink you, and that's why these tournaments are so exciting, anything can happen.
Yes, anything can happen. Just look at the final stretch of six games by the men of Clifton. The Bearcats won five of those games. Three weeks ago Yancy Gates was seen as the poster child for the problems in Clifton. Now he is the poster child for what is right. His numbers don't really reflect the effect he has had on these games but his numbers are solid. When it comes to free throws, his numbers are staggering. Buoyed by his 10 for 10 performance from the line Saturday, Gates is 27-34 from the line in the final 6 games. That's 79 per cent. Before the recent spurt Gates had made just 36 free throws the entire season! His FT percentage was 48. So I submit that the young man has found a peace of mind and a new-found concentration that has translated into production on the court and wins for the Bearcats. And it happened just in time for the tournaments.

Carson Palmer's home in Indian Hill has yet to be listed. At least one of the breathless reports last month said it would be on the market March 1. Sometimes I think Palmer is sitting back and laughing about the whole uproar. But most of the time I think Carson is wishing the whole thing would just go away and he would land with another team. Someone told me recently Carson's wishes to leave Cincinnati are more about the way he has been treated by the city lately. If that's the case then he doesn't have the mettle, the guts, the steely interior to be a leader on a championship team. I remember Bengals quarterback Kenny Anderson lying on the field injured as fans cheered that he would be leaving the game. He dusted himself off and two years later won an NFL MVP award while leading the Bengals to a Super Bowl. I really hope and really doubt it is just the fans running Carson off. It could be a part of it, who knows? He still isn't saying anything. It could be the front office, it could be the coach, or coaches, it could be some annoying teammates, it could be the fans, it could be his wife doesn't like it here, or it could be a combination of all of these things. I've heard all of the above. This week someone will probably tell me he doesn't like the streetcar proposal. That's how silly it is, and that's how silly it will continue to be until Carson finally tells it like it is.

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