SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Saturday Observations

1. Davidson was fun to watch last night, and Stephen Curry has been amazing. I was waiting for Wisconsin to come back, but Davidson kept on making shots. Beating Kansas will be a tall order, but it's been a tall order for an academics-first school to make a regional final. Most of the nation will be rooting for Davidson on Sunday.

2. Who will Indiana name as its head coach? Rumor is that Washington State coach Tony Bennett is the frontrunner, but Andy Katz of ESPN also wrote that all parties said that Indiana hadn't talked with Bennett. Katz also reports that Indiana wants to name a new head coach before the Final Four.

3. Why does my gut tell me that Loyola's Jimmy Patsos will be named the new head coach at Providence? Providence would be wise to hire him. I have a great Jimmy Patsos story (most favorable), and I'll share it in a future blog post.

4. Do the Phillies have enough pitching to contend for the NL Wild Card and NL East title? Let's see -- Cole Hamels gets injured every year, Brett Myers has trouble sitting still between starts, Jamie Moyer is 45 and got pounded on occasion last year, Kyle Kendrick snuck up on the NL last year but isn't overpowering, had a so-so spring and Baseball Prospectus worries that without enough strikeouts, he'll get hit, and Adam Eaton is plum awful. Closer Brad Lidge lost his job the past two years and starts the season on the DL, and substitute closer Tom Gordon is 40 and pitching with a partially torn labrum and was just all right last year. A lot will have to go right for the Phils to win 90 games and make the playoffs, even with their great hitting.

5. Is Citizens Bank Park the best hitters' park in the NL? No, it isn't, and it really isn't rated more than slightly a hitters' park, according to Baseball Prospectus, which rates the D-backs stadium and the Rockies' as the best hitters' parks in the NL.

6. New Phillies' reliever Tim Lahey, picked up off waivers from the Cubs, was a catcher at Princeton. After his senior year, when he was drafted by the Twins, Lahey's coach, former Major Leaguer Scott Bradley, told him not to let the Twins cut him without letting him try out as a pitcher. Prescient words -- Lahey won the Rule 5 lottery (the Cubs had to offer him back to the Twins, who declined) and now is on one of the most exciting teams in the majors -- and only 45 miles from his alma mater.

7. Will the Beijing Olympics turn into a spectacle? Will Western Europe boycott because of human rights violations? What would the Chinese do to retaliate?

8. Nice stories in the central NJ papers about the DII lineman Heath Benedict, an NFL prospect, who passed away the other day. He was a graduate of the Peddie School in Hightstown, NJ, and his head coach said that he was the best lineman he'd ever seen, and a good guy to boot.

9. Won't Indiana give Bob Knight a chance at a last hurrah?