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Sunday, May 1, 2016

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UConn Losing to Notre Dame Shows Flaw in Single-Elimination Tournament

UConn was upset by Notre Dame on Sunday in the women’s college basketball Final Four losing 72-63. The shocker means Notre Dame will move on to play Texas A&M in the finals which also had a big upset, knocking off Stanford earlier in the day. Coach Geno Auriemma was hard on his team after the loss which was understandable considering the Huskies lost to an inferior opponent. And therein lies the problem.

In case you don’t follow women’s college basketball too much, Sunday’s Final Four meeting marked the fourth time Notre Dame and UConn faced each other during the season. UConn was 36-1 entering the game with their only loss coming to Stanford, meaning they had beaten the Irish three times earlier in the year. In their first meeting on January 8th, UConn won 79-76, their second meeting was February 19th and UConn won 78-57, and they met in the finals of the Big East tournament where UConn won 73-64.

On Sunday, in the fourth meeting between the teams, Notre Dame finally won. And for beating UConn once out of four times, they get to play for the national championship and UConn doesn’t.

I ask you, does that seem fair? Or more importantly, do you feel like the best team will be playing for the title on Tuesday? If you say “yes”, you must be a Notre Dame fan because the scoreboard doesn’t lie. Yes Notre Dame was better on Sunday, but UConn proved they were better over the course of the season.

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Mike Vrabel Arrested for Felony Theft at Belterra Casino in Indiana

Kansas Chiefs linebacker Mike Vrabel was arrested on charges of felony theft early Monday morning at Belterra Casino in Florence, Indiana. Pro Football Talk first reported the news which has been confirmed by LBS, and they write that “the charge, under Indiana law, is a Class-D felony.”

Switzerland County Jail in Indiana did not have details regarding the arrest and LBS has reached out to the Indiana Gaming Commission for more information. We do know that Vrabel was released on a $600 cash bond.

We’ll have more information when it becomes available, but we know we’re not alone in saying of all people who could have gotten into trouble over the NFL off-season, Mike Vrabel was one of the names we would least expect. Keep up with LBS on twitter for more updates. Between this incident and Louis Murphy’s arrest, it’s been a bad weekend for NFL players.

UPDATE: Vrabel, through his agent, says it was a misunderstanding.

UPDATE II: KMBC in KC says, “The incident involved bottles of alcohol taken from a casino eatery. Indiana Gaming Commission Director of Enforcement Kenny Rowan said Vrabel was observed by an enforcement agent taking the bottles of alcohol from a deli without paying for them. He said Vrabel was very cooperative during the investigation and posed no problems during the arrest.”

If that is indeed what led to the arrest, then Vrabel really did get a bad deal and the law in Indiana should be modified.

UPDATE III: Rowan spoke with LBS and confirmed that the theft was over eight bottles of beer. He had no further knowledge if Vrabel was intoxicated and if that played a role in the theft.

UNLV Coaching Job Mocked in Funny Craigslist Post

UNLV is looking for a new basketball coach now that Lon Kruger has left for Oklahoma. The Las Vegas Review-Journal says former Rebels Dave Rice and Reggie Theus are top candidates and that a hire could be announced as early as Tuesday. They also say that Bob Knight expressed interest in the job, and LBS favorite Larry Johnson is also interested. But according to this mock posting on Craigslist (shared by Bryan Fischer on twitter), all you have to be is a former UNLV broadcaster to be considered for the job.

Here are some of the funnier points from the fake job post:

> Position will remain open until filled or until the publicity is just overwhelming.
> Minimum qualifications include a bachelor’s degree (no matter how long it took you to get it)
> Any mention in the press by Jerry Tarkanian will greatly improve your chances of an interview and in that case, *no* previous coaching experience will be required.
> Special consideration will be given to any candidate who has had a face to face altercation with Steve Kerr.

Again, before you start sending in the hate mail, keep in mind this was just a joke. The reality is that ties to UNLV do help one’s chances of landing the job. But as for the report that Bob Knight expressed interest? Can you possibly imagine Knight coaching at the same place where Jerry Tarkanian became a legend? Neither can I. But if you want to read actual news on the job, we spoke with Jerry Tarkanian who shared his thoughts on who should be the next head coach.

Here’s the post in its entirety, and tell me it isn’t the funnies craigslist posting you’ve seen since this and this.

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Steve Phillips: Thank God for Steroids

There are many ways to look at the steroid era in baseball. For most, it is an embarrassment — cheating in every sense of the term.  Most fans feel like they were cheated for more than a decade.  What Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds were able to do is no longer reality.  It was all manufactured.  Regardless, it made for some entertaining moments.

Those entertaining moments are what someone like Steve Phillips focuses on.  In fact, Phillips thinks baseball would be dead right now if not for those few — excuse me, the enormous population — who took up juicing.  According to the USA Today via The Big Lead, Phillips said, “Thank god for steroids. It brought the game back from extinction,” during an interview on XM radio.

Keep in mind this is the same guy who said he would trade Stephen Strasburg for Roy Oswalt.  But if the affair-having Phillips is right, the game of baseball is in serious danger.  With the way MLB has cracked down on testing and tried to put the issue of steroid use to rest over the past couple years, we as fans are led to believe that the days of 55 home runs in a season are over.

Without the astronomical statistics that supposedly brought the game back to life, what will keep it afloat?  Will fans take to no-hitters the same way they took to the long ball in the late 90s?  Will going to the ballpark and watching a dominant pitching performance have the same effect as watching six home runs fly into the stands? Time will tell.

Bronson Arroyo Pitches with Mono, John Danks with Root Canal Infection

Who said hockey players were the only tough guys around? Bronson Arroyo and John Danks would beg to differ.

Bronson Arroyo was diagnosed with mono on March 26th yet he still took the mound Sunday to make his season debut for the Reds. The reliable workhorse went seven innings of three-run ball, grabbing his first win of the season as the Reds swept the Brewers 12-3. Arroyo’s been battling mono for about a month and says he has a cough and feels rundown at the end of days, but the virus didn’t stop him from taking the hill and posting the win.

Not to be outdone, John Danks took the rubber for the White Sox despite a visit to the dentist Saturday. Danks had to get an infected tooth cleaned out where he previously had a root canal, and he spent an hour in the dentist chair. Danks pitched well giving up just two runs over six innings, but unlike the first two games of the series, Chicago’s offense couldn’t score. The bullpen blew the game and the White Sox lost 7-1, but Danks no doubt earned tough guy points with his teammates for the effort.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Tony Dejak; Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Dana White Supports Overtime Round to Eliminate Draws

UFC President Dana White is displaying the creativity and wits that has helped grow the UFC into the most popular MMA organization in the world. Speaking on The Ultimate Fighter Aftermath, White said he wants to explore the possibility of adding an overtime round to eliminate draws.

“I hate draws,” White said, as noted by MMA Fighting. “I think it’s just such a waste of everybody’s time and energy. It’s something that I would definitely explore.”

Even though particulars would have to be worked out, I think it’s a great idea. Say they go to the cards and find out the judges have it as draw, why not go to an extra round to see if a winner can be established?

This year alone we’ve seen Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard fight to a draw at UFC 125, and B.J. Penn and Jon Fitch do the same in the main event at UFC 127. Wouldn’t it have been much more satisfying for fans if there were an extra round to break the tie? Overtimes and tie-breakers are used in pretty much every other major sport, so why not MMA?

Like White said, draws are a big waste of everybody’s time. When two fighters meet in the Octagon, we want to see a winner. Anything that helps achieve that outcome while maintaining a safe environment for fighters sounds like a good idea to me.

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John Calipari Could Return to NBA, Run from NCAA Violations Once Again

This sounds about right. Any time news comes out about potential recruiting violations within a John Calipari program — which happens at every school he coaches for — we stand by for the rumors about where he is headed next.  Unlike other coaches who stick around and take their lumps after they are found guilty of such activity, Calipari has a tendency to leave a program in peril and accept another high-paying job.  This time, that high paying job could be at the next level.

According to the NY Daily News via FootBasket, Calipari may have his sights set on the NBA once again.

John Calipari coming back to the NBA to coach? Perhaps. Calipari recently left the distinct impression that, although he is recruiting and conducting business, as usual, as Kentucky’s basketball coach, he ‘wants back in,’ according to a source. Calipari has never gotten over how he was fired by the Nets 20 games into the 1999 lockout season.”

Naturally, a “source” can be anyone or nobody at all.  Given Calipari’s track record, this wouldn’t come as a surprise.  He is once again under fire for alleged recruiting violations, this time via a staffer that worked at Memphis and Kentucky.  If Kentucky ends up being sanctioned by the NCAA or Calipari senses that punishment is on its way, it would be just his style to take his services elsewhere.

 

Michael Jackson Statue Unveiled Outside Fulham’s Craven Cottage Stadium

If you’re wondering what singer/dancer/entertainer/child molester Michael Jackson has to do with Fulham Football Club soccer, you’re not alone. We’re wondering the same thing. Anyway, a statue of the King of Pop was unveiled outside of Fulham’s Craven Cottage Stadium Sunday prior to the team’s match against Blackpool:

The story behind the statue is that Fulham owner Al Fayed was friendly with Jackson and commissioned the statue to be made for placement inside Harrods, a department store owned by Fayed. But Fayed sold the store and needed to make alternate plans for the statue, so he decided to place it outside his soccer stadium. As for the lack of ties between Jackson and soccer, Fayed said “Football fans love it. If some stupid fans don’t understand and appreciate such a gift, they can go to hell.” Amen brother.

I just hope this doesn’t launch a disturbing trend of celeb fans getting recognition outside arenas. I’m not sure I’d be able to handle a bronzed Bieber in front of Staples Center. Anyway, here are more Michael Jackson statue pictures to peruse.

MICHAEL JACKSON STATUE PICTURES

Garrett Jones Has Beer Spilled on Him at Wrigley Field

Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder Garrett Jones was trying to make a play on a Carlos Pena blast to the wall on Sunday, but a cup of barley and malted hops got in his way:

The blast from Pena got away from Jones and allowed the Cubs to tie the game 2-2 on a two-run double. While the tendency may be to blame the Cubs fan for intentionally pouring it on Jones, which is something we’ve actually seen Cubs fans do before, it looked like the fan was just trying to catch a home run ball and lost the handle on his beer. And if you still really think the action was intentional, allow me to refer you to the scoreboard where the Pirates won 5-4. Ball don’t lie.

Jones was actually a good sport about the whole thing, saying after the game he got a little in the eye and a little in the mouth and that it tasted like Miller Lite. Should we expect anything less from Cubs fans?

Video via MLB.com

Geno Auriemma Critical of UConn After Loss to Notre Dame

UConn was upset by Notre Dame in the Final Four of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, losing 72-63. The loss was even more disheartening because the Huskies had beaten Notre Dame three times in the regular season before falling Sunday night. Speaking after the loss, UConn coach Geno Auriemma did not hold back when talking about his team. In fact, he was quite critical especially of junior Tiffany Hayes and freshman Bria Hartley.

“I think some of our players got caught up in the bigness of the game,” Auriemma said. “Tiffany [Hayes], that’s kind of been her m.o. When she doesn’t get off to a good start, when things aren’t clicking for her, she disappears on us sometimes. And that happened tonight, and that’s something that we’ve tried to address with her and she understands it. I’m sure she’s probably more disappointed than anybody else that it happened tonight.”

If you thought that was harsh, well Geno was only getting warmed up.

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