Posts Tagged ‘Wake Forest’

Weekly links out of hibernation …


Has it really been 29 years ago since Danny Manning led Kansas to the 1988 national title?

The Jayhawks are usually a high-seeded team that underperforms in March Madness. Think of all that tradition and the high number of great players and then ponder that the school has won just three national championships.

But Kansas was a major overachiever the year “Danny and the Miracles” won the national title. The Jayhawks were a No. 6 seed and weren’t even ranked in the final regular-season Top 25 poll.

The team that was 20-10 entering the NCAA Tournament crashed the Final Four. While everybody else pondered whether Arizona, Duke or Oklahoma would win the title, Manning carried Kansas to the crown. First the Jayhawks beat Duke in the Final Four and then they outlasted Oklahoma in the national championship game.

This famous occurrence is on my mind after writing the Wake Forest-Kansas State preview for Tuesday’s First Four game in Dayton.

Manning is Wake Forest’s coach and he has a long history with Kansas State. And it wasn’t always so memorable. Especially when you close your eyes and imagine this visual:

“One of my first games at K-State, that’s a very heated rivalry, they were throwing live chickens at us,” Manning said on Sunday. “I remember going in there and ducking some live chickens, also some not-so-live ones out of a KFC bucket or whatever.”

Yikes … live chickens landing on the court? … how about people bringing their buckets of chicken and slinging thighs and wings at Manning and his teammates?

That sure doesn’t happen in today’s college basketball world. And you know, I kind of miss the 80s era of college basketball.

Here is the stellar preview —


One thing about March Madness is you learn some things you otherwise wouldn’t.

Like where the heck is Mount St. Mary’s? How would they match up with big-time schools?

Or the Pelicans aren’t the only basketball team from New Orleans? We got some Privateers crashing the big dance.

Mount St. Mary’s and New Orleans play each other in Tuesday’s First Four and there is no other time that any of us would even care if they played one another.

The winner gets to move on to Buffalo, where it gets to be trampled by defending-champion Villanova. But regardless, the winner gets to brag that it won an NCAA Tournament game. It will be the second in school history for the winner.

Mount St. Mary’s is located in Emmittsburg, Md. I’m not saying it is a town in the boonies (well, yeah I am) but it is closer to Gettysburg, Pa., than any town in Maryland you’ve heard of. Surely, they talk Civil War more than hoops.

As for the big boys, Mount St. Mary’s started 1-11 this season against a slate that included NCAA Tournament teams West Virginia, Iowa State, Minnesota, Michigan, Arkansas and Bucknell.

New Orleans recorded a road win at Washington State and the fact that the school is in the NCAA tourney is a stunner to the locals, who barely pay attention to the school’s team.

But that’s OK because both the city and university were devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and both have recovered. There were no expectations of the Privateers being part of the NCAA field because they went 10-20 last season. So nice turnaround indeed.

Here is the stellar preview —


I’ve discovered that anticipating the second round of the NFL draft doesn’t work when there’s an 18-hour break between the first and second rounds.

Combined with the late afternoon start time (I’m not on the East Coast, the part of the country the new format is catered to) I didn’t catch any of the second round coverage live for probably the first time in two decades. Things like work commitments, errands, depositing paychecks and eating ranked a tad bit higher than making sure I was home to see who went first in the second round (the answer is Indiana offensive tackle Rodger Safford to the St. Louis Rams).

I see this as becoming a recurring problem with the new three-day draft format, though I do realize many hard-core football fans were rushing to their television sets in anticipation of seeing who their favorite team would pick or watching to see how long Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen would have to wait before being selected.

I did catch the latter part of the third round when names like Brandon Ghee (Wake Forest cornerback), Rennie Curran (Georgia linebacker) and Mike Johnson (Alabama offensive guard) came off the board. That trio of players, along with the fact that ESPN was no longer dissecting each pick closely, tells me I don’t need to spend much time watching Saturday’s final four rounds.

So yes, I miss the old draft format that was so successful and more fan-friendly. But money talks to the NFL big-wigs and Thursday’s first round was a huge ratings success so it’s clear the new Thursday/Friday/Saturday format is here to stay.

Here’s some picks I like from the second and third rounds:


No. 35, Tampa Bay: DT Brian Price, UCLA – Combined with picking Gerald McCoy third overall, the Buccaneers have just made a serious upgrade on the interior of their defensive line.

No. 36, Kansas City: RB Dexter McCluster, Mississippi – Chiefs wanted to make a run at Darren Sproles until Chargers placed high tender on him, and McCluster is a playmaker of the same mold.

No. 43, Baltimore: OLB Sergio Kindle, Texas – I thought the pass-rushing specialist was a first-round possibility for the Ravens before they traded the pick to Denver (Broncos picked Tim Tebow) so this is a real steal for Baltimore to get him in the second.

No. 48, Carolina: QB Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame – If you read my draft primer, you know I didn’t think Clausen was worth the high first-round selection some people were forecasting. But mid-second is a solid time to take him and there’s a real opportunity for him to win a starting job with the Panthers projected starting quarterback being Matt Moore (249 career NFL passing attempts).

No. 51, Minnesota: RB Toby Gerhart, Stanford – Superb selection by the Vikings who can rely on Gerhart not to fumble (Adrian Peterson’s major flaw) and to be a workhorse if Peterson should get injured.

No. 57, Baltimore: DT Terrence Cody, Alabama – This was a guy the San Diego Chargers needed to figure out a way to obtain but they lost the chance by the high price they paid for first-round pick Ryan Mathews.

No. 60, Seattle: WR Golden Tate, Notre Dame – Should make a solid slot receiver and has game-breaking running/return ability.


No. 83, Atlanta: DT Corey Peters, Kentucky – I felt this guy was a potential steal. He’s battled-tested by playing in the SEC and especially stout against the run.

No. 84, Cincinnati: WR Jordan Shipley, Texas – I forecasted that he could be Wes Welker II earlier this week and it won’t take long for Carson Palmer to relish his ability to make the clutch catches.

No. 85, Cleveland: QB Colt McCoy, Texas – Didn’t understand why people thought McCoy was going in first or second rounds. Browns got him right about the spot where his skills fit. Cleveland is a great spot for him in terms of opportunity and the type of offense. Plus, new boss Mike Holmgren knows quarterbacks well.