This week has definitely been an exciting one as the NCAA Tournament started on last Thursday. So many teams headed in expecting to come out with the National Championship trophy. Well, for some teams that had championship aspirations, the journey is over. But for an unlikely team like Florida Gulf Coast, the dream is alive and well. The Eagles from Fort Meyers, Florida entered the tournament looking to make history. After defeating championship-contender Georgetown Hoyas and also beating the San Diego State Aztecs, the Eagles have certainly made their mark on the college basketball world. Florida Gulf Coast has become the first 15 seed to ever make it to the Sweet 16. The Eagles have better athleticism than they are given credit for and have shot the ball incredibly well in the second half of games(57% in second halves of their tournament games). The Eagles will take on the Florida Gators in Arlington, Texas next weekend as they continue to make their mark on this tournament.
But just like there are success stories, there are also the teams that fail to live up to expectations. The Gonzaga Bulldogs were the #1 Team in the nation heading into the NCAA Tournament. And as a reward for their accomplisments in the regular season, the Zags were awarded the #1 seed in the Western Region. The Zags had visions of making the Final Four and getting over the Elite 8 hump tha thas plagued them. Well, this year was not the year they made history. The Zags were upended by the Wichita State Shockers in the round of 32. And just like that, the end of the season is upon Gonzaga. As a result of this loss, people have wondered if Gonzaga was overrated to begin with this post-season. They only lost two games this year(vs Illinois and Butler) on their way to an incredible season. But just like always, the Zags crumbled under the pressure of the big stage. Maybe one day they can handle the heat, but this tournament was one that showed them they aren’t ready for the pressure cooker created by being one of the top seeds.
In baseball, the Yankees have been dropping like flies this spring. Third baseman Alex Rodriguez may or may not miss the season, Curtis Granderson is expected to miss the start of the season and Derek Jeter is going to start the season on the disabled list. The Yankees needed help and needed it fast. So in order to get that help, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has decided to bring in Angels slugger Vernon Wells. The trade is not official yet, but Wells could be moving to the Big Apple and the Yankees are expected to pay $13 million dollars for Wells. For a team and organization that said they were going away from the big spending, they sure cannot escape their past spending habits. Now the Yankees will be paying a guy to play for them, knowing full well that he is a shell of himself. They always say the more things change, the more they stay the same. And that seems to be the case in New York.
In the NFL, it is amazing what can happen when a fax machine messes up. Elvis Dummervil had agreed to a contract restructure with the Broncos that would keep him in Denver. The reported reduced salary was dropping Elvis down from $12 million to $8 million. But because of a communication breakdown, the paperwork did not get there in time and Dummervil was then released by the Broncos. Well, instead of him returning to the Broncos, Dummervil looked around to see if he could get more guaranteed money and a better situation in a different place. It took a while, but Dummervill just agreed to terms on a deal that could be worth up to $35 million along with $8.5 million dollars being paid to him in the first year of this deal. Dummervil certainly ended up getting the monies that he wanted along with an addtional $500,000. Elvis definitely handled his contract issue the right way, but his now-former agent should not be allowed to be one again. The first rule is that you never mess up someone’s money if you all are business together. And that is exactly what the agent did in regards to Elvis Dummervil.
Lastly, the Miami Heat have been playing otherworldly in the past couple of months. They ran their streak up to 26 games after their win tonight. But while everyone is talking about the Miami Heat, let’s give the Denver Nuggets some attention. The Nuggets have won 15 staight games and look to be gaining traction at the right time. Point guard Ty Lawson has been the engine of this team while big men Javale McGhee and Kenneth Faried have brought the energy and toughness. It has been incredible watching them get red-hot. But for as much as they have done so far, they still don’t have a guy they can depend on to win games for them. Denver has won all of these games without having the same leading scorers, but unless they get a go-to guy down the stretch of games, they will be going nowhere fast.
These are my words and these are my thoughts. Until next time……