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Tom Jones' Two Cents

Sports analysis, perspective and more.

Shooting from the lip/March 26th edition



Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...

barkley.Worst additions
I don't know when it happened, but there was a point in the past few years when one of the networks decided that the more people you had on a studio show, the better that show would be. Then all the networks jumped on that bandwagon.

Now look at it. Most network studio shows have at least four or five people clogging up the set. Just think of the shows -- the Fox and CBS NFL shows, ESPN's College GameDay, ABC’s NBA pregame show. Heck, the Sunday NFL Countdown on ESPN often has as many as a dozen hosts, analysts and reporters. Now it has carried over to the CBS NCAA basketball tournament. Not only are there too many talking heads, half of them shouldn't even be there.

All season long, CBS had an outstanding studio show featuring host Greg Gumbel and analysts Seth Davis and Greg Anthony. But during the tournament, the show has added a coach (such as Villanova's Jay Wright and Kansas State's Frank Martin) as well as TNT NBA analysts Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith. Think about it. These are the biggest, most-watched college basketball studio shows of the year and half the cast (a coach, Barkley and Smith) is made up of people who don't work on college broadcasts during the regular season. That just doesn't make sense.

Smith and Barkley have been so-so. (Smith has been better than Barkley.) But the more they talk, the less Anthony and Davis are able to talk. It just seems like you would want your most knowledgeable people to dominate the broadcast, not share it with people who are not as equipped as they are.

tiger.Worst language
Tiger Woods missed a par put on No. 14 during NBC's golf coverage of Bay Hill on Sunday and cameras quickly zoomed in on Woods' face -- just in time and close enough that even novice lip readers could easily decipher Woods using the most infamous curse word twice. Woods has a history of such vulgarity, but that doesn't excuse it. At the same time, NBC should have known that Woods has a history of vulgarity.

Either way, it's a shame that at 5:30 in the afternoon on a Sunday, we (including kids) are exposed to this junk. I know, I know, Woods is not the only athlete out there who swears. But this is what I saw on Sunday, so that's why I bring it up.

Best hustle
Most of us have no use for sideline reporters who do little more than ask a coach as he walks to the locker room at halftime, "Coach, what did you do right (wrong) in the first half? And what do you need to do better in the second half?''

But give CBS's Tracy Wolfson credit for hustling over to the Kentucky bench and giving a quick update when Anthony Davis, possibly the best player in the country, injured his knee during Sunday's game against Baylor.

Worst times
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that there are other time zones and those of us in the eastern part of the country give little thought to the West Coast. While we enjoy watching games that come on at 7 p.m., we could not care less that most people out west are still at work because it's only 4 p.m.

Still, during last week's NCAA basketball tournament, the Kentucky-Indiana game, as well as the Ohio State-Cincinnati game didn't end until close to midnight. The Gators-Marquette game ended at 12:30 in the morning and it was a school/work night. True, there are times when games must start late so as not to exclude those who live west of the Mississippi, but it just doesn't make sense to have teams from the Eastern and Central time zones playing games so late at night.

Just another example of the NCAA not thinking or being flexible before making up their schedules.

clark.Worst insult
Punk of the week goes to Houston Dynamo soccer player Colin Clark for using an expletive and, worse than that, a gay slur to insult a ball boy because Clark didn't like how the ball boy gave him the ball during a Major League Soccer match last week.

First off, who picks on a ball boy? But to use a gay slur? Inexcusable. The league needs to send a message with a serious suspension. Clark has apologized, but it was such a disgusting insult that it's disturbing Clark even thought it, let alone said it.

Maybe Clark's punishment will be knowing that no matter how hard he has worked to become a pro soccer player and no matter what he does, he always will be known for the jerk who used a gay slur to insult a little kid. Then again, he now has the opportunity to help make a change against intolerance. (Photo: Houston Chronicle.)

Best announcing teams
This isn't meant to be a slam against CBS's top college hoops broadcasting team of Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg, but after watching this past week’s four regions, Nantz and Kellogg would be No. 4 on my list. Kevin Harlan-Reggie Miller (who called the Gators on Thursday and Saturday), Marv Albert-Steve Kerr and Verne Lundquist-Bill Raftery all were superb. It's all just personal preference, but I'd rather have any of those three teams call the Final Four ahead of Nantz and Kellogg.

Having said that, boy did Harlan really mess up the final few moments of the Gators' loss to Louisville. Trailing by three, the Gators launched two 3-pointers and Harlan, on both shots, belted out "For the lead!''

Everyone loses track of the score sometimes and even though Harlan corrected himself after the fact, it was at a point in the game where you just have to know the score and the situation.

bowen.Best are-you-serious moment
Last week, Oklahoma City's Jason Smith was suspended two games for a dangerous hard foul on Clippers superstar Blake Griffin. Asked on ESPNews Friday night if the two-game suspension was too light, ESPN NBA analyst Bruce Bowen said, "I thought it was light. … This is not what the game is about.''

I almost spit up the Dr Pepper I was drinking. This is the same Bruce Bowen who was considered one of the NBA's dirtiest players during his career. Twice he was fined and/or suspended for kicking players. He once kneed Steve Nash in the groin and has a history of dangerous fouls, such as undercutting players near the basket. Do a YouTube search sometime on "Bruce Bowen and dirty player.''

The best of the best
Best feature of the weekend: ABC's emotional look back at the death of St. Petersburg resident Dan Wheldon and what he still means to IndyCar. It ran just before Sunday's Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Second-best feature: CBS's Road to the Final Four piece on Peyton Siva and how he has inspired his father to turn around his life.

stamkos.Three things that popped into my head
1. Pet peeve when listening to an event on the radio: hearing an announcer say, "Look at that.'' I heard it three times this past weekend. It's radio! I cannot look at anything!
2. The Lightning's Steven Stamkos needs eight goals in eight games to reach 60. I think he'll do it.
3. The PGA was just here. IndyCar was here all of last week and the Frozen Four is on the way. Pretty cool to be in Tampa Bay, don't you think?

[Last modified: Sunday, March 25, 2012 10:36pm]


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