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Shooting from the Lip

Best line

This happens every year. A bunch of college coaches does a bang-up job in the NCAA Tournament, then we start hearing rumors about those coaches jumping to the NBA.

Florida's Billy Donovan certainly fanned the flame on his rumors recently by saying he is still intrigued by the NBA and is attracted to a job where all he would have to do is think about basketball instead of basketball along with recruiting and players' eligibility and so forth. Kentucky's John Calipari has been linked to the Knicks, who likely will have an opening after the season.

And Michigan State's Tom Izzo always seems to be rumored to be heading to the Pistons.

Thank goodness for TNT's Charles Barkley. He said what everyone else is thinking: "(Izzo) is not that stupid to take that Pistons job.''

Best name

Maybe the Glazer family isn't all about the Benjamins after all.

ESPN is reporting that the Glazers, who own the Bucs and soccer's Manchester United in England's Premier League, will not sell the naming rights to Old Trafford, Man U's home stadium. Forbes reported in 2012 that if the Glazers did decide to sell the naming rights, a 20-year-deal could rake in $1 billion.

Some stadiums' naming rights should never be sold to a corporate sponsor, such as Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium and Dodger Stadium. Glad to see the Glazers, at least according to reports, recognize that Old Trafford, which opened in 1910, is one of those places.

Best call

Outstanding effort Sunday by the NBC hockey announcing team of Doc Emrick and Pierre McGuire. The two called the entertaining Bruins-Flyers game without analyst Eddie Olczyk, the third member of the broadcasting team, who was out sick. McGuire took his normal position between the benches, but he and Emrick, on play-by-play, worked smoothly together.

In case you missed it, the Flyers' Vinny Lecavalier scored the 400th and 401st goals of his NHL career. Of course, 383 came with the Lightning.

Oh, speaking of the Bruins. That's the best team in hockey.

Happy anniversary

It was 16 years ago today — March 31, 1998 — that the Rays played their first regular-season game. Wilson Alvarez started on the mound, Tampa's Wade Boggs hit the first homer in franchise history, and the Rays lost to the Tigers 11-6.

The Rays ended up going 63-99 that season. I'm guessing this year's Rays will do better than that.

Best line

Last week the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago ruled that football players at Northwestern are employees and can unionize. It could be the first step in a long process that could end with college athletes being paid.

Many who follow sports believe this a good thing. I'm not one of them. I think college athletes are compensated with tuition, room and board.

But no matter which side of the argument you lean toward, New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica perfectly summed up the big issue.

"Do I think they should be paid? Yeah,'' Lupica said Sunday on ESPN's Sports Reporters. "Do I have any idea how we can pay them? I have no clue."

Best interview

HBO Boxing — you don't dare miss it.

On Saturday night, Sergey Kovalev scored a seventh-round knockout of Cedric Agnew, but Kovalev's second-biggest punch was a verbal jab at WBC light-heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson. Kovalev believes Stevenson is ducking him. Stevenson backed out of a unification title showdown with Kovalev on Tuesday, signing to fight on Showtime instead.

After knocking out Agnew, Kovalev was asked about Stevenson by HBO analyst Max Kellerman.

"I don't want to speak on Adonis Stevenson,'' Kovalev said. "Adonis Stevenson is a piece of (expletive.) … Oh, sorry for my English."

Actually, Sergey, the phrase is "pardon my French.'' Your English was just fine.

Best criticism

Nice work by the ABC announcing crew breaking down the accident that occurred on the 82nd lap in Sunday's Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Though the accident was well back in the pack and happened during the restart after a caution, most of the announcing crew blamed it on leader Will Power, who the announcers believed didn't accelerate quickly enough, causing an accordion effect. They also criticized the driving of the pace car.

Excellent work by pit reporter Jamie Little to get the explanation of Power's driving from Power strategist Tim Cindric. Little wasn't done. She asked Power about the restart during the post-race interview. Power was kind of vague with his explanations, but at least Little asked.

What made this part of the broadcast so good was how the announcers used replays to explain their criticisms. Best of all, there were criticisms. Too often in racing, especially in NASCAR, you don't hear anyone criticize the drivers. ABC had no problems looking for people to blame Sunday.

Most powerful power rankings

Sports Illustrated's preseason baseball power rankings have the Rays No. 4 in the majors and first among American League teams. SI has the Dodgers first, followed by the Nationals and Cardinals.

Three things that popped into my head

1. Does any college basketball coach whine more to officials than Wisconsin's Bo Ryan? Well, Saturday night, his Badgers went to the Final Four after Arizona's Nick Johnson was called for an offensive foul while driving to the hoop down one with 3.2 seconds left. A foul in that situation? Are you serious? Ryan should never argue about anything … ever again.

2. UConn is the last team to beat Florida, but if I'm the Gators, I would much rather be playing UConn in the Final Four semifinals than Michigan State. I'm not saying the Gators will win, but I would rather be playing UConn. Okay, I'll say it: Gators will win.

3. ABC did a great job making St. Petersburg look great during Sunday's Grand Prix. Actually, check that. We always look that good. ABC merely turned its cameras on it.

tom jones' two cents

Shooting from the Lip 03/30/14 [Last modified: Sunday, March 30, 2014 10:16pm]
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