The biggest gripe about Clark Kellogg, CBS's new lead college basketball analyst, is that he's a little too bland. Friday, he had a chance to offer some strong analysis and instead gave credence to those who believe his opinions aren't strong enough. In this particular case, he didn't have an opinion at all.
During the Gonzaga-North Carolina game, announcer Jim Nantz asked Kellogg if he was surprised Kentucky let go of coach Billy Gillispie. It was a perfect chance for Kellogg to go strong to the hoop, so to speak. But all he said was that the sides had a "short relationship'' and it was "turbulent and bumpy,'' and that Kentucky didn't make the tournament this season, all things we knew.
Not many people miss former CBS lead analyst Billy Packer, but at least Packer would've had an opinion. Kellogg is not a bad game analyst, but if he wants to be good, his opinions need to get stronger. Strong opinions are the point of having an analyst.
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Know who has evolved into ESPN's best NFL analyst? Believe it or not, former Bucs quarterback Trent Dilfer, top left. ESPN is building a nice little stable of analysts with former Bucs quarterbacks, including smooth Steve Young, middle, and opinionated Shaun King.
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The most entertaining 10 minutes over the weekend was ESPN's Bob Ley interviewing three legendary coaches - Lou Holtz, Bob Knight and Don Shula - about the difference between the athletes of today and a couple of decades ago. All three talked about how players seemed to care more about their teams years ago and seem to care more about themselves today. However, it wasn't three old guys sitting around talking about "the good old days'' and how "these darned kids today are no good.'' All acknowledged that today's athlete is bigger, stronger and better, and deals with much more pressure than the athletes of the 1970s and 1980s.
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Most disappointing anniversary
Five years ago Sunday, the Lightning played the Senators, and the teams had a combined record of 85 wins, 43 losses and 18 ties, with 11 overtime losses. When they met Sunday, they had a combined record of 56 wins, 66 losses, 12 overtime losses and 15 shootout losses.
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ESPN wasted five minutes of everyone but Gators fans' time on various SportsCenters by showing a feature on the relationship between quarterback Tim Tebow and coach Urban Meyer. It's March! There hasn't been a college football game that mattered in nearly two months, and there won't be another for six. And it wasn't even a compelling feature. Tebow and Meyer are close. We get it. Heaven forbid ESPN used that time to mix in a couple of NHL or spring training highlights.
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Three things that popped into my head
1. This year's NCAA Tournament proves you don't need a bunch of Cinderellas to have a compelling tournament.
2. The death Sunday of former NFL/college coach Lou Saban surely reminded all NFL Films fanatics of a classic sound bite: Saban, in a pregame pep talk, telling his Buffalo Bills, "You can get it done. You can get it done. What's more ... you gotta get it done!''
3. CBS basketball announcer Gus Johnson must have interrupted partner Len Elmore a half-dozen times to yell out a big shot or play during Sunday's Louisville-Michigan State game. It's TV, not radio. We can see what's happening. We don't need broadcasters stepping all over one another to keep us up to date.
Times staff writer Tom Jones looks at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.
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As soon as Billy Gillispie was let go as Kentucky's basketball coach, the rumors started flying about who the next coach might be. The usual suspects came up: Florida's Billy Donovan, Memphis' John Calipari and Michigan State's Tom Izzo. Then came the new hot names: Villanova's Jay Wright and Pitt's Jamie Dixon. Most of the rumors probably came out of Kentucky. But I have news for the Kentucky faithful: These aren't the old days. Kentucky is not an elite program that can go out and get any coach it wants. Did you realize that three teams from the state of Kentucky made the NCAA Tournament and not one was Kentucky? (They were Louisville, Western Kentucky and Morehead State.) There's a reason Donovan didn't want the job two years ago. There's a reason he, Calipari and Izzo aren't interested now. They have better jobs. Plenty of coaches out there would love to coach Kentucky. Former Wildcat players Travis Ford, now the coach at Oklahoma State, and John Pelphrey, the coach at Arkansas, are two. Kentucky should set its sights on one of them.
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After listening to Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan on Sunday's Sports Reporters on ESPN, I've changed my opinion on whether pitcher Curt Schilling, right, who retired last week, belongs in the Hall of Fame. I now say yes. The biggest argument against it is that he won only 216 games. However, he did win 20 games three times and was a Cy Young Award runnerup three times. But his postseason record is what changed my tune. Whenever we talk about players in any sport, we always talk about the number of championships they've won and how they've performed in the postseason. Look at how people judge Derek Jeter differently from Alex Rodriguez even though A-Rod's regular-season numbers outweigh Jeter's. So when it comes to Schilling, you can't ignore that he went 11-2 in the postseason (including 4-1 in the World Series) with a 2.23 ERA. His teams won 10 of the 12 postseason series he was in, and he won three World Series, one as a key starter in Boston's first championship since 1918. We constantly reward players who had great regular seasons even though they failed in the postseason. Why shouldn't we reward a pretty good regular-season pitcher who was among the best in the history of the postseason?
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Villanova's 78-76 victory over Pitt in Saturday's East Region final was so good, and the teams played so well and hard, that you hate to pick on a negative. But ESPN's Dick Vitale called Sunday not only to talk about how great the game was but to point out that Villanova went 22-for-23 from the free-throw line while Pitt was 21-for-29. In the end, the difference wasn't which team controlled the boards, had the best game plan or switched what on defense. It was which one best executed the most simple play in the sport: a free uncontested shot from 15 feet away.
By the way, Vitale hosts his Dick Vitale's All-Americans show at3:30 p.m. Saturday on Ch. 28.
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"Just get out of the way. We don't have a hospital nearby."
- CBS's Bill Raftery, after 6-foot-7, 270-pound Pitt forward DeJuan Blair, left, took a steal and rumbled in for a basket, knocking down Villanova guard Corey Stokes en route to a three-point play