March 9, 2004
Suns owner
Jerry Colangelo:

Looking for new investors for ownership in his NBA team. Let's play this out, fantasy-style: MJ buys in, then recruits Kobe over.
 
 
 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
OUCH.  COUCH.

Talk about "Mistake by the Lake."

Turns out one of Cleveland's biggest ones ever was when the then-expansion Browns blew the first overall NFL draft pick on QB Tim Couch, who has shown nothing "can't-miss" except "can't miss cashing that fat paycheck every two weeks."

All-Pro? Only for chutzpah, indignantly rejecting the pay cut he has earned.

So five years later, Couch is on the way out and aging 49ers ex-pat Jeff Garcia is in (despite rumors he was heading for the Bucs, who now must massage Brad Johnson's ego back to playoff form).

Couch might not be Ryan Leaf (then again, who is?), but it's time to carve his face on the side of Mount Dud-more among all-time NFL top draft picks.

Gonzaga: No No. 1?
By many measures -- most notably that mighty 91st-ranked strength of schedule -- No. 3-ranked Gonzaga is a laughable contender for an NCAA Tournament No. 1 seed.

So it's still mystifying how the same "human" pollsters who hate the BCS formula (and who rank Gonzaga among the top four) are just fine with the college hoops RPI index (where 'Zaga is No. 9) that will drive the decision to make them no better than a No. 2 seed.

Sheffield's Thumb
Cautionary tale for contenders: Off-season moves all look good on paper, but it's a joke to anoint teams as a "best lineup ever" or "locks" to win the division before a regular-season game is even played.

CHECK OUT THE QUICKIE EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING!
WHO'S GOT THE MOMENTUM ...
Latest Big Dance auto-bid teams: N. Iowa, Manhattan, VCU
Evander Holyfield: Wants a comeback (only for title shot)
William Hung: "Idol" run-off/-away star gets album deal
... AND WHO'S GOT NO MO'
Shaq: T'ed up twice and tossed from Lakers L in Utah
UConn women's hoops: Loses to BC in Big East tourney
Grant Hill's comeback: Just as non-starting as the others
 
Gary Sheffield's thumb injury shows how quickly things can change. He may be out three months, and while New York still has a tough lineup, it's certainly not what it is with Sheff cooking.

Today's 'Roids Note
If MLB was smart, the league would ask the NFL how it can get in on the NFL's new partnership with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to create a souped-up drug-testing lab (a "testing lab on steroids," if you will).

Keeping up with the chemists on Team Cheater is the toughest part of the process; this is a worthwhile step in the right direction.

College Hoops Top 25
What does it say when the bottom four teams in the newest Top 10 (Okla St, Kentucky, UConn, Wisconsin) have a better shot to put more teams in the Final Four than the top four (St. Joe's, Stanford, Gonzaga, Duke)?

Tonya Harding Alert
From the creative genius behind "Bol on Ice" comes "The Indianapolis Ice, starring Tonya Harding." (Or is that "Ice Capades?")

Harding will lace 'em up on Friday night, and knowing how she likes those sticks-to-the-knees, opposing players better stay alert.

OJ Simpson:
"If the signal you stole, then heads will roll." DirecTV accuses OJ of swiping dish signals. He promises to find the real chiseler.
 
 

Today on ESPN.com
Page 2
Insider
Fantasy
 
Looks Can Be Deceiving in Coaches' Poll Top 5
St. Joe's (27-0)
Sched.: 44; LunaRPI: 2
 
Stanford (26-1)
Sched.: 107; LunaRPI: 5
 
Gonzaga (26-2)
Sched.: 91; LunaRPI: 8
 
Duke (25-4)
Sched.: 5; LunaRPI: 4
 
Mississippi St (25-2)
Sched.: 48; LunaRPI: 1
 

How do I get a job with the title "Special Master?" NFLPA asks official arbitrator between labor/mgmt to rule on T.O.'s free agency....

Here's irony: The case might be heard in Philly...

More evidence of a perception gap on 'roids issue: MLB reportedly to set record for tickets sold before start of a season...

NHL needs new gimmicks? Take cue from Idol "Wild Card" round -- best of non-playoff teams battling for two playoff spots...

Championship Week
Tonight's finals:

Horizon
Wis-Mil vs. Ill-Chi
ESPN, 9 p.m.

Mid-Con
Valpo vs. IUPUI
ESPN2, 7 p.m.

Sun Belt
La-Laf vs. UNO

ESPN2, 9 p.m.



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