March 11, 2005
Brett Favre:
Will return to the Packers in 2005. But Packers fans mystified at the team's offseason moves might ask: "Returning to WHAT?" QUICKIE LIVE! 9-10 a.m.
 
 
 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
ATTRITION.  FRIDAY.

The 48 hours heading into Selection Sunday has bounced MLB/Congress from this week's lead item like West Virginia bounced B.C. from the Big East Tournament.

Big-conference quarterfinals, semis and title games over the next three days offer as many compelling matchups as an Elite Eight or even Final Four.

ACC: UNC/Duke/Wake
How many No. 1 seeds here?!

Big East: Syracuse vs. UConn
And that's just a semifinal!

Big 12: Kansas/Okla St/Okla
Who'll emerge from the scrum?

And that doesn't include the other teams jockeying for a No. 1 seed (Illinois, Kentucky, Arizona, Louisville) ...

Or, at the other end, the teams on the Bubble fighting for inclusion (UAB, N.C. St., Minnesota-vs.-Indiana)

Or, most compelling, teams not even good enough for the Bubble that are surviving league tourneys in hopes of a true Cinderella spot (Iowa, Memphis, St. Joe's)

Buckle in, and see ya Sunday.

Bubble Watch
The Freakiest Place on Earth!

Looking good: Iowa St., N.C. St., West Virginia

Hating it: ND, Maryland, G'town, Miami, Vandy, TX A&M

Close call: UCLA, DePaul, UAB, Indiana*, Minnesota*

*- Play Fri. in B10 Quarters! Is it an unofficial "play-in?" (Hey, here's a novel idea: Both are so mediocre, give the spot to a deserving Mid-Major!)

ACC: N.C. St./Wake
As first anticipated in the Quickie on Monday, a rematch of the "groin/grudge" battle from the ACC regular-season finale.

For those just tuning in: Wake Forest All-American PG Chris Paul hit Wolfpack star Julius Hodge in the (ahem) "Julius," then spoiled N.C. St.'s upset bid on a buzzer-beater.

Today (7, ESPN2), Paul is suspended from the game, and 7-seed N.C. St. can look forward to some nasty payback, in the form of beating the 3-seed Deacons and possibly costing Wake a No. 1 seeding on Sunday night.

(Yes, I recognize that the committee could discount any Wake loss without Paul and still give them a No. 1. But a guy can dream, can't he?)

More ACC quarters:

1 UNC/9 Clemson (12, ESPN2)
Heels gun for 1 on S-curve.

4 Va Tech/5 Ga Tech (2, ESPN2)
Winner off bubble and in.

2 Duke/11 Virginia (9, ESPN2)
Watch those weary legs!

Big East Battles
Count the semi subplots!

2 UConn/3 Cuse (9, ESPN)
National game of the day

4 Nova/8 WVa (7, ESPN) 2 bandwagons for price of 1!

Whither B.C.? (KO'ed by WVa)
Sunday 1-seed? Ha! Try 2 (3?)

CHECK OUT THE QUICKIE EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING!
WHO'S GOT THE MOMENTUM ...
Mike Williams: WR quickly wows scouts at private workout
Miami Heat: Crush T-Wolves for 7th straight W (Shaq 33/13)
Bubble teams' P.R. campaigns: Love it! (Indiana, call me!)
... AND WHO'S GOT NO MO'
Uniform drug policy: Nice try, Congressman. Not happening
Texas: Loses to Colorado in B12 1st rd; Big Dance-unworthy
Kerry Wood: Flies back to Chicago to have shoulder exam
 
More National Semi Action:

Pac-10: Is Stanford legit?
1 Arizona/5 Oregon St
2 Washington/3 Stanford

C-USA: Watch that 7/11 semi!
1 L'ville/4 UAB (4:30, ESPN)
7 Memphis/11 South Florida

A-10: Easy to root for Joe's
E1 St. Joe's/W2 Xavier
W1 G. Washington/E2 Temple

Quarterfinal Mania
Feeling bleary-eyed ...

Big Ten: Who can stop Illini?
1 ILL/8 N'western (12, ESPN)
4 Indiana/5 Minny (2, ESPN)
2 Mich St/7 Iowa
3 Wisconsin/6 Ohio St

Big 12: OU/KU/OK St battle
1 Oklahoma/8 Missouri
4 Texas Tech/5 Iowa St
2 Kansas/10 Kansas St
3 Oklahoma St/11 Colorado

SEC: Kentucky earns 1-seed?
W5 Ole Miss/W1 Alabama
W3 Miss St/E2 Florida
E5 Tennessee/E1 Kentucky
W6 Auburn/W2 LSU

MLB/Congress Feud
The MLB/Congress battle over next Thursday's scheduled hearing got interesting, with both sides scrapping like NCAA Bubble teams to win the p.r. battle in the media.

ESPN.com's Q&A summary is a must-read (see Q It Up), but after consuming all the different angles, ploys and feints, I have a few lingering questions, with answers to be found by reading within the lines:

1. Will this happen Thursday?
Guess: Perhaps not, and not just because Congress figured out that it's competing with the first day of the NCAAs.

Negotiations between Congress and MLB super-lawyer Stanley Brand could take this past next week (and if that doesn't work, Brand's legal challenge can do the trick).

2. Will questions be limited?
Guess: The scope of Congress' questions is another huge negotiation point is; its invite list is arbitrary enough.

Should players be forced to deal with "Have you ever ...?" questions that will be replayed a million times? That's where Brand's "prurient" criticism comes into play.

3. What about that immunity?
Kind of depends on the answer to Question 2, doesn't it? Jose Canseco's already asked for it (surprise, surprise).

But Rep. Tom Davis' spokesman is on the record as saying they're not planning on granting any.

Tice Admits Scalping
Mike Tice finally admitted he scalped tickets, as recently as this past Super Bowl!

So how should he be punished?

The NFL can't fire a coach, but it can -- and should -- certainly punish this moron to the fullest extent.

If a player can be suspended and fined severely for a game for unsportsmanlike conduct, why can't a coach?

(Frankly, an NFL head coach scalping tickets is way more unseemly than a provocative end-zone dance.)

I say: Suspend him two games and fine him $100,000. After all, this is as much about deterring future offenders than actually punishing Tice.

P-Jax Return?
Phil Jackson's agent puts his return at "50-50." Far more complicated is where he might land:

Knicks? Lakers? Wolves? Mavs?

It'll take money and talent, and not necessarily in that order. See Big 5 for a "speculisting."

Alexander on Block
Seahawks actively shopping 2004 NFL TD king and NFC's leading RB Shaun Alexander.

In lieu of pre-empted PTI today, how about a little "Toss-Up":

Who's more trade-worthy: Alexander or Edge James?

As long as neither team is asking for a first-rounder, I'm going after Alexander. His Week 17 whining bothers me, but not as much as James' history of knee problems.

Remember: Corey Dillon was a griper, too. You can repair a bad attitude; fixing bad wheels is more problematic.

Ding!

Maryland:
I'm a big Terps fan, but if you can't beat Clemson ONCE in THREE tries (especially in a must-win!), you deserve that NIT.
 
 
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie Live!
Bubble Watch
MLB Roid Q & A
 
Phil Jackson Destinations
Knicks
Nothing tops NY homecoming
 
Mavs
Cuban willing to spend
 
T-Wolves
KG a star in MJ mold
 
Lakers
No Shaq? Why go back?
 
Blazers
Good $, Bad dysfunction
 

Canseco wants immunity for the hearings. Congress says it's not planning on granting any. Jose will yap anyway; but what about the others?

Plaxico Burress eyeing Vikings: Wouldn't this just be replacing one lanky head-case WR for another?

More NFL FA Watching: Vikings stay busy, pursuing Packers S Darren Sharper; Jets nearing a deal with Jay Fiedler; Steelers eyeing Ty Law?

Six Red Sox players tested for steroids: Good thing they weren't testing for other substances.

Happy retirement to Purdue coach Gene Keady; no Final Fours (live vicariously through protege Bruce Weber?) but the best comb-over in sports.

Selection Sunday note: Log on after the brackets are announced for a Very Special "Tourney Quickie" (give me until around 8, but check it out!)



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