March 3, 2003
Adam Scott:
22-year-old models his game after Tiger, nearly takes him down in Match Play semis, finishes strong third.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

One of sports history's most stunning upsets took place over the weekend, and I'm not talking about St John's beating Duke: Little-known Jennie Finch toppled Internet juggernaut Anna Kournikova in Page 2's "Hottest Female Athlete" poll.

And it wasn't even close: Out of more than 150,000 votes cast in the one-on-one comp, Finch -- a star softball player -- got nearly 62 percent. What next? Fame and fortune comparable to the formerly invincible Kournikova? Not likely: Softball just isn't mainstream enough to put her (let alone keep her) on the radar.

After sitting in the Garden bedlam, watching Duke blow an 11-point lead during a scoreless final four minutes, I can explain to haters what it will take to beat the Blue Devils in the Tournament:

Recipe for beating Duke: Backcourt pressure (fell apart in face of St. John's full-court press); a pulse in the paint (Blue Devils don't have one); and a fearless go-to scorer (Duke had no solution for Marcus Hatten, 29 points plus game-winning FT.)

The Crazies know: I can think of at least eight teams with those credentials, and based on the postgame grumbling from Duke fans heading to the exits, they are already steeling themselves for an unnaturally early Tourney exit.

More Protest
Toni Smith has company: Reportedly motivated in part by her upbringing as a Jehovah's Witness, Virginia freshman hoops player Deidre Chatman performed her own protest of U.S. foreign policy, with the now-familiar 90-degree turn from the U.S. flag before UVA's game yesterday.

Get used to it: As things develop in Iraq this month, these statements -- in sports, in entertainment -- will become more common.

Golf: Match Play
Tiger Woods' PGA rivals might have watched his unusually sloppy putting on Sunday and seen a sliver of a chance that one of The Field (as in, "I'll take Tiger; you can have The Field") might

1. Handicapping NBA: Spurs' slogan -- "Why not us?"
2. NFL QB search: Plummer hot, Stewart no buzz
3. This is "training?" Bonds jacks second of spring
1. NBA: Pistons have lost 7 in row -- and our interest
2. Duke as No. 1 seed: And that's the end of that
3. Dubai Desert Classic: Tiger withdraws. Wouldn't you?
topple him, but it was just a tease.

"We try harder!" With his second win in three events, Tiger is headed for such a dominating season that fans should celebrate the inevitable runners-up: Way to hang in there, David Toms!

Size Doesn't Matter
Why would new heavyweight champ Roy Jones ever return to the anonymity/"welfare-weight" paydays of smaller-sized opponents? Mainstream fans (and the bigger money that follows their attention) don't care about weight class, just personalities.

What next: Jones seems to be passionately interested in making a ton of money and building his legacy, so here is the question: Assuming Holyfield is past primetime and that Lennox Lewis would destroy him, how much moolah will it take to get him and Tyson together?

Georgia Hoops
Who is going to want to be Georgia's head hoops coach next season if (uh, when) they are saddled with sanctions and Jim Harrick gets fired? If you like irony, here's a choice: Presumed UCLA lame-duck Steve Lavin, who has experience mopping up Harrick-related messes.

Wells' Book Club
Because he's reportedly settling in with baseball's hottest read today, do you think Yankees GM Brian Cashman would let me join his "Perfect I'm Not!" book club? Questions for discussion:

* How much in the final version is changed from last week's controversial proofs? (And does that matter?)

* Does it really tarnish the Yankees' image?

*In determining a potential punishment, how much does Wells' apology factor in?

*As long as he wins, does anyone in the organization really care what state he's in?

Picks Wrap
Following up this weekend's predictions: Kobe keeps scoring more than 30. Check ... Tiger wins. Check ... Roy whups Ruiz. Check ... We're past this Wells thing by today. Not totally, but seems like it ... Tougher calls on docket for next weekend.

Karl Malone:
Says "there's something wrong with" Shaq and KG if they don't want to be in the Olympics. Their choice; both have played for the U.S. before.
Looking Ahead
Tiger, Anna, Yanks: What's next? Vote at SportsNation

Today on
P2: Jennie vs. Anna
IN: Rumor Central
MLB: Wells

If the USOC is taking suggestions for a new CEO, how about Mark Cuban? ...

Signing Rob Johnson makes me think that Steve Spurrier doesn't know as much about QBs as I thought he did ...

Free-wheeling 'Skins' most promising pick-up: poor man's Faulk, Trung Canidate; most valuable: K John Hall ...

Quickie's No. 1 college-hoops seeds right now: Kentucky, Arizona, Oklahoma, Marquette ...

Picks for tonight: Sixers' nine-game win streak snapped in Sacramento; Texas Tech shocks Kansas in Lubbock ...

If we started the show "Married by Sports Fans," the couple most likely voted together would be A-Rod and Jennie (even though both are spoken for). Coming tomorrow: Actual eligible choices ...

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