March 31, 2003
Dwyane Wade:
Still haven't got over his Saturday triple-double, linchpin of the best executed game plan of this year's Tournament.
 
 
 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
FINAL.  FABULOUS.

Surprise teams sure make the Final Four a lot more fun than chalk. Here's a preview of a few of the week's storylines: Tom Crean, motivational genius ... Rick Barnes, "he-was-due" Final Four newbie ... Roy Williams, saddled with title-or-bust expectations ... Jim Boeheim, on the receiving end of whining for once.

All that, plus more Final Four winners (and whiners) ...

Winners
Stardom is age-indifferent: There's a Syracuse freshman (Carmelo Anthony), a Texas soph (T.J. Ford), a Marquette junior (Wade) and two Kansas seniors (Kirk Hinrich, Nick Collison).

Of course, you don't hear anything about any of these ridiculously clutch and NBA-ready players displacing unproven LeBron from the top of the NBA draft heap. (Read on for MJ's take on LeBron.)

Whiners
That wasn't Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson (and a chorus of critics) complaining about the Albany game location, was it?

Because I didn't hear any complaints about the Sooners' placement in Oklahoma City in the early rounds. And I didn't hear any requests to swap with 2-seed Kansas in the brutal West on Selection Sunday.

Sure, the pod system is a joke, between Syracuse in Albany and Texas in San Antonio. But don't diminish the real keys: the Orange's dominating zone D and the Longhorns' bench strength.

MLB Openers
Here's a sign this baseball season will be a wacky one: The previously hapless Rangers started their season with a 6-3 win last night over the defending champion Angels. Is it Buck Showalter's influence? Not as much as the three HRs.

"IS IT APRIL ALREADY?" EDITION
CONVERSATION TOPICS THAT ARE IN PLAY:
1 If I was UCLA, I'd open bank for Marquette's Tom Crean
2 T'Wolves' familiar spring swoon coming early this year
3 Great American Ball Park: Yeah, but it's in Cincy
CONVERSATION TOPICS THAT ARE SO OVER:
1 NCAA Tourney "home-court" advantage for Texas, 'Cuse
2 Complaining about that "home-court" advantage
3 No more Judd sightings: Worse than office-pool cellar
 
MJ on LeBron
MJ declined to say if James clears the mythical "Men-Dunleavy Line": But the reigning king said that while the would-be king has "unlimited potential," he enters the NBA "toward the bottom" of 2s and 3s.

Love-ing the TPC
Every story about Davis Love always seems to include the adjective "underachieving," an early-career label that stuck, the poor schnook.

Not sure if his six-stroke TPC title will help, but we know Tiger will never have that rep, even though he put three shots in the drink and finished out of the top 10.

NASCAR
Dale Jr. was beat out by Ryan Newman in Texas this weekend, but you didn't hear him complaining about the pro-Syracuse crowd in Albany.
Faking It: MLB
A few baseball talking points for workplace "faking it," knowing you don't fully engage until the Final Four is over:

"K-Rod a set-up guy? What a waste!" ...

"As far as baby names go, 'Magglio' is the new 'Casey'"...

"The Phillies are this season's Angels" ...

"Frankly, I'm a little tired of hearing how great those overachieving small-market teams are."


Blue Jays' marketing department:
Bought newspaper ad Sunday encouraging fans -- in English and Japanese -- to come out and boo Hideki Matsui. And bring the kids!
 
 
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Today on ESPN.com
P2: Wacky Bracket
MLB Preview
MLB: Twins will win
 

MLB Opening Day is about the One-Name pitchers: Pedro, Unit, Rocket, Maddux, K-K-K-K-Kerry. ..

Anyone who picked all four No. 1 seeds for the Final Four has lost prediction legitimacy ...

Kobe should have saved some of Friday's double-nickel for the Sonics on Sunday ...

Top NFL prospect Terrell Suggs was reportedly in a brawl this weekend, which means his draft file gets a notation: "Nicely aggressive" ...

So much for the "Re-seed the Final Four because Arizona playing Kentucky isn't fair!" movement ...

The No. 1 Brit single is a deodorant ad theme song, which is kind of like "Byyyyy ... Mennen!" being No. 1 here ...


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