Single page view By Tim Keown
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It was close for awhile; but now that North Carolina has won the NCAA title, we're all saved from the fashion craze of millions of middle-aged American men going to work in bright orange sports coats.

And thanks to Tar Heel coach Roy Williams, everyone in the media is going to have to work a little harder to spin the story toward its most obvious and clichéd angle – What It Means To Be Coach.

Mike Tyson
"Hi! Remember me? I used to be Mike Tyson."

Williams, to his credit, sawed off every question intended to get him to discuss how much it means to him to finally win the big one. (If "Talk about how much this means to you" can be considered a question.) He talked about his players and their families and the program, and he talked about how the North Carolina seniors had won only eight games as freshmen. Then, and only then, he talked about himself.

Boring, maybe, but a nice touch. He understands that nobody in the business of playing or coaching basketball at that level should be crying or pontificating about overcoming obstacles.

Obstacles, say, like public perception. Like, for instance, the public perception of North Carolina as the team with the most talent in the country, and Illinois as the team with the clearest sense of the team concept.

Nothing that happened Monday night disputed either of those claims. North Carolina's players were the most talented on the floor, and Illinois' players were the most unselfish. Nothing wrong with that, but Williams and his players – Raymond Felton most vocally – made it an issue after the game.

It was perfect, of course: Players on teams that are considered to have interchangeable parts get ticked off because they don't get enough credit for their individual ability; players on teams that are constantly touted for having individual talents get ticked off because they don't get enough credit for being a team.

Truth has nothing to do with it.

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When the news hit, Jose Canseco went back to his laboratory to reassess his conservative estimate of steroid users in the big leagues: Alex Sanchez, testing positive.

Call it a smokescreen and Sanchez a scapegoat, but consider this: The early returns on the steroid testing in the majors and minors, where former Giants and Braves soft-tosser Damian Moss is on the suspended list, are challenging everyone's perception of what a steroid user does and what he looks like.

In other words: Obviously, steroids and HGH have been and will be used by sluggers and pitchers and bunters everywhere.

However, that being said: During the appeal process, it's a good bet Sanchez will point to the numbers on his baseball card as the ultimate defense.

Two questions regarding Alex Sanchez: 1) Will there be a push to place an asterisk next to his AL-leading 12 bunt hits? 2) How will this impact his chances to make the Hall of Fame?

By the way: Are those 38 positive-testers in the minor leagues the dumbest, most reckless guys in the game?

The paperback edition will be titled, "Marriage for Idiots," or maybe, "Why the Hell Should Anyone Care About Johnny Damon's Love Life?": Damon's new book, titled "Idiot" so it won't be confused with "The Idiot," details his philandering and rips his ex-wife soundly enough to cause her to spill her guts to the Boston Herald.

Continued...


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