Thursday Dispatch: Knights Roll, Mania Moved & Mo’ (Mostly Hoops)

Twice this week, because of circumstance, I’ve found myself listening to hoops on the radio.

On Monday, I had a meeting that prevented me from watching the U of L’s women’s game. So I listened in the car on the way home. I was struck by how much information play by play announcer Matt Andrews provides.

Periodically he throws in what lineup is on the floor. And, unlike way too many announcers these days, he continually provides the basics. Time and score and relevant stats, like scoring and free throw percentage and the number of fouls on a player when one is committed.

Plus he paints a pretty good picture of the action.

It’s a lost art.

Last night I listened to the Bellarmine W over Alabama-Huntsville in the DII Elite Eight. Because it wasn’t on TV.

(FYI, tonight’s semi-final tilt vs. Montevallo will be on the CBS SN TV, Insight 531/ 968. Tip is scheduled for 9:40.)

Anyway, Bellarmine’s play by play announcer Nick Curran isn’t half bad himself. More obviously a homer than Andrews, but still quite listenable.

I mention this, given my disgust with the changes that have evolved for TV play by play guys. (To be honest, I never listen to U of L or UK games on the radio.) Details, like the ones mentioned above, are way too often overlooked. Give us the basics, guys and gals.

Sure, on television, we now know time and score because it’s always on the screen. But how often do they fail to tell us who committed a foul and how many that player has? Who has how many points? Even during the half.

Reporting is giving way to entertaining. It’s not a healthy trend.

* * * * *

Well, the NFL certainly didn’t futz around with the New Orleans Saints.

It’s obvious the league meant to send a message. One has to believe it was heard loud and clear.

Sean Payton has been suspended for a year. Maybe there’s been a punishment that severe since, but the last time I remember that happening was when Pete Rozell sat down Louisville’s Golden Boy Paul Hornung and Alex Karras for a season for gambling.

Football is a vicious sport, more so in contemporary times because the players are bigger, faster, stronger and man for man meaner. Meaning that, these days, just about every guy on the roster is Dick Butkus or Night Train Lane mean.

That said, there’s still something very disturbing about the reality of bounties for injuries. I clearly recall that Saints game against Favre in the playoffs, and that they were going for something extra when getting to the QB.

These fines and penalties are well deserved. Let’s hope it stops the practice.

* * * * *

Here’s what I know about last night’s DII Elite 8 games. Stonehill and Western Washington upset higher rated foes by a point apiece. Montevallo won their tilt by a deuce. Which means Bellarmine’s 9 point margin over #2 rated Alabama Huntsville is a relative mauling.

It wasn’t that easy. But . . . the Knights, with Luke Sprague still not at full strength and Keisten Jones now hurt, persevere.

To further recognition of my lack of knowledge, I can tell you nothing about Montevallo. Other than what the www. tells me. The university is in Alabama. The Falcons finished second in the Peach Belt Conference, behind USC Aiken. Leading scorer DJ Rivera averages over 20 per game.

They will not have as many fans as Bellarmine tonight in the Northern Kentucky arena.

I wouldn’t be betting against the Knights.

* * * * *

A second consecutive national crown for Scotty Davenport and the Knights would be truly special. If it doesn’t happen, so be it, the metamorphosis from a perennial also ran into a legit, consistent DII power is in place.

The potential has always been there, given the quality of hoops in the surrounding area where Bellarmine recruits.

That Joe Reibel and others who have coached at the Norris Place school couldn’t get it done always surprised me. Perhaps there’s a greater commitment from the school’s administration now than, say, when Bobby Valvano was the coach.

Nonetheless Scotty Davenport is to be commended for what he’s done there. Great work, indeed.

* * * * *

Did the Denver Elways get rid of Tim Tebow quickly or what?

It’s like they wanted to purge some pox from the system.

I still say they made a mistake. Tebow’s a football player who is an asset to any team he’s on. Play him at fullback. Or tight end. Or in a Wildcat set. Too late now. He’s a Jet. And the New York papers are already finding the negativitude.

* * * * *

There’s a little thing going on tonight called the Sweet Sixteen.

I’ve got a feeling the Badgers will catch the ‘Cuse. Ohio State appears to have too much for Cincy and should beat the Bearcats for the first time ever in the Dance. I have no feel for Florida vs. Marquette, though it should be a dandy. I’ll be rooting for the Big East school.

I have no sense of the Louisville outcome, though Michigan State appears slightly better on paper. The line moved back to 5 from 4 1/2, meaning the betting public likes Sparty. I pray they’re wrong.

– Seedy K

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