Filler On To The Sweet 16

The Wide World Of Basketball, Boxing And Head-Butting.
By Tom Danehy

OKAY, WHERE Y'ALL at? All y'all punked-out, ain't-got-no-daddy, Reebok-wearin' Arizona haters?

Danehy Oh, I'm sorry. I keep forgetting I'm getting old. I should never write a sports column the day after spending an extended period of time in the gym. It's like bumps and bruises; as you get older, it takes longer to recover from the dialect.

So please, come out, come out. Everyone who has spent the last year talkin' all that mess after the Wildcats suffered their third first-round loss in four years, come out and take your medicine. Better yet, bite me.

This was supposed to be Year No. 4, wasn't it? The Cats had played great at the beginning of the year in winning the NIT, but then had shown some serious lapses. They lost at home to Syracuse. They lost at home to Washington, for crying out loud. They lost their leading scorer and rebounder to grades. They finished three games out of first in the Pac-10. This season had disaster written all over it.

So all they did was play a near-perfect game in the first-round thrashing of Valparaiso and then a somewhat less-perfect but no less fulfilling game against Iowa to reach the Sweet 16 for the fifth time in nine years.

The Cats played inspired ball against the Hawkeyes, making it look easy. Of course, our enthusiasm must be tempered by the fact that Iowa is in the Big-10, the most-overrated conference in all of sports. The Moderately Sized 10 went 2-5 in the NCAAs and it took a frantic comeback by Iowa over George Washington and top-seeded Purdue dodging an ICBM to eke out those two meager wins. A last-second three-point attempt by Western Carolina came this close to making Purdue the first-ever No. 1 seed to lose in the first round.

Those Big 10 fans are the absolute worst. They live in the past, when their league was almost respectable. They daydream about a team of five freshmen who never so much as won a conference championship, let alone a national one. All five are now scattered throughout the NBA and/or working at convenience stores.

So, what's up fellas? Where's your badass Big 10 now?

Say, Skippy, where's your school, Illinois? Oh, I'm sorry; they didn't make the NCAAs. Their place in the tournament was taken by Penn State, a football school. How can a coach not recruit basketball players in Illinois? That's like a coach at Sabino saying that he can't find 11 white kids who want to play soccer.

And Bill, what's up with Michigan? Another guy calls a time-out when his team doesn't have one? Don't tell me Steve Fisher can't coach. He managed to teach two different guys to do that in three years.

I can just imagine when those four guys and the recruit rolled that Ford Explorer during that "recruiting visit." I'll bet all five of those guys were screaming "Time out!"

Interestingly, the Sweet 16 includes four teams (Arkansas, Georgetown, Cincinnati and Syracuse) that the Cats faced earlier this year. Arizona beat the first three on the road, but lost to Syracuse at McKale. Cincinnati and Georgetown are both seeded higher than Arizona.

So now it's on to the Sweet 16, where the Cats will face Kansas, which should have been the Number 1 seed in the West. It'll be tough, but I'm not counting Arizona out. If the Cats can rebound and shoot like they did against Iowa, they have a good chance of winning. And I'll talk all kinds of mess if they do.

They've already gone farther than most people thought they would, but they're not satisfied. This is a special team.

IT LOOKS LIKE Mike Tyson is going to become undisputed heavyweight champion of the world again, probably within this calendar year. Oh well, it's boxing. You expect disgusting things to happen.

Somebody told me--no way I'm paying (-per-view) to watch a fight--that Tyson walked into the rink and screamed "Allah Akbar!" Gee, Mike, most people who scream that are carrying a scimitar and they're out looking for infidels. You're just going to beat up some stiff from England so you can go party with fellow convicted assaulter of women Tupac Shakur.

I wonder if they compared sexual abuse notes after the fight.

As for Tyson's opponent, Frank Bruno, what can we say? He managed to hold on--literally--for two-and-a-half rounds. Jolly good show. It was all rather ridiculous.

The only way a Briton could be Heavyweight Champion of the World is if everyone else were French.

THAT SOUND YOU hear is Dennis Rodman unraveling. Last Saturday, in a Bulls victory, Rodman picked up two quick technical fouls and then head-butted a referee!

Of course, he should have been suspended for a month or a season, but he's got freak-show value to the NBA, so he ended up drawing only a six-game suspension and $228,000 in fines and lost salary. He knows if he puts enough butts in the seats, he can act like a madman with relative impunity.

There are leagues in this world where a player would be suspended for life for attacking a ref; but then again, in the NBA, even suspended for life means two years and then you get to come back.

One thing I'll say for Rodman's head-butt. It was harder than anything Bruno threw at Tyson. TW

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