Sunday, December 5, 2010

Letter to Gene Wojciechowski about his Ron Santo Article

Below is an email I sent to Gene Wojciechowski regarding his article on Cubs Legend Ron Santo (December 3,2010) and his reply.  To view this great piece, please visit


For years, I have always sought your articles as I find your intellectual insight on any topic your write about intriguing. To be honest, you are one of the reasons why I majored in Journalism (never turned out to be anything more than a major) and one of the reasons I still log on to ESPN; I own two of your novels and   and find your writing style and voice to be out of this world; you are truly a master of your craft. With all my brown nosing aside, I wanted to tell you that your piece today on Cubs
legend Ron Santo is the best thing I think you have ever written.  As a Cubs fan of 31 years (yes I am 31 years old) and a member of the Cubs family as a season ticket holder for 20 years (or my family has
the tickets and I confiscate them and attend games) I woke this morning to learn of the news of Ron's passing. He was the player my Mom most loved as a child and I never knew how much I truly cared
about him until that 6 word text "Ron Santo passed away this morning".
I'm not a very emotional person but I immediately began to sob like a 14 year old boy on steroids. I always questioned whether Ronnie should be in the booth on WGN as Chicago is a top market and we deserve top broadcasters but today I realized for the first time in a while, the radio broadcast had nothing to do with insight on the field or what Santo believed should happen next, it was about the Cubs and Santo managed to put through his emotion as the ultimate fan and broadcast the team. Santo once said being in the Cubs broadcast booth was "therapy" and he didn't believe he would had made it as far as he had without the Cubs. As a Cub fan, I am not sure I would have gotten through the disappointment of Brant Brown dropping the ball, the debacle of 2003 and 2004 and the terrible season we just endured in 2010 without Ron's rants or one off silly statements about his toupee.
It was your article that made me come to the conclusion that Ron Santo is a hall of famer of life and he didn't need baseball as much as baseball needed and will always need someone like him. The Hall of Fame should be ashamed of themselves for not inducting Ron Santo years ago.  I'm certain he'll get into the Hall of Fame this season and unfortunately he will be watching from above but every Cub fan, every Cancer survivor, every amputee and every diabetic will be enshrined in Cooperstown with him because Santo was not just a Cub fan and a Cubs legend but a hero to everyone who needed someone to say, "OH NO, you will not quit".
Thank you for listening and thank you again for the wonderful work you do. The Cubs were Ron's therapy and today Gene, you were mine
Dan Starzec Jr.


Thanks for the very kind email. I'm like you--I'm going to miss the lug. He was one of a kind.
As for books, I just finished one on the 1992 Duke-Kentucky game--what I consider the best college game ever played. It will be out next year at this time.
Take care.

Friday, November 19, 2010

In Response-Da Bears-What does their record really mean

With 2.5 quarters of the season gone (based on Lovie Smith's math), the Bears are 7-3.  Many "experts" including those found on the Booya Network still don't believe the record justifies respect ("When you have 7 wins, people give you respect," as Lovie Smith told us late Thursday night) 
Experts will mention how the Bears schedule has contributed to their record and point to bad losses to Washington and Seattle, poor play vs the Buffalo Bills.  They say they were lucky to beat the Detroit Lions week 1; that they only beat the Packers in week 3 as Green Bay self-destructed with 18 penalties.  Then they quote Dennis Greene and tell the world, "They are who we thought they were" and then break a table in pure disappointment but last night's dominating performance vs the Miami Dolphins; the media has begun to give some respect despite their wait time Vick comes to town.
Last night, the Bears won because they managed the game on offense and let their stellar defense shine on the National stage; they gained my confidence and gave me hope that despite their remaining schedule a division title and maybe a 1st round bye is in the future.
Going into next Sunday's battle with the Philadelphia Eagles and the "post prison Michael Vick", the nation is going to find out who the Bears really are.  Will Tony Dungy scream from the NBC studio's that they are the best team in the NFC or the sceptics win out and quote Dennis Greene?  We have to wait to find out but Sports Danny is hoping the wait is worth it's wait in Gould! 

Please leave your thoughts below.  Fill out the poll and tell me:  Who do you believe the Bears really are?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

"The Decision"

The End is Near

After a week of rumors, whirlwind meetings, more meetings and then more meetings, answers started today with the announcement of Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade signing with the Heat. They said it wasn’t about the money (Sure!) and they said that Miami is the place they believe they can win multiple contracts together. So two big fish catch the worm and all the others are left holding their cards at the table awaiting the “Kings” decision. Tomorrow night on ESPN the world will know, live from the Boys and Girls Club in Greenwich, Connecticut. James will be featured in a 1 hour fluff fest called, “The Decision”.

So my initial reaction was, WOW! What an egotistical maniac. MJ would never have referred to himself as the “Greatest” but James pronounces himself as the “King”. Then after several hours of mulling it over, I thought, “WOW! Seriously? National television to announce where you are playing basketball?!” Finally after thinking about it for a few more minutes, I realized that the NBA has consumed the lives of a ton of fans for a whole week; why not end it with a bang!? So here we are, less than 24 hours away from the “Decision” and while everyone says nobody knows what is going on, Lebron knows, his people know. What is the point of scheduling a special to release the news prior to the special? So we wait, we wait for the plane to arrive, for Lebron to arrive, for the kids to arrive, we wait for his announcement; we wait. The same way Stuart Scott waits to say “Booya!” and for his eye to go back to normal.

I made my prediction last week and I’ll stick with it, I think that on the floor, the Bulls now with the acquisition of Boozer, have the best chance to win a title; the quickest of any of the six teams with the existing players on the roster. In looking at Miami, yes, they would have three stars. However, even with three stars, there is one ball and NOBODY ELSE. Agreed, they are three of the top 10 players in the league and some people could say, “Well, Look at Boston, they did it with three stars” but, let’s take a look at Boston. Boston had Kendrick Perkins and Rondo in place (while he was certainly not the player he is today) and Pierce, Garnett and Ray Allen were all in their 30’s. They knew they had to play together to win. With Bosh, Lebron and Wade, they all want the ball, they all want the spotlight and they all want to be “The Man”. I just cannot believe they would win a title right away.

While the Bulls may not beat the Lakers or Orlando right away, I predict they would be closer than any other team from the moment Boozer signed the contract. Don’t forget since James, Wade and Bosh would have to take less money to play together, it would fit under the 58 million dollar salary cap. However they have Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers on the roster with three 2nd round picks, so they would have 3 max players, 2 players at around the mid level exception (who are not very good) and then 8 players at the veteran or rookie minimum. With all that money being thrown at average players, I just do not see James going there.

The Choice as I see it

Really, there are 3 teams (if we eliminate Miami for the time being - I should not completely dismiss them, since it is very possible he chooses them, but for my purposes I’ll use the below three teams). Main stream media picks New York based on what he would become there if he ever won, he really could be called the “King” of the World. The other two choices, Chicago and Cleveland are decisions based on the desire for winning (Chicago) or loyalty (Cleveland).

1. New York- Finishes third in the derby due to lack of moving parts, despite Amare signing on. If Lebron chooses the Knicks, it is more about fame and building his brand, not about winning a title within the next 3 years. He cannot win without other players and currently Amare is the only player worth anything on that roster. They have no point guard; they have Eddie “I’m Fat” Curry and a coach that does not believe in a defense.

2. Chicago- Prior to today’s signing of Carlos Boozer, the Bulls had Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng. While James would have made them a stellar team, they were probably still a shooter and a back-to-the-basket scorer away from contending with the beasts of the east (Orlando, Boston). Although Carlos Boozer is not a top 10 player in the league like Chris Bosh, he is pretty damn good. You do not average 20 points and 10 boards for a career in the Western Conference by accident. He can help the Bulls become an instant playoff team. Without Lebron, they are still in NBA hell. However, it is a better NBA hell, because with a couple of moves, some luck and a few upgrades to the roster, the arrow points higher than it currently is.

3. Cleveland- While I still do not see the talent that wins a title on the roster, I completely understand the pull Lebron feels to the city and the state of Ohio. Growing up in Chicago, I feel the same way. I would hope that if D-Rose ever hits the open market, he would choose to stay home instead of leaving for a bigger market, a better team, a chance to play with different players or whatever reason. The Cavs won a ton of games the last 2 seasons, made the finals three years ago riding the coattails of Lebron. With a few moves AND Lebron, they will eventually win a title. On the other hand, do they have the pieces in place to get another star to share the load?

His Legacy

Talent-wise, Lebron James will go down in history with some of the NBA greats; Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neil, Julius Erving etc, etc. What I think separates those players from Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley and John Stockton are championship rings. Without a championship title and more likely several, Lebron’s legacy faces a downward spiral and while he probably will compete for the rank of greatest player ever, without the titles, the argument ends at statistics.

Bias aside, if the decision James makes is truly about loyalty to his home and the 12% annual raises and 30 million dollars, I would gain a lot of respect for him. Staying in Cleveland makes sense. He can stand in front of the camera, look America in the eye and say, “My decision is based on loyalty to several thousand people who have followed me and loved me for years, and it’s about the city of Cleveland, my birth place, my children, my family and my comfort level with where I am. It is also my dream of bringing a title to this great city.”

If he goes to NY, it’s not about winning and the decision is about fame, and not basketball and he will be very far from winning a title. Lebron in NY makes me want to pluck my eye brows out with a toothpick.

If he chooses Miami, he has to contend with the county being named after another player on his own team. He is no longer King, and while he still is the best player, it’s not his team. They eventually win a title but it would not mean as much to him as winning in Cleveland.

If he chooses the Bulls, it’s about the fame and fortune, of winning and endorsements. It puts him in the same spotlight as Michael Jordan, his idol and, of course, I’m okay with that decision as well.

My hope for 7/8/2010-“The Decision”

I really want Lebron James on the Bulls. I want him to announce the next five years he will be dressed in a Bulls Jersey, be out and about in Chicago, and become a bigger superstar than he already is. I want him to bring the Bulls back to the prominent franchise it was in the 90’s.

Second, I want James to be sure about his decision and do whatever he does for the right reason. Fame and fortune is his wherever he plays, but I believe titles will decide his final legacy. Great talents like James do not come around all too often. To fulfill their destiny as a all-time great, multiple championships are needed.

Third, I want his decision to actually be announced on the air at 10 minutes after 8 PM on the show known as “The Decision” not by Chad Ford or Shelly Smith or Steven A Smith at noon via Twitter. This entire process for James’ camp have controlled the media and kept everything secret. They made no comments and nobody in his party is currently speaking. All teams involved have reported they have not been told where they are going or exactly where they stand. Do I believe the team doesn’t know? Probably not, but it would be really neat to see him pick up the phone at 8:10 PM on 7/8/10 and confirm his choice to the owner of the team, to the GM of the team, to one of the players on that team or even the Mayor of the City of that team. How great would it be for the media not to break the news to America prior to the most sought after free agent in NBA history telling America himself?

Finally, I hope that James is honest as to why his choice is made. If it’s NY, tell us that it’s because it offered the best financial opportunity outside of basketball. If it’s Miami, tell us you wanted to live on South Beach and win titles with Wade and Bosh. If it’s Chicago, tell us that it’s because you want to live up to the legacy set by Michael Jordan. Just be honest, Lebron, and no matter what the choice is, even the people of Cleveland would forgive you if you left.

How do you think Lebron should make the announcement? Leave your comments below.

You can follow me on twitter @sportsdanny1979

A fan page will be set up in the near future on Facebook as well. Stay tuned for more details.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

In Response: Lebron's Big Decision

The Wait is Over

Many believed it would not happen. The marquee free agent players resign with their current teams prior to July 1, 2010. Nobody believed NBA Superstars like Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and Amare Stoudemire would actually hit the free agent market and that their teams would risk losing them for nothing. At Midnight tonight, the dream becomes a reality.
Last week has been like hell to those fans of a team with a chance to keep their superstar, or in my case, a chance to get one of the superstars. As a Bulls fan, breaking news on Sunday made me want to go to the local ice rink and perform a triple axel after hearing that Lebron James and Chris Bosh moving to Chicago was a “done deal”. Then on Monday, Steven A. Smith’s report Bosh, Wade and James would all end up signing in Miami, for less money made me want to jump off a cliff. The story of the players all meeting in Miami and discussing that possibility floated out there, but Wade was in Chicago all weekend visiting his family. Therefore, unless the super secret meeting happened earlier than reported, I do not believe it. In fact, I do not believe anyone knows what is going to happen. Everything at this point is just speculation.
Yesterday, David Letterman had New Jersey Nets part owner and Rap Superstar JayZ on his show. Letterman had this to say about NBA Free Agency, specifically what Lebron James should do.

“He really oughta stay where he is, and help the city. He would be a bigger hero that way, than if he [came here. NY] And what are the chances of him winning with Knicks? Zero? What are his chances of winning with the Nets? Notttt that strong.“

JayZ just gave Letterman a blank stare. The rapper is prevented from commenting on James despite their documented friendship, however part of me agrees with Letterman. James is a hero to many in Cleveland as they find solace in watching one of the greatest players of all time overpower other teams.  If he leaves, Lebron becomes Cleveland enemy #1 jumping in front of the same man who took an entire football team from the city of Cleveland, Baltimore Raven’s owner Art Modell. Truly, the final announcement by Lebron is a lose, lose situation.

Lose scenario A
Lebron decides to leave Cleveland and ends up, for argument sake, with the Bulls. He has a chance to play along side Derrick Rose for the next 5+ years and possibly become a dynamic duo, one that could go down in NBA glory. He could tell everyone it was all about winning, and use the “I took 30 million dollars less” excuse when people blame him for leaving Cleveland to suffer, as a city and a franchise, after he grew up in Akron. On the other hand, people could praise him and say that by moving onto the bright lights of the big city in the second major media market in the US, Lebron is actually making himself more money and he is playing in the house that Jordan built

Lose Scenario B
Lebron stays in Cleveland, who fails to make the necessary moves to compete with Orlando, LA and other powerhouses of the NBA. Lebron never wins and he suffers under a legacy of being one of the best not to win a title due to the lack of a supporting cast. James spoils away in Cleveland as the king of Ohio but always pines for the glory of a championship. He also never meets his goal of being a global superstar, as he needs to win a title in order to be mentioned in the same breath overseas as Jordan and Kobe (Bryant, not beef).

If LeBron signs in Miami he is riding Wade’s coat-tails to a title, and if he stays in Cleveland, he is seen as greedy. Lebron James is the biggest free agent since Shaq to consider leaving his original team and yet, he would be the biggest “bad guy” for doing so.

It’s His Decision and It matters to players and fans alike
In the end, Lebron James’s decision will shape the future of the franchise he chooses and make a difference to the people of Cleveland. If he stays, the city continues to grow (as much as Cleveland can actually grow) and the Cavs will continue to draw fans, help the local economy and eventually bring an NBA crown to Cleveland (in theory). If he leaves, the people of Cleveland will survive but they will not fondly remember the 6 years he played at the Quicken Arena, but instead where they were when the announcement came that he was playing elsewhere.
James’s final decision also shapes the rest of free agency, none of the other free agents are going to sign until the biggest fish does.

The Prediction
As a Bulls fan, I never expected the Bulls to be even mentioned as a possible suitor for ‘King’ James. As the season went on and Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah continued to improve, the outlook seemed better and better. I predicted he would stay in Cleveland and deal with the fact that he may have to win a title on his own. In breaking down possible destinations, there are six possible places I think he could end up:

1. New York Knicks- He would have to wait at least 2 seasons for a chance at a time

2. The Heat- He would win right away with Wade and another free agent but it would mean he never was ‘the’ star on the team (People may say, Jordan had Pippen but it was not Pippen’s team, it was Michael’s team. Miami is D-Wade’s team)

3. New Jersey Nets- They are young and have a billionaire owner and are moving to Brooklyn. If he is going to go to New York, he would choose to play in the Garden and not with the team that is second fiddle to the Knicks. 4. LA Clippers – They are the Clippers and I just cannot see him competing with Kobe in LA.

5 and 6. This leaves Chicago and Cleveland.

I think and hope that its Chicago. He would play with Rose and Noah in a global media market and could win multiple titles with Chris Bosh. He would make the 30 million dollars up fast due to endorsements. While Cleveland suffers, James could keep his image polished by continuing to give back to the city he once loved. Michael Jordan once ruled the town, now James can use the beloved Bulls to build his dynasty, on and off the court!

Leave your comments on where you think Lebron James should sign and why.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

In Response: Del Negro vs. Paxson: Who wins with special commentary from Ben Mercado

The fight is almost here and special guest Ben Mercado will give his pre-fight breakdown of Del Negro vs Paxson II at the end of the fight's backstory

Late last week, news broke that after the March 30 loss by the Chicago Bulls to the Phoenix Suns, Bulls Executive Vice President John Paxson stormed into Head Coach Vinny Del Negro’s office and had an argument over the 27 minutes that Joakim Noah played. Noah, who missed several weeks with a plantar fasciitis issue in his left foot, has been limited since his return to the Bulls. The team sat him for three weeks and upon his return, he played limited minutes for the first couple of weeks to build up his stamina. On this specific night, Noah played 27 minutes and according to reports was supposed to play 22. The game was close in the fourth quarter and Vinny Del Negro decided it was important for the team to win the game as they were attempting to make the playoffs. Despite his minutes and his stellar play that night (12 points 10 boards), it is clear that the Bulls were less concerned about making the playoffs than they were about the future health of their star forward. Del Negro is fired and everyone around the organization, in the media and Vinny himself know this, but he is fighting for his next job and knew making the playoffs would help his chances of landing on someone else’s bench next season.

According to Yahoo Sports, Paxson stormed into Del Negro’s office, berated him with words and then grabbed him by the tie. The staff had to separate the pair and the Bulls, Paxson and Del Negro have hired attorneys due to the delicate nature of the incident.

TNT’s Craig Sagar, who suddenly believes he is a journalist, reported during Wednesday night's game between the Bulls and Celtics that Chicago Tribune Bull’s beat writer K.C. Johnson knew of the fight and did not write about it out. Johnson told Sagar, “‘when somebody's future is in my hand and I can affect it. ... I did not report it,” and that his decision to keep a tight lip on the story was based on "private conversations". Johnson refused to provide any details on who the conversations were with but later released the below statement (found on

“I made the decision less because of the flow of information. It was more for a humane reason. Ultimately, you may view that reason as unsound journalistically, but I'm comfortable with it even while facing the fallout.”

While I understand why people may believe Johnson should have reported the incident right away and not hold onto it until someone else broke it, then report what he knew about it; I am glad there are still journalists who have morals and do not release stories that really have nothing to do with the sport they are covering. As for Del Negro, Paxson and the Bulls Organization, the only person to talk was Bulls GM and resident puppet Gar Forman who released a nonsensical statement on Friday.

“The Chicago Bulls are focusing all of our energies into the remainder of this season and, as such, were disappointed at the recent stories that may have distracted from that. Reports of a recent internal disagreement between a Bulls executive and the Bulls head coach were the result of each expressing their passion about the health and well being of their players and the desire to win basketball games.

The event occurred in Coach Del Negro's office, not in the locker room and not in front of the players, as some wrongly have reported. This disagreement, while not communicated well by either party in the heat of the moment and in the immediate aftermath of a tough loss, was a result of conflicting views, but all based on the fine balance required to ensure both the immediate and long-term success of the team and the health of its players. The fans well know that the Bulls are dedicated to the team's day-to-day success, but first and foremost want to protect the health and well being of its players.
The Bulls have a full and complete understanding of what took place, but, as requested by all parties, will address the attendant issues with the participants after the season is over. At this point, everyone intends to keep focused on the remaining games”

I am certain that Del Negro knows he is fired, and has actually known for a long time. Based on the internal investigation and the results of both parties hiring lawyers to look into the situation further; it is questionable if Paxson will be fired as well. The Bulls are probably going to look into firing Del Negro “with cause” and avoid paying him the last year on this 3 year 9 million dollar contract. If this was to occur and they can provide that Vinny the Black was negligent in listening to his boss's request not to play their young star when he was coming off an injury, they will have a case. Of course, since the report stated Paxson started the fight, it is unclear how that would exactly work. Then there was another report on Thursday night from that it was Del Negro that started the fight. VDH did respond to that report by saying

"That's 100 percent false,” adding, “'it’s not about me, it's about the players . . . I'm very proud of how guys have hung together all year through a lot of things. Just gutted it out."

Of course the Bulls players did not respond with words, but with action and despite losing 10 games in a row during a stretch where Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Lou Deng were out, they managed to make the playoffs. This article is being written after their game 1 loss and I’d expect the series to end in no more than 5 games as the Cleveland Cavs are simply too strong and too deep with talent for the young Bulls to compete for a game, let alone a 7 game series.

Since I have fed you what we know, let us started to imagine, what if they actually did schedule another fight and Paxson vs. Del Negro 2 occurred in the UFC's Octagon. Before we get to a special guest’s breakdown of the fight, here is the tale of the tape:

John Macbeth Paxson-6’2” 185 pounds (playing weight)
Vinnie Del Negro- 6’4” 185 pounds (playing weight)

I invited friend, mentor, fellow Cubs fan, former boxer and current staff writer of Chicago Boxing News, Ben Mercado to provide a pre-fight break down so we can be more informed about what we can expect from this battle royal. 

Dan Starzec Jr.

Take it away Ben

John Macbeth Paxson vs. Vinnie Del Negro
185lb middleweight bout

After the long awaited, yet anticlimactic rematch between Roy Jones, Jr. (certain future hall-of-famer and onetime P4P king), and Bernard Hopkins (the middleweight division's longest reigning champion), was over with, I could not help but long for the upcoming MMA rematch between Vinnie Del Negro, and John Paxson.

Del Negro, a tall middleweight at 6'4" is a long, rangy fighter with solid footwork, and decent stand-up. While predominantly an experienced grappler on his own right, training out of camp Extreme Kurt Rambis, he can stuff the take-down well enough to keep the fight where he wants it - which, against Paxson (a shorter, but much stronger fighter with an incredible ground game) will be on his feet.

While it's true that oftentimes, taller MMA fighters can find a disadvantage in striking a smaller opponent as shorter fighters can capitalize on their own lower center of gravity. This allows a firmer stance, a quicker sprawl, and by punching upwards, a power advantage with take-down stuffing uppercuts. That said, as Del Negro really has no business in Paxson's mount (or his guard, for that matter), his only choice is to try and use his reach advantage and out strike Paxson. Leg kicks, straight jabs with countering rights. He should use his range to keep his opponent at bay...long enough to create openings for a head kick, which Del Negro can use to end the fight instantly.

Easier said than done, of course, as with Paxson you've not only got a superior Jiu Jitsu practitioner (brown belt, out of Dave Corzine's Cobra Kai camp) but a harder puncher as well. Paxson is by definition, a true scrapper. His relentless energy and incredible accuracy make him a formidable striker who lands at will. But if his stand-up is "world-class", his ground game is "beyond our solar system". While it's true that in the first fight, Paxson used Del Negro's tie as a grip for some dirty boxing, he should have no problems finding Vinnie's chin without it this time (the rematch will be "no GI") as he often uses his striking to create distractions for the take down. A quick rush-in, left-right combo upstairs, then a double-leg thrust that ends up immediately in could call this his forte. Count on seeing this all night.

At the end of the day, I'd have to say that Pax has the ability to walk away the easy victor here. If he remains focused and utilizes his Corzine-bread ground skills, his all-around game should allow him to command the Octagon (first fight was unsanctioned, but can be found on YouTube).

But then again, if Vinnie the Black, with his long range and viscous head and leg kicks, can find Paxson early, he may be sending the former Bull back into the basketball court where it's safer.


Please comment on whom you believe will win the upcoming match up as well as provide your answer to this week’s poll question, “Who wins Paxson vs. Del Negro II.

Monday, March 22, 2010

In Response

Last Thursday, the NCAA tournament championship began and day 1 was quite possibly the best day I have ever witnessed. From 'Nova barely beating Robert Morris to Washington upsetting a tough Marquette team, most of the games provided an entertaining release from everyday life for even the casual fan. To me, when it comes to the first round, upsets are positive for the tournament but after the first round, they are very overrated. While Northern Iowa should have been a 6 seed, their win versus Kansas is a great story, not only did it destroy about 50% of all office pool brackets but also it showed there really is no dominant team in college basketball. Cornell took out Temple and then destroyed the Big Ten's own Wisconsin Badgers. St. Mary's beat Richmond and then showed Villanova that their win over Robert Morris was helped by the referees, and that in the tournament guards are important, but so are the bigs. Butler, another mid major school, proved its seed was justified by beating an upstart UTEP team and then easily beating upset winner Murray State in round 2.

For argument sake, lets say Cornell, West Virginia, Duke, St. Mary's, Kansas State, Butler, Ohio State and Northern Iowa win their sweet sixteen games. Would it be better for college basketball for the 4 mid-major teams to win and head to Indianapolis (Cornell, St.Mary's Butler, Northern Iowa) and play in the final four OR would it be better if all of them lost and let the big boys play? Some may think CBS likes the little guy but when George Mason made it a few years ago, the numbers showed differently. Nobody watched Florida pounce GM and as a result, they didn't watch LSU vs UCLA either. If UConn had beat George Mason in the 2006 elite 8, more would have paid attention.

On the other side, all the higher seeds win on Thursday and Friday (Michigan State, Ohio State, Syracuse, Kansas State, Baylor, Duke, West Virginia and Kentucky) and then square off in the elite 8. Isn't that a better story, because on paper, they provide better games and better match-ups? CBS is happy and most pure basketball fans are enthused because of the high quality the games would provide.