JOE BIDDLE: Sunday Notes: March 23, 2014

Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Cameron Dollar…

  • Newspapers may be dying, but occasionally they come out with something that gives us ink-stained wretches a glimmer of hope they will survive.

The best headline without question came from the DaytonDaily News after the Dayton Flyers upset THE Ohio State University in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

Viewed as the little step brother by those associated with THE Ohio State University, the Daily News elevated the local university to the Buckeyes level.

“THE University of Dayton,'' read the blaring headline in WWIII-worthy type. In smaller type was the score, 60-59.

Oh, the audacity.

  • Speaking of THE Ohio State University, veteran point guard Aaron Craft's career finally came to a close. Craft's last second shot barely missed banking in, leaving the Buckeyes a point short.

Craft's career included three trips to the Sweet 16, two visits to the Elite Eight and one to the Final Four.

As Tennessee fans recall, Craft was one of the top recruits coming out of high school. It was Craft who attended a cookout at former UT Coach's Bruce Pearl's Knoxville home, the same cookout that Pearl told NCAA investigators that he didn't recognize in pictures they showed him. Nor did he recognize a man who was one of his assistant coaches.

Craft had to carry this year's team and his effort fell short. It seems he has been playing there forever, and he has in this one and done version of college hoops.

  • And those UT fans that thought the university would hire Pearl back, they were daydreaming. Yes, many of the fans wanted him back, but the university pooh-bahs were never going to sign off on it.

I agree it would make them look like hypocrites, but Auburn realized Pearl would not only be the best coach it could hire, but the safest one as well. If Pearl even hiccups wrong, he will never coach again at the NCAA level.

Auburn is putting $14.7 million on the table in hopes Pearl can work the magic he did for a Tennessee program that was in dire need of a total makeover. Auburn hasn't been relevant in basketball since the Sonny Smith era with Charles Barkley, Chuck and Wesley Person, and of course, Hendersonville's Johnny Lynn.

  • Raise your hand if you had Mercer in your bracket. Liar. Rick Byrd and Belmont had a similar opportunity against Duke when they were in the Atlantic Sun, but Mercer's Bob Hoffman's Bears were able to stun the basketball world.

If you could have read Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski's mind in the final three minutes it would have been XXX-rated. He said all the right things in crediting Mercer's accomplishment, but Coach K. doesn't take losing to any team lightly.

Truth is, Mercer outplayed the Devils down the stretch. They executed during crunch time while the pressure got to Duke.

  • I never thought I'd have to wear sunglasses while watching the NCAA Tournament on television.

But I had to go to the shades when I flipped on the Nebraska-Baylor game Friday.

Baylor's uniforms and shoes were glow in the dark electric yellow. In case the arena 's lights went out, they would be able to still see each other.

  • Sports Illustrated writer Joan Niesen was startled when NCAA officials would not allow her to take her bottled water out on press row during a regional game.

Hate to break the news to her, but that has always been the case dating back years ago. They provide paper cups with the NCAA logo on it to take out of the media workroom.

Some of the coaches, Iowa's Fran McCaffrey being one of them, solved the problem by putting his water bottle inside the official NCAA paper cup.

Yet another world crisis solved.

  • Tyus Edney is one of the most memorable players in UCLA history. In a full court sprint, Edney laid in a winning buzzer-beating basket against Missouri in a second round game and Jim Harrick's Bruins went on to win the 1995 national championship.

Edney is currently the director of basketball operations at UCLA. He made some comparisons between Coach Steve Alford'steam and the 1995 national championship team that featured the O'Bannon brothers, Ed and Charles.

“There are similarities for sure,'' he told the Los Angeles Times. “They're more confident in themselves now. They believe they can make a good run.''

  • Friday was a perfect day for golf, especially so for Lebanon's Traci Peel. She made her first hole-in-one.

Peel has played golf most of her life and is an active member of the Nashville Women's Golf Association and a member of Lebanon's Five Oaks CC, where she made her hole-in-one.

It came on the (lucky) No. 13, a 110-yard par-3 all-carry over water from an elevated tee box. She used an 8-iron.

“It was really a good shot. I hit it solid and it was high. It landed on the green, bounced a couple of times and rolled in the cup. I saw it go in, but it was weird. I didn't go crazy like most people do when they get a hole in one. I was just kind of stunned and really didn't know what to do,'' she said. Peel was playing with Mary Kelly, Linda Dearman and Toni Dziegal at the time.

Traci knew what was coming after she finished her round.

“I spent about $200 buying drinks in the clubhouse,'' she laughed.

Well worth it, I'd say.

  •  I'm all for strict security measures at athletic events. That said, they sometimes leave you shaking your head. Such was the case with Ted Leitner, play-by-play announcer for the Mountain West title game.

With one minute left in the New Mexico-San Diego State game, a security guard forced Leitner to move his bag.

“Stupid! Totally stupid. These morons think the terrorists are honing in here on the Mountain West tournament in Las Vegas,'' Leitner ranted in the current Sports Illustrated issue.

  • Speaking of morons: A Kentucky fan got a tattoo on his arm that declared UK the 2014 National Champions. It was the week before the Wildcats played their first game.
  • I think the Titans are taking a risk letting veteran kicker Rob Bironas go. I understand it was a money thing. Isn't it always? I think he still has a lot of gas left in the tank and as of now they seemingly don't have a replacement for Bironas.

To get a kicker through the draft is iffy at best. Are you going to depend on a rookie kicker?

Bironas says he will make Nashville his home. He is engaged to Hall of Fame QB Terry Bradshaw's daughter and both are involved in Our Town. Thankfully, Bradshaw's daughter got her mother's looks.

Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at   

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