Monday, April 4, 2011, 3:42 p.m.
By Ben Standig
The Sports Junkies (The Fan, 106.7): Lurch returned from his Bahamas sojourn with strep throat (Thats what happens when youre in the casino all night until 3 a.m.) and copious amounts of celebrity and athlete sightings, including Mark Wahlberg, Tim Tebow (going crazy with 5 wagers at the blackjack tables), Matt Damon and Paul Rudd. The Role Models star and Kansas alum apparently is all about taking Jayhawks hoops .
Oh and the week before The Masters, a certain Tiger Woods was also frolicking at the Caribbean resort, apparently partying and breathing in that casino smoke into the wee hours for four straight nights. (If there is any week to bet against Tiger Woods, its this week at The Masters. He was at the casino every single night until 2 AM.) Lurch noted two male friends in Tigers entourage. Apparently no Dennys waitresses were in tow.
For those that like to take their sports prediction cues from politicians, former Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich called in and announced his candidacy to be a member of Butlers rooting section.
The Sports Fix (ESPN 980): On the one-year anniversary of the Donovan McNabb trade, Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro rehashed the what if s with salary cap guru J.I. Halsell. Ah, the memories. Halsell also talked NFL Draft, including how a pair of ACC defensive end prospects UNCs Robert Quinn and Clemsons DaQuan Bowers should look awfully tempting for the Redskins with the 10th overall pick.
Of course, there was plenty of Butler-UConn talk, including a chat with the man that should be the voice of college basketball, CBS Gus Johnson. The Howard grad was pressed to name his most memorable call and the modest, one-time D.C. based broadcaster eventually selected this years Pac 10 Tournament championship game. Nice pick since his take of the buzzer-beating shot was so coooooooold blooded!!!
After watching Alex Ovechkin get his groove on following Saturdays fortuitous game-winning goal, who doesnt want to see it again, animated Ovi-chimp style. Thanks to Cindy Borens tweet, we get to.
Apparently, even with the two so-called mid-majors squaring off in one National semifinals, the ratings for Saturdays two Final Four games rocked. Thats just one reason why Tracee Hamilton says leave the tournament structure alone.
Stat of the Day: For the third consecutive season, one team has defeated the two NCAA tournament finalists. This time its Rick Pitinos Louisville Cardinals, but the previous two times? Georgetown in 2010 and Maryland in 2009.
Speaking of tonights final mens college basketball game of the year, I asked around town and the country for some expert National Championship predictions. Looks like Im not the only going with those pesky Bulldogs:
Ivan Carter, Comcast Sportsnet and host of Washington Post Live - I'll take UConn by 8. Kemba Walker on a roll and Lamb could be a handful for Butler...
Ryan OHalloran, CSNwashington.com - Butler 72, Connecticut 68. The Bulldogs are Team Find A Way and they'll find a way tonight, in part because Connecticut in general and Kemba Walker in particular looked like a tired team Saturday night against Kentucky.
Rich Tandler, CSNwashington.com - I'm going with the 5-man team, Butler, over the UConn Kembas. 66-63
Tarik El-Bashir, Washington Post UConn. Of course, as someone who covers the Big East, I'm hoping to see Kemba and UConn represent the conference well. What he did to Gtown in the conference tourney made me a believer
Gene Wang, Washington Post - I'm picking U-Conn cause I had them going to the title game and losing to Pitt.
Chris Russell, ESPN 980 Butler 64, UConn 60
Joe Yasharoff, Comcast SportsNet - If you're betting with your head you have to pick UConn but I'm eschewing rational thought and picking Butler. They are not an NCAA blue blood, they do it the right way and oh by the way, they can play. Tonight they're playing not only for themselves but for all the VCU's, George Masons and Milan High Schools of the world. Do you believe in miracles? Yes. Butler 51, UConn 49.
Andy Glockner, Sports Illustrated Butler, 65-60
Craig Stouffer, Washington Examiner - Butler. Pretty good teams have ended up looking pretty average against Butler. There's no reason to doubt Kemba Walker, but there's no reason to believe that Brad Stevens won't find a way for his team to stop the Huskies.
Kevin Dunleavy, Washington Examiner - Butler. No team has better prevented the opposition from doing what it does best. Butler will do enough to limit Kemba Walker, and the Huskies will have nowhere else to turn but to freshmen in a triumph of good over evil.
John Keim, Washington Examiner: Ohio State. What's that? Oh, right. UConn. Rooting for Butler, which excels at finding ways to win. But the Huskies have Kemba Walker -- as well as freshman guard Jeremy Lamb. Take the better backcourt.