Joe Santoro
Tribune News Service

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April 4, 2013
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Friday Fodder

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

It would be fitting, in the final year of the real Big East Conference, that two Big East schools (Syracuse and Louisville) meet for the NCAA Tournament championship. They are the two best teams left standing (sorry Wichita State and Michigan) and it would be the fourth meeting of the year between the two schools. Louisville owns a 2-1 edge on Syracuse this year, including an incredible 78-61 win in the Big East tournament title game in which the Cardinal had to rally from down 16. Jim Boeheim vs. Rick Pitino would be a classic matchup on Monday night.

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You should be rooting for Wichita State if you are a Nevada Wolf Pack fan. If a team from the Missouri Valley Conference, after all, can win a national title, well, it can happen out of the Mountain West. The Wolf Pack even went to Wichita and beat the Shockers in the 2010 NIT. Wichita State is simply the Midwestern version of the Wolf Pack. If Wichita State wins the title it will be the first true Cinderella to win since Texas Western in 1966.

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Rutgers simply must fire athletic director Tim Pernetti. Pernetti gave basketball head coach Mike Rice a slap on the wrist (a three-game suspension) this season after he was told in June and was shown a videotape in November of Rice physically and verbally abusing his players. That videotape was shown on ESPN this week and Pernetti fired Rice. He should have fired him last June and certainly back in November. You simply cannot coach that way anymore. Most every coach in America verbally abuses his players at one time or another. But when it becomes physical (Rice is caught on tape firing basketballs at his players and shoving them), that is when it becomes time to dismiss that coach.

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College coaches these days operate, for the most part, in a protected vacuum at practice where they can just about get away with anything. More and more, colleges are prohibiting the media from viewing practices, even at schools like Nevada. Wolf Pack basketball practices, for example, have been off limits to the media since Trent Johnson took over the program nearly 15 years ago. The Pack has now closed spring football practices. The bottom line is that athletic directors protect the coaches they personally hire. So coaches can do whatever they want to do at practice until a video shows up on ESPN. Mike Rice is now viewed as an out-of-control monster. You can be sure he is not alone.

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The Oakland Raiders change quarterbacks and head coaches as often as most people change their socks. But this time, at least as far as the quarterback is concerned, they might have gotten it right. Finally. Matt Flynn is an excellent addition by the Raiders. Flynn, who once tossed six touchdown passes in a game for the Green Bay Packers, is definitely worth the gamble. And getting rid of Carson Palmer is definitely addition by subtraction. Flynn is not a sure thing. He’s not tall (just 6-foot-2) and he‘s not going to run the pistol offense anytime soon. But with Flynn and Terrelle Pryor on the roster, the Raiders’ future at quarterback looks bright.

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The Raiders are good at turning someone else’s quarterback into something special. Jim Plunkett, Daryle Lamonica and Rich Gannon come to mind. It doesn’t always work -- see Rick Mirer, Jeff George, Kerry Collins, Jay Schroeder, Dan Pastorini, Vince Evans, Jeff Hostetler, Jason Campbell, Carson Palmer -- but you have to give the Raiders credit for trying. This is an organization that has only drafted one quarterback (Ken Stabler) in over 50 years that has gone on to star for the Silver and Black.

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The average ticket price to a major league baseball game is $27.73. The average ticket in the NFL is $78.38, in the NHL it is $61.01 and in the NBA it is $50.99. You can add another $25 for parking, $15 for a hotdog and a beer and an hour coming and going stuck in traffic burning $4-a-gallon gas. Professional sporting events are now played and managed by people earning six and seven figures a year and watched live by people making six and seven figures. It’s no wonder most of us simply watch games on our phones these days.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Apr 4, 2013 10:12PM Published Apr 4, 2013 10:12PM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.