Today in the World of Sports…
The Florida State and Florida men’s basketball teams are in the NCAA Tournament as No. 9 and 10 seeds, respectively. FSU opens up against No. 8 Gonzaga on Friday in Buffalo. The Gators will play No. 7 Brigham Young Thursday in Oklahoma City. With the potential matchups of No. 1 Syracuse [vs. FSU in the second round] and No. 2 Kansas State [vs. Florida, if the Gators defeat BYU], FSU and Florida should make reservations to fly home next Monday. In my opinion, trips to the Regional Semifinals are out of the question.
When I see a wishing well now, I toss a coin in and hope that anyone would criticize Kentucky’s John Calipari for being a questionable head basketball coach. On Sunday, the Wildcats (32-2) won their 26th SEC Tournament title in a 75-74 overtime victory over Mississippi State. But, let’s remember that Calipari has a 1995-96 Final Four appearance – with Massachusetts – and a 2007-08 NCAA Championship runner-up – the Derrick Rose-led Memphis squad – vacated. The only time I’ve smelled anything fishier is when I caught a whiting over the summer.
I cannot emphasize enough how key reaching out to the community is for the future success of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Planning an event – although rain moved it inside – with owner Wayne Weaver and quarterback David Garrard in attendance was a must. Thursday’s Team Teal rally was a hit. I expect the Jaguars’ ticket sales “gas gauge” to increase throughout the off-season. Weaver should attend every event along with either Garrard or star running back Maurice Jones-Drew. And, stay to sign any and all autographs. I am deeming the next five months as “Reach Out 2010.”
In 2009, Jaguars players appeared in the community 516 times – including charity events, hospital and school visits. I do not think it is absolutely necessary to publicize charitable acts, but it needs to be noted. The Jaguars are out and about in the community giving their time and effort. Even though the team organizes a majority of the appearances, players still have to want to actually appear with smiles on their faces. Thanks to the Jaguars’ Ryan Robinson for the numbers.
Former Jaguars offensive tackle Tony Boselli has received a lot of heat recently for his comments at the Rotary Club of Jacksonville last week. Boselli, who has been mentioned as a potential candidate for mayor of Jacksonville, said, “Even if you don’t like football, if you’re in business in Jacksonville you need to support the Jaguars. It’s the duty of anyone who can afford season tickets to buy them.” Form your own opinion. Mine could start a brushfire.
The JU Dolphins will be making their second consecutive trip to the National Invitational Tournament. JU is scheduled to face Arizona State (22-10) on Tuesday night at 11 p.m. – it will be aired on ESPN2. If the Dolphins (19-11) defeat the Sun Devils, they will play the winner of the Seton Hall-Texas Tech game. Keep an eye out for JU guard Ben Smith. He needs 10 points to move past Ronnie Murphy to become JU’s second all-time scorer. This season, in person, Smith has been my favorite player to watch. I would move to whichever city he plays professional ball in just so I could see him play.
I met UNF athletic director Lee Moon for the first time on Saturday. There is no way the school could have hired anyone better. Not only does he know nearly everybody in the NCAA community, but he commands a room with his presence. Moon had answers to all of my inquiries. It was as if he had been handed my questions beforehand. I asked Moon whether he thought the UNF men’s basketball program can become the athletic team that will soon define Osprey athletics. He matter-of-factly stated, “I want to win at everything.” Confidence never hurt anybody. It’s interesting because I truly believe Moon.
Is it a faux pas to listen to NCAA basketball tournament games on the radio while I attend the River City Rumble between the JU and UNF baseball teams this Saturday, March 20?
Richard Miller is a national broadcaster for Jacksonville Jaguars’ home games on Sporting News Radio. This Friday and Sunday, Richard will be covering the first-round NCAA Tournament games in Jacksonville for SNR.
Additionally, he can be heard on ABC 1320 WBOB in Jacksonville at 5:45 p.m. on Wednesdays with The Jacksonville Observer Radio Show. Richard also contributes to Inside the Game every Saturday from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. on WBOB.
Currently, Richard is writing David Lamm’s biography entitled Lamm at Large: The David Lamm Story, which will be available in 2010.
Follow Richard’s daily blog on The Jacksonville Observer and e-mail Richard at Richard.Miller@jaxobserver.com.