It’s NCAA Or Bust ………….. Bull Dogs or U Conn Huskies ?

It’s NCAA Or Bust ………….. Bull Dogs or U Conn Huskies ?

Well tonight Brad Stevens and his Butler Bull Dogs will get a second consecutive bite of the cherry looking to be crowned the national champions in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament . In this matchup they will face off against the U Conn Huskies and perhaps the player of the tournament without a doubt in Kemba Walker ! The Huskies will have that wily veteran as coach , Jim Calhoun who’ll be looking to win his third national title overall and join a select number of coaches who’ve won multiple NCAA titles .

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Slide show for your perusal .

Reliant Stadium in Houston , Texas, will be rocking as throngs of fans in support of both teams will have this venue packed to the rafters and with there being primetime national television coverage coming courtesy of CBS the night is bound to be riveting and an exciting spectacle to watch or participate in. Both teams have proved their worth in making it this far as has been witnessed in the routes taken in them getting to the Finals . And as impressive as both teams have been , it goes without saying that there are no doubt a number of us who hadn’t expected U Conn much less Butler making it this far . I for one thought that Butler’s surprise run in last year’s tournament would be just a one off ! And given the fact that they’d lost their best player in Gordon Hayward to the NBA who’d have guessed that they’d make such a quick return to the Final Four much less the championship game , itself ?

Experience says that that the U Conn Huskies ought to prevail and given that they’ve a coaching staff led by Calhoun one could say that they have a distinct advantage . Never mind the depth and talent laden roster of this Huskies’ team . At the same it’d be naive to even dare to underestimate the resolve of this Bull Dogs’ team and the very fact that different players on the roster have repeatedly stepped up to the plate and have done what has been asked of them by Brad Stevens and his coaching staff , and that’s to win by playing stifling defense , be quick in transition as and when needed. This game I believe , the deference given to Walker as a player and whether or not Stevens will have a way of negating the player’s power and leadership qualities . As Walkers goes , then so do the U Conn Huskies as a team , albeit that he’s complemented by the play of Jeremy Lamb , Alex Oriahki and in particular Shabazz Napier .

Brad Stevens’ team are no slouches themselves given their surprise upset (71-70) of Jamie Dixon’s —– Pitt Panthers who if anything were thought to have the better team . But as they say first impressions aren’t necessarily to be taken for what they’re worth as has been witnessed by Butler’s improbable run throughout this tournament . It has been players such as Shelvin Mack , Matt Howard , Andrew Smith , Shawn Vanzant , Khyle Marshall and Ronald Nored who’ve made their presence felt during this tournament and throughout the Bull Dogs’ season .

To my mind this NCAA Tournament has been one of the more exciting ones in recent memory and even if there have been doubters as to the legitimacy of some of the participants , there’s no denying there’s more excitement to be had and witnessed here than watching the idiocy we’re told is the BCS System for determining a national champion in football ! Which to my mind is the biggest fu_king fraud going on within collegiate sports beyond the idiocy of the NCAA’s reluctance to punish certain programs who’ve knowingly transgressed their mandated rules . Who the hell actually now takes the NCAA seriously to begin with ? Only a damn idiot would still have the presence of mind to believe that they stand for what’s best in collegiate athletics !

There’s a great deal to be said about the tournament and the players we’ve had the pleasure of seeing in this NCAA Tournament. And while Kemba Walker has stood out , towering over this tournament with his play, leadership qualities and doubted skills . I wonder if those skills in particular will translate into success at the next level within the NBA ? There’s often talk that certain players are can’t miss opportunities players once they enter the NBA but to my mind that is predicated upon the environment and the team that a player finds themselves in ! I mean one merely has to look at the struggles of John Wall this season with the Washington Wizards to see what can happen . And though we’ve seen the outstanding season now being had by the Clippers’ Blake Griffin . One simply has to remember that he had a year off from the game having spent his initial rookie season sidelined by injury. Who’s to say we’d have seen that explosiveness now being witnessed had he played for the Clippers last season ? As they say ……”buyer beware ” !

I’m not about to suggest that the same fate that has befallen John Wall awaits Kember Walker should he be taken as to consensus number one pick in the 2011 NBA Draft but given what I’ve seen of teams such as the Cleveland Cavaliers , Minnesota Timberwolves , Sacramento Kings , Toronto Raptors and New Jersey Nets in the NBA Standings I’m liable to believe that Walker’s impact mightn’t be that immediate given those teams’ performances over the course of this season. God knows the gap between the elite teams and those who cling to the bottom rung is like a crevasse that’s a mile deep or wide ! .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As a fan of the tournament have you been excited by what you’ve seen or do you feel in some way that the tournament has been something of a disappointment ? And who amongst the two remaining teams would you be happy with seeing winning the national title ? Simply leave comment as to your thoughts on this piece and anything else you feel pertinent to the NCAA Tournament . And thanks as always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ……………..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

😛

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Hudson Pangan, 6, cheers while seated on the shoulders of his mother Catherine at a pep rally in support of the Butler University mens basketball team on the school’s campus in Indianapolis on Monday, April 4, 2011. Butler faces Connecticut in the NCAA Mens Final tonight in Houston. The Pangans live on the Butler campus in faculty housing and Catherine said she’s particularly excited because she is a professor of Butler Bulldog starting guard Ronald Nored. AP Photo/ Maxwell Barnes …….

(2) HOUSTON – April 3rd 2011 : Jimmer Fredette of BYU receives the 2011 Naismith Trophy Presented by AT&T from David Christopher of AT&T during the NABC Guardians of the Game Awards Program on April 3, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Joining them on stage are Eric Oberman (L) and Barry Goheen (R) of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images ……….

(3) Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun speaks during a news conference before a practice session for the men’s NCAA Final Four college basketball championship game Sunday, April 3, 2011, in Houston. Connecticut plays Butler in the championship game Monday night. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …………….

(4) Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun, left, talks to Butler head coach Brad Stevens prior to taping a television interview for the men’s NCAA Final Four college basketball championship game Sunday, April 3, 2011, in Houston. Butler plays UConn in the championship game Monday night. AP Photo/Eric Gay ………….

(5) Virginia Commonwealth’s Juvonte Reddic, left, shoots over Butler’s Matt Howard during the second half of a men’s NCAA Final Four semifinal college basketball game Saturday, April 2, 2011, in Houston. AP Photo/Chris Steppig/NCAA Photos, Pool ……….

(6) Butler’s Shawn Vanzant and Virginia Commonwealth’s Darius Theus chase a loose ball during the second half of a men’s NCAA Final Four semifinal college basketball game Saturday, April 2, 2011, in Houston. AP Photo/David J. Phillip ………….

(7) Butler players Shelvin Mack, left, and Chase Stigall react after beating Virginia Commonwealth 70-62 at a men’s NCAA Final Four semifinal college basketball game Saturday, April 2, 2011, in Houston. AP Photo/David J. Phillip …………..

(8) Connecticut’s Kemba Walker speaks as his coach Jim Calhoun, left, looks on after being introduced as the winner of the Bob Cousy Award during the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class announcement, Monday, April 4, 2011, in Houston. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall …………….

(9) Connecticut’s Kemba Walker shoots as Kentucky’s DeAndre Liggins looks on during the first half of a men’s NCAA Final Four semifinal college basketball game Saturday, April 2, 2011, in Houston. AP Photo/David J. Phillip ………..

(10) Kemba Walker (15) of the Connecticut Huskies dives to save a ball from going out of bounds against the Kentucky Wildcats during the National Semifinal game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship at Reliant Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Houston, Texas. U Conn would defeat Kentucky 56-55 Photo by Pool/Getty Images ……….

(11) Alex Oriakhi (34) of the Connecticut Huskies dunks the ball against Kentucky Wildcats during the National Semifinal game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship at Reliant Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Chris Steppig-Pool/Getty Images …………

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The Verve ………………… “Bitter Sweet Symphony ”

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Keri Hilson ………. feat’g ……… Lil’ Wayne ……….”You’re Turning Me On”

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The Rooney Rule ………..

The Rooney Rule

Commendable as it appears to be, I now have to wonder whether or not the intentions behind this all, is well worth it. Named after famed Pittsburgh Steelers’ owner Dan Rooney. The so called ‘Rooney Rule’s‘ intent was set to see that minorities are given the chance to interview for vacant head coach’s positions within the NFL. And considering that the very first minority to be a coach in the NFL was Frederick Douglas ‘Fritz’ Pollard in the 1920’s. One has to wonder why it was necessary to have this rule installed as mandate for all teams within the NFL. But it was apparent that with the racial tone of the league, minorities weren’t being afforded the chance of advancement from beyond the playing field and unto the sidelines as coaches, much less the chance of becoming an owner at the league’s inception.

Frederick Douglas 'Fritz'  Pollard , the  first minority  coach  of an  NFL  team.   Pollard is an  inductee  in  the  NFL  Football  Hall  of  Fame.
Frederick Douglas 'Fritz' Pollard , the first minority coach of an NFL team. Pollard is an inductee in the NFL Football Hall of Fame.


Minorities now make up 72% of the player personnel within the NFL and it appears to be generally acceptable within the league and to the fans. But how is it that the NFL while mandating for such a role, has essentially done little if anything to try and bring in a minority owner within its ranks ? By all accounts the lone occasion this attempted maneuver was made , due diligence was not taken by the league’s panel in their investigations. An an attempt was made by what we were informed was a prominent African American businessman , Reggie Fowler who was financially solvent. His attempt to purchase the Minnesota Vikings was met with a great deal of derision and skepticism. And it certainly didn’t help that this individual had the financial means but it was said could not provide the league with enough financial details for them to ensure that his ownership bid could be granted to become the league’s first and only prominent minority owner of an NFL franchise. In the end Fowler would become part of a consortium led by German businessman, Zygi Wilf, as the owner of the franchise. Wilf would become the principal partner in the ownership group of the Minnesota Vikings with a 60% stake in the organization. Fowler has a 20 % stake in the franchise, with the remaining 20 % split amongst the remaining partners of this limited partnership group. An owner in part but not a majority stake owner that would clarify the term “prominent ethnic owner” of an NFL franchise. While some facts are disputed as to Fowler’s supposed wealth , it appears from the outset that certain maneuvers were in place to deny him the success in an attempt to purchase the team, originally. As to who was behind this all , we will in fact never know. Suffice to say , that the image of the NFL was somewhat tarnished by the episode.

Ashburn, Va,. January 4th 2010. Washington Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen leaves after holding a press conference on the dismissal of Head Coach Jim Zorn at Redskins Park January 4, 2010 in Ashburn, Virginia. During the press conference Allen said, "Last place 2 years in a row is not Redskin football."  picture appeara courtesy of  Getty Images/  Win McNamee  .......

Washington Redskins’ General Manager Bruce Allen leaves after holding a press conference on the dismissal of Jim Zorn as Head Coach of the team. The press conference was held at Redskins’ Park the team’s headquarters and practice facility in Ashburn , Va, on 4th January 2010. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Win McNamee ….

It wasn’t as if this investor was Robert L. ‘Bob’ Johnson, founder of BET and the prominent African American billionaire media mogul or famed NBA legend Magic Johnson. The latter of whom has branched out to become a commercial real estate mogul and business entrepreneur, with a believed estimated net worth approaching $750million. It appears that the NFL despite its image of being a charismatic and an all welcoming league.But as of yet the one vestige in showing the fans that minorities have finally arrived in terms of a majority ownership of a franchise, has yet to materialize or be realized.

San Diego, Ca,. January 3rd 2010. Kris Dielman (#68), Dennis Norman (#64), and Nick Hardwick (#61) of the San Diego Chargers enter the field against the Washington Redskins during the Washington Redskins  v San Diego Chargers NFL Game on January 3, 2010 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. The Chargers won 23-20. picture appears  courtesy of Getty Images/ Doug Miraelle  .......
San Diego, Ca,. January 3rd 2010. Kris Dielman (#68), Dennis Norman (#64), and Nick Hardwick (#61) of the San Diego Chargers enter the field against the Washington Redskins during the Washington Redskins v San Diego Chargers NFL Game on January 3, 2010 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. The Chargers won 23-20. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Doug Miraelle .......

Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports

Redskins talking to coaches to replace fired Zorn

By Joseph White , AP Sports Writer

Ashburn, Va. (AP)—Jim Zorn was fired by the Washington Redskins early Monday, the first step in yet another team overhaul under owner Dan Snyder.

Zorn was informed of his dismissal shortly after the team returned to Redskins Park following Sunday’s season-ending 23-20 loss at San Diego.

“I just know that last place is not Redskins football,” general manager Bruce Allen said. “Last place two years in a row is not Redskins football.”

Zorn went 12-20 over two seasons, but he lost 18 of his past 24 games after a 6-2 start in 2008. The Redskins struggled early despite a weak schedule this season and finished 4-12, their worst record since 1994.

“No one in the organization is satisfied with our record over the last two years,” Snyder said in a statement released by the team, “and I am sure that Jim would concur with that statement. It has been painful for him, too. I certainly accept responsibility for mistakes that I have made. I am hopeful that our fans will accept my commitment and pledge to deliver a franchise that can compete in the NFC East every season.”

Zorn’s replacement will be Washington’s seventh coach since Snyder bought the team in 1999. Playing a role in the decision will be Allen, who was hired as the GM last month. Allen would not comment on former Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, who is considered the favorite to get the job.

“We’re in the process of talking to people,” Allen said. “We have a good game plan of what we’re going to do.”

Neither Snyder nor Zorn were made available for comment.

Zorn’s dismissal had been expected for months. The front office stripped him of his play-calling duties in late October, and Snyder has interviewed assistant coach Jerry Gray for the job weeks ago, according to the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which monitors minority hiring in the NFL.

The new coach, Snyder and Allen will have a monumental task to rebuild a team with many roster deficiencies and major questions at offensive line, quarterback and running back.

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Washington Redskins head coach Jim Zorn looks on from the sideline against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on January 3, 2010 in San Diego, California. The Chargers defeated the Redskins 23-20.  picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Jeff Gross ............
Washington Redskins head coach Jim Zorn looks on from the sideline against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on January 3, 2010 in San Diego, California. The Chargers defeated the Redskins 23-20. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Jeff Gross ............

The NBA and MLB seems to have done quite nicely for themselves, with minorities coveting and obtaining a ‘seat up at the big house’ at the dining table. Where the owners can feast upon the billions of dollars that annually finds its way into the NFL coffers. This might on the face of it appear to be racially insensitive and motivated. But I assure you, nothing could be further from the truth as I feel it only proper at this juncture to let you know that for in spite of its facade. The hierarchy of the NFL may well be the best organized , financially sound and ran of the four major sports in North America. And that at the end of the day is in essence what the NFL is all about. Any bye product from it all in terms of entertainment and plaudits from the fans, media and populace in general, is merely further proof of the game’s popularity.

Washington Redskins head coach Jim Zorn, left,  greeting team owner Dan Snyder before an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, in Landover, Md. Zorn was fired by the Washington Redskins early Monday, Jan. 4, 2009, the first step in yet another team overhaul / Nick Wass .....
Washington Redskins head coach Jim Zorn, left, greeting team owner Dan Snyder before an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, in Landover, Md. Zorn was fired by the Washington Redskins early Monday, Jan. 4, 2009, the first step in yet another team overhaul / Nick Wass .....

And while we’ve seen the success of Tony Dungy as the coach of the Indianapolis Colts, being the first African American NFL coach to win the Superbowl. And the ongoing success of his of successor, Jim Caldwell augurs well for the current situation. But other than Caldwell and Raheem Morris of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there are no other African American coaches in the NFL. Furthermore, that situation is even hindered by the fact that assistant head coaches and coordinators aren’t always afforded the luxury of the required cursory interview as demanded by the league’s mandated policy. A team has to only say that they have a minority as a prospective candidate and essentially create the scenario that the process is being adhered to. An initial cursory interview may well be granted.

The Washington Redskins with a new general manager in place, with Bruce Allen now assuming the position formerly held by Vinny Cerrato. The Daniel Snyder owned team might just be the worst ran NFL franchise in the league at present. Their turnovers in coaches is line with consistency of the Oakland Raiders and their ‘revolving door policy’ when it comes to coaches. Success or lack of it thereof, seems to be the norm for both of these franchises. Jim Zorn is the current coach of the Redskins and the impending upheaval appears apparent that Zorn’s two year tenure as the coach seems about to come to an abrupt end.

Reggie Fowler, left, has agreed to buy the Minnesota Vikings from current owner Red McCombs, right. The deal, worth a reported $625 million,
Reggie Fowler, left, has agreed to buy the Minnesota Vikings from current owner Red McCombs, right. The deal, worth a reported $625 million. However, the deal fell through when the NFL panel entrusted to review the bid stated that Fowler's financial backing and finances wasn't all in place and met with their tacit test. The deal was torpedoed and Fowler would then become part of the consortium headed by Zygi Wilf that would be successful in their purchase of the team from then owner Red McCombs . picture appears courtesy of afp/reuters/ Paul Marshall .............. ,

Courtesy of NFL.com Wire reports

Zorn out after two seasons as Redskins’ coach; is Shanahan in ?

The Washington Redskins fired coach Jim Zorn early Monday, the first step in yet another team overhaul that appears likely to involve Mike Shanahan.

An unidentified official within the NFL informed The Associated Press that new Redskins general manager Bruce Allen talked to Shanahan by phone Monday, and league sources told NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora to expect an organizational overhaul by Thursday but maybe sooner. Shanahan, who won two Super Bowls in 14 seasons as the Denver Broncos’ coach, would take over as coach/team president and quickly bring in assistant coaches and front-office personnel.

Zorn was dismissed shortly after the team returned to Redskins Park following Sunday’s season-ending 23-20 loss at San Diego.

Zorn went 12-20 over two seasons, but he lost 18 of his last 24 games after a 6-2 start in 2008. The Redskins struggled early despite a weak schedule this season and finished 4-12, their worst record since 1994.

It was the second consecutive season that the Redskins finished in last place in the NFC East under Zorn.

Allen said in a news conference Monday that “last place is not Redskin football.” He also refused to speculate on who the next coach would be, but he repeatedly said that a “passion for football” would be a primary requirement. He added that “head coach in the NFL is the most demanding executive position in sports.”

Zorn’s replacement will be Washington’s seventh coach since Dan Snyder bought the team in 1999.

“This has been an extremely difficult season for our organization and for the fans,” Snyder said in a statement released by the team. “Bruce Allen spent many hours examining the football operations, and we are both determined to do whatever it takes to build a championship team. That process begins today

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They’ve eagerly pursued Mike Shanahan for the position. And after two initial interviews, it appears that Shanahan is the successor in waiting for the presumed vacancy. What might the most egregious maneuver in all of this has been the apparent move by the Redskins to interview one of their low tiered assistant coaches,Jerry Gray, assistant defensive coordinator, who happens to be an African American. Now if this is being done merely to adhere to the Rooney policy, instead of it being a valid interview for a viable candidate for the position. But it appears that this is nothing more than a ploy on the part of the Redskins. It remains to be seen whether or not the NFL hierarchy under Roger Goodell as the league’s commissioner will have anything at all to say about the situation. It will be very interesting to see whether or not they will watch with a great deal of close scrutiny as to whether or not the Washington Redskins will follow the league mandated policy. On the face of it, it looks as if the Redskins are following the policy. But if anything they are actually circumventing the policy by merely creating the appearance that the interviewee is a candidate for the position. And that if anything smacks of the insidious behavior expected of a franchise wherein the norm of segregation was said to be still in being from a coaching standpoint, albeit that the roster of the franchise is very much a diverse one in nature.

Jerry Gray, secondary's and  assistant  defensive  coordinat  of   the   Washington  Redskins
Jerry Gray, secondary's and assistant defensive coordinat of the Washington Redskins. Gray has been the lone minority candiate interviewed for the now vacant head coach's position. Former Broncos' head coach has twice been interviewed for the position , prior to the dismissal of Jim Zorn as head coach of the team. picture appears courtesy of TWP/ John McDonnell .....

Segregation in sports at the player personnel level is a thing of the past within the NFL. But from a coaching standpoint it looks likes it’s either at a standstill or about to indeed take a turn for the worse. But this situation just isn’t happening at the NFL level but also at the collegiate level. Of the 120 collegiate football positions at the Division 1 A level, there are less than a dozen coaches that are of African American origin or of any other minority for that matter. But at the collegiate level where the NCAA governs college athletics. There’s nothing that mandates the hiring policy when it comes to the hiring of a football coach. It’s not really so much of a dilemma that can’t be resolved. But for the NCAA it’s not something that is of an urgent priority for the organization or the various conferences. They’re not openly willing to discuss the situation and it appears neither are the NCAA. The Black Coaches Administrators (BCA) are the only ones who are pressing the colleges, the NCAA and NFL , on the issue of their hiring practices, as it concerns minorities at the college coaching level and amongst the professional ranks. And what success if any is almost mute on the part of the NCAA and how they view the situation.

Denver , October '06. Head coach Mike Shanahan of the Denver Broncos looks to call a play against the Baltimore Ravens during a cold rainy first quarter on October 9, 2006 at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado.  picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Brian Bahr  .......
Denver , October '06. Head coach Mike Shanahan of the Denver Broncos looks to call a play against the Baltimore Ravens during a cold rainy first quarter on October 9, 2006 at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Brian Bahr .......

The aspirants for these positions more often than not, are qualified for those positions but even if they are not. How are they are going to know what qualities will be needed by them in order to make them better suited candidates ? Especially in the case where they’re being denied the opportunity to even interview for a vacant position. At the collegiate level there is no ‘Rooney Rule’ in place for the candidates seeking a vacant coach’s position. But this is something where questions are needed to be asked and answered concerning this very issue. As to whether or not we’ll never know what will be forthcoming in the terms of an answer remains to be seen. But somehow these question have to be posed and answered unequivocally. If only to allude to the fact that there is clear transparency when it comes to the hiring of minority coaches at the collegiate as well as at the NFL level of football.

The Rooney Rule was put in place for a reason but it appears that now the NFL may well be calling time on this particular mandate.. As to the NCAA, well they’ll just continue to march to the beat of their very own drum completely oblivious of the realities of the real world and how it exists ! With its immense power in terms of its governing of the collegiate athletics’ landscape, it goes unchallenged by the major conferences as well as the Federal Government. And the Federal Government at times, would rather chide the NCCA , rather than demand that the NCAA do what is right and morally acceptable.