6:00 PM EST on ESPN2: Boston College vs. North Dakota square off in the Frozen Four. This is the third straight time that the two teams have met in the Frozen Four.
8:00 PM EST on TNT: Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors. This one is HUGE. Both teams sit on 47-31 records and are tied for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference Playoffs. They've each got four games to go and have to bring their best tonight. Even if the over/under were 300 at tip-off I might still take it.
10:00 PM EST on Versus: Dallas Stars at Anaheim Ducks. In case you didn't notice the Stanley Cup Playoffs have begun. And, in case you didn't know, playoff hockey is very watchable and engaging in ways that regular season hockey may not necessarily be. So, if you're up and don't have a Lakers fan in your house forcing you to watch Lakers vs. Clippers on TNT then you should totally check this out. For a little bit, at least. Before watching the return episode of The Office that you DVR'd while watching hoops.
Announcing the Winner of the 2008 WWOD? NCAA Tournament POOL
This familiar (at least to me) phrase comes to us from the casinos of Las Vegas, Nevada. It comes from a seemingly distant time when Vegas wasn't seedy and family friendly in equal parts. It comes from a time when gambling was classy, martinis were taken in a fedora with breakfast and the Mafia and the Rat Pack rather than the IRS and the motion picture business ran the town. Back in those by-gone days calls of "Winner, winner! Chicken Dinner!" could be heard resounding through the oxygenated casino floors all around town. Back then the standard bet was $2. And most casinos offered a three-piece chicken dinner with some sort of potato and another vegetable for the bargain price $1.79. So, one winning hand could bring anyone a chicken dinner. Ergo, "winner, winner, chicken dinner."
Although the winner of the 2008 WWOD? Tourney Pool does not actually get a delicious chicken dinner, they do win the awesomest prize ever (offered by me for winning this year's pool). And, the winner of that prize is none other than WWOD? reader and picker of Kansas MarkJacksonShimmy. Mr JacksonShimmey is a Pacers fan and commenter who beat the rest of us rather soundly in this year's pool.
He picked 11 of the Sweet 16, seven of the Elite Eight and three of the Final Four. And he had Kansas to win it all. The only demerits on this bracket is that he missed the boat on Davidson and Western Kentucky but, then again, so did just about everyone else. Most notably Georgetown and Drake.
For his prescient picks he is receiving a limited edition What Would Oakley Do? T-Shirt. I can only hope that this will be worn with pride around the environs of the state of Indiana and spread the WWOD? gospel to the land of Rik Smits and Chuck Person.
1. The Phoenix Suns. If I told that you a game between the Suns and the Spurs, who were playing at home, was decided by defense in the 4th quarter then you would probably think that the Spurs won. Right? Wrong. Shaq keyed a dominant final stanza by the Suns as they knocked off San Antonio, 96-79, in what could be a playoff preview. Shaq and Nash each scored 8 in that decisive quarter as the Spurs only managed 11 against, drum-roll please, a sporadically (when Shaq is on the floor) formidable Suns defense.
2. The Washington Wizards. Agent Zero is back. Caron Butler is back. Antawn Jamison is living up to his potential in a mammoth contract year. All the pieces are falling into place as the playoffs loom. They hung another loss on the Celtics last night, becoming only the second team (along with the Magic) to win the season series with the C’s this year. Unlike the Magic, though, the Wiz pulled off this feat in a 4-game (rather than a 3-game) series. Right now the Wiz are in the 5-spot in the standings, which would pit them against the sputtering Lebronaliers in Round One. I have to think that’s exactly who they want to face right now. Cleveland has sent Washington fishing at the end of the last two seasons and this rivalry is budding. The two teams split four games this season and DeShawn Stevenson famously called LBJ overrated. Nothing like some animosity to spice up an otherwise dull Eastern Playoff race.
3. The Philadelphia 76ers. They don’t have a rejuvenated Shaq. They don’t have a returning Arenas. In fact, no one is really sure what they do have or how they keep beating teams. But, it hasn’t stopped the Sixers from shooting up the sixth spot in the East. They beat the Pistons last night (and, yes, the Pistons are already resting starters for long stretches) and, along with the Wizards, are putting a scare into the higher seeds in the (L)Eastern Conference. Right now, they face the Magic team that no one is talking about.
4. Dwight Howard. The star of the Magic team that isn’t getting nearly as much attention as its record should warrant notched is league-leading 67th double-double last night in a win over the Bulls. He’s got 67 double-doubles in 78 games so far. If you put him on the floor then there is an 86% chance that he will score at least 10 points and pull down at least ten rebounds. Meanwhile, Eddy Curry — who last year was competing with Howard to be the best young center in the East — has just two double-doubles all season long.
5. Golf. The Masters started today. It’s a big deal for people who are into Golf. It’s something that people are not into golf at least follow on Sunday. I’ll catch up with the rest of you on Sunday.