legalacidity's musings


Monday Morning: Backseat Driving & NCAA Upsets


Well, the Daytona 500 has come and gone: Jimmie Johnson won without his crew chief, Tony Stewart is being labeled a hypocrite, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. still apparently has not learned what it means to be a championship contender. Johnson's crew chief, Chad Knaus, was ejected from the speedway earlier in the week after Johnson's car was found with a smaller rear window in post-qualifying inspection, a clear violation of one of NASCAR's voluminous rules that probably earned Knaus a multi-race suspension as well. Some of the other drivers, most notably Ryan Newman, think that Johnson's 48 team is full of cheaters who are constantly bending the rules to the point of breaking. While I'm one who believes that in NASCAR, if you aren't bending, you aren't trying, there may be something to this notion that Knaus goes a bit further than the rest of the teams in NASCAR.

Tony Stewart, well, was a bit of the old Tony Stewart. After complaining earlier in the week about aggressive driving, Tony was involved in a couple of on-track incidents that have led some to call him a hypocrite. The first incident, with Jeff Gordon, wasn't Tony's fault, as Gordon moved up prematurely in trying to pass Stewart, sending both of them into the wall. Gordon claimed that Stewart could have lifted (which he could have), but he didn't, so there was a wreck. The second incident regarded the payback Stewart gave Matt Kenseth for what he perceived as Kenseth's rough driving earlier in the race; Stewart uber-blocked Kenseth into the grass, effectively ending Kenseth's day, especially after Kenseth quasi-retaliated under caution and was forced into a pass-through penalty that put him a lap down.

My final observation from the race was that Junior still doesn't seem like a legitimate title contender because he continues to make poor decisions. Sitting fifth with two laps to go, he made an ill-advised move on the outside and, predictably, got hung out to dry and finished eighth. Most of you may think, "Hey, what's the big deal? He only lost three spots--it could have been worse." This is true, but Junior knew that he had virtually no chance to win (or improve his spot), but he took the risk anyway. He made this decision knowing that every point matters in the Chase for the Nextel Cup, and he essentially dropped 13 points in making that move. I know that he wanted to win the biggest race on the schedule, but knowing that he would go backwards, he made the decision anyway. I'd like to see some better decision-making as the season goes on.


In NBA "news," 5'9 Nate Robinson "robbed" Andre Iguodala in the NBA All-Star dunk contest. Sure, Iguodala did the night's best dunk, taking a pass off the glass from Allen Iverson from behind the goal and dunking it in, but that only got him to the finals. Robinson then proceeded to jump over former diminutive champ Spud Webb and jam it home. I don't care if it did take Robinson 14 tries to get his "dunk off" dunk down; he's only 5'9! And, Iguodala's "dunk off" dunk was pedestrian. No, a judge didn't change his score (check the video, people--Deadspin has it), so stop whining. After all, it's just an over-hyped slam dunk contest.

Oh yeah: the East beat the West, 122-120, after overcoming a 21 point deficit behind MVP LeBron James and four of the starting five of the Detroit Pistons. Tayshaun Prince, the only Detroit starter not in Houston, played out the game at home on his PS2, where he was named the MVP with 87 points in a 171-64 win by the East.

College Basketball Notes

J.J. Redick set the Duke all-time scoring record by putting up 30 against Miami yesterday. Good for him--my love for Duke has been well-documented on these pages. The cool thing was that the person whose record he broke, Johnny Dawkins, is his assistant coach.

In the SEC, Arkansas downed then-#7 Florida 85-81 in overtime as Ronnie Brewer had a huge game, virtually carrying Arkansas to the win. If Arkansas had shot better than 61.9% from the free throw line, this game may not have been close.

In the other SEC upset, Alabama blew out then-#10 Tennessee 92-79. 'Bama shot a blistering 76% in the first half and used this hot shooting (including making every free throw in the first half and 28/30 overall) to overcome Tennessee's high-pressure, full court defense and notch a huge win. Winner of the Best Sign Award, spotted in the Alabama student section: "Brokeback Mountain Was Filmed on Rocky Top." Heh.

Alabama will next play at Arkansas (Tuesday night, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, ESPN) in a huge matchup for both teams as they try to make the NCAA tournament.

In another huge upset, Oklahoma State, they of the "hey, our coach is a drunk and drives like one too," dug deep and went to Texas and won big, 81-60. Is it just me, or is Texas one of the biggest Jekyll-and-Hyde teams in the NCAA this year?

Also, Wake Forest lost its eighth ACC conference game in a row and sits dead last at 1-11. Way to go, Skip Prosser! Here's hoping for 1-15 in ACC play.

Odds & Ends

--Barry Bonds says this season will be his last, whether he breaks the all-time home run record or not. The 2007 season can't get here soon enough! UPDATE: Well, as it turns out, Bonds may play in 2007 after all. After telling USA Today that '06 would be his last season, he popped up on and told them that if he could play in 2007, he would play. Sounds like the lack of steroids is going to Barry's head. Come to think of it, his head has swollen in size, and not just figuratively, either--his head is freakin' huge! Maybe he's ultimately going to call it quits because they don't make a large enough batting helmet? Nah...he'll probably quit because he'll show everyone that without steroids, he's only good for a .230 batting average and 12 home runs.

--Ricky Williams has supposedly violated the NFL's substance abuse policy for the fourth time, which would mean a one year suspension. Is this really that big of a shock to anyone?

--Bode Miller continues to suck, finishing 6th in the "Giant Slalom," which I assume towers over the lesser-known "Normal Slalom."

--And finally, John McEnroe, at 47, with Jonas Bjorkman, won the doubles title at the SAP Open in San Jose, CA. He became the oldest player in 30 years to win an ATP title. Good for him, although it makes me feel even more worthless when my not-yet-30 body gives me so much trouble after a pickup basketball game.

8:13 a.m. - 2006-02-20

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