In case you were out living a life of leisure, here’s what you missed in sports on Thursday.
- The Wisconsin Badgers hit 14 of their 27 3-point attempts, but it wasn’t enough to hold off the efficient Syracuse Orange, who advanced to the Elite Eight with a 64-63 win. Fans of the Badgers’ plodding style were heartened to see their team finish the season by running the stall offense while trailing by three with a minute left, and then stalling again on the last possession before Jordan Taylor was forced to throw up a low-percentage 3. Reporters asked Bo Ryan about the curious strategy, but he spoke so slowly that they were unable to transcribe his words, and then custodians threw everyone out of the building because it was 3 a.m.
- Three other teams also advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals, with Rick Pitino moving to 10-0 all-time in the Sweet 16 as Louisville upset Michigan State, Ohio State playing a strong end game to rout Cincinnati, and Florida upsetting Marquette on Bradley Beal’s 21 points. Afterward, Pitino was pleased. “I’m also 10-0 in sex sessions lasting 16 seconds,” he told reporters. “And yes, I keep track, and no, I’m not going to explain how you ‘win.’ But you do, man. You really do.”
- A procedural technicality delayed Tim Tebow’s trade to the New York Jets and forced the Denver Broncos to keep him on their payroll for an extra 24 hours. When reached by phone, John Elway refused to speculate about whether Tebow or Manning would be the projected starter during that time period. In fact, he was kind of a dick about it, and kept asking me not to call him at 2 a.m. But to be fair, it was 4 a.m. here, and I just forgot the time difference.
- Andrew Luck relished the spotlight at Stanford’s pro day, joking around with teammates as he threw for NFL coaches and scouts. “You can just tell he’s made for the big stage,” said one scout, as Luck pulled off a flawless tap dance routine, and later sang a beautiful Bizet aria as the makeup ran off his face in a stream of tears.
- Kobe Bryant told ESPN radio that he has a good relationship with Jim Buss, the son of Jerry Buss who is being groomed to take over the Lakers, and that the team is still a championship contender. Bryant also said that his nickname for Buss, “Short,” is purely affectionate and doesn’t have any deeper meaning.
- New Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine is quickly adapting to the tense rivalry with the Yankees. He objected to Joe Girardi’s decision to call a spring training game that was tied 4-4 going into extra innings, saying the move was “not very courteous.” “And speaking of courtesy,” he said, “did anyone else notice that he didn’t pick up my handkerchief when I let it flutter to the ground before the game? Totally unchivalrous. Typical Yankee.”
- Braves third baseman Chipper Jones announced that he’ll retire at the end of the 2012 season. If you ask me, it’s long past time he called it quits. He hasn’t truly been chipper in years, which is why I call him “Dour Jones.” I’m selling T-shirts, if anyone’s interested; it’s got a Dow Jones symbol on the front and a picture of him frowning. If not, can I borrow 10 bucks?
- Kendrys Morales played his first game against major league competition in two years, having missed 322 games owing to a fractured ankle when he hopped on home plate after a home run in 2010. Unfortunately, he accidentally glanced down at the plate during his second at-bat and had an ugly flare-up of the PTSD that has dogged him these two long years.
- Senator Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, is setting up hearings to investigate bounty systems in the NFL. “So … I guess we support bounties now?” said one Senate Republican, at their weekly strategy session in a Walmart basement. “Yeah, crap,” said another. “I guess we do. Ten grand to the first man who shatters Durbin’s kneecap.”
In case you missed it, Participation Friday has been re-branded as “Reader’s Revenge,” where you, the reader, send in stories on a weekly topic. You can read the top 15 from this week here (“Most Fireable Offenses”), and there’s a box in that post with a link to all the old installments. Next week’s topic is “Worst Encounters With an Animal.” As always, the story can be about you or someone you know, and anonymity is allowed if you want it. Send your tales to firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday night, and you might see your name in print on Monday. Have a great weekend.