The Sweet 16 isn't so sweet. March Madness hasn't been so mad.
Not this year.
We've had a little of everything. We've had upsets. We've had top seeds advance. But it has been odd NCAA Tournament so far. And odd doesn't always translate to good.
So as we wait for the next round to begin on Thursday, here are 16 thoughts about the Sweet 16:
1. Where's the one shining moment? Two high seeds and two big favorites — defending champ Villanova and preseason No. 1 Duke — are out. But, thus far, this tournament has not provided that one special play or game or moment. No buzzer-beaters. No thrills. No madness....
03/19/17 TV and Radio
If voting took place right now, Florida's Mike White would deserve plenty of consideration for college basketball coach of the year. His work in the NCAA Tournament has been superb. He has pulled all the right strings, made all the right substitutions and dialed up all the right plays in victories over East Tennessee State and Virginia.
True, Virginia is offensively challenged, but to hold any team under 40 points in a tournament game is remarkable....
ORLANDO — As the seconds dwindled down, Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton made the slow and all-too-familiar walk to center court to congratulate the opposing coach. That's how FSU's basketball season ended Saturday night.
That's how every FSU basketball season ends under Hamilton.
In disappointment. In frustration. In failure.
Another promising season down the tubes. Another season full of hope wiped out by a baffling loss. Another chapter in the book of a program that gets you all giddy in January but simply doesn't have what it takes to navigate its way through March....
ORLANDO — Trouble was brewing.
It was halftime and the Gators were clinging to a one-point lead. Their best scorer, KeVaughn Allen, didn't have a field goal. Canyon Barry was shooting airballs. And, scariest of all, pesky little East Tennessee State looked like believers, like they were going to use halftime shopping online for glass slippers.
If the Gators were going to avoid being the NCAA Tournament's first big-name casualty, they needed a shooting star....
Whenever a sports team hires a new coach, we all immediately ask the same question:
Good or bad hire?
That's the question we asked Tuesday when we learned USF was going to hire Brian Gregory to be its men's basketball coach. Good or bad hire?
The answer is not so cut-and-dried. Or exciting.
Instead, the answer is, "Who knows?" accompanied by a shrug and, maybe, a yawn.
That's what USF basketball has come to. Frankly, this is what we've come to expect. Another wait-and-see hire that doesn't make much of a splash....
Let the madness begin. Over the next three weeks, 68 teams will be whittled down to one shining moment. So, to get you ready for the NCAA Tournament, here are 68 names to watch, remember and pay attention to over the next three weeks.
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images...03/12/17Pga
Pound for pound, the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook is as good of a golf tournament as you're going to find.
Beautiful course. Challenging course. Tight leaderboard. Every year the Valspar has everything you could want. Did you watch the final round Sunday?
The golf was exciting, and the story lines were intriguing. The leaderboard featured the last player to commit to the tournament, the tournament's last qualifier, a sponsor's exemption and a duel between two guys who had never won on the PGA Tour....03/09/17Bucs
Risky business. The Bucs signing DeSean Jackson is risky business.
Lots of money for a 30-year-old. Lots of money for a little guy in a big-man's game. A big commitment to someone with just enough issues to raise a red flag or two.
But here's the biggest reason why this feels risky: It's the Bucs.
Sorry. That's the baggage Tampa Bay carries.
If the Patriots had signed Jackson in free agency Thursday, we would be talking about what a great move it was. How cagey. Another Randy Moss. Another Bill Belichick reclamation project on the way to another Super Bowl....03/08/17Pga
PALM HARBOR — The only amateur in this year's Valspar Championship will step up to the first hole this afternoon at Innisbrook and reach into his University of Virginia golf bag. Tampa's Jimmy Stanger will pull out a Titleist ball, and just before placing it on the tee, just before one of the biggest moments of his life, Stanger will take an orange Sharpie and write the letters H and A on it....03/06/17Nba
Even on television, you could tell something was off.
Something was missing at Sunday's Knicks-Warriors game at Madison Square Garden.
The floor looked the same. The baskets looked the same.
Then you realized how quiet the crowd was. Then you realized how quiet everything was.
No music. No piped-in noise. No nothing.
Just the sounds of a ball being dribbled, sneakers squeaking on the court and the referee's whistle....03/05/17 TV and Radio
Saturday night was a chance to go back to the good ol' days with championship boxing on network television.
In the 1950s and 1960s, boxing on prime-time network television regularly drew a 20-25 ratings share, meaning a quarter of the country was tuned in. Even in the 1970s and 1980s, boxing on TV was still a somewhat regular occurrence. More recent legends such as Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and Mike Tyson often fought on free TV....03/02/17College
Why do you build me up buttercup, baby
Just to let me down and mess me around
The theme song of the Florida State Seminoles basketball team. They build you up just to let you down. It's happening again this year.
Here's every FSU basketball team ever — or so it seems — under coach Leonard Hamilton:
You don't expect much at the start. Then suddenly you notice the Seminoles pulling off a couple of wins you didn't expect. An upset here. A nice win there. Next thing you know, they are climbing the rankings. They start taking out powerhouses. You jump on the bandwagon. You start talking about the Final Four....02/27/17 Lightning Strikes
TAMPA — This was supposed to be the season the Lightning raised a Stanley Cup banner. Instead, it feels as if it might be raising the white flag.
Goalie Ben Bishop traded Sunday. Veteran forward Brian Boyle traded Monday. Hard to imagine a postseason run without them. Don't be shocked if another big name such as Tyler Johnson or Valtteri Filppula is dealt before Wednesday's NHL trade deadline....02/26/17 Lightning Strikes
It had to happen.
It stinks, to be sure. It's a sad day in Tampa Bay sports, no doubt. One of the worst ever.
Saying goodbye is never easy. And saying goodbye to this player is especially hard.
Ben Bishop is a class act. On the ice. Off the ice.
The Lightning will miss him. On the ice. Off the ice. Especially on the ice.
Bishop, traded Sunday to the Los Angeles Kings, is responsible for one of the best runs in Lightning history, leading it to the playoffs the past three seasons. He probably gave Tampa Bay its best chance to claim a playoff berth this season. Honestly, the Lightning isn't as good today as it was yesterday....02/24/17Bucs
No one wants to be on HBO's Hard Knocks. No one.
It's one of the coolest shows on television. The behind-the-scenes, all-access, really real, ground-breaking reality show has been going strong since 2001.
But inside the cloak-and-dagger world of the NFL, the last thing head coaches want is cameras cramming into every nook and cranny of their organization. At the very least, it's a distraction. At the very worst, it's a competitive disadvantage....