Pics: Stephen Curry’s Mystery Fiancee Revealed

In a profile of NBA player Stephen Curry on November 4, Scott Fowler of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER noted that Curry had recently been “engaged to a young woman he knew in high school at Charlotte Christian. The wedding is planned for next summer.

Stephen Curry fiancee photos Ayesha Alexander

Since then there’s been no official, on-the-record word on who the lucky lady is.

Stephen Curry fiancee photos Ayesha Alexander

Until now.

Stephen Curry fiancee photos Ayesha Alexander

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Speed Read: Dwyane Wade Pecks at Your Entrails

The Atlanta Hawks’ animal mascot (as opposed to its mall & car dealership mascot) couldn’t get settled for Wednesday night’s Game 2 against the Miami Heat. Before each home game, Spirit the Hawk usually swoops across the arena and land with its handler.

Instead, the (Del?) Harris hawk became confused last night and wandered Philips Arena, landing in the stands, above center court, and on a stanchion.

Spirit the Hawk of the Atlanta Hawks

For reasons unclear, they started the game while Spirit stayed loose. However, the game came to a screeching halt a few minutes in when Spirit landed on the backboard camera and Josh Smith excused himself due to winged predators in the field of play. Eventually, Spirit returned to his handler and play continued.

The rest of the Hawks followed suit in avoiding airborne objects for the remainder of the game, allowing Dwyane Wade to divebomb them with 33 points (including six three-pointers) in a 108-93 win to pull even with the Hawks at a game apiece in the seven-game series.

After the game, Hawks management offered Spirit the scorekeeper job; at least he knows where to look for the ball.

In other NBA games last night, Philadelphia lost to Orlando 96-87, New Orleans lost to Denver 108-93, and the Detroit Pistons lost their ability to care.

A flyby of the NBA may be all that underclassmen college basketball players will get next season when they wish to dip their toe in the NBA Draft. The NCAA has taken steps to limit the time non-seniors can even bat an eyelash in the NBA’s direction by declaring for the draft to the length of an eye blink.

A pensive Stephen Curry

Instead of getting approximately six weeks to consult with NBA teams, speak to trusted advisors, and draw out the decision into key segments of the news cycle, players would get around a week’s time, usually during finals. The NCAA wants to protect their franchisees by encouraging the players to stick around longer to increase their marketing value.

Therefore, no one should show surprise when a young man chooses to skip the NCAA for Europe as Brandon Jennings did. Perhaps we should also not feign indignance when the best high school junior in the country, Jeremy Tyler, packs his extra-long jammies (for his 6′11″ frame) and heads to Europe before his senior year of high school.

Jeremy Tyler

Long-time watchers of tall young men will recognize the puppeteer behind this latest stress test on the basketball pipeline. Sonny Vaccaro has his hand in this year’s Atlantic leap, just as he did for Jennings last year. Tyler turns 18 in June and will be eligible for the 2011 NBA draft.

We have a suggestion for Tyler to consider when he selects an NBA agent:

David Falk

The Bird of Prey himself, of course.

And now the hail of bullet points that you successfully survive thanks to your bra

Who’s now the most likely to be upset in round one?

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Speed Read: Allen Outduels Gordon, Saves Celts

With three minutes left in last night’s Bulls-Celtics tilt, it looked like Ben Gordon was going to will the Bulls to an astounding 2-0 series lead. But then, as Paul Pierce wilted down the stretch, Ray Allen finally woke up and saved Boston’s season with two huge threes, including the game-winner with two seconds left as Boston won 118-115. Rajon Rondo bounced back from a sprained knee/ankle/hip he suffered just before halftime to finish with a triple double: 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 16 assists.

Ray Allen

Gordon scored 42 for Chicago, but the Bulls couldn’t keep the Celtics off the offensive boards all night, and it cost the Bulls dearly in the fourth quarter. With about 30 seconds left and holding a one-point lead, Chicago was unable to corral a loose ball that eventually ended up in Allen’s hand — and he nailed a three to give the Celtics the lead. Gordon answered to tie it, but never got another chance as Allen hit a tough shot over the outstretched arms and hair of Joakim Noah to end it.

Well, there were two seconds left, but Vinny Del Negro plowed through all of his timeouts too soon (and at least one of them seemed completely unnecessary, considering the Bulls’ only play in the final three minutes was “give it Ben Gordon and get out of his way”), meaning the Bulls got a 70-footer from Tyrus Thomas at the buzzer. Still, a split in Boston is all the Bulls could reasonably ask for, and knowing that they can compete when the series comes back to Boston is going to be key.

Ben Gordon

Can the Bulls actually win this series?

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In the other playoff game, the Spurs got 38 points from Tony Parker and beat the Mavs 105-84. Still, it seems like Dallas is winning this series, doesn’t it?

In the NHL, the Bruins moved within one game of their first playoff series win in 10 years with a 4-2 victory at Montreal, taking a 3-0 lead. Meanwhile, the Caps scored a huge 4-0 road win over the Rangers at MSG after dropping the first two games at home. And in Calgary, the Flames got back within 2-1 in the series by beating Chicago 4-2. It was Calgary’s first win in seven games against the Blackhawks this season.

• If you’re a Cubs fan and you’re dead, there’s still a way for you to support the team that probably hastened your death in the first place. That’s right, a Cubs-themed cemetery called Beyond the Vines opens for business on Wednesday.

Cubs cemetery

Billed as “eternal luxury suites for Cubs fans,” the cemetery features an ivy-covered brick wall and will have some other Wrigley touches, such as a stained-glass replica of the ballpark’s scoreboard.  CNBC’s Darren Rovell says that if this works, the guy who came up with it is going to take it to Yankee fans.

• You might have noticed that Chien-Ming Wang sucks now. Even worse is that he’s out of options so the Yanks can’t send him down to the minors without sending him through waivers, and someone would surely claim him (the Orioles can always use a guy with a 34.50 ERA). Worse for Wang is the fact that he’s signed to a one-year deal, which means he’s this close to pitching for the Newark Bears next year. Or, you know, Wang could throw 45 consecutive scoreless innings and get his ERA under 4. RIVER AVE BLUES is searching for answers.

• Yeah, the Marlins were 11-1, but you don’t just go into Ross Ohlendorf’s house and expect to win ball games. The Pirates now have four shutouts this year after beating Florida 8-0. They had two all of last year.

• American running hottie Kara Goucher almost won the Boston Marathon yesterday. She actually had the lead in the final stretch, but was passed up by a Kenyan and an Ethiopian and finished third, just nine seconds off the winning time. The BOSTON HERALD says she would’ve been the first American to win the race since 1985.

Kara Goucher

• A record-low crowd of 12,473 paying customers saw Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmerman make his major-league debut last night. Actually, it was a lot less than that because a pre-game rain delay chased all but a few hundred fans from the park. By the time Joel Hanrahan saved a 3-2 win over the Braves, the WASHINGTON POST estimates there were 70 people there. I know it was a crappy night, but isn’t it great that D.C. spent millions on that new ballpark?

The Detroit Lions have a new logo. Actually, it’s not really a new logo at all.  It’s just the same logo, with some fierce teeth. It’s all part of a new attitude. This year, Dan Orlovsky’s going to get really angry when he takes a safety.

Lions logo

• The Arena Football League is off this season (which I’m sure you’ve noticed), but when the league comes back next year, the L.A. Avengers won’t be a part of it, according to ESPN. This is bad news for, uh, Todd Marinovich?

• DRAFTEXPRESS says Stephen Curry is going to skip his senior year and declare for the NBA Draft, where he should be picked somewhere in the late-lottery range.

• WFAN’s Mike Francesa says the Yankees need to somehow fix their new stadium as soon as the team leaves for its road trip this week to try and cut down on what he calls an “amusement park” atmosphere with balls flying out of the yard to right field at an alarming rate. But how? Even if it was physically possible to change the dimensions of the park in-season, that’s against MLB rules. So the only solutions are either changing how the wind blows through the park (a little unlikely) or getting rid of Chien-Ming Wang (see a few paragraphs above).

Speed Read: Is Brodeur The Greatest Goalie Ever?

It’s hard at this moment to put into perspective what Martin Brodeur accomplished last night by becoming the NHL’s all-time leader in wins as a goaltender. For one, there’s no such thing as a tie anymore and Marty has had his share of shootout wins over the past few seasons. But it’s clear that this is a big deal, especially since Brodeur — a Montreal native — passed his childhood idol Patrick Roy to get the record.

Martin Brodeur

(Would you know this was one of the 10 best hockey players of all time if you saw him walking down the street?)

But just think how huge the celebration of this record would have been if Brodeur had played his entire career just 5 1/2 miles east of at Madison Square Garden instead of at the afterthought that is the Meadowlands (and if he had led the Blueshirts to three Stanley Cups instead of the Devils. And yes, I know the Devils play in Newark now, but that’s only been a little over a year). As someone who’s lived in New York, I know firsthand that those 5 1/2 miles might as well be 500 miles, considering how little attention is paid to the Devils and Nets in the city.

That’s not a knock on the Devils’ franchise, which has quite clearly been superior to the Rangers for 15 years now, mostly because of Brodeur.  It’s just that he’s never really been a superstar — that guy who’s a must-see along the lines of Gretzky, Lemieux, Roy, Ovechkin, Crosby, and any number of other guys who draws huge crowds wherever they go. And that’s largely because he’s been fairly anonymous despite playing in the largest market in the NHL. He’s never even filled his own building on a regular basis. Heck, you can count the number of Devils sellout crowds on one hand most years. They can’t even pack their barn for playoff games. I bought tickets to a 2003 Stanley Cup Finals game the day before from Ticketmaster.

When Brodeur retires with what will likely be many more wins (100 more? 200?) than Roy, he will have set a bar that may never be topped. But will he be remembered as fondly as the NHL’s other greats? Personally, as a hockey fan, I kind of a agree with this guy:

Roy fan taunts Brodeur

I think Brodeur is a great technical goaltender who’s been fortunate to be able to play at high level for many years. But he always has had a great defensive team in front of him — something many other great goaltenders like Dominik Hasek and Ed Belfour were not blessed with on a regular basis. But for my money, but Roy is still the best I’ve ever seen.

Do you have WBC fever yet? Do you know it’s even happening? As if we needed further evidence that America’s attention is squarely on college basketball this month, America’s scintillating 9th-inning comeback victory over Puerto Rico last night — which avenged P.R.’s 11-1 mercy-rule win over the U.S. a few days ago and sent the Americans into the semifinals — was seen by an announced crowd of just over 13,000 at Dolphins Stadium in Miami. To put it into perspective, the Korea-Japan game in San Diego drew more than 15,000. To recap: it’s our national pastime, in our country, playing against an American territory with a large population in the Miami area, and we couldn’t outdraw the Korea-Japan game. The U.S. team is now apparently taking this all very seriously, after nearly deciding to drop out of the tournament because too many people were getting hurt. I’m going to put the probability at about 98% that this is the last World Baseball Classic.

As it happened, though, it was a great game. Shane Victorino drew the ire of the Puerto Ricans in the 7th inning when he “accidentally” deflected a ball thrown in from the outfield while he was running the bases, allowing him to take an extra base. If the game wasn’t close, he likely would’ve taken one off his ear flap the next time up. Puerto Rico had a 5-3 lead going into the bottom of the 9th, but the U.S. rallied, culminating in David Wright’s 2-run single that won it, setting off a genuinely boisterous celebration.

WBC celebration

The NIT started last night with eight matchups, and “snubbed” teams like San Diego State and Saint Mary’s came through with victories. Stephen Curry did his usual thing, scoring 32 as Davidson won at South Carolina. Meanwhile, only 2,039 people bothered to show up in South Bend to see Notre Dame beat UAB. Kentucky played its first game at Lexington’s Memorial Coliseum since 1976 because Rupp Arena had a scheduling conflict, and the Wildcats downed UNLV in front of a sell-out crowd.

Stephen Curry

(Steph’s team wouldn’t make an NCAA run this year, so isn’t it better that we might see him take the NIT crown?)

• Should the Astros follow up their signing of Pudge Rodriguez with Pedro Martinez? Some commenters on BASEBALL PROSPECTUS think it’s all crazy enough to work, but BP’s Will Carroll is just shaking his head at Ed Wade (who says the team has had no conversations with Pedro, for what it’s worth).

Oh, God. Yes, that’s A-Rod making out with himself:

Alex Rodriguez making out with himself

Morehead State beat Alabama State in the game the NCAA refuses to call the “play-in” game.  Their reward? A beatdown by Louisville on Friday. In fact, the Cards beat Morehead 79-41 earlier this season, so expect the line to be set somewhere around 38 on this one. The tragedy in all of this? No more chances to see Grlenntys Chief Kickingstallionsims, Jr. play.

• According to MLIVE, players for the Lions are no longer permitted to talk to the media unless it’s been cleared with the team’s media relations department first. Because if there’s any organization that has a pristine reputation to uphold, it’s the Detroit Lions.

• Florida State president T.K. Wetherell kinda lost it in a press conference yesterday, so says the ORLANDO SENTINEL. First, he referred to Bobby Bowden’s first school (Samford) as a “dipsh*t school,” then he outlined a hypothetical way that the ‘Noles could beat Florida, which includes a frighteningly well-thought-out fraud scheme involving Tim Tebow and fake schoolwork submitted in his name.

• PASSION AND PRIDE cautions against Phillies fans panicking about Cole Hamels‘ injury. It looks like he has no structural damage to his elbow, but still. 260 innings last year.

• ROYALS REVIEW warns against a cheeseburger shortage in KC, with Billy Butler and Sidney Ponson now both in town (and isn’t Ponson just the perfect Royals guy?)

Sidney Ponson cheeseburgers

Steve Nash is really excited that Vancouver’s going to get an MLS team, as his Twitter feed indicates. With the rate the MLS is expanding, Nash will probably be playing for them after his deal with the Suns expires.  So now the MLS has two Canadian teams. It’s all part of a master plan to start gradually putting MLS teams in other countries. The league clearly believes it’s about time that the rest of the world gets some exposure to soccer.

• Speaking of soccer, it’s time to bid for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups! The frontrunner? Gotta be Qatar.

• The AP reports that two sled dogs died in the Iditarod yesterday. Their hometown? Wasilla. The cause of death is unknown, but it probably has to do with running in the snow in ridiculously freezing weather.

If you needed to win one hockey game, who would be your goalie?

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Speed Read: Running Up The Score On Venezuela

WOOOO! YEAH! AMERICA ROCKS! OUR FOREIGN POLICY HAS JUST BEEN VINDICATED BECAUSE WE KICKED SOME ASS ON THE DIAMOND! YEAH! The score was USA 15, Venezuela 6 in first-round World Baseball Classic action last night, and with a 2-0 record in pool play, the Americans are assured of advancing to the next round. Your heroes are Chris Ianetta (3-run double in 6th inning) and Mark DeRosa (4 RBI). Wait, those guys are actually on America’s roster? Seriously?

Mark DeRosa slide
(DeRosa, proving that refs totally listen to you when you say you’re safe.)

As to whether we can glean too much joy from beating the tar out of a team from a country with a GDP that’s roughly the same as the state of Iowa? (By the way, you’ve got to click that link; I don’t know if Alabama’s or Texas’ corollary is funnier or more offensive to their residents.) Sure. For as meh a country as Venezuela is on the global stage, their lineup was filled with starting-caliber talent. The meat of the Venezuela order, consisting of Bobby Abreu, Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez, and Carlos Guillen, is downright All-Star quality. If only their pitching wasn’t garbage.

In college basketball, we now know five teams that’ll be losing in the first round of the tournament, plus North Carolina smacked Duke down for the ACC regular season title, 79-71. The men of the match were Tyler Hansborough, giving the Dean Dome 17 points in his last home game, and Ty Lawson, who was doubtful to play (oh, please) with a sprained toe but poured in 13, 9, and 8 in the win.

UNC Duke Scheyer Face
(Scheyer Face alert! Code red! This is not a drill!)

UNC’s now 6 for their last 7 against the Blue Devils, who were beaten for the second seed in the ACC tourney by Wake Forest. Suddenly, even a 2 seed in the NCAAs doesn’t seem so assured for Coach K’s charges. FIRE THE BUM!

As for hockey (or as they call it in Europe, “football”), we do need to commend Washington Capitals fans with a spirited, to say the least, attack on Sidney Crosby’s worth as a hockey player and as a man. The singular fatal flaw in their plan, however, was the fact that Crosby’s still one of the five best players in the NHL. As it turns out, Crosby made Washington pay dearly: one goal, one assist, and the clinching goal in the shootout to give Pittsburgh the 4-3 victory. But hey… nice work on the signs, fans.

Sidney Crosby Crybaby
(And you can’t spell “Penguin” without “P-U-N!” Wakka wakka wakka!)

As for Alex Ovechkin, the Caps’ superstar, he had a magnificent performance of his own. No, it won’t show up in the stat sheet… but it will show up on TV and YouTube, because it’s incredible. Courtesy of the DC SPORTS BOG:

Some links to consider while you recover from being run over by a bull

  • Did you ever watch that “Real Housewives of Atlanta” show? No? Us neither. But apparently the one who’s the ex-wife former Atlanta Falcon Bob Whitfield’s being sued by Whitfield for about $87,000. Honest mistake on her part, we’re sure.
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs GM, on whether the NHL will ban fighting: “I will personally challenge anyone who wants to get to rid of fighting to a fight.” Um, that’s a joke, right?
  • Fat Ronaldo’s back from that horrific injury, and his first goal is a game-winner in injury time. Naturally, it comes replete with fans going completely ballistic and fences being torn down. Because hey, it’s soccer, and that’s just, y’know, what you do.

Will Duke ever be better than UNC while Coach K and Roy Williams are around?

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ESPN To Get Vitale Far Far Away From Duke Game

ESPN is being forced to resort to desperate measures and ridiculous publicity stunts to keep Dick Vitale from calling Duke games. For the Jan. 7 Duke-Davidson game, ESPN will bring in its NBA announcers, while moving Vitale and co. to the Heat-Nuggets game later that day.

Dick Vitale

So that means Mike Tirico, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy are going to have to do some cramming to figure out what the hell a one-and-one is, while Vitale and Dan Shulman are going to need to get used to the 24-second shot clock. But obviously, the real benefit to viewers everywhere, other than not being forced to hear Elliot Williams called a diaper dandy ever 2 minutes, is not having to deal with Vitale having an orgasm on-air anytime Duke does anything competently.

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Speed Read: Bears Somehow Still In Playoff Hunt

If there was ever a time to start considering some minimum standards for teams to make the playoffs, it’s right now. With the potential for both the Chargers and the Cardinals to make the playoffs - and have a home game! - with 8-8 records should be enough to make any football fan cringe. Has the NFL suddenly turned into the NBA’s Eastern Conference? Shouldn’t there be some sort of rule that you have to be above .500 to make the playoffs.

Kyle Orton

And there there’s the Chicago Bears, who are somehow still in the thick of the playoff chase after pulling out a 20-17 overtime victory over the Green Bay Packers thanks ato a blocked field goal with time expiring to keep the game tied. Yes, those Chicago Bears. The one with the offensive playbook that is less sophisticated than that from the old Tecmo Bowl Nintendo game. The one with no pass defense to speak of. The one with Kyle Freakin’ Orton at quarterback.

But here they sit at 9-6, with a chance to either win the NFC North or get a wild card, despite having needed basically every result on Sunday to go exactly as they did for that to happen. If the Bears pull this off, it will be a Christmas miracle the likes of which haven’t been seen in Chicago since Macaulay Culkin single-handedly fought off Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern.

Home Alone

The NFL in 2008: you don’t have to be good to make the playoffs, just conveniently geographically positioned.

Of course, the highlight of the whole game might have been during the coin toss. It wasn’t a total debacle like the Jerome Bettis coin toss against the Lions a few years ago, but it was pretty humorous. If you didn’t see it during the game, keep your eye on Brian Urlacher during the toss:

I think the referee needs to practice the coin toss a bit more. And way to not even have your eyes on the coin, Brian. Head on a swivel!

Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers aren’t making the playoffs, but they are playing a lot better under “interim” head coach Mike Singletary (and really, is there any way he won’t be the head coach next season?). And they have a plan for Sunday’s season finale at home against the Redskins.

Ray Wersching

According to the SANTA ROSA PRESS DEMOCRAT, along with the throwback uniforms, many members of the team will also be sporting “throwback” mustaches. Posted on the wall for motivation are pictures of great mustaches from 49ers past, including John Ayers, Ray Wersching, Jimmy Johnson and Roger Craig. Let’s just hope they don’t decide to imitate Wersching’s financial strategies as well.

  • DEADSPIN wonders if Fox NFL analyst Brian Baldinger’s gross right pinky finger is getting - well, even more gross. Honestly, there’s no way to fix that thing? Maybe a pair of pliers?
  • Brian Baldinger and his gross finger

  • Along with baseball, another event on tap for the first month of operations at the New Yankee Stadium is an “inspirational night of encouragement by TV minister Joel Osteen. Unfortunately for him, a worker cursed the event by burying an old sequined dress from Tammy Faye Baker beneath the stadium during construction.
  • Derek Jeter is hardly opening his arms to potentially welcome Manny Ramirez into the Yankees’ fold, telling the NEWARK STAR-LEDGER that the Yankees “don’t need” the mercurial free agent because their line-up has “scored plenty of runs.” Keep in mind, this is a team that let Melky Cabrera and his .249 batting average get more than 400 ABs last season. I think you could use the help in the line-up, Captain.
  • What it is about Texas high school cheerleading that always seems to wind up getting some combination of school administrators, lawyers or the police involved? This time the DALLAS MORNING NEWS says it’s a disgruntled parent who says her daughter didn’t make the team because of harassment from other cheerleaders.
  • The BASEBALL THINK FACTORY warns that you not to call Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman and talk about Adam Dunn’s high number of walks. I suggest that we all call his show and demand to talk about that just to see if Brennaman’s head will explode.
  • An undersized guard named Curry helping a mid-major team make some noise with a deadly jumper? RIVALS.COM wants the world to get ready for Stephen Curry’s younger brother Seth, who has been leading Liberty back from the basketball wasteland.
  • Animal Planet has a new TV show premiering in February called “Jockeys,” about the trials and tribulations of the riders at the Oak Tree Meet at Santa Anita. It’s the most compelling story about little people since “Under the Rainbow” - and 100 percent Chevy Chase free!
  • Drexel head coach Bruiser Flint missed the Dragons’ game against Memphis and his mentor John Calipari after being suspended one game for being ejected from his team’s loss to Bucknell last Thursday. The NEW YORK DAILY NEWS says it’s good he missed the game: the Tigers crushed Drexel, 87-49. Hey, at least Drexel still got their $90,000.
  • Finally…did you love the Super Bowl Shuffle but wish that involved less football and more rapping about maple syrup and Grey Poupon? Then in honor of the Bears’ win last night, the Super Broker Shuffle is for you:

Who is your pick for the NFL Coach of the Year?

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Speed Read: Kings Turn Back Clock, Beat Lakers

Suddenly it was 2002 all over again for the Lakers vs. Kings rivalry last night in Sacramento. The Arco Arena crowd was hooting and hollering and the Maloofs were acting like giant cheeseballs, high-fiving, bear-hugging and giving lap dances to anyone within reach. Sacramento temporarily forgot how lousy they are in delivering a 113-101 beatdown of Los Angeles that really wasn’t that close. Wake up the echoes of Vlade and C-Webb, indeed.

John Salmons and Kobe Bryant

What the game came down to was defense, specifically the Lakers’ total lack of it. They were unable to stop the high pick and roll, leaving the Kings with huge lanes to the basket to score or dish for threes. This is not a good sign for the Lakers going into tonight’s game against Steve Nash and the Suns, even if Shaq isn’t playing.

That’s three bad performances in their last four road games against average to awful teams (Indiana, Washington, Sacramento), which should be enough to silence any talk about 70 wins. But before Lakers fans go calling their therapist for a new prescription of Zoloft, they should remember that the team is still 17-3.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Mo Williams

Meanwhile in Cleveland, a legendary Cavaliers superstar reached a huge career milestone. Congratulations to Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who had set the franchise record for career rebounds in the team’s 114-94 rout of the Toronto Raptors. And oh yeah, some guy named LeBron James tried to horn in on the Big Z’s big night by setting the team’s career mark for steals and chipping in with 31 points.

Other sports news to read while you consider calling in gay to work today:

    Wayne Rooney and accused killer Anthony Corsi

  • Apparently, about the worst thing you can do in England is tell someone they look like Manchester United star Wayne Rooney. THE SUN reports that drunken slur in a taxi line led to one man’s death while the Rooney lookalike is currently facing manslaughter charges.
  • The DETROIT NEWS has word that big-mouth former Michigan QB and mediocre MLB player Rick Leach thinks that former Wolverines coach Lloyd Carr should “support” the guy who replaced him, Rich Rodriguez.
  • An Australian politician rues to the HERALD SUN that having soccer players overstay their visas and apply for asylum is one of the risks of hosting the Homeless World Cup.
  • The WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL notes that Ted Turner and TBS have been found guilty of a breach of contract in the sale of the Atlanta Hawks and Thrashers and ordered to pay $316 million in damages. Turner immediately protests that this “was nothing like an episode of Law & Order.”
  • Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller is cross that a ref swore at him during Monday’s game against Pittsburgh, says the BUFFALO NEWS. Reg Dunlop does not approve.
  • A good hint for coaches: don’t tell the press that it’s impossible for your team to win a game against your No. 1 rival, and Real Madrid’s Bernd Schuster said ahead of his team’s game against Barcelona. Not surprisingly, the NEW YORK TIMES reports Schuster’s been sacked. Also, don’t believe any rumors that Stephon Marbury is heading there to be the next coach.
  • 20 years later, Billy Ripken talks to CNBC’s Darren Rovell about his infamous baseball card. He still gets recognized “a couple of times a week” because of it - three guesses what people call him. Hint: it rhymes with “duck race.”
  • Stephen Curry: he’s streaky, but he’s also really good, as anyone who saw his second-half performance against West Virginia can attest to. The NEW YORK TIMES has all the details.
  • The latest name to enter the CC Sabathia Sweepstakes? The San Francisco Giants, who apparently weren’t burnt badly enough by Barry Zito to swear off big money pitchers. But Giants’ GM Brian Sabean tells the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS his team is just a “fallback” option if Sabathia doesn’t sign with the Yankees.
  • Remember when Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell said there was a “great chance” that Mike Leach wouldn’t be back coaching the Red Raiders next season. Turns out he’s changed his mind, says the AP (via the SEATTLE TIMES).

Which high-priced free-agent is some team going to most regret signing this off-season?

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Speed Read: 24 Hours Of (Mostly) Lousy Hoops

So, did you survive ESPN’s 24 Hour College Basketball Orgy 2008? For the most part, it was a Marathon of Blowouts - nothing gets me pumped up for the season like watching a quality team like Baylor blow out some scrubs like Centenary. Or, like watching a powerhouse like North Carolina destroy an obviously outmatched and undermanned opponent like Kentucky.

Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie

Ah yes, the Wildcats - first another embarrassing loss to a non-conference minnow (VMI in 2008 replacing Gardner-Webb from 2007) and now a shellacking on national TV against North Carolina without the services of Tyler Hansbrough. Maybe it’s not enough for Kentucky fans to be sending “We’re Sorry We Ran You Out Of Town” cards to Tubby Smith, but head coach Billy Gillispie has got to be feeling more and more heat every day.

Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin

The game of the night was on opposite the Wildcats’ mauling, and featured a pair of preseason All-Americans in Davidson’s Stephen Curry and Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin.  And for once the game and the key players lived up to the hype: Curry scored a career-high 44 to (almost) lead the Wildcats back from a 21-point hole, but Griffin’s 25 points and 21 rebounds were enough for the Sooners to survive, 82-78.

Meanwhile, in the world where they pay you to play basketball (up front), the Lakers kept their dream of 81-1 alive by turning back the Bulls 116-109. The hero? For once, it wasn’t Kobe Bryant but Pau Gasol, who had an impressive 34 points on 14 of 21 shooting.

Other sports news that happened last night as you recovered from the shock of hearing a hoax that Miley Cyrus, like, had totally been killed in a car crash, and OMG you just had to go on MySpace with your friends to see if that had happened. LOL.

Which college basketball conference is the most overrated?

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Blog-O-Rama: Stephen Curry Chats It Up w/Conan

GAME ON via COLLEGE HOOPS JOURNAL lays up a clip of Davidson star Stephen Curry chatting it up with Conan O’Brien.

At least Stephen should feel better knowing he lost to the national champs.

• Although he has yet to hit the court for the Blazers, the OREGONIAN learns that Portland fans are already singing Greg Oden’s praises - literally.

• THE WORLD OF ISAAC offers up a load of diaper dandies, as they present their top 10 ridiculous Dick Vitale moments.

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