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In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the category “Champions League”

Yeah, we don’t know either

1995 NFL Pro BowlWe came across this story today from Business Insider Australia (h/t @PhilHecken) about the mascots that the NFL used during the 1995 Pro Bowl game.

Now, admittedly, we don’t watch much if any of the Pro Bowl, but we do check in a little during the game and generally catch the highlights. But we have absolutely zero recollection of this mascot supposedly representing the Cleveland Browns.

We’re not even sure what it is supposed to be. Yeah, sure, it’s a “dawg” but other than that, what the heck is going on? Why is he so sad? And why does he have a Mike Holmgren-like mustache almost 20 years before Holmgren came to Cleveland?

Does anyone remember this?

Weird.

Read more…

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Reds leave Chelsea feeling blue

Time for a quick look around the football world.

Liverpool came up big on Sunday at Stamford Bridge, handling Chelsea a 2-1 defeat. Glen Johnson’s goal at the 87-minute mark extended Liverpool’s unbeaten run in the league to seven matches and lifted the team above Arsenal into sixth place, level with Chelsea at 22 points.

“It’s not easy to collect the points, but we’ll keep doing everything we can,” Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish said after the game. “If we do have a secret, you can guarantee one thing, it’ll not be announced.”

While the Reds have been on a nice run, we still that they have left too many points on the pitch that they will need later in the season – most notably at home to Swansea City, Norwich City and Sunderland, but also even against Manchester United and Stoke City.

Hopefully they can roll out the secret again on Sunday, when Manchester City, currently resting comfortably at the top of the table in the Premier League, visits Anfield.

***

Congrats to David Beckham and the Galaxy for winning the MLS Cup on Sunday night.

We like Beckham as a player (we wish we could have seen him in his prime at Manchester United) and winning a title was a nice way to close out the final year of his contract with the Galaxy.

Beckham wants to continue playing and it seems likely he will make a return to Europe after the first of the year as he has been linked to Paris St. Germain, which currently sits at the top of the table in Ligue 1.

“I have a decision to make and I haven’t made it yet,” the 36-year-old Beckham told The Daily Mail. “I’ve got options, which is amazing at my age. A couple of big European clubs are after me. I need to decide what’s best for me.

“Whenever a big club comes in for you it’s a temptation. At 36, to still have a big Euro club after me means a lot.”

It will be interesting to see if Beckham can make the transition back to top-flight football in Europe. We’re still on the fence about the quality of play in the MLS, which seems the equivalent of AAA baseball compared to the top leagues in Europe.

And when you consider that Beckham, at 36, and Thierry Henry, at 34, were named to the league’s Best XI squad this year, we wonder about the overall talent in the league.

***

The group stage of the Champions League is nearing an end, with Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Benfica all punching their tickets to the knockout stage on Tuesday.

The news isn’t so bright, however, for the two Manchester Clubs.

Because of its 2-2 draw with Benfica, Manchester United needs at least a point at Basel in its final game to advance to the knockout stage for the sixth year in a row.

Meanwhile, Manchester City is in a tough spot following its 2-1 loss at Napoli. Now, Napoli only needs a win at Villarreal to grab the second spot in Group A and leave City on the outside looking in.

“I think we have a 30 percent chance of going through but if we don’t, we will make do with the Europa League,” Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini said in published reports. “Our life does not finish if we don’t go through. I’m disappointed with the result, but not the performance.”

***

Finally, if you are an NBA fan wondering how to fill your time with no games being played, why not check out the Premier League?

Should we be worried about the Tribe?

The Indians have been rather ugly and disappointing of late on the field, losing four of their last five games.

During the losing streak, the Tribe has only scored eight runs, has a .213 batting average, is just 2-of-20 with runners in scoring position and have posted an ERA of 6.27.

The skid hit rock bottom (we hope) Monday night against Toronto when the Indians couldn’t figure out how to get to Blue Jay starter Jo-Jo Reyes, who came into the game with an 0-4 record, a 4.70 earned-run average and a losing streak (28 starts) that stretched to 2008.

Told you it has been ugly.

So should we be worried?

Probably not.

On May 1, the Indians were 19-8, a winning percentage of .704, which they obviously were not going to sustain for an entire season.

Heading into last night’s game with Toronto, the Tribe was 31-20, which means they have played .500 ball for the month of May.

But (and there is always a but) the Indians have increased their division lead during the month, from 4.5 games over second-place Kansas City on May 1 to to 5 games over second-place Detroit heading into last night’s game.

So they have made it through a month of mediocre play and still sit comfortably in first place.

But (there it is again) the past week has put the team’s shortcomings in the spotlight.

The team has been trying to hold down the fort while waiting for Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner to return from injuries. Their absence definitely thinned out the lineup. Sizemore is back and hopefully Hafner will return sooner rather than later so the bench players, like Shelley Duncan and Travis Buck, can go back to the bench.

So the lack of offense may correct itself.

Then there is the defense.

After being solid for the first month-and-a-half of the season, the Tribe defense has fallen off a cliff. In the last six games, the Indians have committed six errors. The one game they didn’t commit an error? Saturday’s 7-3 win against Tampa.

In the first 40 games of the season, the Tribe committed 16 errors; in the past 11 games the number is 12 errors.

The Indians have to have solid defense to have a chance to win, especially with the offense slumping the way it is. This team just can’t afford to give away outs.

Luckily defense is something that should be easily fixed (or at least we hope so).

So that leaves the starting pitching.

After being so good, the starters have struggled – a lot – recently.

From Mitch Talbot (3 innings pitched, 12 hits, eight earned runs vs. Boston), to Justin Masterson (5 IP, eight hits, seven earned runs) to Fausto Carmona’s stinkfest against Toronto (4 IP, nine hits, seven earned runs), the pitching staff is slumping just as bad as the offense.

The pitching staff has given up seven or more runs five times in the last 11 games – the same number they put up in the first 40 games of the season.

And that right there probably gives us the answer we are looking for.

With the offense, the pitching and the defense all struggling at the same time, any team is going to look bad. The Tribe is most likely not as good as they looked when they started 19-8, but neither are the as bad as they have been during the 12-12 stretch of the past month.

As we write this, the Indians are in the process of building a 3-0 lead in the third inning against Toronto. So maybe the past week – and month – are just a normal part of the ebb-and-flow of a long baseball season.

After all, the only number that counts is the one that says the Tribe is in first place by five games.

***

Lots to like as the alma mater participates in post-season play.

The Kent State golf team posted a team score of 304 (16-0ver) during the first of three stroke play rounds on Tuesday at the 2011 NCAA Championship at Oklahoma State.

The Golden Flashes finished the day in ninth place among 15 teams.

After winning its third consecutive MAC championship over the weekend, the baseball team drew a No. 3 regional seed in the 2011 NCAA Championship tournament.

Ranked No. 24 in the nation, the Golden Flashes will play in the Austin Regional this weekend, opening on Friday against the No. 2 seed, Texas State.

***

TV ratings for Saturday’s Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United were up 64 percent from last year.

***

Finally, Peyton Hillis’ Madden cover has been released.

Would it have killed them to show him steamrolling a Steeler?

Turns out, their is an I in team

With their victory over the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Miami Heat continue to disprove the old adage that there is no I in team.

By making the finals in the first year of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh playing together, the Heat are creating a new model for the NBA where the individual is more important than the team.

The Heat deserve some credit, we suppose. They manipulated the system to their advantage, the players colluded to play together, and now they have been rewarded with what could be the first of multiple trips to the NBA Finals.

As for the Bulls, the writing is on the wall. They learned the same lesson the Cavs learned the past two years: one superstar player and a supporting cast of role players isn’t going to get it done in today’s NBA.

And really, how are the Bulls any different than the Cavs of ’08-’09 and ’09-’10?

They both were led by a dominant player (Derrick Rose and James), with a group of role players (Carlos Boozer/Antwan Jamison, Joakim Noah/Anderson Varajeo, Keith Bogans/Mo Williams) and a head coach that preaches defense first (Tom Thibodeau/Mike Brown).

How long before Rose decides, rather than looking for help, that he can’t beat the Heat and leaves Chicago? Does anyone really think that in a couple of years, when Kobe Bryant is done in LA and Dwight Howard and the Lakers come calling, that Rose won’t head out west?

The Heat haven’t won the title yet; the Mavericks still have a say in this.

But we’ve seen the future and it doesn’t look pretty, at least in the NBA’s Eastern Conference.

***

Former Cleveland Indians catcher Ray Fosse, who suffered the most inexcusable injury in baseball history, feels sorry for San Francisco catcher Buster Posey but doesn’t join the hoopleheads in calling for a rule change to protect catchers.

“The game has been around more than 100 years, and now they’re going to start protecting catchers?” Fosse told The San Francisco Chronicle. “I can’t see anything that can be changed. In high school, you can’t run over a catcher. But that’s high school. This is professional baseball. The idea is to score runs. If the catcher has the ball and he’s standing there, the runner has to stop? Is that the protection?

“I can’t believe anything can be done, and I don’t see how you could regulate something like that.”

***

The football season comes to and end on Saturday when Manchester United takes on Barcelona in what should be an exciting final of the Champions League.

Will the game by the last hurrah for Barcelona and Spain?

Can Manchester United learn from the mistakes of 2009?

Can Edwin van der Sar go out a winner?

Finally, six of the best matches between the two teams.

And just think, with a 2:45 p.m. kickoff from London’s Wembley Stadium, we’ll be able to watch the final and only miss a couple of innings of the Tribe game vs. Tampa.

Razor thin Tribe

The last two days against Boston highlighted just how thin the Tribe’s margin of error is right now.

With Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner out of the lineup with injuries, and Carlos Santana in an 0-for-19 slump, the Indians need to have outstanding pitching to have any chance of staying in the game.

Tuesday night’s game was a perfect example. Fausto Carmona went eight innings and really only made one bad pitch – the two-run home run he gave up to Jason Varitek in the seventh inning of the Indians 4-2 loss.

Most nights four runs would not have been that much to overcome, but the Tribe lineup is currently a bit thin. Add in the fact that the Indians forgot how to run the bases – they had a runner thrown out at third, two base stealers were caught at second, and Matt LaPorta was doubled off in the fifth.

With the offense in its current state, that’s not going to get it down.

And the less said about Mitch Talbot’s performance in Wednesday’s 14-2 loss the better. Doesn’t matter how well you are playing, few teams are coming back from 7-0 in the first inning.

So the Indians hit the road with a two-game losing streak. Does that mean the good times have come to an end? Of course not.

Detroit was rained out Wednesday, and the Twins and White Sox both lost. Pending the outcome of the Royals game, the Tribe leads second-place Detroit by 5.5 games, KC by at least 7.5 and Chicago by 9. Minnesota is so far behind they are lucky there isn’t relegation in baseball.

The Indians entered May 4.5 games ahead of second-place KC, so they’ve increased their lead during the month. And Sizemore is expected back on Friday.

So while the last two days haven’t been fun, the Tribe is a long way from the panic zone.

***

Former Cavs coach Mike Brown has agreed to become the coach of the Lakers, taking over for the retired Phil Jackson.

“In response to rampant speculation and reports about our head coaching position and Mike Brown, we’ve met with Mike and are very impressed with him,” the team said in published reports. “In addition, we have an outline for an agreement in place and hope to sign a contract within the next few days.”

Who saw this one coming?

Although, once you get past the initial surprise, the Lakers may have made a good hire.

During his time in Cleveland, Brown:

  • Won the third-most games in team history with 272 wins;
  • Won the most postseason games in team history with 42 wins;
  • Coached the team to the playoffs five straight years;
  • Coached the team past the first round of the playoffs every year;
  • Posted at least 45 wins five straight years, the first time in team history;
  • Posted back-to-back 60-win seasons;

And no one was under more of a spotlight than the Cavs during Brown’s last two years with the team, so the pressure of coaching the NBA’s marquee franchise shouldn’t faze him.

Plus, you don’t think Kobe Bryant is just itching to prove he can win a title without Phil Jackson?

“If you’re building a championship team, the DNA always has to start on the defensive end of the floor. Always. I’m a firm believer in that,” Bryant told The Los Angeles Times. “I don’t believe in building a championship team on offense. It has to be built on defense and rebounding. Period.”

Brown certainly knows defense, so if that’s what Bryant wants, he’s going to get it.

Congrats to coach Brown – a good guy who may gotten a raw deal at the end in Cleveland.

***

The Tribe is finally getting some love from the worldwide leader – with two (two!) columns praising the team in one day.

Tim Kurkjian risks being struck down by lightening for suggesting that Asdrubal Cabrera may be the best shortstop in the American League:

The best shortstop in the American League this year is not closing in on 3,000 hits, he’s getting close to 500. He has an unusual first name, his last name is the same as his double-play partner and he was traded for a current ESPN analyst who had only 17 hits after the deal.

Meet Asdrubal Cabrera of the Cleveland Indians. He is 25 years old, a switch-hitter and, so far this season, the best player on the best team in baseball.

Then Jerry Crasnick came through with a look at how the Indians fleeced the Mariners of both Cabrera and Shin-Soo Choo in separate trades in 2006:

The Cleveland Indians lack the financial wherewithal to compete for big-name free agents and their recent draft history is nondescript, to put it kindly. But the Tribe sure does hold its own on the trade market.

Scan the roster for the Indians, the surprise American League Central leaders, and you’ll find quite a bounty by way of the Pacific Northwest. Asdrubal Cabrera, who leads AL shortstops with 10 homers, 58 hits and an .900 OPS, arrived from Seattle five years ago in a late June deal for Eduardo Perez. Less than a month later, the Indians acquired outfield prospect Shin-Soo Choo and pitcher Shawn Nottingham from the Mariners for Ben Broussard.

Two positive stories in one day? Things are definitely getting strange around here.

***

Finally, today is the anniversary of arguably one of the greatest games in Champions League history – Liverpool’s win in the final against AC Milan in Istanbul in 2005.

Trailing 3-0 at halftime, the Reds scored three times in the first six minutes of the second half and eventually won the game in a penalty shootout for their fifth European Cup championship.

Tribe bandwagon getting crowded

It took 45 games and almost two months of the season, but the rest of the country has finally figured out what we’ve known here in Cleveland since early in April – the Indians are the dogs bollocks this year.

The Tribe is No. 1 in the latest ESPN.com power rankings, have held the top spot in Real Clear Sports’ ranking for the entire month, are getting love from sites as diverse as The Wall Street Journal and Gaming Today, and have even won over Boston Red Sox announcer Jerry Remy:

“They’ve been no flash in the pan,” Remy said of the Indians. “They’ve done everything. They’re pitching well, they’re hitting well, they’re playing good defense. They’re just playing great baseball right now, and they’ve gained some confidence in themselves where they figure they can win this division.”

We were listening to Mad Dog Radio on Sirius today and Larry Bowa, a studio analyst for the MLB Network, was on and said he’s taken a seat on the Tribe bandwagon.

Life is truly good for the Wahoo Warriors.

***

American Brad Friedel will be part of Fox’s coverage of the Champions League final on Saturday between Manchester United and Barcelona.

The Fox pregame show will include host Curt Menefee along with Friedel and Eric Wynalda. Martin Tyler and Alan Smith will handle the play-by-play of the match.

Friedel, who has spent the past few years with Randy Lerner’s Aston Villa squad, is rumored to be returning to Liverpool, where he played from 1997 to 2000, next season to backup Pepe Reina.

Is there help out there for Browns D-line?

While the Browns went a long way to addressing their defensive line needs in the draft by selecting defensive tackle Phil Taylor and defensive end Jabaal Sheard, there is still work to be done.

When (if? someday?) the NFL lockout ends, how good would defensive end Ray Edwards look in Orange & Brown?

Edwards, 26, recorded 16.5 sacks over the past two seasons in Minnesota. Of course, opposing offensives also had to worry about defensive end Jared Allen, but that’s still an impressive number.

The Vikings tendered a one-year qualifying offer to Edwards in March, so depending on how the labor situation works out, the Browns might have to pay some sort of compensation to the Vikings if they were interested and signed Edwards.

They did the same in 2010 with a first-round tender, so it seems reasonable that they would have done the same this year, which means the Browns would have to give up a first-round pick if they offered Edwards a contract that Minnesota declined to match.

Of course, the Browns do hold two first-round picks for next year …

While Edwards is certainly someone to keep an eye on, we’ll take a pass on bust Vernon Gholston. If Rex Ryan, who knows something about defense and motivating players, couldn’t get anything out of Gholston the past two years, it seems unlikely anyone can.

***

Saturday is the Champions League final between Manchester United and Barcelona.

United’s Nemanja Vidic is ready for the match after United celebrated its 19th league title on Sunday.

“We have to come down after this excitement,” the Man U captain told the Daily Mail. “We have to prepare as best as we can for Barcelona. We are celebrating but everyone is thinking about the next game. It is the biggest game of the whole year. We know what it feels like to go to the final and lose. It was one of the saddest moments of my career.”

Of course, Barcelona has to get to Wembley first, as a volcanic ash cloud could disrupt the team’s travel plans.

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola ruled out the possibility of UEFA postponing the game against Manchester United at Wembley, insisting the club will do what the experts advise – even if that means flying on Tuesday, two days ahead of schedule.

“We hope the volcano stays asleep for a few more days and allows our fans to get there,” Guardiola told The Guardian. “We will do what [the experts] tell us to do. If that means travelling on Wednesday or even tomorrow then so be it. If not, we will travel on Thursday as originally planned. If they say don’t worry, we’ll relax; if they say get a move on, we will. What they say we will do, we will do. We will try to plan as far ahead as possible.”

And we thought the Indians getting rained out was a pain.

The grass isn’t always greener

Fernando Torres continued to learn a hard lesson today during Chelsea’s 2-1 elimination loss to Manchester United in the Champions League:

The grass isn’t always greener.

Torres just had to move from Liverpool to Chelsea, thinking the Blues were not only a better fit for his talents, but also offered him a better chance of winning Champions League glory and league titles.

“‘The Champions League is a big ambition and all the footballers want to play in it,” Torres said at the time of his move from Liverpool. “I have a very bad memory of the semi-final of the Champions League in my first season in England when Chelsea beat us and they played the final. Hopefully now I’m here we can go through to the final together and win.

“Chelsea have the chance every season to win all the trophies that they play for, so when you have the chance to play in a team like this you cannot say no. I felt from last summer that I needed a step forward in my career.”

So how’s that working out?

Chelsea currently sits in third place in the Premier League, 11 points behind Manchester United with seven games to play. It’s pretty clear they are not catching Man U at the top of the table.

Torres, the £50million-man, hasn’t scored in 11 games with Chelsea.

And now they are out of the Champions League, with Torres being substituted at halftime by manager Carlo Ancelotti, who may lose his job after the season over disagreements with owner Roman Abramovich about the best way to use Torres. Ancelotti even admitted after the game that playing Torres may have been a mistake.

“Maybe. Could be. But I thought for a lot of time before taking this decision,” Ancelotti told The Guardian. “I preferred to start with Fernando for this kind of game, with this kind of tactics. But Didier (Drogba) played very well in the second half.”

Torres works best operating as a lone striker. He is quick, adept on the counterattack, can hold the ball and is smart enough to use the ball to bring support from deep into play. He was used most successfully at Liverpool in that role, but Chelsea persists in using him in a 4-4-2.

The schedule certainly has not done him any favors, as playing for Spain in the European Championship, the Confederations Cup and the World Cup, he hasn’t had a summer off to recover since 2007.

But now he carries the burden of being the £50million-man, which means people want goals, not excuses.

We’ll always have a soft spot for Torres. We enjoyed watching him at Liverpool and still enjoy his play with Spain.

We just wish he would realized that Anfield was the best spot for him.

Be thankful for what we have, Cleveland

We were in Chicago through the weekend which means we were exposed to a variety of Chicago sports announcers during the opening weekend of the baseball season.

Oh my.

With the Tribe taking on the White Sox we caught much of Friday’s and Saturday’s games; trust us when we say Ken Harrelson and Steve Stone are extremely difficult to listen to.

They openly root for the White Sox and took every opportunity to put down the Indians, at one point claiming that, “when the Indians have their fire sale this season, there really aren’t any players other teams will want.”

Sure, no one would want Carlos Santana, Shin-Soo Choo or Chris Perez, just to name a few, if the Indians were to put them on the market (which they obviously are not going to do).

As we were staying with Cubs fans, we watched some of the Cubs as well. While nothing to get excited about, Len Kasper and Bob Brenly were passable, probably because Brenly has some experience on the national level and hasn’t been infected yet with homerism.

Friday night brought the Bulls, with Neil Funk and Stacey King. While Fred McCleod and Austin Carr can play favorites at times, they could learn a thing from Funk and King about backing the home squad.

Although dinner at Portillo’s almost made up for the bad announcing.

The strange part is, you would think the bigger the market the more professional people would be. Big cities, like Chicago and New York, get a rep for being tough places for athletes but you’d never be able to tell from the fawning announcers.

We lived in North Jersey for most of the ’90s and it was just as bad, especially the nightmare pairing of John Sterling and Michael Kay on the radio doing Yankee games. We’ve never been able to confirm it, but we’re convinced we heard Sterling weeping on the air when the Indians beat the Yankees during the 1997 playoffs.

The trip just reconfirmed what we said last summer, that we really are spoiled with the announcers we have (and had) in Cleveland. From Joe Tait on the radio with the Cavs, to Tom Hamilton (radio) and Rick Manning (TV) for the Indians and Jim Donovan and Doug Dieken on radio for the Browns, we think we have it pretty good around here.

For an alternative take on the White Sox announcers, check out this post at Waiting for Next Year. Writer Mark Leonard watched the same games and came away with a different perspective. It’s a good read.

***

Nice work by Elton Alexander at The PD on the coaching carousel that is Kent State men’s basketball.

According to the article:

  • Kent struggles on practically every level, beginning with its inability to pay competitive salaries – Geno Ford more than doubled his salary with his move last week to Butler.
  • Kent State plays in M.A.C. Center, which at nearly 60 years old, is the oldest facility in the MAC.
  • There is no basketball practice facility.
  • Coaches share an office with the women’s basketball team. Both teams share a secretary.
  • Two assistant coaches share a converted 4×10 hallway for a workspace.
  • Basketball budgets have been cut for at least the last three seasons.
  • Marketing efforts are practically nil.

While the athletic department has a system in place that keeps working, we can’t help but wonder how much longer they can keep making the right call when it comes to hiring a coach.

We’re also worried that in the school’s efforts to try and pump up the football program – which hasn’t been relevant since Jack Lambert was a Golden Flash in the early ’70s – they are going to screw up the basketball team.

When athletic director Joel Nielsen hired former Ohio State assistant coach Darrell Hazell in December, Nielsen gave Hazell a significant raise over the salary of former coach Doug Martin. That apparently left little money for the basketball team.

The fact that Ford left Kent for Bradley – a school without a football program – says a lot about the current situation at KSU.

***

Sticking with our alma mater, congratulations to the women’s gymnastics team, which qualified for the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships, which will be hosted by Kent State at Cleveland State’s Wolstein Center, April 15-17.

Not only is this the first time the Golden Flashes have qualified for the NCAA Championships, they are also the first women’s gymnastics program in MAC history to qualify.

Well done.

***

Tottenham Hotspur is in deep trouble in the Champions League.

The comedy stylings of Jim Tressel

Jim Tressel is having a laugh, yes?

We mean, he can’t be serious, right?

Really, what else is there do but laugh after the latest nonsense coming out of Columbus in regard to the paella of lies Tressel continues to cook up?

Tressel will now miss at least the first five games of the 2011 season after allegedly “asking Ohio State to increase his suspension” to match the suspensions handed to five Buckeyes for selling memorabilia.

Sure. And Charlie Sheen cured himself with his mind.

No one, outside of Brutus Buckeye himself, actually believes Tressel asked for an increased suspension so that “the players and I can handle this adversity together.”

This is a blatant PR move by Ohio State to stave off possible punishment by the NCAA – nothing more. The school tried to get away with only a two-game suspension and now, in the face of overwhelming backlash over the hypocrisy, decided to do what they should have done originally.

If it was so important for Tressel to stand side-by-side with the players, why didn’t he “ask” for a five-game suspension originally?

If anything, Tressel should be suspended longer than the players. It’s irrelevant that the rule they broke is a stupid one; Tressel is the coach and, as such, he has to be the adult in the room.

Instead, Tressel knowingly broke an NCAA rule, willingly lied to his bosses, and now that he is being punished, acts as if this is some burden that he is heroically bearing.

There’s obviously still more to this story; we can’t wait to see what else Ohio State can cook up.

***

Remember the other day, when we wondered if the Cavs have quit on the season?

Well, we got as clear an answer as possible last night in Portland.

***

The quarter-finals of the Champions League are set, and there are three good matches:

  • Real Madrid vs. Tottenham Hotspur. If Spurs can get an away goal in the first leg, things will get very interesting when they come home to White Hart Lane for the deciding leg.
  • Chelsea vs. Manchester United
  • Barcelona vs. Shakhtar Donetsk
  • Inter Milan vs. Schalke

It all starts April 5-6.

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