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Ten Things I Learned – Butler is Back!

Brad Stevens
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

It was a busy sports week, dominated by the third and fourth rounds of the NCAA Tournament. As usual, there were plenty of surprises:

1. Butler and VCU belong in the Final Four. The Cinderella Bulldogs and Rams put on another great show for the college basketball world. Young head coaches Brad Stevens (Butler- pictured) and Shaka Smart  (VCU) will be able to coach anywhere they want very soon. Too bad they have to play each other Saturday night in the Final Four.

2. Duke’s new rallying cry: “We’ve fallen and can’t get up!” It is not too often the Blue Devils are on the receiving end of a total butt kicking. That rare feat occured Thursday night as Arizona destroyed Coach K’s defending champs 55-33 in the 2nd half of their Sweet 16 showdown in Anaheim. 

3. The New York Knicks are a mess. So much for Carmelo Anthony being the answer to Gotham’s troubles. The Knicks lost Saturday night to a bad Bobcats team and are now 7-12 since the big trade. They are also in jeopardy of falling out of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

4. Antonio Escalante is still a work-in-progress. The El Paso boxer was knocked out Friday night by a guy who did not belong in the same ring as the former #1 ranked WBO lightweight. Instead, a clean right by Alejandro Perez ended their scheduled fight just 2:57 into the 1st round. Escalante’s new trainer, Ronnie Shields will have his work cut out for him in the next few months.

5. Don’t expect the NFL season to start on time. I spent Saturday night with former Dallas Cowboys fullback Daryl Moose Johnston, and he does not anticipate either side coming to an agreement before September. “I could see this happening a mile away,” Moose told us at Sunland Park Racetrack’s gala.

6. Another longshot wins the Sunland Derby. 25-1 Twice the Appeal stunned the crowd of nearly 20,000 by stroming past Astrology and winning the Grade 3 race. Favorite Astrology finished second and Ruler on Ice came in 3rd. Let’s hope Twice the Appeal and Astrology both run in the Kentucky Derby.

7. Dez Bryant is not welcome at NorthPark Mall after refusing to pull up his pants. When Deion Sanders is quoted saying “Dez Bryant needs help,” you know he’s a mess. The worst part is he and the nearly 1,700 NFL players are on their own and can do whatever they want. They also do not have any protection from the league until the lockout is settled and a new collective bargaining agreement is reached. 

8. The Philadelphia Phillies will begin the 2011 baseball season as the walking wounded. We’re not even finished with March and Spring Training baseball, and already the Phils are in trouble. Chase Utley, Brad Lidge, and Domonic Brown are all injured. Plus, they almost lost starting pitcher Roy Oswalt last week when he was hit near the ear by a line drive.

9. Jose Canseco is a lady dude. Every week I watch him on Celebrity Apprentice, he never seems to do anything besides fall asleep. It’s great strategy for him to avoid getting fired by Donald Trump as long as he delays being Project Manager.

10. Chad Ochocinco is not Michael Jordan. It’s not like MJ was Bo Jackson, but the basketball superstar had enough natural baseball talent to become a fringe big league outfielder. Ochocinco has spent the last week with Sporting Kansas City of the MLS. However, he is not Pele, and his week-long soccer tryout was a humbling experience to the star wide receiver.

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