March Madness 2011

Now that the field has been set, are you looking forward to this year’s NCAA Tourney?  Is your team among the 68?  My alma mater, the University of Memphis Tigers, are the 12 seed in the West region and will take on Arizona on Friday.  My childhood team, the West Virginia Mountaineers are the 5 seed in the East, and they will take on the winner of the Clemson/UAB play-in game.

It’s been fun watching the SG folks I follow on Twitter cheer on their respective teams.  Sorry, Kentucky fans, but I’m still a little bitter about your coach trying to decimate our program on his way out.  I hope you lose.  🙂

College Football Starts Tonight!

After a seeming eternity of an off-season, college football kicks back off tonight!  Memphis is in year one of a new era, with former Tiger RB Larry Porter as head coach, and he’s kept the media in the dark since his hiring, so our game against Mississippi State on Saturday is quite the enigma.  We did name Cannon Smith, son of FedEx founder Fred Smith, as our starting QB.  As you can well imagine, the media is having a field day with the puns.  (Can Cannon deliver?  yuk yuk).

The West Virginia Mountaineers have an interesting season as well, stars Noel Devine and Jock Sanders are back, but they have a brand new starting QB in Geno Smith, who got some time last year when Jarrett Brown got hurt.  It’ll be interesting to see how Smith builds on his so-so performances from last year.

What’s the outlook for your team(s)?

RIP Lorenzen Wright: 1975-2010

Longtime readers will know that I am a huge sports nut, especially of my local Memphis teams, the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA, and my alma mater, the University of Memphis.  The Memphis community suffered a tragedy yesterday when the body of Lorenzen Wright, who had been missing for over a week, was discovered.  “Ren”, as he was affectionately known, was about 2 years older than me, and he was a standout high school basketball player here in Memphis before attending Memphis State, as it was known at the time.  I remember his college days well, he wore #55 and played two years with the Tigers before entering the NBA draft after his sophomore year.  He was a lottery pick by the LA Clippers, played afterwards with the Atlanta Hawks, and then in 2001 was traded to his hometown Memphis Grizzlies, in their first year here.  Lorenzen actually modeled the jersey (#42) that was revealed before the start of the season.  He played for the Grizzlies until 2006, when he was traded again.

I wish I could find the digital version, but I’ve got a picture at my office of my first Grizzlies game that I attended, it’s an action shot, right after a free throw, and there is Lorenzen boxing out his man preparing to grab a rebound.  Wright played at all levels with a level of desire and determination that couldn’t be matched, and gave back immensely to his community.  He still had a home here, and frequently communicated with and visited his 6 kids.  He also lost an infant daughter to SIDS back in 2003, while playing with the Grizzlies, and it was touching to see how the entire community rallied around Ren and his family.

Rest in Peace, Lorenzen Wright.  Thoughts and prayers go out to his family in their time of grief.

2010 NBA Finals

One of the topics of this blog, though not explored nearly as much as Southern Gospel music, is sports.  Tonight is game 4 of the NBA finals with the Los Angeles Lakers playing at the home of the Boston Celtics.  It’s been an exciting series thus far with the Lakers leading 2-1.  I’m curious how many of our readers are following it and who you might be pulling for.  Personally, I’ll be wearing my yellow shorts tonight.

College Football Time Is Almost Here!

I’m taking a break from my Southern Gospel posts today, but we are now less than a month away from the start of the college football season.  My alma mater, the University of Memphis, is mired in mediocrity, though there is always hope that this year will be better for us.  The other two teams I root for have more intriguing storylines this year.  West Virginia begins life in the PPW era (Post Pat White), so it will be interesting to see how much of a drop off they have.  I hope not much at all.  The Tennessee Volunteers have an entirely new coaching staff replacing the ousted Phil Fulmer.  Hopefully Lane Kiffin and Co. can get the Vols back to competing in the SEC.  Who are your teams, and how do they look this year?

Oh, and you can consider this an open thread as well.

It’s March: Let The Madness Begin

Tonight officially starts the NCAA Tournament, with the play-in game set to begin.  I haven’t even filled a bracket out this year, but I think that the committee has awakened a sleeping Tiger by giving my alma mater, Memphis, a #2 seed instead of a 1 seed.  I think I actually prefer it better this way.  John Calipari always seems to get the guys to play better when he can put a chip on their shoulder and play the “us against the world/no respect” card.  While I don’t think this team is as talented offensively as last year’s national runner-up team, I think they can make up for it on the defensive end of the court.  It’s been said that defense wins championships, if so, don’t count out my Tigers!

Where Has That Been All Season?

OK, Bill Stewart, where has that been all season long?  West Virginia looked impressive in the second half of their 34-17 rout of Auburn.  The playcalling was solid for the most part, Noel Devine ran wild, Pat White completed his passes, and the team looked like the WVU of the last few years.  Why couldn’t we have done that against East Carolina and Colorado?  Great job of adjusting coach, now please, KEEP IT UP!!!  GO MOUNTAINEERS!

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