Your Sweet and Sour 16 by Bob Ryan

sweet 16The most exciting days of sports viewing….the NCAA early round games…it fits our current American attention span…tired of one game in 3 minutes…..move to another …or a 3rd one..then back again…many games with spectacular endings….upsets galore…it was sweet for some but awfully sour for others…

….it was SO SWEET for Middle Tennessee State (25-10) as they pulled off the biggest upset of the weekend with their win over over Michigan State…the Blue came out red hot and their confidence continued to grow …even as the Spartans rallied to tighten the game…the incredible outside shooting led to their stunning victory but…..against their next opponent. It turned  sour..…a zone team for centuries now, Syracuse, challenged Mid Tenn State to beat them outside…the Blue Raiders weren’t as accurate as game one and fell to the Orangemen….no doubt the win over Michigan State was an incredible upset but the up-down results are not…this Blue Raider club barely squeaked into the NCAA with a two point win Over Old Dominion (19-12) in the Conference USA Title game (man…can anyone tell me who’s in the Conference USA now?….I sure can’t) How big was the upset…of the 13 million ESPN brackets, 22% had the Spartans winning the championship!! Along those same brackets…only 6 entrees still had all their teams…hey….what fool whatta picked those guys…maybe he had 800 brackets …maybe he threw darts….maybe he flipped coins…. or something else scientific like that?

….the NCAA team with the SWEETEST and MOST SOUR moments belonged to N. Iowa. Barely advancing out of the MVC Tournament with a winning shot that hit the back rim…bounced higher than the backboard (but not hitting the backboard) and falling through as the buzzer sounded to topple Evansville.  Then….a half court buzzer beater moves the Panthers through the 1st round game against Texas….how SWEET is that?….but the extremely SOUR taste of blowing a 12 point lead in regulation with 44 seconds left in the game against Texas A&M…bad enough…but then having a 5 point lead in 1st OT with 30+ seconds…and getting tied…only to lose in 2OT…..ouch…that smarts

…I don’t know why….. but I’m always happy when an Ivy League team beats a ranked team…so.. the Yale win over Baylor was SWEET to me and although Yale fell just short against Duke—it did indicate that this particular Ivy team was for real.

….it was SWEET for the ACC …Six of their seven teams advanced to the SWEET 16—Syracuse, N. Carolina, Duke, Virgina, Miami(Fla),  Notre Dame. Only Pittsburgh has lost from the ACC. The Conference still has a #1, #1, #3 and a #4 left in the tourney…it was SOUR for Louisville who was banned from the tournament based on the Sex for Signing Scandal…ya know…send you kid on a basketball recruiting trip to Louisville…not knowing that they’d be entertained privately by strippers …oops called dancers in PC words…who are being paid to do additional “things” with the recruits….in exchange for signing the scholarship offer (presumably)…despite his outstanding W-L record, Rick Pitino appears to me to be walking the plank…the Louisville U. upper brass appear to be making comments “all around” Pitino but not using his name…it’s only a matter of time …what his buyout will be…how soon it’ll happen…yada-yada-yada…..I say…get the blindfold ready and walk

…with all the wild, crazy upsets…in the West, it’s #1,2,3,4 seeds left; the South has the #1,2, 3, 5 teams; the Midwest had the top of the brackets perfect to this point with #1 and #4 left but the bottom of #10 vs #11 ensures a #10 or #11 in the Elite Eight game; The East has the #1,5, 6,7 teams remaining…so….looking at it from a different angle—all the #1’s are still maybe one might think the separation of power of very good to good teams ….stopped after those 4 teams?

….for those of you who live and die with the “experts” picks….it was a SOUR weekend for one Internet expert…he picked the following POTENTIAL UPSETS:  #12 South Dakota State over #5 Maryland; #13 Stony Brook over #4 Kentucky; #13 Iown over #4 Iowa State and #11 over #6 Seton  Hall …frankly I didn’t consider that as an upset….how about Mark Few (Gonzaga)…he’s raised that program from a mid-major to a commonly recognized power program .. that’s SWEET for Gonzaga

….it was a SWEET weekend for me…I had the opportunity to call the Class 5 Boys Championship Game …it was an exciting game …that’s what you hope for as an announcer….so nothing SOUR for me…now more on the game…

… I was driving down to Mizzou Arena, I couldn’t help but think that I had called the Chaminade loss to Jackson in the District Title game during Jayson Tatum’s Frosh year(Tatum is headed to Duke next year for a reportedly one & done collegiate career and then donning an NBA jersey)…the Red Devils led until the waning minute when Chaminade made a mental and physical mistake that cost them the game…the following year, I covered  the Ladue-Cham District Title game that saw Ladue stun all basketball fans with a narrow victory over the Red Devils as Chaminade could not get off a good shot in the waning seconds of the game…I wondered if Chaminade knew that I was doing this game this year? Would the Principal, a former student of mine, even talk to me again? At least I couldn’t be blamed for the loss last year….anyway….the first quarter was back & forth as Chaminade trailed 17-16 at the 1st buzzer…but the 2nd was very SWEET for Chaminade. During this quarter, Jayson Tatum was spectacular—he handled the ball on most possessions, drove to basket with twisting  shots that was as soft as a Charmin on the glass, pulled up for long 3-balls …rebounded he was fabulous as Cham outscored the Chiefs 25-9 and led 41-26 at  half…. Things went SOUR for Chaminade in 3rd quarter…the Kickapoo Chiefs outraced Chaminade by a 17-8 margin. Coach Dick Rippee, Kickapoo, has to be awarded an award for his half time talk…whatever it was…SWEET or SOUR…it kept getting tighter…and in fact, the Red Devils looked tight as no one seemed to be able to hit perimeter jumpers  and Tatum who was trying to post up his much smaller defender couldn’t seem to get the ball…then…suddenly with the score 55-54 4:11 left in the game, Sr Michael Lewis  hit back-back three-pointers on consecutive possessions that pushed the lead up  to 7 points. At that moment, you could see the players…while jumping for joy..were a different…more relaxed, confident  Chaminade team. Due to the late free throws, the final score of 72-59 doesn’t tell the story at all. Congrats to the Red Devils for hoisting up the trophy !…and…For all the skill it demonstrated, fight, speed and excellent coaching, you’d have to say Kickapoo should receive a SWEET award for its effort too.

….in Jupiter…when the Cards acquired SS Miguel Tejada from the Mets, you knew that one of the SS was on the way out … and maybe two of them…it turns out that Cardinal SS Aledmys Diaz is “farmed out” to play every day…well…if he was good enough…he’d play every day for the StLmajor league team that’s missing  its  regular SS Peralta for an extended period of time…don’t be confused…TU Steve Mizerany…this is NOT the Miguel Tejada that’s been in the majors for 14 years…this Miguel Tejada has played 2 years…hit .261 last, 3 HR, 1 Stolen Base…it was a real SOUR day for Diaz who was highly acclaimed when he was signed 2 years ago by the Cards…driven around on a golf cart like a Roman General after a conquest.. but apparently his Beetle Baily- style work habits have not made him a favorite….or even a Major Leaguer at this point.

…more from Jupiter….so far in Florida … the biggest SOUR-ball has Kolton Wong. He signed a $25mil contract but he’s been pressing with a .200 average (4/20) and an OPS of .538…apparently he wants to lead off but with Matt Carpenter around and carrying more influence with Manifesto, Wong needs to accept the #7, 8 or #9 sport in the order.

….the Adam LaRoche kiddy squabble is SOUR to me … it’s OK to bring your kids to the workplace on occasion but the adult workplace is not meant for full-time kiddy kare….and a sports locker room is even more difficult…I understand that the LaRoche boy was a good kid…to me…it’s really not about the individual but the general policy…the old saying, “ there’s a time and a place for everything” is apprapo..the locker room isn’t the time or place for constant kids running around

…the salaries have always been SWEET for NFL QB….most “big” plays start with a throw from the QB so their names become synonymous with good/big things in the NFL….as one looks at the richest former NFL players at this moment…that axiom still holds true….according to the most recent cash register ring ups….I’m excluding coaches/owners in this list….let’s start the listing @ $80mil.. sounds like an auction…. in value…Joe Montana-$80mil; Brett Favre-$100mil; Tom Brady-$120mil; John Elway-$145mil; Peyton Manning – $165mil; and whose the richest…..sit back….don’t fall over….Roger Staubach-$600mil !! Staubach has made most of his money –post career in wise investments.

….it’s probably a little SWEET and a bit SOUR as I read that Skip Schumacher has announced his retirement.  The Cards fans love these limited athletes who seem to do the “little” things required in baseball to win,  always hustle and don’t complain—no matter how long they sit on the bench. Wonder why Tony Cruz didn’t get the same reception?

….I really missed on this one….Rex Brothers..who I had hailed as a “good acquisition” for the Cubs about a month ago was already released by Chicago. Brothers (28), had just 3 spring appearances, gave up 3 earned runs, walked 3 and threw 4 wild pitches… I’m throwing away that SOUR crystal ball.  



  1. Jim Pleimann says:

    Ditto on the praise for Kickapoo. What a great effort they gave in that second half. Also congrats to Chaminade – the look of joy and relief on the kids and coaching staff is what I took away from that game. Had a great time doing that game with you for
    Bob works in a dig in on Tony Cruz, only refers to Manifesto once, resurrects Steve Mizerany and calls out General Diaz for lack of effort – all in the same blog. That takes talent! I love it. Now, can we put basketball to bed (who cares) , get Bob riled up with Stanley Cup first round playoff talk and get to opening day? Oh, and I LOVED seeing the Cubs on the cover of Sports Illustrated – Oh, Oh, that could change some parade plans in Chi town!!

  2. John Sondag says:

    I’ll offer my congratulations to Chaminade and Duke-bound Justin Tatum as well. And to the outstanding broadcast tandem of Bob Ryan and Jim Pleimann. As a former SLUH roundballer, I was thrilled to see the Jr. Bills make back-to-back final four appearances. Coach Claggett has SLUH positioned to dominate the always-tough Metro Catholic Conference for the near future.
    Regarding the Cardinals and their shortstop situation, I like the young kid Diaz and think he’ll be a future star for us. I was not surprised that they sent him down. He’s only had a handful of games at Triple A and could use a less pressured environment to continue his development. I expect to see him up in September and starting for the Cardinals in 2017. Glad to see Yadi looks healthy and will be ready for opening day.

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