From Comcast SportsNetIndiana coach Tom Crean used an analogy to the state's second favorite sport after the Hoosiers remained No. 1 in The Associated Press' Top 25 for a second straight week.It had been over a month since a team managed to stay on top, and Indiana broke that trend despite losing a game last week, leading Crean to bring up auto racing."I had a good friend tell me that in-season rankings are the barometer of representing what lane you're in and the direction and how far you are moving towards your goals," Crean said Monday. "We want to stay in the left lane and keep working on our team and pace because we know there are quite a few others in the left lane as well."The Hoosiers (21-3) lost to Illinois on a last-second basket Thursday but rebounded with a win at then-No.10 Ohio State on Sunday. In a week when four of the top five teams and six of the top 10 lost, it was enough to keep the No. 1 ranking."They were really disappointed on Thursday night. And instead of carrying that disappointment into a woe is me' mentality, they really did trigger how to get better. And I think it was in the sense of closing games," Crean said."I think there was a different level, a sense of urgency because of the way we didn't finish it off, combined with the fact that we knew we were playing a team that it is outstanding."This ends a stretch of five consecutive weeks with a new No. 1, two weeks short of the longest such stretch in 1993-94. Duke started the run followed by Louisville, Duke again, Michigan and Indiana.The Hoosiers received 26 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel Monday, while Duke, the only member of the top five not to lose last week, moved up two spots to second after getting 20 first-place votes.The last time a No. 1 team lost and kept the ranking the next week was the final poll of last season. Kentucky fell to Vanderbilt in the Southeastern Conference tournament championship game, but Nos. 2-4 also went down that week, so the Wildcats were No. 1 heading into the NCAA tournament.Miami, which received 17 No. 1 votes, jumped from eighth to No. 3, the Hurricanes' highest ranking ever."I've never really thought that Miami could be a top 10 program," center Reggie Johnson said. "I didn't think we'd be here in February. It's surreal. The votes are cool, but we've still got work to do."The Hurricanes are the last team from a major conference to still be unbeaten in league play."It's what every program strives for," coach Jim Larranaga said. "Carolina and Duke have this every year. It's a little different for us. These guys are hungry. They remain very, very humble."Michigan dropped one spot to fourth, while Gonzaga, which got the other two first-place votes, moved up one spot to fifth.Syracuse was sixth, followed by Florida, Michigan State, Arizona and Kansas State.Along with Indiana and Ohio State, the other top 10 teams to lose last week were No. 2 Florida, No. 3 Michigan, No. 5 Kansas and No. 7 Arizona.There were four newcomers to the rankings: No. 20 Wisconsin, No. 22 Memphis, No. 24 Colorado State and No. 25 Kentucky.Wisconsin, Memphis and Kentucky, the defending national champion, were all ranked early in the season, while Colorado State makes it first appearance in the poll since March 9, 1954.They replace Creighton, Cincinnati, Minnesota and Missouri, the only one of the four not to lose two games last week.In all, 14 ranked teams lost at least once, with five losing twice.
Peter Chiarelli may be long gone from Causeway Street, but his spirit lives on.
If someone can explain to me the Bruins' fascination with bottom-of-the-roster veterans with average talent, then I'd love to hear it. I used to think it was the problem of Chiarelli, the B's former general manager. But now I have to wonder if it's just in the water down there. And current GM Don Sweeney is chugging it.
I have no other explanation for the team's decision to sign defenseman Kevan Miller to a four-year (four!) extension worth $10 million yesterday. Miller is a nice role piece. But how that translates to four guaranteed years when he will turn 29 early next season and the Bruins have massive holes throughout their roster is beyond me.
What's more, the B's already have nearly the identical player in Adam McQuaid, who is roughly the same age, same size, same shot (right), same injury history (poor) and plays the same role (bottom pairing, right side). McQuaid is a little less skilled than Miller, so of course, using Bruins logic, he makes a little more ($2.75 million). But McQuaid also got four years when he re-signed prior to last season.
Certainly, contracts worth $2-3 million annually aren't going to ruin your cap in a vacuum. But start adding them up you see how the Bruins got into trouble in the first place. Combine McQuaid and Miller's hits and you have $5.25 million of valuable space chewed up against the cap. Basically, that's the price of a solid, top-4 defenseman, which the Bruins need ten times more than a depth piece.
Scary. The Bruins currently don't have a No. 1 or a No. 2 defensemen. (Sorry, Bruins writers, Zdeno Chara belongs on a second pairing right now.) Yet they have decided to lock themselves up with a pair of No. 6 guys who basically duplicate each other. Again, why do the B's continue to overpay the bottom of the depth chart when the top is so lousy?
It's one thing for Chiarelli to overcommit to the likes of Chris Kelly, Rich Peverley, Dan Paille, Greg Campbell, Dennis Seidenberg, etc. Those guys at least helped you win a Cup and get to another final. From an emotional standpoint, you can explain those mistakes. But Miller? He's been a part of one of the worst defense corps in the league the last few years. He's been on a team that has failed to make the playoffs two consecutive seasons. How do you fall in love with that guy?
Please don't tell me that Miller would have gotten that contract on the open market. I mean, it's true; he probably would have. But what does that matter? Does that mean it's a good deal? Just because Colorado was willing to pay Carl Soderberg just under $5 million a season, does that mean the B's should have paid the middling centerman that money last year? Of course not. Use your head. Just because someone else gets stupid doesn't mean you have to.
You shudder to think what's coming next. Loui Eriksson is still out there as a pending free agent. Ditto for Torey Krug. On a good team, the former is a third liner and the latter is another third-pairing guy. Neither have been good enough to lift the B's above the playoff line the last two years despite playing prominent roles. Both are about to get overpaid on the market . . . unless the B's step in first and insist on being the team that gets stupid and overcommits first.
Given what we've seen with Miller, how can anyone be confident that the B's will be smart enough to pass? My confidence level on this is somewhere around 0.0.
Which is exactly how much cap space the B's will have left with this approach.
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BURLINGTON, Vt. — A former Major League Baseball player is running for governor in Vermont as a member of the Liberty Union party, which bills itself as nonviolent and socialist.
Bill "Spaceman" Lee tells WCAX-TV voters will "need umbrellas" if he's elected, because "it's going to be raining dollars," referring to money trickling down from the wealthy.
Lee pitched for the Boston Red Sox from 1969 to 1978. He was inducted into the team's Hall of Fame in 2008.
Lee says he's a "pragmatic, conservative, forward thinker." He supports legalizing marijuana, a single-payer health care system and paid family leave.
Jared Carrabis joins Sports Tonight to discuss the news that Carson Smith will undergo Tommy John surgery, and whether he has faith that Dombrowski will be able to find bullpen help.