Just The Facts On Friday
Some new revelations on a busy March Friday:
— Guess the Pac-10 wasn’t so weak, after all. Not after its champ, Arizona, not only beat ACC power Duke, it practically ran the Dukies off the Honda Center floor in the West Regional. You don’t see Coach K’s teams get embarrassed the way the Blue Devils were in that devastating second half blitz by the Wildcats. Amazing.
— ‘Zona’s Derrick Williams is college basketball’s best NBA prospect. He has it all, size, quickness, hands like an NFL receiver and he can even shoot the three. His 25-point first half earned him a lot of money against Duke. And when his teammates went crazy in the second half, he didn’t force anything, proving he understands how to win. I know the scouts are saying Duke’s Kyrie Irving is No. 1 on their lists, but anyone who passes on Williams will be sorry.
— It wasn’t Jimmer’s best night. Jimmer Fredette carried BYU into overtime against Florida, but he shot like Kobe does when he’s forcing it, going 11-for-29. He still scored 32, and he enjoyed a spectacular season, but some of the sparkle was dimmed just slightly. Not that it really matters. I still think he was Player of the Year.
— Kemba Walker is a monster. Now I know why they were raving about him in the Big East Tournament. All he did was score 36 points to eventually wear down plucky San Diego State. UConn was the better team and deserved to win, but Walker was the story. If he were a few inches taller, NBA scouts would be going nuts about him. As it is, he should have a nice, long career in the league.
— So Butler is still in and Duke is out. Go figure. That’s what makes the tournament so interesting. You never can be sure which way it will go. The bottom line is this: Butler is now 8-1 in its last nine tournament games and could have been 9-0 with a little luck. So no, please, don’t call these guys a fluke.
— Meanwhile, in spring training, Scott Kazmir continues to implode. This time, he gave up 10 runs, 8 of them earned, on 8 hits and 4 walks in five innings. His springtime ERA is an ugly 7.79. Isn’t it time the Angels admit they’re at least considering leaving him out of their rotation? The charade has to end soon, doesn’t it? Even Mike Scioscia can’t talk around this one.
— The other intriguing Angels’ storyline involves Brandon Wood. The club seemed on the verge of releasing him until he went on a sudden hitting spurt in the last 10 days or so. He now has 4 home runs and 11 RBIs on the spring, and with Kendrys Morales out indefinitely, it would seem like a good idea to keep this guy around. Maybe he’s finally relaxed and is ready to play the way everyone in the organization thought he could. If nothing else, he seems to have bought himself a bit more time. If you’re an Angels fan, you should root for him. He’s a good kid.
— It was only one inning, but it was a scoreless one for Jonathan Broxton on Thursday. The Dodgers should be thrilled. Their whole season could depend on which Broxton shows up in the ninth inning for them. Will it be the intimidating closer of ’09, or the struggling reliever of ’10? Don Mattingly is hoping this latest performance was an encouraging clue.
— STEVE BISHEFF