Monday, March 10, 2008

Big win for the mids

I originally posted this over on the 12th Street, but I think it is worth repeating.

The Sam Houston State basketball team will begin its run to the NCAA Tournament on Thursday when they take on McNeese at 2:30 p.m. at the Merrell Center in Katy in the first round of the Southland Conference Tournament.

But before we get to that, I will be doing what any fan of the Southland and the NCAA Tournament should be doing, rooting for as many mid-majors to make the dance as possibly. As George Mason showed in 2006 when they made their improbable run to the Final Four, the mids can be dangerous in the Dance.

We all love to watch teams like Valpo, Santa Clara, Butler, Richmond and Northwestern State pull off the big win on Thursday or Friday of the Dance. It just makes for a more exciting game when one of these 11, 12 or 13 seeds is about to knock off a big dog. Face it, when a team like NC State is sitting at No. 11 and taking on No. 6 Michigan State there isn't much of an interest in the game. But if it is George Mason trying to pull off the upset, it captivates a nation.

Tonight was a big night for the mids, and for fans who don't want to see and 11th seeded Syracuse team on Thursday morning when they are skipping work next week. First in the WCC. Gonzaga is in. They are always in. The Zags have been the poster boys for the mid majors the last 10 years.

Last night San Deigo knocked off St. Mary's (who will probably get in the dance as well) put themselves in position to possibly steal a bid in the conference final against the Zags. Playing on their home court, USD pulled off the upset, most likely giving the West Coast Conference three bids next week.

Then in the Slum Belt, South Alabama (26-6) was the prohibitive favorite to get the bid out of what was going to be a one-bid league. However, Middle Tennessee put an end to that with a win in the SBC semis. While Gonzaga is a lock, South Alabama will have to wait until Sunday to learn their fate, but they will most likely get in over a mediocre major conference school.

Spring Kats

I am going to try and keep up with the Kats playing minor league/major league baseball as spring training progresses and then into the season.

Today is an item I found on Jordan Tata who is in the Tigers camp.

Tata has been struggling so far this season and last week, lost his temper after being pulled from a game against the Braves.

Tata, who struggled through his first three spring training outings, punched a wall with his pitching hand as he entered the locker room.
"I don't usually do things like that," Tata told the Detroit Free-Press. "The last three outings all came to a head at that moment. It was stupid. I wasn't thinking."

Tata will see a hand specialist and his return to the mound is uncertain.

This is unfortunate, because Tata is the best prospect in baseball that hails from Sam Houston. Dustin Martin, now in the Twins organization after a trade last season is expected to play AA ball this year, while Luke Prihoda will be starting his first full season on pro ball this year.