Round of Applause
Conference championships and the NCAA tournamentare here, which means it’s the best time of the year (with apologies to Christmas). This weekend is one of the three or four best sports weekends of the year, as most of the major conference tournaments come to an end with about the most exciting basketball there is. As if things couldn’t get any better, the best four-day stretch in sports starts next Thursday with the NCAA tournament second and third rounds. As I’m sure I’ve written here before, that begins a four-day stretch in which I do not leave my room except to go pick up the pizza I ordered, grab a few drinks, and walk 10 feet to the bathroom. (I recommend you do the same.) But we all know that the real reason this week is the best of the year is simple: Brackets. Brackets. Brackets. Even though I haven’t watched nearly as much college basketball this year as I’m used to, that won’t stop me from filling out about 20 brackets and running my bracket extravaganza. This is just the greatest.
Bobby Valentine is doing a pretty solid job as the Red Sox’ new manager, according to what I heard the other day. Apparently, he’s actually teaching baseball to the players at spring training and working on drills longer than usual. What a novel concept. For a team that played some really, really ugly baseball at times last year, this must be doing a world of good. The Red Sox were awful at running the bases last year, so Valentine has been working on secondary leads and the like. Some of the defense baffled fans last year, so he’s emphasizing cutoffs and relays. This is fantastic. Here’s hoping that he shows up to a game wearing a pair of Groucho Marx glasses for the heck of it.
Chorus of Boos
The Indianapolis Colts are dumb. I totally understand wanting to draft the newest hot quarterback with the top pick in the NFL Draft, but the odds that Andrew Luck (or perhaps Robert Griffin III) will be better than Peyton Manning are astronomically low. Manning is very possibly the best quarterback ever. Ditching Manning — who very likely can still play quarterback at his usual level — is a darned risky, and pretty stupid, move. Both of the quarterbacks coming out in this year’s draft are probably going to be pretty good, but nobody has ever done what Manning did in Indianapolis. There’s no running game in Indy. The defense isn’t especially good. Everyone saw this year what that team essentially is without Manning. How is anyone supposed to think the Colts are going to be significantly better this year with a rookie quarterback and an otherwise-pretty-old offense around him? In trying to plan for the future, Indianapolis is throwing away at least the next few years, while Manning will go somewhere else and head back to the playoffs. The population of Colts fans is decreasing. Oh well.
Lips to CN’s Ear
“We were right there. We just couldn’t get over the hump. That’s got to give us a hunger for next year.”
Naugatuck boys basketball coach Mike Wilson after the Greyhounds lost to Berlin, 62-57, in the Class L state tournament first round on Monday. Naugy led for most of the game but faltered in the fourth quarter to be eliminated. The ‘Hounds will return four starters next season.
“Ryan Angeloszek has definitely left his mark on the program. I’ve never had anyone work harder than Ryan did this year. People don’t understand the yeoman’s work that he did throughout his whole career. The rebounding, the defense, he did all the little things to be a complete player.”
Woodland boys basketball coach Tom Hunt on the impact senior forward Ryan Angeloszek had on the Hawks. Angeloszek finished second on the team in scoring in each of the last two seasons and served as a tri-captain this season.
“I wasn’t sure if it came down to the last dive because I didn’t listen when they announced the placements after five dives. I just wanted to stay focused on what I had to do. Actually I was shocked after the competition to find out I was leading after five dives. It’s an unbelievable feeling to go out in your senior year as the NVL champion. I proved to everyone and myself that I could compete with the boys.”
Naugatuck senior diver Isabelle Moody, who won the Naugatuck Valley League boys diving championship at last week’s meet. Moody scored 377.30 points, winning by 13 points over Sacred Heart’s Dillon Joyce.