You'll need a scorecard to tell who the Detroit Lions are again next season. Coach Rod Marinelli keeps cleaning house-- a lot of dead weight to rid from Ford Field. The latest is running back Kevin Jones, injury plagued since being the Lions' first round pick in 2004. The Lions now need a premier running back and re-signing Tatum Bell isn't the answer. Look for a running back to perhaps be chosen with the 15th pick in the first round. And not Michael Hart of Michigan either. The Lions have also said good bye to Boss Bailey and Teddy Lehman, linebackers they thought would make them better. Bailey is off to Denver to join his brother and who knows where Lehman will end up. The Lions have gotten rid of plenty of players who don't help them-- finding those who can is an entirely different matter.
Good luck East Lansing and Lansing Catholic in the boys state high school basketball tournament semi finals. Both practiced at 5pm Thursday toward games on Friday. East Lansing goes first-- a 1pm class A semi final assignment against top ranked and rugged Saginiaw. East Lansing is more of an underdog than at any time in its previous tournament wins. East Lansing has been an underdog in five of its six victories but Saginaw will be the Trojans' toughest test yet. Lansing Catholic faces Menominee in a toss up class B game at 6pm. Menominee has won 15 straight. Let's see, it's a 475 mile trip for those driving down from the Upper Peninsula to watch the game. At $3.50 per gallon for gas at about 25 miles per gallon, that makes for about a $150 round trip for visiting parents and fans who drive by car.
Saturday's class C final should be close-- Kalamazoo Christian, who lost in the semis to eventual champ Bath last year, will face Flint Beecher. The Flint team trailed unbeaten Negaunee 16-7 after one quarter in Thursday's semi final, but rallied for a 57-51 victory. Beecher is a mere 19-7 and Christian is 25-1, but somehow I think Beecher will prevail. Christian played 11 guys in the first half of its 54-48 win Thursday over Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard and made six straight free throws down the stretch to seal the deal.
Big Ten tournament update-- stop the presses, Michigan and Illinois both won opening games-- the Wolverines 55-47 over Iowa and the Illini 64-63 over Penn State. But both step up in class in the quarter-finals on Friday, Michigan playing Wisconsin, the regular season champ and the Illini assigned to face Purdue, the runner up. Michigan State meets Ohio State in a 4-5 seed game at 2:30pm and the winner likely gets Wisconsin in a 1:40pm semi final on Saturday.