SURPRISES AND NON SURPRISES FROM VACATION

     Back from six days in Florida.  Some surprises while I was away:

     Memphis blowing a 9-point lead with a couple of minutes remaining and losing the national title game to Kansas.  All that did was set Kansas coach Bill Self financially for life because he was in a great position to negotiate with his former school, Oklahoma State, trying to pry him away.

     Stanford's women's team knocking out Connecticut in the semi-finals, then looking dismal in a title game loss to Tennessee.

     Michigan State's women losing by 15 points to Marquette in the WNIT final game.  The Spartans have plenty of work to do to improve significantly next season, but I'm sure they know that too.

     The Tigers started 1-8 heading to Chicago for another testy series with the White Sox.  If they don't get better starting pitching it won't matter about all those bats they added.  I claim the starters are more of an issue than the relievers because the relief corps will eventually get some injured players back to help.

     Notre Dame built a 3-0 lead on Michigan in the NCAA hockey semi-finals Thursday night in Denver and then won in overtime 5-4.  My guess is all that Notre Dame did was make it easier for Boston College to finally win the title game after getting beat the past two years.  Michigan was  a better team, but veteran goalie Billy Sauer had an off night and the Wolverines had to fight from behind virtually all evening.  I don't see Notre Dame beating BC for the title Saturday night.

     What does not surprise me:

     Tiger Woods struggling through two rounds at Augusta.  He has to hit his driver straighter or he won't win this week end.  Remember he only has one Masters win since 2001, not exactly dominance in this tournament the past few years.  And if his putter gets balky then he'll finish back in the pack.  Don't count him out yet but his opening 72 with no bogeys doesn't surprise me.

     Rioting at Michigan State.  That's all I heard about when the conversation in Florida got around to MSU.  Some things never change.  I'd make it much tougher for students who embarrass the university to remain as students.

     Lousy weather in mid Michigan.  The weather in Florida, as usual, mid 80s and sunny.  It's central to that state developing so many young athletes because the weather helps them work outdoors 12 months a year.

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