In case you missed it, it’s March now, which means college basketball finally matters! I have to admit, I started out this season like a college basketball-loving freight train. I was doing updates on all the local teams, even ranking them.
Then Patty Mills broke his hand at Gonzaga, and my college basketball coverage didn’t just go off the tracks, it went down a 400-foot embankment and crashed in a ball of flames. That’s about to change though, as the Contra Costa Times reported about two hours ago that Mills was given medical clearance to start shooting and will probably be back by the time the WCC Tournament starts on Sunday in Las Vegas.
Saint Mary’s went 6-3 without Mills, who averaged 18.7 ppg and 3.9 apg and made First Team All-WCC along with teammates Diamon Simpson and Omar Samhan. The Gaels were 18-1 when Mills were injured, and one of their losses during Mills’ absence was a 72-70 squeaker at home to Gonzaga, who’s 14-0 in the conference.
Saint Mary’s is second in the WCC, but with their 24-5 overall record (10-4 in conference) one would hope they’ll make the NCAA Tourney no matter how they do in the WCC tournament, but with Patty Mills running circles around everyone and bombing threes (Mills hit 6 in a row from behind the arc in the first half at Gonzaga before breaking his hand just before halftime) the Gaels have a chance to really improve their chances at a decent seed in the Big Dance.
And here’s a little break from the courtship of Kurt Warner…
–Nate Schierholtz has an MRI on his spasmy lower back just a week after an emergency root canal; China rejoices. (SJ Mercury News)
–Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors puts together the Top 45 worst baseball contracts, and Detroit has the most with five (Gary Sheffield, Jeremy Bonderman, Dontrelle Willis, Nate Robertson and Brandon Inge), and the Giants are alone in second place with four (Barry Zito, Aaron Rowand, Dave Roberts and Edgar Renteria). (Spring Training 09)
–Bill Madden figures the A’s and Marlins are likely contraction candidates. (NY Daily News)
–Matt Steinmetz wonders if it’s possible Don Nelson has actually done a really good job with Tony Randolph. (Comcast SportsNet)