SDS Mailbag: Best conference team nicknames, the ideal ‘The Office’ basketball lineup, should Mike Anderson have stayed at Mizzou and more
I don’t understand what Major League Baseball is doing. Thursday was Opening Day, but it was also the start of the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament.
At a time when baseball’s popularity is waning (it’s still one of my favorite sports), why wouldn’t the MLB put Opening Day on Wednesday, when it has no competition for viewership other than regular-season NBA games?
Now, in addition to competing with the NBA, baseball is going head-to-head with one of the biggest sporting events in the country. It just seems weird and unnecessary, even if almost every game started well before the first the Sweet 16 game Thursday.
Add in all these concerns about pace of play (which don’t really seem to be doing more than shaving 30 seconds off each game) and it’s a weird time to be a baseball fan.
Anyway, here are your questions for this week’s SDS Mailbag:
What’s more impressive — the SEC getting 2 of the 4 teams in the 2017 College Football Playoff and then having both play for the national title, or the ACC getting 3 of the 4 No. 1 seeds in this year’s March Madness bracket?
Back in 2017, the SEC got Alabama and Georgia into the 4-team College Football Playoff, and those teams went on to meet in an epic national title game, with Alabama rallying to win. This year, the ACC had 3 of the 4 No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament — Duke, Virginia and North Carolina.
So, which is more impressive? I’m leaning toward the SEC, because that has never been done before or since. Meanwhile, the Big East got three No. 1 seeds back in 2009 — Louisville, UConn and Pitt.
However, as you all know, this year’s NCAA Tournament is still going on. In 2009, North Carolina beat Michigan State in the title game, so none of the three Big East teams made it all the way. Let’s say Duke takes on Virginia or North Carolina in this year’s title game — that would be something at least equal to what the SEC accomplished in 2017.
To answer your question, they’re both incredible accomplishments, but we’ll see how the rest of this March Madness goes before making a final decision.
When it comes to nicknames, the SEC is pretty bland, with three Tigers, two Bulldogs and a Wildcat. In this year’s March Madness, I noticed the UC Irvine Anteaters made the field (and pulled off an upset) and that got me thinking — which conference has the best team nicknames?
You’re definitely onto something there with the Anteaters, who play in the Big West. That conference has some unique nicknames, and it’ll be tough to pick against it.
From the Anteaters to the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors to the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos to the Cal State Northridge Matadors to the UC Riverside Highlanders, this conference is far and away the winner of best mascot names.
An honorable mention goes to the Atlantic 10, a conference that features Spiders (Richmond), Bonnies (St. Bonaventure), Dukes (Duquesne), Flyers (Dayton), Minutemen (UMass), Billikens (SLU), Explorers (La Salle) and Colonials (George Washington).
Now that Mike Anderson has been fired at Arkansas, do you think he would have been better off remaining at Mizzou?
Even though I, like many Mizzou students back in 2011, was upset with Anderson when he took the Arkansas job, I understood why he did it. He served as an assistant under Nolan Richardson at Tulsa from 1982-1985 after playing under Richardson at Tulsa from 1980-1982. Then, he followed Richardson to Arkansas, serving as his assistant during Richardson’s entire tenure at Arkansas (1985-2002, including the title-winning 1994 season).
So, yeah, he had a lot of emotional connections in Fayetteville, and I get that. However, now that we have the benefit of hindsight, it’s fair to wonder whether he should have followed his heart or remained in Columbia with a program he had rebuilt.
In his first three years at Arkansas, Anderson never had a losing record, but failed to reach the NCAA Tournament each year. In his final three years at Mizzou, he took the Tigers to the tourney, including an Elite Eight appearance in 2009. After hiring Frank Haith, the Tigers made the tourney each of the next two seasons.
Earlier this week, Paul Finebaum noted that the average tenure of the coaches in the Sweet 16 was 12 years. Could Anderson have built a powerhouse at Mizzou in that time?
The average tenure of current Sweet 16 coaches is 12 years. Does patience pay off in college basketball? pic.twitter.com/68wm5fke7b
— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) March 26, 2019
Yes, the Mizzou program cratered in the wake of the Haith era, and is still trying to dig its way out. But if Anderson had stayed, he’d have just finished his 13th year in Columbia.
Again, I understand his decision, as he surely thought his time in Fayetteville would last longer than eight years, but it seems pretty clear he should have stuck with the good thing he had built at Mizzou.
One of my favorite episodes of “The Office” is “Basketball” in Season 1. Obviously, dividing the teams between warehouse and office led to some talent disparity. Also, Michael Scott is a horrible basketball player. My question is — using main characters from the show, who would be in your starting five?
In that episode, the starting five was Michael, Jim, Dwight, Ryan and Stanley, I believe, with Roy and Darryl leading the warehouse squad. Based on the battles Roy and Jim had, they’re definitely in, as is Darryl. Dwight showcased some pretty solid skills too, so he’s in.
That leaves one spot open. Ryan is a good candidate, as are David Wallace, Phyllis (a sharpshooter), Kevin (ditto) and I wonder if Toby has any range on his jumper. Here’s how I’d have my starting lineup drawn up, though:
SG: David Wallace
Bench: Kevin, Phyllis and Ryan
Now that’s a team that could win some over-30 rec league games.
Have a question for next week’s SDS Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at ASpencer@SaturdayDownSouth.com.