The Percolator: Is Butler really in the Final Four?
Here at the Daily Jolt, we prefer our coffee on the stove top and not from the electric drip machine. We're just old-school that way. Here's what's happening this Monday morning...
…The Butler Bulldogs completed their NCAA tournament journey back to Indianapolis on Saturday, reaching the Final Four for the first time in their own backyard with their 63-56 victory over Kansas State. Only the Michigan State Spartans stand in the way of BU playing for a national championship and a chance to be crowned the best team in America. When tip-off arrives next weekend, the Horizon League champions will be playing just five miles from its campus and Hinkle Fieldhouse — their home court and the site of Hoosiers. Yes, be prepared for another week full of references and comparisons to the 1987 film.
The job that head coach Brad Stevens has done since taking over the Butler program is beyond remarkable, although there must be something in the water on campus with the run of successful head coaches the university has employed. While the Bulldogs played consistently well all season, it will still be amazing to see them play on the final weekend of the season — on the biggest stage in their sport. The naysayers who questioned the difficulty of their conference schedule can no longer wonder just how good the Bulldogs are — not after taking down the top two seeds in the West Regional. Their winning streak sits at 24 due to a simple recipe of tight defense, crisp execution on offense and an unmatched mental toughness. And the best part of their story is that they aren’t satisfied with just a Final Four appearance. No matter what happens next weekend, we’re going to see a team playing as if it hasn’t accomplished anything yet. Congratulations to Butler for representing all that is beautiful about the game of basketball.
…New Arizona Cardinals linebacker Joey Porter was arrested on suspicion of DUI outside of a Taco Bell over the weekend, proving once again that it’s never a good idea to get late-night Mexican food. In addition to the DUI suspicion, Porter was also accused of assaulting an officer and resisting arrest. All of the charges are misdemeanors. The fact that Porter would get into trouble this early into his new contract is mind-boggling to me, although it shouldn’t be because we’re talking about Joey Porter. The talkative linebacker, who signed a three-year, $17.5 million deal after being released by Miami, is expected to fill a big role on the Cards’ defense after the club lost Karlos Dansby to the ‘Fins. Arizona released the following statement on Saturday: “The team is aware of the incident. We are in the process of gathering all of the facts concerning it and won't comment further until that's completed.” It may be a long season for head coach Ken Whisenhunt and the Cards if this is the Porter they’ll have to contend with all season long.
…The Cleveland Browns are expected to utilize Josh Cribbs in a variety of ways in 2010, including returning kicks, playing wideout and taking snaps out of the Wildcat. Head coach Eric Mangini told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the club wants to develop the former Kent State quarterback's receiver skills rather than shifting him to the backfield as a running back. With the Browns’ struggles all season on offense, it’s a wonder why Cribbs was underutilized by the team last year. He’s displayed his game-breaking skills on special teams, so maximizing his value will only help the team move the football.
…If you missed Michael Lombardi’s Sunday at the Post, be sure to check it out for McNabb trade talk, Tim Tebow rising up the draft board and much more.
… A lot of Miley Cyrus news to report from this past week. Hopefully you had a chance to catch her on American Idol, where she played the role of “mentor” to the show’s remaining participants. Cyrus also finally confirmed the worst-kept secret in Hollywood last week when she admitted that her and “The Last Song” co-star Liam Hemsworth have been dating for 10 months. After refusing to go on record about their relationship, Cyrus and her Aussie beau made their first public appearance together on Thursday night at their movie premiere in Los Angeles. Cyrus appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and told the talk-show host that Hemsworth’s manners won her over — an admission that hopefully gives nice guys in this world hope. Then, while appearing on The View, Cyrus revealed that she will taking a break from the music industry to focus on her movie career because the music business isn’t as positive as she’d like it to be. After releasing a record in June, Cyrus intends to focus exclusively on her movie career. And finally — as if the 17-year-old didn’t break enough of her tween followers’ hearts — she announced Sunday that she was leaving her popular Hannah Montana show because she has “grown out” of her role on the Disney staple. Looks like Billy Ray’s daughter is really growing up and making some adult decisions. Might new boo Mr. Hemsworth be playing the role of Yoko Ono? Stay tuned.
…WrestleMania XXVI was held last night in Phoenix, and WWE fans were treated to one stellar show. In addition to the return of Bret “The Hitman” Hart to the squared circle, the Undertaker defeated Shawn Michaels in a “Streak vs. Career” match to remain unbeaten at the annual event — 18-0 — and retire the Heartbreak Kid. Of course, Shawn Michaels will almost certainly wrestle again. Pro wrestling fans are expected to have a short memory. Remember when Ric Flair “retired?” He’s back wrestling in TNA. Characters are frequently changed and storylines are often altered, so Michaels is likely just taking an extended break. But if it was the last time for HBK in the ring, it was a great way to end a career that truly took off after this legendary moment. For complete coverage of WrestleMania XXVI, check out wwe.com.
Follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave