ANTONIO CROMARTIE'S LOCKOUT PLANS:
LET’S GET THE STORY RIGHT, RICH LORD!
On Tuesday, March 14, David Barron wrote a story on chron.com (www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/bb/7471678.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+houstonchronicle%2Fsports+%28HoustonChronicle.com+--+Sports%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher) about a guy named Bob Choate who last fall won a year's supply of coupons (365 days at a max value of $2.50 per day for one doughnut and a cup of coffee) from Shipley's Do-Nuts as one of the lucky prize-winners during Astros Fan Appreciation Day at Minute Maid Park.
The FMV (“fair market value” for the acronym-challenged) of the prize was determined to be $927.61 by Shipley, as shown in IRS (“Internal Revenue Service” for the acronym-challenged) Form 1099 sent by Shipley’s to Mr. Choate last month, informing him that he owed taxes on $927.61 in "free" coffee and doughnuts. Choate filled out a W-4 at the time he won the prize and collected his handful of certificates.
The federal tax code states that prizes and awards are subject for taxation "at their fair market value." If prizes are valued at more than $600, donors are required to issue a Form 1099 stating the value of the gift or prize for tax purposes.
But leave it up to Rich Lord to misinform his audience. He said that Bob had received a 1099 from the IRS (actually it was from the donor, Shipley's) for $927.61. In other words, according to Rich, Mr. Choate had to pay 100% taxes on his prize. Obviously, Rich does not know what a 1099 is and he can’t comprehend well because in David’s article, he specifically wrote, “an Internal Revenue Service Form 1099, informing him that he owed taxes on $927.61 in 'free' coffee and doughnuts.” That means the guy owed taxes on the $927.61 value, and not the full amount of $927.61.
Rich’s partner, Josh Innes, and show producer, Ben Nance, didn’t seem to have a clue either until others and myself informed them.
Once again, leave it to our sports talkers to misinform. I wonder how many other stories they read on-line and then go ahead and misinform us.
OKLAHOMA CITY DEFENSE STANDS AROUND IN AWE OF DERRICK ROSE'S DUNK!
WHO WON THE 2011 IDITAROD?
In case your local sports talk host failed you, as they often do, the Iditarod has been completed. Instead of spending a minute or two informing listeners on the results of one of the most grueling sporting races ever, they probably talked about the usual nonsensical non-sports stuff.
Eleven mushers and their teams scratched during the race, as John Baker and his dogs broke the record for the fastest winning time (8 days, 19 hours, 46 minutes, and 39 seconds) in this year’s race that started on 3/6 and ended on Tuesday (3/15).
For the Iditarod-challenged, the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is an annual sled dog team race across Alaska. Mushers and a team of 14-16 dogs cover 1,161 miles in anywhere from 8.5 to 15 days depending on weather conditions from Willow (near Anchorage for the geographically-challenged) to Nome.
VIRGINIA TECH COACH, SETH GREENBERG, ELBOWS CHEERLEADER (AKA HIS DAUGHTER)!
SPORTS TALK HOSTS ONCE AGAIN MISS THE POINT!
In Tuesday’s post (3/15), I said that the addition of three more teams to the NCAA tournament should cut down the amount of griping over the tournament selections and which teams “got snubbed”. Maybe so, but the complaining has not diminished. Since the teams who are placed in the tournament in those final “additional slots” are not going to win the tournament, I have no huge emotional investment in which four teams are in and which others are out.
However, this year the anger level by our local sports talk geniuses seems to be greatest over the exclusion of Colorado and Virginia Tech. Therefore, allow me to explain why these schools are not exactly models of basketball excellence, since the sports talkers probably didn't too much research on these teams:
Colorado: Sure, they beat Kansas State and Texas; and yes, they finished 21-13. However, those 21 wins include these eight games:
Western New Mexico
Take these cupcakes off the record and Colorado is a .500 team. Oh, by the way, they had Harvard on the schedule, too, and Colorado LOST to Harvard by 16 points.
V-Tech: Their coach, Seth Greenberg (see above, as he elbows his daughter) thinks someone has an “anti-Va Tech agenda”. Last year they got snubbed because of their weak schedule, so they upgraded this year. Yes, they were 21-11; and yes, they beat Duke. However, seven of their wins came over:
Cal State Northridge
Mount St. Mary’s
In addition, here are some of the Hokies’ losses to teams that are highly mediocre:
Boston College (twice)
Here is what both Colorado and V-Tech needed to do to assure that they would be in this year’s NCAA tournament and not in the martyr’s role. They needed to be a better team against real competition and not just accumulate a nice record against cupcakes and puffballs.
Also, please note that although there was a member from the Big 12 on the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee, he wasn't going to give his support for Colorado, which bolted his conference for the PAC 10 (or 12). And there was no member from the PAC 10 on the Selection Committee to support the Buffaloes.
And memo to Mike Meltser (SR610) who whined that Harvard belonged in the tourney. The last I heard was that they got blown out by Oklahoma State in the opening round of the NIT.
Mike's excuse was that the Crimson had only two days to prepare to go to Stillwater, OK, for the game. I wonder what excuse he had last week when they had a week to prepare for Princeton in the Ivy League playoff game on Saturday (3/12), which they lost, after having beaten Princeton by 12 points a week earlier.
SIXERS JUMBOTRON TAUNTS CELTIC FANS!
COULD THIS BE A REASON WHY THE NCAA IS ON TRU TV?
As you may know, a bunch of NCAA Tournament games this year are on truTV. A lot of jokes have been made about truTV, as many sports fans have never heard of it or if they have, it is not in their power rotation of channels.
This is the same network that brings you Jesse Ventura’s show where he exposes conspiracy theories. WTF! A former pro wrestler talking about conspiracy theories? At least, he has good credentials to do it. So, if there are some controversial calls by the referees in any of those games, the network should be ready to expose those conspiracies.
FROM THE HMW MAILBAG!
I got an e-mail from a faithful reader, Tom C., who thinks this year’s tournament will be full of upsets and he asked if I thought any of the #1 seeds would make it to the Final Four because he has all four going out by then.
I agree this does not shape up as a “chalk tournament”, but it is a gutsy move to take all four #1 seeds out by the Final Four. Actually, he has two of them going out before the Elite Eight. I’m more interested in point spreads, but I responded to him, as follows:
“Pitt seems to have the easiest path to Houston in its bracket, but Pitt has a reputation as a “choker” in NCAA Tournament play. Duke does not have an easy draw, but Duke has two outstanding senior players and not many schools can say that. Ohio State has Kentucky, Syracuse, and UNC in their bracket. Kansas has Louisville, Purdue, and Notre Dame to deal with. I would not say that all of the #1 seeds will miss out on a trip to Houston, but I would be shocked if three of them made it that far.”
THIS TEAM SEEMS TO BE PRETTY GAY AFTER A VICTORY!
NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT!
Gary Matthews, Jr. will collect $11M this season from the LA Angels even though he is not going to play for the LA Angels. Gary Matthews Jr. will collect $1M this season from the NY Mets even though he is not going to play for the NY Mets. Unless Gary signed a contract with a major league team in the last couple of days, he is a free agent, which means he is out of work, unemployed, and jobless, but will collect $12M this year. Not so bad for a mediocre baseball player. Maybe he'll go into sports talk.
GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS FOR NCAA SELECTION COMMITTEE: UAB AND ST. MARY'S
Let me preface this by saying that UAB had a member from its conference on the Men's NCAA Tournament Selection Committee while St. Mary's (CA) did not, which could be part of the reason why the Blazers were in the tourney and the Gaels were not. You won't get that info from our lazy local sports talkers.
As a result of the above, last night gave us two basketball games which should give folks on both sides of the “Virtue of Tournament Selections” reason to gloat. When UAB lost badly to Clemson and the ultimate outcome of that game was not in doubt after the first 8 minutes, even for us gamblers, the folks who believe that there is some kind of “small conference quota” at work in the Committee Room can use that game to make their case.
Clemson is not a very good team; in an abnormally weak ACC this year, Clemson was hardly a major force, nonetheless, they won this game in a "cake walk". UAB did not have a single victory of consequence all year; probably its signature win came in November on the road over Arkansas, a team that just fired its coach. UAB did not belong in the NCAA Tournament and demonstrated their unworthiness against a mediocre team from one of the BCS or so-called “power" conferences.
One of the small schools that did not get in, St, Mary’s, hosted an NIT game against Kent State. The coach at St. Mary’s was obviously unhappy that his team did not get an at-large NCAA bid and made his feelings known. He asserted that teams from “power conferences” get the benefit of the doubt if they do not earn the conference automatic bid, but the little guys never get any slack.
With regard to their opponent last night, if there was any fuss made over the exclusion of Kent State it was a small thing indeed. So, one would expect St. Mary’s, playing at home in California, to advance in the NIT against Kent State. That did not happen; St. Mary’s lost, 71-70, and did so in what some sports talkers would call “choking fashion”. In the final minute with the lead, here is what the team that “should have been in the NCAA Tournament” did against lesser competition:
a. Missed a foul shot
b. Committed goaltending
c. Threw the ball away on the inbounds play after the goaltending.
d. Gave up a lay-up to trail by one point.
e. Missed a driving shot from about 6 feet as time expired.
f. And oh yeah, they blew a 12-point second half lead.
Based on watching both UAB and St. Mary’s just two days after the Selection Committee made their decisions, it is clear that the Committee included UAB when it should not have and the Committee correctly excluded St. Mary’s.
The Crier continues on a roll, as it is now 18 consecutive non-losing days. That means the Crier is due to lose tonight, so go against him if you want to make a few bucks:
Total: 113-48 (70.2%)
Yesterday’s Record ATS: 9-2-1
W - MILWAUKEE at ATLANTA* (Over 173.5)
L - NEW YORK (-4.5) over INDIANA*
NCAA (at Dayton, OH)
W - ARKANSAS LITTLE ROCK (+4.5) over NC ASHEVILLE
L - UAB (+4.5) over CLEMSON
W - CHARLESTON* (-5) over DAYTON
W - VERMONT (+11) over CLEVELAND STATE*
W - ALABAMA* (-12.5) over COASTAL CAROLINA
W - BOSTON COLLEGE (-5.5) over McNEESE STATE*
W - DAVIDSON* (-2) over JAMES MADISON
T - SAN JOSE STATE (+11) over CREIGHTON*
W- EAST TENNESSEE STATE* (-5) over FURMAN
W - NORTHERN IOWA* (-6.5) over RIDER
Cumulative Season Record ATS (excludes “pushes”): 516-315
Today’s Action (for reading purposes only):
OKLAHOMA CITY (+6) over MIAMI*
Both teams bring a different dynamic. The young Thunder play together and are close off the floor. The Heat is still trying to find out how to utilize the two superstars and when to let Chris Bosh operate on the block. Oklahoma City won their fourth in a row on Monday and in the loss to Miami in January, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook both shot poorly. OKLAHOMA CITY, 95 – 94
CHARLOTTE (+6.5) over HOUSTON*
The Bobcats have had two full days to rest since winning their second in a row by cashing in Canada. Houston lost in Charlotte in late November when the Bobcats controlled the boards and were a plus three in turnovers and held the Rockets to less than 42% from the floor accuracy. CHARLOTTE, 103 – 102
MINNESOTA (+6) over UTAH*
The double/double circus following Kevin Love is finally over, but this might be a time to take a shot at an upset by the Wolves. Even though Minnesota lost by 5 and 8 in the other match-ups with Utah this season, the Jazz have been very hard hit offensively by the loss of Deron Williams and the Jazz lost by 21 to Minnesota just five days ago when the Wolves front line dominated. MINNESOTA, 101 – 96
CLEVELAND at SACRAMENTO* (TOTAL UNDER 214.5)
For all the blemishes the Kings have, they can get on the glass. It’s been a season to forget for the Ohio players and it’s just hard to take a big shot at them at any time. Would expect a high scoring game as neither of these teams really want to play defense. SACRAMENTO, 100 – 93
GOLDEN STATE* (+3.5) over DALLAS
Dallas has been in a win a game, lose one mode since the third game of the month. They had to fly in from Portland last night after losing by three and the Warriors acted just like the name says in a loss in Texas. They only got 14 bench points and only got to the line 13 times. With better effort in those areas, they might shock the Mavs. GOLDEN STATE, 100 – 98
PHILADELPHIA (+1) over LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS*
Elton Brand knows this team and he’ll be motivated to make them eat crow. The Sixers played great beating this team early in the season. Two of the keys to victory that night are the facts that Philly only turned the ball over three times and they held Los Angeles to 5 for 19 shooting from the 3-point line. PHILADELPHIA, 96 – 90
NCAA (at Dayton, OH)
VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH (+4) over USC
USC, with their hot-headed head coach who got suspended for some Pac 10 Tournament action and created a distraction, travels across a few time zones for the first time in a while, to meet a stranger in a strange land. VCU beat UCLA earlier in the season and USC doesn’t have much time to figure these guys out. They think they can step on the floor and let the Pac 10 brand-name go to work against some ordinary team from the Colonial Athletic Association. But VCU is no ordinary bunch. Their ‘big guard’ swarm can harass the heck out of USC’s deliberate offense and over the course of 40 minutes, wear down the depth-shy Trojans. VCU, 68-63
NEBRASKA (+5) over WICHITA STATE*
RHODE ISLAND* (-8.5) over MIAMI OH
WEBER STATE (+10.5) over OREGON*
ORAL ROBERTS (+4.5) over SMU*
MIKE IN DA