Growing up in northern Kentucky I used to watch a show called, “Sports of All Sorts” on WCPO. It was cool because it was just sports for an entire hour. Crazy, right? Then after the show ended, I would get up and walk across the room and change the channel with my bare hands. Wild stuff. The reason I’m thinking of this old living room exercise is because it has been a week packed with sports news in New Orleans, so let’s get to it.
Bye Bye, Cooks
Some folks call it a blockbuster trade but I just call it like it is — Brandin Cooks, a disgruntled receiver, getting dealt for the last pick of the first round. Sorry folks, it just doesn’t seem that big to me.
And I think it’s great for the Saints.
Twitter and the social channels went into a mini-meltdown when the news broke that the Patriots got the Saints receiver for “so little.” Every one started throwing the word fleeced around and saying Payton and Loomis let the city down once again. The problem was exacerbated by apparently false rumors that the Eagles and Titans were offering much higher draft picks in return for the increasingly unsatisfied Cooks.
By moving Cooks to New England, the Saints now have the No. 11 and No. 32 pick in the first round of an NFL draft that’s considered very deep. It’s a great position to be in, as long as the brass can make a good choice, which has been the elephant in the war room for a few seasons. Be that as it may, the Saints will have a lot of talent at cornerback and on the edge to choose from. A talented group of linebackers are available as well, with the likes of Michigan’s Jabril Peppers mocking as high as seven and low as 32 on nfl.com. As long as the Saints don’t waste one of these picks on offense it could be a very solid draft.
Speaking of offense, Cooks is a heck of a player but he’s not good enough to deal with any drama in the locker room. Drew Brees makes receivers, receivers don’t make Drew Brees. Yes, I think the Patriots got a significant upgrade in their receiver corps but I don’t think the Saints will miss Cooks. Brees is just too good and, to be honest, Michael Thomas became the team’s number one receiver midway through last season.
My number one team in last week’s All-Louisiana baseball rankings, the UNO Privateers, has taken some public beatings ever since I bestowed that honor. UNO got blanked by Southern Miss, then swept by a red hot McNeese State team to fall to 9-7 on the year.
But what the hell is going on in Uptown? Actually that isn’t even the question anymore. We’re quickly heading into statement territory. As in, Tulane is already at the “win the conference tournament or bust” mode. You think I’m jumping the gun?
The Green Wave are 3-12 so far. At-large picks, teams that haven’t qualified automatically, for the NCAA regionals usually have an RPI under 50 and the last teams chosen usually have around 23 losses. Now, it’s way too early to gauge anything by the RPI, but if a Tulane fan wants to take a walk down Humble Street, be my guest. Point being, for Tulane to finish 33-23 they are going to have to win 30 of their last 41 games. Last year, Houston finished 36-23, lost in the American Athletic tournament championship and failed to qualify. See?
Tulane still has to play two games each versus No. 7 LSU and No. 15 UL-Lafayette. They will play the Houston Cougars, who have a lights out pitching staff and are floating around the Top 25, six times. Oh yeah, they also play a series versus No. 18 East Carolina.
The American Athletic conference tournament will be played at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida, May 23 through May 28. Roll Wave.
Could we please get some positive news? Of course we can, because lo and behold the Crescent City is heading to March Madness, baby! The UNO Privateers, Southland Conference champions, are going dancing for the first time since 1996.
UNO (20-11) will take on the Mount St. Mary Mountaineers (19-15) in Dayton, Ohio in the first round. With a victory, the Privateers will move on and try to shock the world by knocking off the defending NCAA champion, and overall number one seed, Villanova Wildcats (31-3).
However, the Privateers aren’t the only Crescent City team with tournament dreams. The Dillard Bleu Devils (24-7) men’s team took their second consecutive GCAC conference title and enter the NAIA Division I tournament as a two seed. Dillard takes on Oklahoma City (21-10), this Wednesday at 4:45 p.m. Their neighbors from Uptown, and neighbors in the bracket, Loyola Wolf Pack qualified as an eight seed and will try to upset number one seed William Penn this Wednesday at 8:15 p.m.
Loyola is celebrating a year in which both their men and women’s teams qualified for the tourney in the same year. The women’s team (26-6) is a six seed in the 32-team tournament and will play Montana State-Northern (23-8), Thursday at 7 p.m. All of the tournament rounds will be live streamed on NAIANetworks.com, with the championship game being streamed on ESPN3.com.
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: Red River Brewing’s “Heliopolis” Light German Lager
Playlist Recommendation: Kurtis Blow – “Basketball”
Around The Way
Congratulations to the pride of St. Charles parish, Destrehan’s Cara Ursin. This young lady is a baller and just became Louisiana’s first three-time Gatorade player of the year. Ursin puts up triple doubles like I knock back crawfish — All. The. Time.
The Destrehan Wildcats finished the season with a perfect record of 35-0 and won the LHSAA 5A Championship. The Wildcats ended the season ranked 20th in the nation in the Max Preps Xcellent Top 25.