I’m not one to share my opinion, but since you asked…  
  • Now that about a week has passed since Pitt’s round of 32 exit, (I hate calling it the 3rd round) it seems like the desire from irate Panther hoops fans has subsided regarding the firing of head coach Jamie Dixon.  When all is said and done, you want Dixon on your bench.  There isn’t anybody out there you can get that will match what he has done in his eight years as coach.  Eventually, he’s going to break through and get this team to a Final Four.  It may take a bit longer than fans want.
  • It’s funny how the Big East gets such great pub during the regular season as the nations best college basketball conference.  After two rounds, only Connecticut and Marquette have advanced to the sweet 16.  So much for what the regular season means.  It’s all about how you play in March that counts and the Big Least fell short this year, yet again. 
  • I give Nasir Robinson credit for taking the blame for the loss on Saturday against Butler.  He’s showing great character and maturity in doing so.  It doesn’t do much for the senior class that fell short in their goal to make a Final Four, but perhaps Robinson will take these hard lessons learned and apply them to next season when it’s his last chance to make good on what many thought was this team’s destiny. 
  • I commend the officials in the Pitt-Butler game for doing what they were paid to do and that’s officiate  the entire game last Saturday.  In the wake of what happened during the Big East tournament between Rutgers and St. John’s, it was nice to know that they were not mailing it in like the aforementioned crew in New York did. 
  • Attendance for the Power’s 1st win last week vs. Iowa was announced at 9,190, down about 4,000 from their season opener.  I wonder how many seats sold were of the $180 variety? trans Idle Thoughts  The March Into Madness For Panther FansThe number zero comes to mind. 
  • As gutsy as they appear and play, I just can’t see the Pens winning a series in the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs.  Not without their top two scorers and their best penalty killer missing in action. 
  • And speaking of Matt Cooke, he’s lucky he didn’t get suspended for the rest of the season AND all of the playoffs.  I understand how important his play on the penalty kill is, but his past is filled with goonish like plays of this nature.  The problem with keeping Cooke is this, if he can’t adapt and change his play, what value does he really have?  Is it fair to assume he won’t be the same player?  If that answer is yes, what good does he serve?
  • Connecticut will continue to make an amazing run and make the Final Four. 
  • The Pirates announced today that Kevin Correia will start opening day at Chicago next Friday.  Here are his Spring Training numbers.  1-2 with a 6.38 ERA.  In 18.1 innings pitched, Correia has allowed 27 hits, 14 runs, 13 of which were earned.  Get those season tickets now!
  • The rest of the rotation will consist of Paul Maholm, Ross Ohlendorf, Charlie Morton and James McDonald.  I’m happy for Morton, who told me last week he nearly quit baseball after his horrendous 2010.  He’s been the team’s best hurler during spring ball and Pirate fans can only hope it carries into the regular season. 
  • What are the odds of Joe Paterno coaching the Lions until his body expires on this earth?  99.9% maybe? 
  • I would never question anything Jamie Dixon does, but I do wonder what was said to those players before they hit the court for those final two foul shots taken by Gilbert Brown.  If they were not instructed to make ‘contact’ with the opponent, then the blame for last weeks loss falls on the coaching staff.  If it was conveyed but not applied, then it falls on Robinson.  Perhaps that answer lays in Robinson taking the blame for the loss, over and over again after it went final. 
  • Far be it from me to tell somebody how to run their business, but Power ownership should be getting a clear message that nobody thinks sitting right up close to watch Arena Football is worth $180, or $140 per ticket.  Those empty seats up close could be sold if say, they ran in the $50-$75 range.  I’m sorry, but their product is not worth any more than that for a top priced ticket.  The most expensive seat to attend a Chicago Rush game is $60.  In Dallas, you would pay $97 for the best seat in the house. 
  • My prediction on wins for the upcoming Pirates season is just a week away.  Last year, I was right on with under 59 1/2.  Even with a new manager in Clint Hurdle, I can’t see this team winning but a handful more games than last.
  • As ridiculous as the $180 seats you can buy (chuckle) for Power games seems, the Philadelphia Soul have the gall to charge $200 for their best seat, but I’m used to idiotic behavior from Philadelphians.

John Phillips is the author of this article.  When he’s not traveling the globe recruiting for The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, he’s hosting weekend talk-show’s and anchoring sports updates on 93.7 The Fan.  Check out JP this weekend on The Fan Saturday night from 10p-2a and on Sunday 8p-12a after NCAA College Basketball.  You can also read about JP’s travels @  www.foodandgamestv.ning.com 

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