CBI: No it’s not a TV show and it’s important | NevadaAppeal.com

CBI: No it’s not a TV show and it’s important

Sports fodder for a Friday morning … The Nevada Wolf Pack men’s basketball team is four victories away from winning the College Basketball Invitational. The what? Doesn’t matter. The important word here is winning. It doesn’t matter who it is against and what it means. Winning is fun. Winning is good. Winning is all that matters. It doesn’t matter that nobody outside northern Nevada will even notice when the Pack wins this tournament. Quick. Who won last year’s CBI? Loyola of Chicago. They didn’t even notice that in Chicago. Wolf Pack fans, the majority of who didn’t show up to see the 79-75 win over Montana on Wednesday, are going to notice when the Pack wins the CBI. Well, some of them will. That’s all that matters.

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What are the Wolf Pack’s chances of winning the CBI? Remarkably good. There are still two teams (Seattle and UNC-Greensboro) among the eight still alive that still have losing records. And that’s with a victory in the first round of this leftover tournament. The other five still breathing — Morehead State, Vermont, Duquesne, Ohio, Eastern Washington — wouldn’t scare Bishop Gorman High. But forget naming the teams in this tournament. Most fans who filled out a NCAA tournament bracket this week couldn’t even name all of the conferences represented in the CBI. Some of them sound like shopping malls and athletic shoe stores. The Summit. The America East. The Metro Atlantic Athletic. The Southland. The Wolf Pack will roll over Eastern Washington at home on Monday to earn a mock Big Sky Conference championship (they’ve already beaten Montana and Montana State) and a spot in the CBI’s Final Four. Bet you can’t wait to stare up at the rafters at Lawlor and see that CBI banner for years to come, huh?

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Winning the CBI will at least give the Wolf Pack something real to celebrate. You know, instead of glorifying a women’s basketball coach’s 500th career victory in a five-win season when more than 400 of those wins came at other schools. And then there was all of that pride and all those pats on the back for winning a football bowl game against a conference opponent in a game that not even ESPN or any of the other 12 dozen sports cable stations would bother to televise. The CBI is a national tournament. It’s not some early-season tournament in your own gym over one long weekend with handpicked opponents. You can count the number of teams on one hand in college basketball that will be able to call themselves a national champion this year. If the Pack is one of them it’s going to be worth a banner up in the rafters of Lawlor.

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The Wolf Pack’s realistic chances of winning the CBI will likely hinge on two things. The number of home games it buys and the health of senior point guard Marqueze Coleman. D.J. Fenner and Lindsey Drew combined for six 3-pointers late in the win over Montana and, well, you can count on that happening again with the same confidence as you would predicting a 16 seed beating a one seed in the NCAA tournament. Coleman was walking around the court during the pre-game warmups on Wednesday seemingly without a limp or pain. It wouldn’t be shocking to see him play on Monday against Eastern Washington. Any additional body would help the Pack right now. They beat Montana with basically six players. A Coleman, even at just 75 percent capacity, would be a welcome addition.

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Adam LaRoche, who was, without question, one of the worst players in the major leagues last season (.207 average, 44 RBI in nearly 500 at-bats), was supposedly retiring because the Chicago White Sox won’t allow him to bring his son into the clubhouse every day. The 36-year-old LaRoche, therefore, is giving up $13 million simply because the White Sox won’t provide him with free childcare. How can a guy making $13 million pay for childcare? Come on, White Sox. Have a heart. You force a guy to work four or five hours a day for seven months a year and you don’t provide free childcare? It’s no wonder LaRoche quit.

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San Francisco 49ers coach Chip Kelly said this week the 49ers “will coach the heck out of Colin Kaepernick this season if he’s here.” There are two things in that statement that would cause a sensitive and defensive guy like Kaepernick to pout and wonder if Kelly’s 49ers are in his best interest. Why would Kelly tell the world he needs to “coach the heck out of” his supposed starting quarterback? And, two, what does “if he’s here” mean? Didn’t the 49ers assure everyone a few weeks ago Kaepernick would be on the roster April 1 and, therefore, have his $11.9 million base salary guaranteed for the 2016 season? The Kelly-Kap marriage might dissolve quicker than Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries. It’s certainly off to a we-just-met-tonight-at-the-dollar-slots-and-now-we’re-married kind of start.

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Goose Gossage doesn’t want to see players like Jose Bautista flip their bats after hitting home runs. Bryce Harper wishes players could flip their bats, do a little dance around the bases, throw kisses to pretty girls while rounding third and take off their jerseys and strut their stuff after hitting a home run. Gossage is old so nobody cares what he thinks. Harper is young, handsome, cool, plays video games, watches movies on his phone, sends text messages and tweets. He’s what fans who are young, cool, play video games, watch movies on their phone, send text messages and tweet insist what baseball needs. Well, baseball doesn’t need all the stupidity we see in football and basketball on a daily basis. Mike Trout, who’s also young, handsome, able to tweet, play video games, watch movies on his phone and send text messages, agrees with the old crusty Gossage. He says flipping your bat shows up the pitcher. He knows an old crusty guy like Gossage will put the ball in your ear the next time you walk to the plate if you flip your bat. So go ahead, Bryce, flip your bat.

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The Golden State Warriors are now 61-6 overall and 32-0 at home and need to win 12 more games to break the Chicago Bulls’ record of 72 wins in 1995-96. The Warriors do have to play San Antonio three more times, twice in Texas. They also have to go to Dallas, Memphis and Utah. The Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas, Memphis and Portland also will come to Oakland. There’s a chance the Warriors will lose five of their last 15 games and fall short of tying the Bulls’ record. But it’s about the same chance as your dog has of picking all of the games in the NCAA tournament correctly. The Warriors lose two more games at most the rest of the way. They’ll lose one game at San Antonio (probably April 10 on the second night of a road back-to-back) and maybe one at Dallas or Memphis. That’s it.