Takin’ on Sports — Sunday Six Pack

Six thoughts about the sports world from the week that was and the weekend ahead.

Welcome once again to the Sunday Six Pack, six thoughts about the week that was and the week to come in the sports world.

High/Low/??? Tide — There is no doubt that Nate Oats is building a perennial winner in Tuscaloosa, bringing the Tide hoops program to a level it hasn’t seen since the days of Wimp Sanderson. That much we can be sure of. What we can’t be sure of is what his team is going to do this postseason. The Tide has knocked off Gonzaga, Baylor and Houston among other big wins, yet they also lose to the likes of Georgia and Missouri, and find excruciating ways to lose games they seem to have in hand. They’ll be the 6-seed in this week’s SEC Tournament, where they await the winner of Georgia/Vanderbilt. If they handle business, they’ll play — who else? — Kentucky. Anything is possible for the Tide this year: they could absolutely not win again this season, or they could make a Final Four run. Consistency has always been a problem on the hardwood for the Tide, but at least Oats has them in the Big Dance yet again.

Premier League races heating up — Just a few weeks ago, it looked as if Manchester City was running away with the title. Now, Liverpool have crept back within three points (as I write City have just taken the lead in the Manchester Derby, stretching their lead back to six points for the moment), meaning we should have a fun final stretch. The two will meet on April 10th in a huge clash. Elsewhere in the table, a surging Arsenal have reclaimed 4th place, and will have to hold off Man U, West Ham, Spurs, and Wolves for the final Champions League spot. Down at the bottom, Leeds, Everton, Burnley, Watford and Norwich are all within six points, and only two of them can survive the relegation battle and remain in the EPL next season.

Zion drama in New Orleans — At the All-Star break, new Pelican CJ McCollum told TNT that Zion hadn’t contacted him since he’d been traded from Portland. This caused a stir, leading to former Pel JJ Redick calling Zion a “detached teammate.” Recent reports say that Zion is back in New Orleans and will return to the team this week, giving a glimmer of hope he’ll play this season — just as the Pelicans are playing great basketball, and have put themselves firmly in the Play-In discussion. But all of the drama has led to some “should the Pelicans trade Zion?” takes and… it’s not as idiotic as it once seemed? Now, it’d have to be a HELL of a haul — like, at least 3 1sts and a starting caliber player — but if the franchise truly has doubt Zion will stay in NOLA, then it’s worth considering. Of course, the best case scenario is Zion returns to a team playing well, gels with his new teammates, and takes New Orleans from playoff hopeful to a perennial playoff squad.

The MLB lockout continues — Fuck billionaire owners. Any take other than that and you’re a shill for people who don’t give a damn about you. Do athletes make too much money? Sure, but that’s a different discussion, and all the MLB players are asking for is their fair share according to the market. I heard/read recently that instead of a lockout, we should call this “an owner’s strike” because they’re refusing to give ground. For a league that desperately needs to create new fans, this is the worst possible thing. Rob Manfred is an abject failure as MLB commissioner.

Takin’ on Sports pod coming soon? — Look, I’ll record a half-hour rant every week if that’s what y’all want, but anyone interested in co-hosting or guesting should email me at — all you have to do if take 30-60 minutes out of your week to talk sports, no editing/production needed.

Fuck Putin — Fuck any and all power-hungry warmongers. May the people of Ukraine persevere, and may the Russian people one day rid their country of the oligarchs who’ve destroyed it, and know true prosperity under a leader of their choosing.

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