Losing to Nicholls once again shows LU’s immaturity

Published 6:34 pm Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mark down Saturday afternoon’s stinker of a loss at Nicholls State as Exhibit A that despite all the seniors on this team, Lamar doesn’t have the maturity to handle success. With everything going their way after impressive back-to-back victories over Texas-San Antonio and Northwestern State, the Cardinals laid the kind of egg against a bad team on the road that’s probably going to keep them winning the East Division in the Southland Conference. And a crowd of a whopping 597 could hardly have given Nicholls any advantage. This setback was even more costly than the game Pat Knight’s club threw away on Jan. 11 at McNeese State. After the way the Cardinals looked Wednesday against Northwestern State, I’d have bet they were going to win the East and become the first LU team since Tom Abatemarco’s 1987-88 club to win 20 games. Now all bets are off . . . In case you missed the announcement, Lamar’s leading scorer, Mike James, is one of 16 players at the mid-major level and below selected for the “Dark Horse Dunker” competition. Winner of the bracket-style playoff will be determined by on-line voting, and will get to compete against stars from top tier Division 1 schools in the College Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships shown on ESPN March 29. Inspiration for all this was a kid named Jacob Tucker from tiny lllinois College who campaigned his way into the dunk contest last year, then won it. Cardinal fans can vote for James over and over, and see his nominated dunk, at Facebook.com/college slam. Deadline for voting in his first round matchup against West Texas A&M’s Courtney Carr is Feb. 13. It would be terrific publicity for Lamar, if the 6-2 senior reaches the finals. James is an explosive dunker who could well match Tucker’s championship feat.

Speaking of dunking, I sure hated to see Beaumonter Kendrick Perkins come off as a bit of a whiner over a LeBron James’ tweet about the way Blake Griffin of the LA Clippers posterized him in a game last week. Perkins’ exact words to Yahoo Sports can be found in the Last Word quote elsewhere on this page. All Kendrick, who is one of the most menacing, intimidating players in the NBA, has really accomplished is to open himself up to taunting about the Griffin dunk every time the Oklahoma City Thunder play a road game. Don’t get mad, Perk, get even. Especially with Griffin . . . Lincoln ex Jordan Babineaux got some unique TV time last week with an appearance on The Food Network’s Heat Seekers program. Babineaux, the Tennessee Titans leading tackler this past season, hooked up with program regulars Roger Mooking and Aaron Sanchez as they toured ultra spicy dining spots in Nashville. His segment involved eating something called Satan’s Tongue Hot Chicken at a place called the Broadway Brewhouse. All in all it was good exposure for Babineaux, who survived the main course without having to pour down ice water . . . The Kansas City Chiefs recently announced that they have hired Brian Daboll as their offensive coordinator. That’s significant here because Daboll will be the fifth different offensive coordinator Jamaal Charles has had to deal with in his short time in the NFL. There have also been three head coaches during that time frame, which establishes the Chiefs as one of the most unstable franchises in the league. Good news is that everything appears on track for Jamaal in rehab work on his knee.

No matter how much Dallas Cowboys fans dislike what Eli Manning has done to their favorite team with late-game magic, imagine how Patriots fans must feel. Twice in Super Bowls, and in a November game this past season, the younger Manning brother snatched victory away from New England with touchdown drives of 83, 80 and 88 yards that ended with 0:57, 0:15 and 0:35 on the clock. That’s about as remarkable as it gets . . . On the subject of the Manning family, there seems to be a strong feeling that Eli’s brother Peyton, if he’s healthy enough to play next year, will sign with either the Miami Dolphins or the Washington Redskins. Next best bets are a return to the Colts or playing for the New York Jets. Imagine what a nightmare it would be for the Cowboys if Peyton did happen to wind up with the Redskins. Two games against Eli, two against Peyton and two against Michael Vick within the NFC East. Wonder how big mouth Cowboy defensive coordinator Rob Ryan would cope with that challenge . . . Lots of poor kids in impoverished countries will soon be running around in gear proclaiming the New England Patriots  as Super Bowl champions. Because championship T-shirts, caps, etc., are pre-produced in order to be ready for sale when the big game ends, there’s always thousands of items that aren’t relevant. The NFL won’t allow those goods to be sold in the United States, so an organization in Sewickley, Pa., called World Vision dispatches the merchandise to needy families around in the world.

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    Last year’s Super Bowl fiasco at Jerryworld, brought on by the combined greed of Jerry Jones and the NFL, is far from being resolved. According to the Indianapolis Star, only 246 of 3,200 fans impacted by last year’s ticket folly at Super Bowl XLV, accepted the NFL’s offer for seats and lodging for XLVI in Indy. Many others are holding out for future Super Bowls and at  least 300 are part of what could become a class action, breach of contract lawsuit that should soon be heard in Dallas. Here’s hoping the NFL has to pay through the nose . . . Further proof that NFL greed knows no bounds surfaced last week at Indy. Somebody, and I smell Jethro’s input all over this one, came up with the bright idea to charge fans $25 to sit in the stands and watch while media day interviews were being conducted on the field. Astonishingly, some 7,300 fans jumped at the opportunity. Can you imagine paying $25 bucks to watch interviews being conducted? Somewhere P.T. Barnum is saying, ‘I told you so.’ And Jethro is probably scheming to pull off an equivalent scam in Arlington . . . Thought I’d pretty much seen and heard it all where goofy Super Bowl bets are concerned. But that was before some guy named Jona Rechnitz plopped down $1,000 on 50-1 odds at the MGM Grand that the first score of the Super Bowl would be a safety. Rechnitz, who obviously has too much money for his own good, got the last laugh and pocketed $50,000 when Tom Brady got flagged for intentional grounding in the end zone.

    What a stunning meltdown for Chris Stroud on his final nine holes of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Saturday afternoon. Three shots clear of the cut line with eight holes to play, Chris made four double bogeys the rest of the way, including three in a four-hole stretch at Spyglass Hill. Two of the doubles were on par 3 holes. When the plunge began, Stroud was in a tie for 33nd. When it ended, he’d missed his second cut in the past three events. Here’s hoping there was no injury involved . . . Baseball’s worst team is not new Astro owner Jim Crane’s only major makeover project. Crane, an avid golfer, recently bought an upscale property named The Floridian and hired one of the game’s premier architect’s, Tom Fazio, to do a serious facelift of the Gary Player-designed layout. Crane envisions turning the Floridian, which is in Palm City, Fla., into a ritzy national club that will attract upsclale members and possibly a PGA Tour event. The Astros owner, by the way, has enough clout to regularly get invited to play in the Pebble Beach National Pro- Am. He and professional partner Blake Adams finished 11 under and didn’t come close to making the 54-hole cut . . . One notable amateur who will be around for Sunday’s final 18 holes at Pebble Beach is Cowboys QB Tony Romo. Romo and Tiger Woods are 19 under through three rounds and tied for 15th. What makes that noteworthy is that Romo is such a talented player he gets no strokes. He was extremely impressive at times Saturday, including lipping out a chip shot and a blast from the sand trap on back-to-back holes. His score has counted in the best ball format several times. Watch Sunday’s telecast on CBS and you will likely see quite a bit of him.

    Sports editor Bob West can be e-mailed at rdwest@usa.net.