If you see me draggin' sometime today, it's because I was up past midnight listening to college basketball on the radio. UCF won a game in the Conference USA tournament -- for the first time ever, I think -- Thursday night, in a 64-54 win over UAB that tipped off in Memphis at nearly 10:30 p.m. Eastern time (thanks to Marshall's crazy triple-overtime win over Tulsa earlier in the day) and went flying through the bewitching hour.
The Knights took control of the game in the first half, and after halftime they never relinquished, which was good to see, thanks to great defense and some clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch. I tell ya, A.J. Rompza might not be the most talented guy on the roster, but the heart and moxie and composure he brings to UCF is hard to measure and they're gonna miss that next year.
At least they have that tonight, which reminds me, what's the reward for last night's win? A semifinal meeting with Memphis *gulp* on their home court! *winces* You can watch this on the CBS Sports Network, or if you're among the millions who's provider won't get the rod out of their box and offer it, check out Marc Daniels' call on 740 The Game. Go Knights!
Was also nice to see the Magic take control of a game against a quality opponent on the road and beat the Chicago Bulls last night. Orlando took a 37-22 first quarter lead and never gave it up in the 99-94 win, although Chicago did chip away in the fourth quarter and briefly took a one-point lead. Dwight Howard looked a bit lost down the stretch in the offensive end (and especially at the free-throw line, but that's the norm now), but he was responsible for a couple of key defensive stops there at the end, and Magic fans are going to miss that when D-12 moves on, either by trade this week or at the end of the year as a free agent. All I'm saying is ... I'm just sayin'.
As for someone who didn't get off to the start he wanted to on Thursday, Tiger Woods began play Friday six strokes off the lead at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championships at the Doral Blue Monster in Miami. He eagled the 1st hole and looked on a mission, but could only manage an even-par 72 that was attributed more to the brisk winds that blew. Adam Scott was 7-under after 11 and wound up with a leading 66. There's still a lot of golf left and, with Rory McIlroy looking either discombobulated or disinterested, I think el Tigre is going to be a factor come Sunday.
Why do I mention this? I like Doral. I was 1-under through 7 holes when I played there one late summer afternoon about 15 years ago. Then what happened to me? 8 and 9.