Tidbits - March 17, 2020


  I’ve heard most sports’ cliches, but David Cloninger, who covers the Gamecock teams for the Charleston Post and Courier, supplied me with a great new one.
  Talking about the Mississippi State-Carolina men’s regular season game, he said the first half was uglier than a pot of boiled okra!
  Can you picture that - a pot looking like boiled slugs. Now that is ugly. I’m going to have to remember that.
  I didn’t notice any description of the Gamecocks’ second half performance when the same two teams met again  in the SEC tournament.
  The Bulldogs led by two at the break, but in the second half, the Gamecocks made four out of 31 shots. How does a team with college players make only four shots in a half? They shot 12 percent, 12 pathetic, humiliating percent.
  My junior year at Saluda High, our basketball team finished 1-19. I’m positive our team was never held to four field goals in a half.
  Carolina’s offense was simply awful, but they still won 18 games, and that’s not bad.
  Someone compiled offensive stats on Frank Martin’s ten years as Gamecock head coach, and it’s embarrassing.
  In field goal percentage, there have been only two seasons where the Gamecocks ranked below 10th in the league. This year Carolina finished last. In six of Martin’s seasons, the Gamecocks ranked 13th or 14th.
  In free throw shooting, the Gamecocks have finished last the last three seasons in a row.
  In offensive efficiency, Carolina ranks 291 nationally this year. That is pathetic.
  The Gamecock offense is based on players taking outside shots, and there is not a single player on the team who can actually shoot. Makes no sense.
  I don’t know about Martin’s fate. He has a good nucleus of players who can’t shoot coming back. His job might be saved if the number one high school player in the nation, a big man who happens to live in Columbia, would commit to the Gamecocks soon!
 Georgia fired their coach right after the tournament, and have already hired Florida’s coach. That’s moving fast! From what I read, Florida does not like their former coach,  so the Bulldogs did them a favor.
  So, if the Gamecocks fired Martin, who would they hire?
  For years our state had an excellent small college coach, Mike Young at Wofford, who Virginia Tech hired three seasons ago. This year the Hokies beat Duke to win the ACC tournament championship. He’s done well, and he can recruit people who can shoot!
 The Furman coach has been impressive.
  Martin’s position would have improved had the Gamecocks made the NIT, but that didn’t happen.
  The weekend before last was a nightmare for Gamecock fans. The men’s basketball team lost to Auburn, the No. 1 women were upset by Kentucky in the SEC tournament championship, and horror or all horrors, the baseball team was swept by Clemson for the first time since 1996.
  Fans came down on all three coaches, even Dawn Staley. Despite their loss, the Gamecock women did not lose their top ranking, and got the number one seed in the tournament.
  The coach that caught the most flack was Gamecock baseball coach Mark Kingston. It got worse on Tuesday, when the Gamecocks lost to a 2-9 Xavier team 15-7.
  Now let’s get this straight, a team from up north that can’t practice because of snow, should not come down south and beat an SEC team 15-7.
  During that game, Clon-inger said the Gamecock pitchers were serving up beach balls to the Xavier hitters.
  With four straight losses, the Gamecocks faced the arduous task of having to host the number one team in the country, Texas, this weekend.
  Midweek, Cloninger announced his Carolina pitching rotation prediction - Will Sanders (the one good pit-cher) and pray for rain!
  Well, rain was factor. Friday’s game was cancelled and moved to Saturday, and a doubleheader was scheduled for Sunday.
  Texas won on Saturday, but Sunday, the Gamecock swept the doubleheader. They can’t beat a 2-9 team from up north, but swept the number one team in the country. It makes no sense, but that’s why you play over 50 games.
  Cloninger had some good local zingers during the week, but Charles  Barkley had the best national one. Speaking about Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Barkley said, “I think he’s the pretty girl that you gotta tell her she’s pretty everyday.”
  The Packers must have told Aaron he was pretty, because he signed a new four year contract, ending speculation that he was leaving.
  And the Bucs must have told Tom Brady he was pretty, too, because he came out of retirement Sunday.
  Sports takes your mind temporarily off what is going on in the world, and we are thankful.