Some random thoughts in sports worthy of comment while wondering why the Steelers didn't use their last timeout before the final, fatal play in the Super Bowl when they were scrambling and the play clock was ticking away:
n A lot of people say the college basketball regular season doesn't mean much, and maybe it doesn't in places like Duke and Kansas and Ohio State, where everything is geared to the NCAA Tournament. But these last couple of weeks are like playoff games to a bubble program like Penn State, and it's been fun to watch. Thursday night's drama-filled win over Minnesota - with Talor Battle hitting seven 3-pointers - was a must, and if the Nittany Lions are going to crash the field of 68, they're going to have to spring a key road upset, something their resume lacks. Could that be Sunday night at Wisconsin? Unless the Lions can beat the Buckeyes at home March 1, it may have to be.
n That's about the only way you balance out a loss to Maine.
n If PSU ultimately falls short of the Big Dance, it will be - more than any other reason - because of Ed DeChellis' failure to recruit and/or develop a legitimate Big Ten post presence. Since his monster performance two years ago in the NIT, Andrew Jones has regressed significantly.
n Coquese Washington is making progress, and the timing is perfect since the Lady Lions likely will be the host team at an NCAA subregional set for March 19-21 in the Jordan Center.
n What does it tell you about Pitt's program that the Panthers can lose their best player, Ashton Gibbs, to injury and go into West Virginia and Villanova and win?
n It's nice to see 2010 Mirror player of the year Alli Williams of Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic playing so well as a freshman at St. Francis. Williams is averaging starter's numbers (8.7 points, fourth on team, and 6.1 rebounds, second on the team) but comes off the bench because Susan Robinson Fruchtl likes the instant offense/energy Williams brings.
n The St. Francis men, meanwhile, seemed to have peaked during a five-game win streak two weeks ago.
n One factor in the Red Flash's perpetual struggle is tied to the fact that there are far fewer recruitable men's players in the region than women's players that can contribute at even the lower Division I level.
n A favorite time of the year is the district basketball playoffs. Look for Philip Cmor's annual monster breakdown of District 6 (Sunday) and District 5 (Monday).
n Here's a commentary on our society: Sports Illustrated published two magazines this week - a regular edition (with the Celtics-Lakers on the cover) and the annual Swimsuit Edition. The regular edition is 76 pages. The swimsuit encyclopedia, er, edition is 206.
Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.