Another week, another batch of grades. I should give myself an “F” for my NCAA bracket. Had West Virginia vs. Kansas State in the title game with Huggy and his crew winning it all. I think Frank Martin’s eyes scared me into making that pick. With my bracket in shambles, it’s time to turn to the grades. If you have a grade you’d like to submit, text the WGEM SportsCenter hotline at 217-617-9437 or email the show at firstname.lastname@example.org. Josh Houchins and I will break these down around 8:20 or so on Wednesday’s program.
A — Marion County girls basketball. The third time at the Show-Me Showdown proved to be the charm for the Lady Mustangs. After taking second in Class 1 in 2009 and third last season, Marion County broke through for its first state title over the weekend. Just like the Quincy Notre Dame girls basketball team, which captured an Illinois Class 2A title last month, the Lady Mustangs are set up nicely for a repeat performance next March. With Jessica Redd and Randi Lee Plunkett leading the way, it’s hard to imagine any other small school team in Missouri being much of a match for that duo and their supporting cast.
B — Anthony Robles. If there was ever a time to give out two “A’s” in one week, this would be it because Robles is certainly deserving. A senior wrestler at Arizona State University, Robles won the 125-pound title at the NCAA Championships in Philadelphia over the weekend. Impressive enough, right? Factor in that Robles was born without a right leg and the story is downright amazing. He finished the season at 36-0 and says his wrestling career’s likely over. You’d have to think that someone’s going to make a movie about this guy’s life.
C — Kevin Provencher. Who, you ask? He was a sports writer at the Manchester (N.H) Union-Leader for more than two decades, but found out that he needed another source of income when things started to go badly for his newspaper. So instead of mowing lawns or delivering pizzas, Provencher decided it would be smart to become a pimp. He admitted in court last week that he ran a prostitution ring in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. He’ll get t 2 1/2 years in the slammer for his choice of part-time work.
D — Rick Pitino. The University of Louisville coach has given people plenty of reasons why we shouldn’t like him. He gave the haters another talking point over the weekend. After his team was a surprise loser to Morehead State of the powerful Ohio Valley Conference in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Pitino popped up on TV over the weekend. He was part of the studio show. Shouldn’t he have been back in Louisville figuring out what happened to his team instead of preening for the cameras? Pitino shouldn’t be allowed to profit from his team’s loss much the same way a criminal can’t profit from their crime. Any money he got from CBS should be donated to some charity. The only good party about seeing the smarmy Pitino on air was the fact that Charles Barkley continually drilled the Big East with Pitino sitting there helpless to say anything after the power conference had just two teams make the Sweet 16.
F — Bruce Pearl. Illinois fans are probably saying, “What goes around comes around, pal.” An enemy of the state since the whole Deon Thomas incident back in the late 1980s, Pearl was fired by Tennessee on Monday after getting into a heap of trouble with the NCAA. The most damning thing that came from the news of Pearl’s dismissal was the fact that he was found to break NCAA rules again just this month. There’s no denying that Pearl did some good things on the court at Tennessee and actually made the men’s program relevant. He seems to be a likable guy, too. How hard is it to follow the stinkin’ rules? And if you want a great look at why Pearl is hated so much in the Land of Lincon, check out this great piece published Tuesday by Deadspin.