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Sports Agenda for Wednesday (2/20/13)

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Miami Heat (36-14)
Miami Heat

Big Story:
UM received its notice of allegations last night from the NCAA and it’s not going to be pretty over the next few months. The Canes basketball team survived a major upset. Florida found out how tough it is to win in CoMo. And the Heat return to action tonight.

Quote of the Day:
“When a man looks in the abyss, there’s nothing staring back at him. At that moment, man finds his character. And that is what keeps him out of the abyss.” – Hal Holbrook in the movie Wall Street.

UM/NCAA:
When I first heard the NCAA had sent its notice of allegations to UM last night, I could only think of one thing.
http://youtu.be/aZdp46Jen_w (warning: NSFW language)
The NCAA dropped the bomb on UM last night and Miami is going to have to take it.
There’s really no defense they can make in front of the Committee on Infractions.
The school has admitted to most of the violations either directly or indirectly.
The big charge is “lack of institutional control.”
Essentially, this means Miami’s athletic department, president, everyone had no control over what was going on with the sports teams.
It should go all the way to UM President Donna Shalala’s office, we’ll see if it does.
Shalala is responsible for bringing in Kirby Hocutt, who shouldn’t be allowed to escape this, even though he’s at Texas Tech.
She also allowed Nevin Shapiro to run wild in the athletic department so long as his checks cleared.
Miami’s defense, based on what Shalala said last night is to discredit Shapiro…exactly how you can discredit a convicted Ponzi schemer further is beyond me.
The school also took shots at the NCAA and its investigation.
Let me just put it this way….do you remember the Reggie Bush case at USC?
For those who don’t, USC took a standoffish stance with the NCAA throughout the case and was highly critical of the NCAA.
Not surprisingly, the NCAA dropped the hammer on USC.
That’s why I question the logic of taking shots at the NCAA in her statement last night.
I get why she did it, to make it look like she’s mounting a big defense, but reality is there isn’t really much of a defense.
UM asked the NCAA to appear before the Committee on Infractions on Saturday, but I don’t see that happening.
Speaking of the charges, they will reach Frank Haith at Missouri. He was the head coach at UM while this was going on in the basketball program.
Previously, it was reported he could get hit was a show cause penalty that would likely cost him his job at Mizzou, or severely damage his ability to recruit there.
That’s how messed up this case has become, it has tentacles everywhere, will bring down lots of people.
But the two people it should bring down are Kirby Hocutt and Donna Shalala.
If the buck really stops at the top and your business/institution is hit with charges that you have no control over your minions, you have to go.
UM should start the process of moving on from Shalala, and Texas Tech should ditch Hocutt after he has run their programs into the ground with bad hires.
Will it happen?
Most likely not. The high-ups rarely get hit in these cases, just ask NCAA President Mark Emmert, who should lose his job as well.
Now the real fun begins…
Miami gets to respond to the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations…by the way, if nothing in there is a surprise, why would UM not release it? Obviously because it could be very damaging to the institution, regardless of whether there are any surprises or not.
Anyways, Miami will now have 90 days to respond to the NOA and will then appear before the COI.
Most likely, the COI will hear UM’s case sometime in May-July.
After that, it will take 6-8 weeks to hear back from the COI with sanctions against the school….And there will be sanctions.
Despite what the NCAA has done, they are still going to hit UM to prove a point that they are still in charge.
I doubt it will be anything much worse than what UM has done to itself, but some additional scholarship losses, show-cause penalties, and a multi-year probation where if Miami so much as sneezes wrong, they will be shut down, are likely.

Miami Hurricanes Basketball:
Lost in the commotion over the NOA arriving, the men’s basketball team held off a very pesky Virginia team last night to run their conference record to 13-0.
Being undefeated in ACC play at this point in the year is just ridiculous, let me start off with saying that.
I think the last team to run 12-0 in conference play was the Ralph Sampson-led Virginia Cavaliers in 1980, or sometime around then.
That puts Miami’s current run in context.
Miami has been living dangerously the last two games, but they were also against arguably the best two defensive teams in the ACC.
UVA was the best defensive team heading into last night’s game.
Remember, winning ugly is still winning.
Plus, was it just me, or did that inbounds pass after Reggie Johnson dunked it not remind you of the errant pass to James Worth in the 1982 national championship game?
Here’s the play from 1982, albeit in awful video quality.
http://youtu.be/-suuy_tgOjo
The Canes haven’t lost since Christmas night last year during a tournament in Hawaii.
I don’t see the Canes losing again until they travel to Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke on March 2.
Win there against Duke and the Cameron Crazies and then I’ll fully buy into the Canes’ run into the Tournament.
Right now, I feel good the Canes can make a run, but not sure how deep. After March 2, we’ll know.

Florida Basketball:
Man, it’s all basketball all the time today.
I’ve really thought Florida was arguably the most underrated team in America.
They are really, really good, but they ran into Missouri last night on the road at Mizzou Arena.
Not many teams, even Kansas, walk into Mizzou Arena and walk out with a loss.
They’ve won more than 70 non-conference games in a row at CoMo.
MU needed a signature win and got it by coming back from 13 points down to win 63-60.
It was a big win for Mizzou and a wake-up call for UF that it won’t always be easy winning on the road.
In fact, UF has dropped two recent games on the road in conference play.
Not that I’d be concerned, UF is still built for a deep, deep tournament run.

Miami Heat: (@ Atlanta Hawks, 8 p.m., Sun Sports)
The Heat return to the court tonight against the Atlanta Hawks.
Miami is looking to extend an eight-game winning streak from the first half of the season.
LeBron James is also looking to continue his torrid pace of 30 plus points and 60 percent or better shooting.
Let’s face it, LeBron is on his way to the MVP if he stays healthy…he’s that good.
Miami has won five in a row against Atlanta and with the Heat fully healthy, they are ready for the stretch run.
I still think the Heat will coast until early March and then slowly start to turn up the pressure and the defense.
Remember, it’s all about the postseason, no need to sweat the regular season.

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