Pushing buttons

Lisa Paine — Sports Editor

Lisa Paine — Sports Editor

Help, the numbers on my remote have been rubbed off from overuse!

For sports lovers like me, this past weekend had way too many offerings. March Madness, of course, plus the high school girls’ state semifinals and finals on Friday and Saturday night, the BNP Paribas tournament—that’s a huge tennis tournament for those scratching their heads—and of course the whole Where in the World Will Peyton Manning End Up drama unfolded.

The remote can be replaced, and so can my keyboard at work, which also has half the numbers worn off the keys. That’s not that big of a deal for me. I’m a typesetter from way back and with the exception of a few sticky finger typos, I know where the letters are. No hunt and peck method for me!

The barrage of sports actually started way before the weekend with the play-in rounds of the men’s NCAA basketball tournament, and then the highly-anticipated first round. Of course the big draw for my house was Michigan State’s opening game against Long Island University- Brooklyn. That included the typical footin mouth disease by a few of the LIU-B players prior to the game stating they thought they deserved a better opponent. Oh really? How’s the sofa cushion feeling right now, boys? Loose lips sink ships. Put-up or shut-up time didn’t exactly go in their favor. One of these days, players will learn to button it and concentrate on the task at hand.

The lucky number appeared to be 15 in the early going, as a whole lot of number 15s took our fours, twos and sixs, as far as seeding. No. 15 Lehigh took out No. 2 Duke in the South, No. 15 Norfolk State took out No. 2 Missouri in the West. Also gone is UConn, which was bitten by Iowa State in a No. 9 vs No. 8 seed battle. I know a lot of people who were eating their brackets rather than carrying across their teams into the subsequent rounds. The Big Ten is representing quite well with the Spartans, Indiana, Ohio State and Wisconsin moving on to the Sweet Sixteen. The Spartans take on Louisville next, and if we play like we did against St. Louis, there is trouble ahead. There was no spark until late in the game and we committed way too many fouls, early, in that one.

Not to be missed in the collegiate mix was the big game with the Goodrich girls’ taking on Dearborn Divine

Child in the state semifinals on Friday night, finally taking out the arch nemesis that made them a runnerup last season. That put the Lady Martians up against Grand

Rapids Catholic Central in an all-out nail biter that came down to the end.

Fans who couldn’t make it to the Breslin Center didn’t have to because the game was broadcast live on FOX Sports. What game the team played, finally taking home the coveted title it has sought for some time now. Great job ladies and coach Jason Gray. You certainly showed why the team was ranked No. 1. A sparkling undefeated 28-0 season capped with the state trophy and bragging rights. Job well done!

More channel surfing had just as many upsets on the tennis courts as on the hardwoods. Now, I know not a lot of people, aside from one of my sportswriters and myself, follows the national tennis scene, but for those who do, we certainly got our share of upsets, too. THE biggest was 26-year-old American John Isner taking out world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinals at Indian Wells, Calif. 7-6(7), 3-6, 7-6(5). He’s been slowly chipping away at the big guns since his match heard around the world when he took France’s Nicolas Mahut to one of the longest matches on record—11 hours, five minutes over three days—at Wimbledon in 2010. Although Isner did lose his semifinals match to Roger Federer at Indian Wells, he had beaten Federer in Davis Cup play last month and took him to several tie breakers in this match before losing, 7- 6(7), 6-3. Isner is definitely one to keep an eye on. lpaine@mihomepaper.com

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