It's great the First Four will stay at UD Arena through 2022. That's a win-win for UD and the city. But one question that needs to be asked after the NCAA's announcement of upcoming tourney sites: Will Dayton ever again be a host for first- and second-round games? Those basketball-packed days are the jewels of the tournament, and UD has not hosted those rounds since 2013.
Heck, U.S. Bank Arena in downtown Cincinnati, a real dump, was named as a 2022 site – contingent on a pricey renovation. If that doesn’t materialize, perhaps UD Arena will be Plan B. I think the arena’s low seating capacity works against it.
Luke Fickell got his first big win at the University of Cincinnati last week. UC's new football coach got a commitment from Malik Vann, a 4-star defensive end from nearby Fairfield. Vann had offers from a bunch of powerhouse schools including Alabama, Florida State and Notre Dame. That is some big-time recruiting.
Trending up: Eric Thames, Mike Leake, Anthony Rizzo. The Brewers' 30-year-old slugger had played fewer than 200 MLB games before this season. He spent the last three seasons in Korea but is making up for lost time with eight home runs and a .379 batting average heading into Saturday's action. Better yet, Thames says he loves beer, which makes him a perfect match for Milwaukee.
Trending down: Celtics, Mark Baker, Cyrus Kouandjio. These aren't your grandpa's Boston Celtics. True, the boys from Beantown are the top seeds in the NBA Eastern Conference, but they find themselves in a must-win situation tonight in Chicago. The Bulls hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-a lot of games series. Maybe the Cavaliers knew what they were doing when they conceded the No. 1 seed to Boston.
Knucklehead of the Week
Pittsburgh Pirates star outfielder Starling Marte is serving an unpaid 80-game suspension after he tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug Nandrolone. That is an anabolic steroid that is popular with bodybuilders, not some obscure supplement available at GNC. Marte offered up some weak excuse while asking for forgiveness. He probably is still processing the fact that the suspension will cost him a cool $2.5 million. Ouch. Marte, who is from the Dominican Republic, batted .311 last year. He has won two Gold Gloves and was an all-star in 2016.