Mass. College Lax: Saturday Afternoon Roundup

By Matt Noonan 

Here are the scores and game summaries from the various Division 1 lacrosse games today.

Men’s Lacrosse:

Canisius 9, Boston University 3: Cal DearthRyan Johnston and Sam Tenney each scored goals in the Terriers’ inaugural game at Nickerson Field. Christian Carson deflected 14 shots between the pipes, including five shots in the first quarter.

Women’s Lacrosse:  

UMass 7, UConn 5: Katie Ferris recorded two goals and two helpers, while Sam Rush scored two goals on two shots as the Minutewomen ballooned 5-1 first half lead into a 7-5 victory, their second win of the season.

No. 1 North Carolina 18, Boston University 8: Mallory Collins recorded four goals on four shots, but it wasn’t enough to lift the Terriers past the reigning national champions.

Mass. College Lax: Locals Earn Spots In NCAA Tournaments

By NoontimeSports.com 

The NCAA released all six brackets (Division I, II and III) this evening for the upcoming men and women’s lacrosse tournaments, which start this week, and below are the squads that earned a spot, along with their first round matchup.

Men’s Division III

* Eastern Conn. State at Western New England (Wednesday, May 8) TBA

* Norwich University at Tufts University (Wednesday, May 8) TBA

* Springfield College at Cabrini College (Wednesday, May 8) TBA

Women’s Division I

* Boston College vs. Dartmouth College (Friday, May 10) @ 4 p.m. Game will be played at Syracuse University.

* UMass vs. UConn (Friday, May 10) TBA. Game will be played at Penn State.

Women’s Division II

* Stonehill College at LIU Post (Saturday, May 11) @ 12 p.m.

Women’s Division III

* Bridgewater State at Bowdoin College (Wednesday, May 8) @ 7 p.m.

* Lasell College at Colby College (Wednesday, May 8) @ 7 p.m.

* Springfield College at Endicott College (Wednesday, May 8) @ 7 p.m.

NFL Draft 2011: Official Winners and Losers

By Dan Rubin 

So there it is – another year of NFL drafting in the books.  From here, we head forward to negotiating so the players can be ready for rookie minicamps and training camp… oh wait a second.

The NFL Draft closed on Saturday with 254 players’ names being read.  Some of those names will become household by the end of the year, some are already household, and some will pass through our lives like a light summer breeze.  From here, the players now have to sit and wait for the labor situation to subside, so they can start making preparations and negotiations to be ready.  The perfect sub story to the draft was when Andy Dalton toured the Cincinnati Bengals facility on Saturday afternoon.  He was shown the locker room, the field, and the offices.  Then he left, without a playbook, and without having met head coach Marvin Lewis.  This is the new NFL.

Here’s a list of the unofficial draft winners and losers, as I see it, of 2011.

Winners:

The Detroit Lions made history in the 2000s when they managed to turn several early first-round picks into wide receivers that helped them to a decade of futility and doormat status.  This year, they were left with no picks in rounds 3, 4, or 6. But they used their final two picks, in the fifth and seventh rounds, to address some needs with some pretty shifty moves. Doug Hogue has good lateral movement at the outside linebacker position, and he should help the Lions in pass coverage.  He could be a guy that, if they have the right coverage scheme, excels at the professional level.  And Johnny Culbreath is an undersized project offensive lineman.  For Detroit, those two picks are sleepers in the later rounds, and they could be breakout stars in the next few years.  A team that historically threw away picks on bad players with no purpose might have won the lottery in the later rounds.

I said a couple of days ago that Atlanta couldn’t fowl the rest of their draft because if they did, Thomas Dimitrioff would put himself in the unemployment line.  They had to make sure each pick the rest of the way was meticulous and perfect.  With the gamble in the first round to move up from the 20s to the top 10, they absolutely couldn’t take flyers.  They took Jacquizz Rodgers in the fifth round.  Rodgers is a guy I was hoping would end up in New England because he has great vision, great balance, and he can be that Kevin Faulk-type running back.  He also can develop nicely over time, worked in to spell Michael Turner and Jason Snelling.  Over the course of this draft, that offense just became one of the best, if not the best, in the NFL.

Before anyone accuses me of being a homer, remember I’m the guy who’s been taking away from UConn’s trip to the Fiesta Bowl because they played in a crappy conference.  So when I say San Diego struck sixth-round gold with Jordan Todman, I mean it.  Todman can return kicks for the Chargers, and he gives them a slashing back for those mid-drive runs that can break open a game.  I don’t think he’s good enough to be a feature back since he got pounded on in college and is bound to break down, but I can see him coming in on 2nd-and-8 in the middle of a drive and busting off a 38-yard run like it’s nobody’s business.

New England grabbed an undersized defensive end that will become a linebacker in their system (a.k.a. Tedy Bruschi) in Markell Carter.  Carter had 19 tackles for a loss last year, and at 6-3, 240, he’s a big boy to be patrolling in the linebacker position.  The Patriots are known for developing these guys very well, and he’ll be the latest in a long line of linebackers that Bill Belichick teaches the conversion too.

Kudos to Trey Wingo for the way ESPN handled the end of the NFL Draft.  With the draft winding down, it became evident that Mark Herzlich would not be drafted.  With the impending labor doom, any player not drafted cannot sign as an undrafted free agent because, well, we have no free agency.  Herzlich was recognized on stage at the start of the draft for being a top prospect, a symbolic gesture given what he’s overcome.  But Wingo went a step further to recap Herzlich’s journey and wish him the best, singling out a player who overcame a very real, very dangerous cancer diagnosis.  By wishing him the best, he put aside the knocks against Herzlich as a player, which are that he can’t rush the passer and his mobility has been wildly affected by the steel rod in his leg (also, durability issues regarding the softness of his bones; that’s one of the vicious side effects of chemotherapy).  And he stood above to recognize someone who’s been in the national spotlight for the past two years.

Losers:

That leads me to what I didn’t like as much.  First off, all picks aside, there are a number of players who weren’t chosen.  In past years, the players down the end of the 7th round would be thrilled to not be picked, since it meant they’d have their pick of teams.  Danny Woodhead said it best last year when he said he hoped he wouldn’t be picked in the 7th round.  During his draft, Rex Ryan called him to say that they weren’t going to draft him, but they wanted him as an undrafted free agent.  Woodhead then responded by saying that, if unselected, the Jets would have to make him a better offer than other teams.  Woodhead was able to jack up the asking price on the Jets by about $15,000 in his signing bonus.  That’s a lot of money for a guy who’s lightly regarded.  Take Woodhead’s scenario and multiply that by about ten players per team, times 32 teams. That’s roughly 320 undrafted free agents who would have their choice of team and have that scenario.

This year, in 2011, that number sharply declines to a goose egg.  That’s right, folks.  There will be zero UFAs signed in the wake of the draft.  Thanks to this stupid labor situation, teams looking at a guy like Herzlich, a guy like a Woodhead, or Derrick Locke (RB, Kentucky) can’t sign.  Arian Foster was a UFA in 2009 who was the rushing champion last year.  There will be zero UFAs until the labor situation is resolved.  Therefore, there are roughly 300 losers in this draft thanks to the NFL.

In the draft, I can’t believe Baltimore drafted Tyrod Taylor (QB, Virginia Tech).  Taylor was the next coming of Michael Vick for four years, except that he had neither the speed, throwing ability, nor talent.  Taylor blew games for the Hokies almost every year, winning the conference because the conference endured some down years.  Twice, he beat Boston College to win the ACC.  Miami was in shambles, as was Florida State.  UNC never made the jump, and it took a Georgia Tech triple option to knock the Hokies off the mantle.  Now, he’s backing up Joe Flacco.  Should Flacco ever be injured, the Ravens can insert a guy who has no experience running an NFL-style offense, has little to no throwing ability, and can’t really do a whole lot in the pocket.  Maybe they’ll convert him to a wide receiver or something, but I honestly haven’t read anything.

New England blew their draft, even though I love the picks they did take.  They didn’t address the major need from last year, which was the pass rush.  The Patriots last year ranked 32nd against the pass, and that was with Devin McCourty playing lock-down corner and a secondary that notched 25 interceptions.  The Pats allowed over 4,000 yards passing against them, and they amassed only 36 sacks on the season.  Their defensive line was so screwed up last year that defensive end positions were played by Vince Wilfork and cornerback Kyle Arrington at times.  Myron Pryor, Ron Brace, Kyle Love, and the high top fade of Brandon Deaderick (see also: Cameo’s Word Up) couldn’t get to the quarterback at all.  The line-backing corps didn’t do a whole lot, and they’re still relying on Tully Banta-Cain as their best pass rusher.  Yes, Jerod Mayo is a tackling beast, but he’s been exposed several times in coverage and on rushing plays.  Maybe they’re hoping the returning Ty Warren and Mike Wright will make a difference.  And maybe they’re thinking that Jermaine Cunningham will develop further along with Brandon Spikes.  And Rob Ninkovich occasionally turns into Mike Vrabel and plays out of his mind.  But you really can’t rely on that and Marcus Stroud for 16 games (maybe 18?).  They need something more on that defensive end, and they didn’t get it.

ESPN didn’t do a great job wrapping up the day’s coverage.   I know they were strapped for time to get to Sportscenter and other contractual commitments, but I would’ve liked a summary of the days’ events.  I mean, this is what Mel Kiper and Todd McShay do all year.  After this, they go back into their collective shell for another year.  They could’ve summarized what each team did a little bit better.  Even though they did talk about it over the course of the day, they didn’t do enough at the end.

Mr. Irrelevant is a little overrated.  I know it’s a tongue-in-cheek thing, but celebrating a guy picked 254th in this labor climate was overstated and overblown.  There are 300 people who want to be picked in that spot, so sitting there and celebrating a guy who won’t be on a roster in five years is a little bit too over-the-top right now.  Maybe next year when things calm down I wouldn’t be as mad about it.

Another year, another draft in the books.  A draft that was supposed to be a deflection from the labor talks became a lightning rod for them instead.  And now we turn our heads to a summer of discontent, where the courtroom drama continues to play out in front of us.  Rookies drafted now sit and continue to wait to wonder if they’ll even play in the NFL this year, or if the photo ops were just that.  And undrafted players now start looking at their lives an wonder if pro football is even an option, or if they’re heading for the Arena League, the CFL, or the UFL.  Somewhere, there is football to played and talked about.  But for now, that isn’t within the NFL, regardless of what the draft, and their R. Kelly montage at the end wants to tell us.

Daily Noontime – April 14, 2011

Happy Thursday to everyone! It should be another great day, as usual, so get excited and enjoy today’s Daily Noontime for April 14, 2011!

Headlines:

* Apparently the NFL has gotten a memo and is now considering slashing rookie contracts, which is a great decision.

* Los Angles Lakers Kobe Bryant will owe the NBA a lot of money for an “offensive and inexcusable” slur.

* Former USC quarterback Matt Leinart wants another shot as a NFL starting quarterback, but the question is does any team want him?

* How would UConn fans feel if Kemba Walker became a member of the New York Knicks?

* Any college student would probably like what BYU is telling Jimmer Fredette, don’t attend class.

* In the end, Barry Bonds was found guilty, but where do things go from here?

Games to Watch:

* Minnesota at Tampa Bay (MLB) – 6:40pm eastern

* Montreal at Boston (NHL PLayoffs) – 7:00pm eastern

* Buffalo at Philadelphia (NHL Playoffs) – 7:30pm eastern

* Los Angles Kings at San Jose (NHL Playoffs) – 10:00pm eastern

Video of the Day:

Golf and Hockey, hmm…. not sure if they go together?



Daily Noontime – April 12, 2011

Dice-K did not bring his usual stuff on Monday or did he against the Tampa Bay Rays?

Happy Tuesday to everyone and welcome to yet another marvelous Daily Noontime! Here are today’s headlines and news that you’ll need to know, as well as video of the day!

Headlines:

* The NFL and NCAA are teaming up to warn players of “pitfalls,” which certainly sounds interesting, right?

* It is official according to sources that UConn’s Kemba Walker will forgo his final season and enter the NBA Draft.

* The Miami Heat have earned the number two spot in the Eastern Conference and yes, LeBron James dominated once again on Monday.

* While the Boston Celtics continue to struggle and limp their way into the playoffs, Doc Rivers will make sure to rest his players before the playoffs begin.

* Once again, when everyone in Boston thought their beloved Red Sox were OK, well… they are certainly not… OK!

* Again, the NFL is forced to return to the table and talk things out, but who knows how well that will go.

Games to Watch:

* Texas at Detroit (MLB) – 1:05pm eastern

* Baltimore at New York Yankees (MLB) – 7:05pm eastern

* Tampa Bay at Boston (MLB) – 7:10pm eastern

* Chicago at New York Knicks (NBA) – 8:00pm eastern

* San Antonio at Los Angles Lakers (NBA) – 10:30pm eastern

Video of the Day:

The documentary on Tom Brady airs on Tuesday, but are you excited to see him cry?


Willwerth: Calhoun Ends Tumultuous Year On Top

By Brian Willwerth

Jim Calhoun has seen a lot of college basketball in his 39 years as a head coach – the last 25 coming at the University of Connecticut.

It’s safe to say, he’s probably never experienced a season quite like this.

With Connecticut’s 53-41 victory over Butler Monday night, Calhoun won his third national championship, all of them coming in the past 12 years.  UConn was also the last team standing in 1999 and 2004.  This year’s title matchup was a game that will be remembered more for Butler’s inability to put the ball in the basket than anything else. But for Calhoun, a win is a win. And he has over 800 of them in his career.

But this season may have been his best coaching job ever.  Sure, the Huskies got off to a 10-0 start, highlighted by an impressive run in the Maui Invitational Tournament in which they knocked off the likes of Michigan State and Kentucky.  UConn rose in the polls, and rightfully so.

But then came February. The NCAA came down hard on Calhoun for failing to create an atmosphere of compliance within the program.  As a result, he will be suspended for the first three games of the conference play in 2012. The program was also hit with scholarship reductions.  UConn went on to lose seven of its last eleven regular-season games. The Huskies were the #9 seed in the Big East Tournament. How much of a distraction would it be heading into Madison Square Garden?

The answer would be a resounding “not at all.”

After losing the regular season finale to Notre Dame, Calhoun did not taste defeat the rest of the way.  Five Big East Tournament games, five wins.  Would they feel the effects of winning five games in five days?  The answer: six NCAA tournament games later, Calhoun and his players were cutting down the nets at Reliant Stadium in Houston.  It didn’t matter how many obstacles he had to overcome.  Hall of Fame coaches know how to do that.

At the age of 68, Calhoun is the oldest coach ever to win the national championship.  Don’t be surprised if he has another one left in him.

NCAA March Madness: Final Four Wrap Up

By Brian Willwerth

We started with 68 teams.We are down to two.

Gone are the Jayhawks, Patriots, Terriers, Sycamores and Orange.  All that remain are two groups of dogs: a burly bunch of bulldogs from Butler, and a hungry group of huskies from Connecticut. Butler and UConn clinched their spots in the title game Saturday night by defeating VCU and Kentucky, respectively.

We’ll start with the nightcap: a coaching matchup between Jim Calhoun and John Calipari.  The Huskies held on for a 56-55 win. Both teams struggled from the floor. The Wildcats shot just [33%] for the game, while Connecticut was just [1-for-12] from behind the arc.

Still, you can’t talk about a UConn victory without mentioning Kemba Walker. He led both teams in scoring with 18 points, while adding six rebounds and seven assists. Still, the Huskies had to hold their breath as a three-point attempt by Kentucky’s DeAndre Liggins in the closing seconds fell short. Shabazz Napier iced the game with two free-throws at the other end.  Brandon Knight led the Wildcats with 17 points.

This is Connecticut’s third trip to the final.  The last two times the Huskies were there [1999 and 2004] they won the national championship.

Their opponent will be the team that nearly won it all last year. Butler ended VCU’s “Cinderella run” with a 70-62 victory over the Rams. After weathering an early barrage of three-pointers, the Bulldogs were able to cool off the Rams’ hot outside shooters with the type of defense Butler has become known for.  Butler also controlled the glass, out-rebounding VCU, 48-32.

Offensively, the Bulldogs relied heavily on Shelvin Mack, who finished with a team-high, 24 points.  VCU’s Jamie Skeen led all scorers with 27. Butler took a six-point lead into the locker room. The game would stay tight for much of the second half. It wasn’t until the three-minute mark that Butler was able to open up a 7-point lead, a deficit the Rams could not recover from.

Butler returns to the title game for the second straight year. Who could forget the Bulldogs’ appearance in last year’s title game: that last-second heave that bounced off the rim that would’ve beaten Duke.

So it all comes down to Monday night: Bulldogs and Huskies for the national championship.  It should be one heck of a dogfight.

NCAA March Madness Day Eight Wrap Up

The Rams have surprised many, but how much father can they go?

By Matt Noonan

All right, let’s all admit it, excluding Connecticut, who truly had Virginia Commonwealth, Kentucky or Butler advancing to Final Four?

Clearly, I did not, but really, did anyone choose these three squads?

Of course, there were those who said, “I was rooting for North Carolina and UConn,” as well as other fans that stated, “I knew all along that Butler and VCU were going to meet for a date with destiny in Houston, Texas,” which is totally false.

However, the second to last weekend of men’s college basketball, which featured 16 teams has now been narrowed down to just four and once again, who could have predicted that these four schools would have earned this opportunity?

Virginia Commonwealth 71 – Kansas 61:

Virginia Commonwealth tallied 41 first half points and then added an additional 30 points during the second half en route to yet another tournament victory.

Not only did the Rams outplay the Jayhawks, but also had a member of their team that scored 26 points and his name is Jamie Skeen. Skeen made sure Kansas knew which number he was wearing, as the senior pulled down 10 rebounds, (four on offense and six on defense) and recorded two steals. Skeen also didn’t record a single foul through forty minutes of basketball, which in all honesty is quite impressive, right?

Although, despite Skeen’s impressive performance, Kansas maintained the momentum in the second half, as they limited the Rams offensive series, but also, came within striking distance to retain the lead. The Jayhawks led the Rams during the opening minutes of the first half, but Virginia Commonwealth slowly took their time and eventually stole the lead away from Kansas for good.

Kansas finished the game with three players who recorded 13 points or more, but again, their first half effort was clearly what slowed them down and allowed the Rams to easily escape with a victory.

Marcus Morris finished with 20 points and 16 rebounds, while Tyshawn Taylor added an additional 14 points, three assists and two rebounds.

The Rams run toward a NCAA championship has been exciting, but next Saturday, April 2, they’ll face a team that similar to them, still continues to struggle for respect. The Butler Bulldogs are gritty, tough, physical, as well as play true team basketball, but that can also be said about the Rams, who similar to them, have upset some impressive teams too.

Kentucky 76 – North Carolina 69:

The Tar Heels led once during the entire contest, but that was just 4-2. After falling behind by only two points, John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats took off and never surrendered the lead.

Brandon Knight scored a team high 22 points, as well as recorded seven rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Clearly, North Carolina had no idea of how to defend the freshman guard, but despite heading into halftime with an eight point deficit, the Tar Heels rallied in the second half, as well as came within one point of earning their second lead of the game.

Harrison Barnes played tremendous, especially down the stretch when North Carolina was attempting to do everything in their power to either tie the game or force overtime, but Kentucky’s free throw shooting proved to also be the difference during the closing minutes. As a team, the Wildcats converted [10-16] free throws, but North Carolina won the battle at the line, as they sank [12-15].

The Tar Heels clearly seemed to be baffled by the Wildcats fast break offense, yet, North Carolina’s defense played extremely well at times, as well as limited Kentucky to just seven offensive rebounds.

If one were to have looked at the box score, clearly, the single piece of paper doesn’t measure up to the actual performance, but similar to the style of Butler, Kentucky maneuvered themselves past another admirable opponent in order to reach their 13th Final Four in school history.

The Wildcats have won seven national championships and will look to earn banner number eight on April 4, but first, they’ll have to take down another top team, University of Connecticut, which certainly will be the game to watch on April 2, but in the meantime, Kentucky can celebrate like champions because they did indeed win their portion of the Eastern bracket.

NCAA March Madness Day Seven Wrap Up

Walker and Lamb have been an important tandem, which has helped guide the Huskies to the Final Four!

By Andy Lindberg

Mr. Sheen, today there were NCAA basketball games on TV, did you watch any?

“Uh, duh.”

What were the results of those games?

”Winning!”

Note to the reader, Charlie Sheen was not at all interviewed by me for this recap, but if he was, that’s probably how it would have gone. As a tribute, I’ll be quoting Sheen and his “bi-winning” insanity throughout this article.

Butler’s Shelvin Mack was tired of pretending like he wasn’t a total frickin’ rock star from Mars with his 27 points in a win over Florida.  That’s the stat of the day, wee children.

It’s probably safe to say that Mr. Mack was in beast mode.  The game went to overtime as 8th seeded Butler Bulldogs continued it’s rambling plethora of upsets so far in the tournament.  They’re not ranked low enough to call them giant-killers by any means, but they’re most assuredly connoisseurs of the upset.  I mean, c’mon, bro; they’ve got tiger blood.

Someone needs to unplug Kemba Walker’s brain because dude, can’t handle it.  Does that make sense?  Not really, but a good Sheen-ism rarely does.  UCONN was bangin’ seven-gram rocks on Arizona, because that’s how they roll.  With 1 seed Ohio State out of the picture, one wonders if this UCONN team is trying to mack on a championship again.  They’ve been unstoppable since the Big East tourney.

Guard Jeremy Lamb had 19 points off the bench for the Huskies and Walker wasn’t aggressive, he was dominant with 20.  Apparently UCONN loves to party, but what’s not to love?  Arizona made a valiant attempt at a comeback––(I love how we as “sportswriters” must resort consistently to the most archaic and regal phrases to convey anything in sports)––but the attempt fell short is it just feels like it’s UCONN’s year to a certain extent.  Kemba needs a time-out from his goddesses and he’s on a drug, it’s called Charlie Sheen.

Looking ahead to tomorrow, the winner (winning!) of UNC and Kentucky will face UCONN in the Final Four.  Also on deck, Kansas tries to become the only #1 seed to be a warlock and do its job against 11th ranked VCU on their way to, in all likelihood, lose to Butler.  Seriously now, Butler’s an F-18, bro.  And they will destroy teams in the air.  They will deploy their ordinance to the ground as well.

For those of you who were wondering, last week’s matchup between Wile E. Coyote and The Roadrunner did not go in Coyote’s favor.  It never does.  The Roadrunner’s an F-18, bro.

Count the Sheen-isms!

Don’t Count Out UConn

Jim Calhoun's squad has been rather impressive thus far, but do they have what it takes to win?

By Brian Willwerth

At first glance, it may not seem all that surprising that the Connecticut Huskies are back in the Elite Eight for the tenth time in school history.

UConn has been ranked for much of the season.  The Huskies have a candidate for national player of the year, not to mention a hall of fame coach.  They have a history of coming through in big games.

But until now, all has not been rosy in Storrs during the 2010-11 campaign.

Flash back to earlier this year.  The NCAA came down hard on Jim Calhoun, citing the head coach’s failure to create an atmosphere of compliance within the program.  As a result, he will serve a three-game suspension at the start of conference play next year.  UConn has also been placed on three years’ probation, but is not banned from appearing in the postseason.

The sanctions coincided with the team’s struggles down the stretch.  The Huskies lost four of their last five regular-season games, and seven of eleven overall.  That’s not exactly confidence-inspiring basketball to a legion of fans in a state where college basketball is king.  The Huskies were the #9 seed entering the Big East Tournament.

That’s where everything changed.  UConn went on to win the conference tournament, winning five games in five days.  The Huskies earned the #3 seed in the West Regional.  A lot of the pundits wondered, would they be tired after playing five spirited games in a row at Madison Square Garden?

Answer:  no way.

They started their tourney journey in Washington, D.C., knocking off Bucknell and Big East foe Cincinnati.  They stayed alive by knocking off #2 seed San Diego State Thursday night in front of a pro-Aztec crowd in Anaheim.

To study UConn’s success, you don’t have to look much further than Kemba Walker, who has practically single-handedly put his team on his back during the current eight-game winning streak.  He’s scored 33 and 36 points, respectively, in the last two NCAA games.  He has made one big shot after another; who could forget his buzzer-beating jumper against Pittsburgh in the Big East quarterfinals?

And so here are the Huskies, on the brink of their fourth trip to the Final Four.  The West Regional suits them just fine.  That’s the regional they came out of each of the three previous times.

In 1999 and 2004, they won the national championship.  The only standing in their way is an equally-hot Arizona team.  Don’t think for a moment the Wildcats didn’t raise a few eyebrows with their second half performance against Duke.  They emphatically made sure the Blue Devils would not repeat as national champions.

UConn is red-hot right now.  And in a tournament where two of the #1 seeds have fallen, the Huskies have as good a chance as anyone to cut down the nets in Houston.