4. The Senators tanking: will it work?
As one who swims most often in NBA waters, I view tanking as an organic part of rebuilding. One player can have so significant an impact in basketball it's foolhardy not to take the opportunity to improve your draft position when the playoffs aren't otherwise in the picture. In hockey? It's much more complicated. The Senators are going that route right now, and Damien Cox illustrates the perils: Plummeting to the bottom, and harvesting one of Adam Larsson, Gabriel Landeskog or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins from the June draft is the apparent game plan. It's not original or innovative, but it's one that many Maple Leaf fans wish Brian Burke had adopted. Whose approach is right? We'll see. But Ottawa's will likely take a while. Yes, they can hope it will be quick like the Penguins, but take a look at the St. Louis Blues, who drafted Erik Johnson first overall five years ago - they're not even a playoff team yet.
5. Wayne Rooney's magical goal bridges the generational soccer divide:
Novelist and SI.com columnist and soccer fan Steve Rushin was watching Wayne Rooney's magical goal on Saturday. It was a moment so fantastic that it made the sports highlights in Florida, where his 77-year-old father, who Rushin describes as a soccer-phobe, was watching. It became a father-son thing. Please, read the whole story: Of course, most of soccer consists of not scoring goals, and certainly not scoring goals like Rooney's. To follow soccer solely because of such a goal is to set oneself up for disappointment. Despite what you saw in Monster's Ball, not every small-town waitress resembles Halle Berry.It's enough that the wondergoal impressed my father -- that it blew his mind and almost certainly his knees, as I could dimly hear him trying to recreate the thing on his echoing lanai as we spoke.As a result of that goal, we'll now talk about Man United's progress, and whether Rooney regains his form, and if Arsenal can overcome Man U in the Premier League ... All that really matters is that he found soccer in the 77th minute of what I hope will be a life that goes the full 90, and then sees a Fergusonian share of stoppage time. He made a magical late conversion of his own, my Dad. We have Rooney to thank for that, as we ride off together now, father and son, on a bicycle kick for two.
6. More love for the University of Texas:
They're still officially No.3 in the polls, but they're now the No.1-ranked team in SI.com's college basketball power rankings, and Toronto freshman Tristan Thompson is a big reason why: You won't find all of the nation's best rebounders atop the raw-rebounds-per game leaderboard. Take Texas' Tristan Thompson, for example: Longhorns coaches told me the Canadian freshman would be a double-digit guy if he were freed up to work the defensive glass -- but he only averages 7.5 boards per game, because he has explicit defensive orders to contest/block any shot in or around the lane, which takes him out of solid rebounding position. (His teammates -- specifically Jordan Hamilton, Gary Johnson and Dogus Balbay -- are instructed to clean up the misses.) Thompson is a huge asset to the nation's No. 1-ranked defense, despite his offensive rebounding percentage (of 13.7) actually being higher than his defensive percentage (13.1).
7. This is not officially sports
But it is about the competition that may well define the 21st Century: man vs. machine-based intelligence. I take the machine and give the points. Amazing story here by Jeopardy! legend Ken Jennings about playing against Watson, a super computer: This was to be an away game for humanity, I realized as I walked onto the slightly-smaller-than-regulation Jeopardy! set that had been mocked up in the building's main auditorium. In the middle of the floor was a huge image of Watson's on-camera avatar, a glowing blue ball crisscrossed by "threads" of thought-42 threads, to be precise, an in-joke for Douglas Adams fans. The stands were full of hopeful IBM programmers and executives, whispering excitedly and pumping their fists every time their digital darling nailed a question. A Watson loss would be invigorating for Luddites and computer-phobes everywhere, but bad news for IBM shareholders.