From the thinking chair

IT'S HARD to keep thoughts straight when trying to balance the annual sudden jolt of the NCAA Tournament slowing down with the rising anticipation of what is sure to be a fascinating baseball season.

* Will Roberts, the righthander from the University of Virginia who tossed a rare perfect game the other night, is not related to Robin Roberts. Roberts, a junior from Richmond, Va., hurled just the eighth nine-inning perfecto in Division I (since 1957) as the No. 1 Cavaliers beat visiting George Washington, 2-0, on Tuesday. For the record, he was on his way home from a road trip last May and missed Roy Halladay's perfect game.

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Roberts

* Mark Recchi's first career goal was against Winnipeg, a city that has gone so long without an NHL franchise (15 years) that it is being considered as a possible landing spot for the financially challenged Phoenix Coyotes, who left Winnipeg in the first place. Recchi, 42, scored that 1989 goal against Pokey Reddick.

* Obviously, Virginia Commonwealth's run to the Final Four would not have been possible if the tournament did not grow from 65 to 68 teams this year. But please, NCAA, don't let this encourage any more expansion. It's already hard enough to get a bracket on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper.

* Best quote out of the mess that may cost the Fiesta Bowl its spot in the Bowl Championship Series rotation came in a statement from the BCS itself.

"Unprofessional, unethical or improper behavior is unacceptable. There is no place for such activities in higher education or in collegiate sports. It is expected that all parties contracted with the BCS will live up to the highest standards. We do not wish to be associated with entities that believe otherwise."

* Play that against the backdrop of Jim Tressel's five-game suspension for not telling anybody his players were selling memorabilia for some 9 months after he had been tipped off. The delay - intentional or not - allowed his players, including star quarterback Terrell Pryor, to remain out of hot water long enough for Ohio State to qualify for the Sugar Bowl, a BCS game, of course. *

- Ed Barkowitz

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