« Word to the Timberwolves; plus Heat win 16th straight, Sileo, Hartline, clown diplomat, golfers rapping, Downton Abbey & more | Main | Live Blog Q&A/Chat No. 22 has ended. Next chat: March 18 »

Weighing how far Heat, Canes will go. Poll. Vote; plus Tiger roars at Doral, latest NCAA outrage in UM case, Chavez, irate Dolphins & more

[1) It is SATURDAY, MARCH 9. Busy all weekend down at Doral golf but will try to publish a spankin' new blogpost by Sunday morning. 2) Dolphins and WR Brian Hartline agree to new five-year contract, also re-sign backup QB Matt Moore. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Word to the'Wolves, Dan Sileo, Heat 16th, lunatic diplomacy, golfers rapping, Downton Abbey. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

"OK, so it turns out this was probably a crappy idea for a poll. Go ahead and vote anyway." --Greg Cote 

WHAT'S MORE LIKELY: HEAT REPEAT TITLE OR CANES IN FINAL FOUR?: Heat won a 17th straight game last night, extending their club record in dispatching Philly, and clinched a playoff spot in doing so -- for those who had any doubts about that. There have been some sketchy/narrow wins along the way , 1aa1jamesl 1aa1larkinslike that 1-point home win over lousy Orlando on a LeBron James layup with three seconds left, but 17 is 17. On the collegiate side of town the Miami Hurricanes seem to be headed in the wrong direction as the regular season wraps up today vs. Clemson, with three losses in the past four games after the 71-69 home loss to mediocre Georgia Tech. UM got LeBroned on a buzzer-beater as the school was denied its first outright ACC regular-season title. Now the No. 6-ranked Canes can expect to tumble out of the top 10 in the new polls Monday. In terms of this poll question, I don't think it's as simple as Hot Heat/Cold Canes. I like the Heat's title chances more, no doubt, but still think the Canes are very capable of a deep run into the Final Four in a crazy, wide-open season without a clearly dominant team. Your vote and thoughts are invited.

ON LATEST NCAA EMBARRASSMENT IN UM CASE: This truly is becoming a farce. Now it turns out a former NCAA official wrote a letter to the judge who sentence Nevin Shapiro beseeching leniency so that Shapiro might serve as a consultant to the NCAA or as an educational speaker to its members. The dunce who wrote the letter is former director of enforcement Ameen Najjar. Just one more reason -- of many -- why the NCAA should credit UM for "time served" (self-imposed sanctions) and end this mess with no further penalties except those it might impose upon itself.

MIAMI'S SWEETEST 16'S: In honor of the Heat's winning streak reaching a sweet 16, I chose the most notable players to have worn No. 16 for each of our four pro franchises. (It hasn't been a very common number). DOLPHINS: QB David Woodley (1980-83) -- Led Miami to losing 1982 Super Bowl before giving way to some guy named Dan Marino. MARLINS: SS Edgar Renteria (1996-98) -- One-time all-star best known for winning hit in 11th inning of Game 7 in '97 World Series. PANTHERS: RW Nathan Horton (2003-10) -- Former No. 1 pick is fifth in club history with 142 goals. HEAT: Oddly, no Heat player has ever worn No. 16.   

TIGER SHOWS RORY THE WAY AT DORAL: Dream pairing launched the PGA Tour's World Golf 1aa1golf2Championships event at Doral with world No. 1 Rory McIlroy and No. 2 Tiger Woods (pictured) in a threesome with English star Luke Donald. Tiger leads the event by two strokes heading into today's/Saturday's play. I'm down there columnizing today and Sunday. Meantime, click on The Weight of No.1 for my preview column. It was on the struggling McIlroy, who found becoming No. 1 much easier than being No. 1.

CHAVEZ DEATH A MISSED OPPORTUNITY FOR RODMAN?: Now that Dennis Rodman has met with and 1aa1chavezeffusively praised North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, an enemy of the United States, he might have embarked on a world tour of lunatic diplomacy, providing propoganda platforms for other controversial leaders who are seen as critics and adversaries of the U.S. Alas, too late now to get with Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who passed away Wednesday at 58 after battling cancer. Chavez is pictured in happier times with his ally, friend and fellow baseball fan, Fidel Castro. (P.S., Marlins played the Venezuelan national team Wednesday and declined a request for a moment of silence. I found hilarious the reason: "There wasn't enough time to honor the request." Yes, because it takes a lot of intricate planning to do nothing but be quiet for about 10 seconds!)

DOLPHINS BLAST MYSTERY POLL: A mysterious new poll whose sponsor is unknown has found that 73 percent of likely Miami-Dade voters in a referendum would oppose the proposed tax-break plan that 1aa1ginwould pay for almost half of the $400 million in Dolphins stadium improvements. And the Dolphins are irate. Club president Mike Dee called it a "ginned-up" poll with slanted questions, becoming the first man in decades to use the phrase "ginned-up." A previous poll found 100 percent opposition to the tax break, but the only voter polled was Norman Braman. Not sure how the question in this latest poll was phrased, but I believe it might have been: "Would you support giving almost $200 million to fat-cat Dolphins owner Stephen Ross while God-fearing folk in your own neighborhood are forced to eat cat food?"

1aa1ejohnWHADDYA MEAN ELTON JOHN IS A DIVA!?: Reports out of Brazil are that Elton John -- in the country for a Saturday concert -- has demanded a separate room for his array of dozens of fancy eyeglasses at the five-star Ouro Minas hotel in Belo Horizonte. That is  because the glasses apparently must be kept at exactly 60.8 degrees Fahrenheit. I do not find Elton's demand for a separate room crazy at all. What I do find outlandish is that the eyeglasses have run up $3,000 in charges from their room's mini-bar. 

Click back. Bank on my updating/adding to this latest blogpost...