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March 13, 2014

Sat pm 3-15: Rate Dolphins' free agency moves thus far. Poll. Vote; plus Heat crisis, Fins add 2 more FAs, Tiger's mistake, UM hoops & more

MARCH MADNESS HAIKU CHALLENGE!: It's coming. You cannot stop it. Our 9th annual March Madness Haiku Challenge returns as a generally unpopular yet stubbornly annual blog feature. Here comes your chance to out-haiku the competition and win a choice of really crappy prizes that I may or may not remember to send you. Watch for contest and entry details in our official MMHC blogpost coming Sunday!

1aa1aaskew1) It is SATURDAY, MARCH 15. R.I.P. Reuben Askew, 85 (pictured), Florida's great governor in 1971-79. 2) Patriots signing Darrelle Revis for one year. That's so Belichick! That's also smart. 3) !n The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): The Dolphins Strike Back, Ron Jeremy rum, Heat, ACC/Masters odds & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote and also on Instagram, Vine and Facebook.

"NBA nickname jerseys. God what a dumb idea!" --Greg Cote

GRADE THE DOLPHINS' EARLY WORK IN FREE AGENCY: [Update: Dolphins yesterday signed veteran cornerback Cortland Finnegan, 30, who'll compete to start opposite Brent Grimes, and young guard Shelley Smith, 26, also a hoped-for starter]. I wrote an optimistic column on Tuesday -- click on Hopeful Days Are Here Again to read, and thanks for making it No. 1 most-read on miamiherald.com  -- on the Dolphins' start to free agency under new general 1aa1aalbertmanager Dennis Hickey. I'm not leading a Super Bowl chant or anything, but saying Miami is better than it was when the week began and that Hickey seems up to the task. A quick Dolphins free-agency scorecard so far: ADDED--Signed OT Branden Albert (pictured), DT Earl Mitchell, CB Cortland Finnegan, OG Shelley Smith and S Louis Delmas; re-signed CB Brent Grimes and DT Randy Starks. SUBTRACTED--Lost DT Paul Soliai and CB Nolan Carroll, traded OT Jonathan Martin and cut CB Dimitri Patterson. The Martin-to-Albert change at left tackle is alone such a huge upgrade at such an important position that it favorably flavors Miami's start to free agency. But that's just me. Your turn. Take a dip in our poll and tell the new GM Hickey how he's doing so far.

Status quo on projection for Dolphins' No. 1 draft pick: Mel Kiper Jr.'s latest Mock Draft is out and, for what it's worth, he still has Miami selecting Notre Dame tackle Zack Martin 19th overall. Makes sense. Martin would be starter-ready on the right side to bookend Branden Albert.

HEAT: DON'T LOOK UP BECAUSE THE SKY IS FALLING!: Last night's 111-107 home loss to sub-.500 Denver gives Miami five losses in its past six games entering Sunday's here vs. strong Houston. That is a lull permissable for most teams, but for the double-champion Heat it invites sky-is-falling scrutiny, judgement and doubt. It is the club's worst slump in just over three years. Notable: LeBron James is averaging a mortal 20.2 points in the six games since his epic 61-point night. The Heat right now is looking tired of or bored with the regular season. Time to panic?

Thank you, Heat, for this slump: In yesterday's latest column -- click on Miami Spice to read -- with tongue in cheek I write how this season has become so much more fun than last year because the championship is seen as in doubt, not inevitable. 

WHY TIGER LOST IN COURT: Tiger Woods lost a minor breach of contract suit against him in a Miami-Dade courtroom this week, stemming from a 2001 business deal. Considering Woods' past serial infidelity, I think the case may have been lost in voir dire. Note to Tiger's attorney: Maybe that all-woman jury wasn't such a great idea, after all.

CANES OUT OF POSTSEASON BID AFTER ACC EXIT: Canes men now 17-16 overall after Thursday's 67-58 loss to North Carolina State eliminated them in second round of ACC Tournament, and they'll have no more games. NC State was higher seeded but this was a disappointing exit, considering Miami had won at NC State 85-70 on March 1. UM did bit have the season (or RPI) to earn an NCAA or NIT bid. Canes beat lowly Virginia Tech 57-53 to open the tournament. UM women still hoping for an NIT bid.

Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...

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