Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Heat, Madness, sadness, free agency front a jammed, wild week. See who's No. 1 and what else falls where; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast out now!, links to most recent columns & more
GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND
1) It's MONDAY, MARCH 15. The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): On 1-year anniversary of sports' COVID shutdown, Heat's anti-Semitic mess, David Beckham's resolve tested by turmoil, Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 3) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.
GREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our 11th podcast of 2021 (53rd overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 53 we've done so far HERE for free. In our new Ep11 we welcome in ESPN star Sarah Spain for a fun chat about her new part-ownership in the Chicago Red Stars women's pro soccer team, Chicagio's Secret Door, dinner with Charles Barkley, her future and more. Also on the menu: A-Rod and J-Lo, March Madness, Marlins Park drones, a Mount Gregmore cameo by Patrick Ewing and more. Thanks as always, pod family, for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (Also, our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, Mondays 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).
Our three most recent columns: Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / and Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season.
Other most recent columns: Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun QB Choice Strewn with Complications and What-Ifs / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive.
HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MARCH 14-15): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:
1. HEAT: Miami stays hot despite recent Leonard off-court mess: Heat is on a 10-1 run, 21-18 overall and alone in fourth place in the East after Sunday's win in Orlando led by en fuego Jimmy Butler. That despite the Meyers Leonard mess. The injured center used an anti-Semitic slur in a video-game livestream last week, was put on indefinite leave by the Heat and fined $50,000 and suspended by the NBA. Miami is back in play Tuesday vs. Cleveland.
2. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Gonzaga (no duh) tops Selection Sunday for NCAA Tournament: March Madness is back! (Sort of). After last year's was canceled by COVID-19, the NCAA Tournament returns this week, albeit with limited crowds and all games played in and around Indianapolis. It was Selection Sunday for the men's tourney, with Gonzaga the overall No. 1 as expected and Baylor, Illinois and Michogan other top seeds. Women's field gets set today.
3. COVID-19: Sports reflects on sad anniversary: March 11 marked the official one-year anniversary of when the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic as sports shut down en masse on March 11-12. It was the least happy anniversary on record, although a torrent of vaccine availability lends hope for better days on road to normalcy.
4. DOLPHINS/NFL: Will Fins be players/spenders as NFL free agency begins?: Oh if I had dime for every speculative media dart being thrown about what Miami will do as free agency begins this Wednesday. Best possibilities: Veteran QB to back up Tua, with Ryan Fitzatrick expected to sign elsewhere. An upgrade at running back. A quality receiver like Kenny Golladay or Juju Schuster-Smith. And an LB/pass rusher -- especially with productive Kyle Van Noy unwisely released. Lavonte David, perhaps? FA decisions will shape the coming draft as well.
5. PANTHERS: Yes, the Cats are Stanley Cup contenders: Florida is 18-5-4 after three straight wins including 4-2 Saturday vs. Chicago. Cats host Blackhawks again Monday. The Panthers are ranked No. 5 in the NHL in ESPN's latest power rankings. The bad news? Central Division rivals Carolina and Tampa Bay are ranked 1-2.
6. CHRIS BOSH: Popular ex-Heat star a Hall of Fame finalist: No surprise, but two-time Heat champion Chris Bosh is one of 14 new finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame. Notable other first-time finalists include Paul Pierce and (as a coach) Bill Russell. The five back for another try include former Heat star Tim Hardaway. Inductees for 2021 will be announced May 16.
7. HURRICANES: QB King recovering nicely as Canes open spring football: UM's first of 15 spring football practices is today/Monday. Quarterback D'Eriq King will miss spring work as he recovers from an ACL knee injury in the December bowl game, but coach Manny Diaz says King is "smashing every benchmark" in his rehab and should be ready for fall camp and the September 4 season opener vs. reigning national champion Alabama in Atlanta.
8. MARLINS: Winning and tying and drones at midpoint of spring: Miami is second in Grapefruit League standings at 5-2 (not counting five tie games including four straight at one point) at midpoint of spring training. Marlins resume play Monday at Astros. Meantime club announced it would use drones (!) to disinfect Marlins Park this season.
9. GOLF: It's Honda Classic Week in Palm Beach: South Florida's only PGA Tour event returns to Palm Beach Gardens this week with the Honda Classic this Thursday through next Sunday. Tiger Woods' recent serious car accident that badly injured his right leg remains the talk of golf. Woods had not entered to play the Honda prior to his accident.
10. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men show life in ACCs, but much too late: Miami's men had a nice 2-1 run in the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C., beating Pitt and impressively upsetting Clemson before losing narrowly to Georgia Tech. Still, UM's 10-17 final record marked its worst season in 27 years. Miami's women ended 11-11 after a one-and-done in the ACCs.
Missing the HB10 cut: R.I.P., "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler, gone unexpectedly at 66. Hagler was a great middleweight in a golden age of boxing in the'80s ..... UEFA Champions League will advance four more to the final eight Tuesday and Wednesday, with advantages in leg 2 held by Manchester City, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Chelsea. Advancing previously: Liverpool, Paris-Saint Germain, Borussia Dortmund and upstart FC Porto ..... Inter Miami's first preseason match ahead of the April start of MLS Year 2 is this coming Saturday March 20 vs. local USL club Miami FC ..... No. 8-ranked UM baseball is 7-4 off four straight wins after a two-game home sweep of Wake Forest ..... Miami and Hard Rock will be one of the 10 or 12 U.S. sites chosen to host 2026 World Cup matches. Let's please quit pretending there is any doubt whatsoever ..... Miami Open tennis outside Hard Rock Stadium begins a week from Monday, running March 22-April 4. Top-ranked players across the WTA and ATP tours will be here. Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal top men's field and Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka the women. Eyes will also swivel to fan favorites Roger Federer and Serena Williams ..... New Zealand vs. Italy final continues in America's Cup sailing ..... Blake Griffin signing with Nets reminds us the NBA trade deadline is nearing at March 25 ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's 11th episode of 2021 and 53rd overall drops Monday morning. Now on Sirius XM Channel 145, too! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,933 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.
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Select other recent columns: These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami / 'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice.
Super Bowl With a Smirk series: Smirk V, Smirk IV, Smirk III, Smirk II, Smirk I. Heat NBA Finals last column: LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals. Marlins postseason run last column: Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.
Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Finding Greg: Twitter. Instagram. Facebook. Columns. Podcast. Podcast on Twitter. Podcast on Instagram. LeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio only) and The Ballad Of 1440 (with video).