Ken from Fang’s Bites back with the megalinks. Plenty of them tonight. Now let’s do the Weekend Viewing Picks first.

College basketball is in the midst of the last weekend of regular season play for the major conferences. The mid-majors are in their conference tournaments as Selection Sunday and the NCAA Tournament looms. David Scott’s UMass Minutemen takes on my URI Rams at 2 p.m. today on Cox Sports in RI. The College Basketball Viewing Picks are expanded this weekend to include the mid-major as well as the women’s conference tournaments.

The Celtics are in action on Sunday hosting Orlando on Comcast SportsNet at 1. ABC will have one NBA game on Sunday. That’s the Phoenix Suns taking on San Antonio at 3:30 p.m.

The Bruins have a Saturday matinee at the Garden taking on Chicago at 1 on NESN. Then on Sunday, the B’s take on the Rangers at MSG on 7NBC and WJAR at 12:30 p.m.

The World Baseball Classic begins in earnest this weekend with the debut of Team USA in Toronto taking on Team Canada on ESPN, Saturday at 2 p.m. If the US wins on Saturday, it’ll play in primetime on Sunday against the winner of Italy-Venezuela at 8 also on ESPN. ESPN, ESPN2 and MLB Network will share coverage of the WBC throughout the weekend.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Atlanta for the Shelby 427. Why the race is 427 miles and not 400, 450 or 500 miles is beyond me. Fox has the race starting at 2 p.m. Sunday.

The PGA Tour starts its Florida Swing with the Honda Classic and NBC has coverage Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m.

HBO has a triple card on Boxing After Dark, Saturday night at 10.

My Weekend Viewing Picks has the complete schedule for sports and primetime programming.

To the links.


USA Today’s Michael Hiestand writes about Al Michaels becoming an Olympics host for NBC and Billy Packer’s new college basketball show originating from a Las Vegas casino.

I have written a column at Digital Sports Daily about Al’s return to the Winter Olympics and a bunch of other subjects.

The Big Lead talks with the polarizing Doug Gottlieb of ESPN Radio.

Steve Lepore of Puck The Media breaks news that NBC Sports will carry the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals with Versus carrying Games 3 & 4, a switch in policy that began in 2000. And Steve says TSN drew great ratings for its NHL Trade Deadline special.

Ben Casselman of the Wall Street Journal says three new decadent stadia are opening this year in the midst of a bad economy.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell writes that MLB has banned the use of A-Fraud on any personalized jersey. Darren says Reebok is holding on for dear life. Darren likes the newest Accenture ad featuring Tiger Woods. And Darren notes just one day after the Dodgers signed Manny Ramirez, he’s already being featured in a team ad.

Joe Favorito looks at how sports teams are finding creative ways to get their Return of Investment.

Maury Brown in the Biz of Baseball writes that the opener of the World Baseball Classic drew high ratings in Japan.

The Sports Media Watch says the Miami Heat helped Sun Sports to get some good ratings this week. The SMW looks at the numbers for the NBA on ABC. And Paulsen writes that while NASCAR’s ratings have dropped from last year, it still dominates sports viewing.

Christopher Byrne of the Eye on Sports Media notes how British horse racing fans can directly petition the government over the BBC’s decision to cut coverage of the sport.

East and Mid-Atlantic

David Scott looks at the Boston Globe’s shutdown of its OT magazine just after six months of publication.

The Sox & Dawgs blog has the video of ESPN’s interview with Manny Ramirez.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell of the Boston Globe says NESN went all out to cover the NHL Trading Deadline.

Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette talks with Celtics voice Sean Grande about the second try for the Kevin Garnett-Stephon Marbury combo.

Newsday’s Neil Best says there doesn’t appear to be any end in sight to the Alex Rodriguez coverage. In this blog post, Neil has apparently lost his mind. Neil says MSG Plus will determine the Kings of Street Hockey on Saturday. Mr. Best has some quotage from ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd who finally enters the New York market later this month. And Neil has some more stuff from the polarizing Cowherd.

The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman writes that Yankees manager Joe Girardi’s job got harder as he also has to deal with Alex Rodriguez’s injury.

The perpetually grumpy Phil Mushnick of the New York Post is even more so today.

Justin Terranova of the Post talks with ESPN’s Jay Bilas about the expanded and bloated Big East Tournament. And Justin has five questions for the expanded and bloated John Kruk of ESPN.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union has the updated TV schedule for the America East and MAAC Conference Tournaments. Pete says CBS’ March Madness on Demand will bring back the “Boss Button” feature. And Pete’s column focuses on the long hours the TV production crews will work at the America East and MAAC Tournaments.

Ken McMillan of the Hudson Valley Times Herald-Record says Marist College’s women’s basketball team can’t even buy radio air time despite their good record. But Ken mentions that the team will be on TV this weekend.

Laura Nachman says Philly sports TV anchor Gary Papa did not work the late shift this week after not feeling well. Papa recently returned to the air after prostate cancer surgery. Laura says Philly listeners will no longer be able to hear the Mike Tirico-Scott Van Pelt show.

The great Ray Frager of the Baltimore Sun looks forward to seeing Al Michaels back on the Winter Olympics beat. Ray corrects an error in his blog that he made earlier this week And Ray writes that local sports talk show host Scott Garceau landed a big get this week.

Tim Lemke of the Washington Times says a new study shows little to no evidence of point shaving in college basketball.

Jim Williams in the DC Examiner says the World Baseball Classic will get prominent coverage on ESPN’s gaggle of networks.


Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret (UT) News says there will be plenty of college conference tournament games on local TV.

Jay Posner in the San Diego Union-Tribune says listeners may have to strain to hear the Padres this season.

John Maffei of the North County Times profiles the new TV voice of the Padres after 12 years of calling minor league games.

The Ventura County Star’s Jim Carlisle writes that Team USA vows it won’t be surprised in this year’s World Baseball Classic.

Diane Pucin of the Los Angeles Times says Manny Ramirez is a big deal nationally as well as locally.

Tom Hoffarth in the Los Angeles Daily News looks at Seth Davis’ new book on the 1979 Larry Bird-Magic Johnson showdown in the NCAA Tournament. Tom has more on Seth’s book and a bunch of other news and notes in his Farther Off the Wall blog. Tom wonders when Jim Rome’s streak of guests named Rex will end. Tom has a couple of words on the passing of Notre Dame hockey voice and SoCal native Mike Lockert. Tom also reviews the week in links and blogging.


Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Illinois and St. Louis University fans will have to scramble to see their teams play in conference tournament action.

Paul Christian of the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin says a local announcer knows he’ll be cutting it close by calling two high school championships within 90 minutes of each other.

Ed Sherman of Crain’s Chicago Business writes that an extended Spring Training combined with the World Baseball Classic is pushing the World Series into November. Ed writes that Charles Barkley’s learning how to improve this swing led to good ratings for Golf Channel.

Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes that the Brewers get some national love from Fox’s MLB schedule.

Marc Katz of the Dayton Daily News says a former Dayton coach likes the use of replay to get calls on the court right.


The Daily Oklahoman’s Mel Bracht talks with ESPN’s Jimmy Dykes who likes the Sooners’ chances to get to the Final Four. And Mel has a few news and notes.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle says ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning comes to town for the Houston Open and a charity event in April.

Ray Buck in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes that the MLB Network has already established some credibility in the short time it’s been on the air.

Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News asks what if no one signs Terrell Owens?

Dave Darling of the Orlando Sentinel talks with Florida basketball analyst Mark Wise.

Roger van der Horst of the Raleigh News & Observer writes that CBS will not allow the Missouri Valley Conference Championship to run over the Duke-North Carolina game this Sunday.

That’s going to do it for the Megalinks.