It's hard to believe, but the time has come for another edition of Best of the Web, your weekly all-you-can-digest trip around the world of Pittsburgh sports. Inside this installment: a heartbreaker for Robert Morris (and controversy for their old coach), a rematch for Pitt, trouble for Terrelle, Pascal Dupuis' entry into the world of food, How Hines Ward Celebrated His Birthday, the sudden retirement of a WVU legend, and much, much more. As usual, we're going 20 links deep!
THE PITT PANTHERS will be playing UConn in the Big East Tournament after the Huskies defeated Georgetown, 79-62, in a second-round game on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden. The Panthers won the previous meeting, 78-63, at The Pete in December. I must say, sending Jim Calhoun out of the conference tournament sure would be a nice start to the postseason. Tipoff is at noon on Thursday. [PG]
MIKE RICE, Robert Morris' coach last season when the Colonials battled questionable officiating in the NCAA Tournament against Villanova, got a raw deal once again in this year's postseason. In the Big East Tournament on Wednesday, Rice's Rutgers team found themselves on the wrong end of a 65-63 final to St. John's. But that's not the real story; what everyone is buzzing about is St. John's Justin Brownlee stealing a pass from Rutgers' Gilvydas Biruta, then traveling while celebrating, stepping out of bounds with 1.7 seconds remaining on the clock, and hurling the ball into the stands. Unfortunately for Rutgers, the referees had already exited the court. Apparently, officiating those last couple ticks would've conflicted with their incredibly busy schedules. I'm sure Mike Rice understands. [ESPN]
TERRELLE PRYOR, Western PA born-and-bred, has been somewhat of a headache since arriving at The Ohio State University. But this latest controversy that finds Pryor in its crosshairs could result in the university and Head Coach Jim Tressel facing sanctions even more serious than the slap on the wrist they've already announced. The college football blog Everyday Should Be Saturday had a great recap of the Tressel press conference, with lines like this: "Given Tressel's oratorical style a simple Wendy's order can sound like a Senatorial press conference dodge". [EDSBS]
JASON BOTTERRILL received mucho praise for his hand in the Penguins' recent deadline deals, and here's a fantastic piece on Ray Shero's right-hand man from TheHockeyWriters.com. Enjoy him while you can, Pens fans. He has the feel of a guy who will be someone else's GM in the near future. [The Hockey Writers]
PASCAL DUPUIS will introduce his very own mustard, "Classic Dupuis Dijon" on Thursday, March 10 at the Robinson Township Market District store beginning at 4:00 p.m. During the event, Pascal will participate in a cooking demo highlighting recipes that use his mustard. The event runs from 4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. I'd bring pretzels and/or hot dogs. [PLB Sports]
DELVON SIMMONS, a 6-foot-5, 260-pound defensive tackle from McKeesport, has asked North Carolina to release him from his letter of intent so he can play elsewhere. The top senior recruit in the state, he chose the Tar Heels over Southern Cal, Texas Tech and Oregon. But UNC's D-line coach bolted for the Cowboys, so now Williams wants out of his deal. If only there was a way that coach could bring him to the Cowboys...now that would be the perfect scenario. Williams wouldn't even have to bother with that pesky free education! [Trib]
AARON WILLIAMS, the defensive back from Texas, will be the Steelers' top draft pick in 2011, according to ProFootballTalk.com. Williams, a junior, is the 34th-ranked prospect in the CBS rankings, 5th among cornerbacks. I'd rather they go for an offensive lineman, but I'd be lying if I said I was comfortable with the Steelers' corners going into 2011, especially if Ike Taylor walks. [PFT, CBS]
Meanwhile, DANNY WATKINS, a guard from Baylor, is Mel Kiper's pick for the Black and Gold. And who's brave enough to argue with Mel Kiper? [ESPN AFC North]
HINES WARD recently celebrated his birthday by attending a Laker game with Kym Johnson, his Dancing With the Stars partner. And hey, who among us doesn't celebrate the same way? [Twitter]
IKE TAYLOR sat down for an interview with the Steelers' website, and to be totally honest, he sounds like a guy whose world revolves around his four-year-old son. And that's pretty cool. [Steelers.com]
KEVIN CORREIA got tagged for six hits, three walks, and three runs in four innings of work as the Pittsburgh Pirates fell to the New York Yankees, 4-2, on Wednesday. Matt Diaz and Andrew McCutchen had two hits each for the Buccos, but in the end, two runs is two runs. It doesn't leave a lot of leeway for a crappy start from your pitcher. And by the way, did I mention that the Pirates struck out 16 times? Because they did.[MLB.com]
BRIAN BURRES has quietly been putting together a nice spring, with six scoreless innings to his name. Let's all hope he can grab that fifth starter's spot just so we can see Scott Olsen go Charlie Sheen on the front office. [Trib]
PAT WHITE, the former WVU quarterback who tried his hand at baseball after his release from the Miami Dolphins, has retired from baseball after not reporting to the Kansas City Royals' training camp. I would suppose either hockey or basketball is next on his list. [ESPN]
PIRATES CHARITIES will be holding a 5K race on Saturday, April 9, at PNC Park. All participants will receive a commemorative T-Shirt and a ticket voucher good for a complimentary ticket to the Saturday, April 9 Pirates home game versus the Colorado Rockies at 7:05 p.m. OR the Sunday, April 10 Pirates home game versus the Colorado Rockies beginning at 1:35 p.m. Registration starts at $10 and proceeds benefit Pirates Charities. [PittsburghPirates.com]
BILL CLARK of Duquense was recently featured in a Sports Illustrated article, which means at least one of the two Pittsburgh athletes profiled by SI had a positive spin. Unless you thought Matt Cooke's "The Public Enemy" article was a good thing. [SI, PG+]
PRIMANTI'S has reached a settlement in a class-action suit that will give thousands of people free sandwiches at their South Side location. The suit came forth because the restaurant printed receipts containing expiration dates or too many digits from their credit or debit card numbers, in violation of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. According to televised features, Primanti's is the only restaurant in Pittsburgh, so this cannot be viewed as good news for the city's lone eating establishment. [PG]
TMZ SPORTS, the planned spinoff of the gossip site, has met a dead end, according to the New York Post. But fear not, I'm sure the internet will find someone else to fill the void. [Deadspin]
Don Spagnolo is the founder of the Pittsburgh sports and entertainment blog Mondesi's House.
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