Joe Santoro: Pack basketball team to learn from mistakes | SierraSun.com

Joe Santoro: Pack basketball team to learn from mistakes

Joe Santoro
Sports Fodder for a Friday

The Nevada Wolf Pack men’s basketball team learned some valuable lessons Wednesday night in its 79-72 overtime loss to the Utah State Aggies. It learned that it isn’t unbeatable at home and that it isn’t good enough to stop playing against a good team, even with a 10-point lead with under seven minutes to go. The loss to Utah State could prove to be the best thing to happen to the Pack this year. You won’t see this team get lazy in the final minutes ever again. A little humility is never a bad thing for a young college basketball team.

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It is easy to feel sorry for Mark McGwire. No, not because he cried on national television for admitting he shamed himself, his family and Major League Baseball by using performance enhancing drugs. That was his choice and he should feel shame. I feel sorry for him because I truly believe him when he said, and#8220;I wished I never played in the (steroid) era.and#8221; The steroid era swallowed up hundreds of careers. When McGwire was a young boy, I’m sure all he ever dreamed about was playing big league ball. Well, he achieved that dream with a ton of God-given talent and years of hard work. But that wasn’t enough. McGwire, like hundreds of others in the steroid era, started to think they were above the game, that they could cheat the game. Well, instead of a fairytale career that every little boy dreams of, McGwire now is filled with shame. Sad. Very sad.

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The baseball writers who vote for the Hall of Fame had better start to differentiate between one steroid user and the next. It is silly to simply not vote for every player who gets caught using PEDs. Pretty soon there won’t be anyone elected to the Hall for about 10 years. As long as Major League Baseball stands by the records set by the cheaters, the writers had better start to ask themselves one question when it comes to voting for a steroid user: Would the player have been a Hall of Famer without the use of PEDs? Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds didn’t need to cheat to become Hall of Fame worthy. McGwire, on the other hand, did. That’s why McGwire should never get into Cooperstown.

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It is laughable when people say that Los Angeles does not have a professional football franchise. The USC Trojans are more professional than half the teams in the NFL. Lane Kiffin and the Trojans deserve each other. What type of character does it take for a guy to leave a program after just one year, like Kiffin did to Tennessee this week? Well, it takes a guy with absolutely no character at all.

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There is now three distinct seasons to the college football year. The first season is the regular season. The second season is bowl season and the third season is the coach’s job search season. The fans care about the regular season, the players care about the bowl season and the coaches and their wives care about the job search season.

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Expect all of the home teams to win this weekend in the NFL, giving us a NFC title game between New Orleans and Minnesota and an AFC championship game between San Diego and Indianapolis. Four great quarterbacks, four great teams. The best game this weekend could be Dallas and Tony Romo against Minnesota and Brett Favre. Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is going to be the difference in that game.

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Aubrey Huff isn’t going to solve all of the San Francisco Giants’ problems. But he is a definite upgrade over what they had a year ago in the cleanup spot. If Huff gets 550 at-bats he’ll hit 20 homers and drive in 90-plus runs. Huff is supposedly going to play first, pushing Pablo Sandoval back to third and Mark DeRosa to left. It’s not exactly J.T. Snow, Pedro Feliz and Barry Bonds but it will have to do.

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It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Chris Ault hired a former Pack player (Andy Buh) to be his defensive coordinator and a former Pack coach (Mike Bradeson) to coach his secondary. This coming season and#8212; Colin Kaepernick and Vai Taua’s senior year and#8212; is going to be very pivotal for Ault and the Pack football program. Boise has to come to Mackay in 2010. If there was ever a time the Pack was going to finally put a dent in the Boise machine, this would be it. There was no way Ault was going to go into the year with unknowns on his coaching staff.