Ok, "the stack" yesterday, was a little longer than anticipated. Today's will be shorter as we preview conference tournaments and react to a couple of other headlines so let's get right to it and see what The Stack has in "the stack" for today, Friday, March 8:
Mariano Rivera retiring
The best closer in the game is retiring at the end of the year. New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, 43, will announce tomorrow that he will retire after this season is over. His 608 saves is the most all-time. Rivera is the most dominant closer of all-time. When you heard "Enter Sandman", you knew it was Mariano time. He intimidated so many hitters. Heck he still intimidates hitters. His fastball was almost unhitable. Let there be little doubt just how good Rivera is. He will go down as the best closer in the game, but perhaps one of the best players ever to play the game. This season could be a tough one for him and the Yankees, but Rivera will go about it like he has every year and get his saves. He's struggled a little more in recent years, dare I say becoming more human by being hit. But with this being his final year, when Rivera takes the mound, I think he'll find a little more magic left inside.
American East Conference tournament preview
The American East tips off their tournament today in Albany March 8-10 with the title game being played March 16 at the high seed's campus. The American East has always been a one seed bid and that will not change this year. Chances are, they will be a 16 seed, maybe a 15 seed. Stony Brook is the top seed, but watch out for Vermont. They have put together a good program. Still, I'll take Stony Brook to win the tournament.
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament preview
The MAAC tournament also tips off today in Sprinfield, Massachusetts, March 8-11. Niagara is the top seed, but watch out for the Iona Gaels. MoMo Jones is a really good player and assuming they can knock off the top seed Niagara in the second round, they will win this tournament. If they don't though, Niagara takes it.
Southern Conference tournament preview
The SoCon tournament tips off today, March 8-11 in Asheville, NC, at the U.S. Cellular Center. This tournament is Davidson's to lose. They could be a surprise team in the NCAA tournament, definitely being capable of pulling off one upset. Elon and College of Charleston are decent teams, but they pale in comparrison to Davidson. If Davidson doesn't win the tournament, it will be shocking.
Sun Belt tournament preview
Speaking of teams that can pull of an upset or two in the NCAA tournament, Middle Tennessee State certainly can. At 27-4, (19-1 in conference), the Blue Raiders are for real. They've played some good teams in their non-conference schedule and just like the good teams should, they've dominated conference play. The Sun Belt tournament tips off today, March 8-11 at the Summit Arena in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The rest of the teams in the tournament are just there for show. MTSU wins the tournament.
Other college basketball news, Kentucky's tournament hopes took a major hit last night with their 72-62 loss at Georgia. Without Nerlens Noel, this team is sunk unless they make a big run in the SEC tournament. Virginia also lost to Florida State 53-51. Coupling with their loss to Boston College last weekend, they've lost all of the positive feeling that people had about them after beating Duke last Thursday night. Does any bubble team want to make a statement?! Guess not. And the current Big East will likely change it's name to the "America 12." That's a good name because they are grasping at straws with the teams they are going after. The Big East name will go to the "Catholic 7." But when you are bringing in teams like SMU and Memphis, there is nothing east about that. They are spanning the continent to bring teams into the conference, making the "America 12" a very appropriate name.
And finally, the NHLPA has consented to the NHL's realignment plan which should go forward for the 2013-14 season barring an unexpected snag. It's the best move for hockey and it is going to make the season next year a little more exciting as teams get adjusted to their new division mates and the playoffs will be very interesting.
Coming up tomorrow: Special Saturday edition with college basketball tournament previews and championship game predictions.