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As I noted yesterday, The Stack is in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for the Summit League conference tournament.  The championship game is today and we'll have that preview later as well as predictions of the other conference championship games and previews of the conference tournaments tipping off today, but there are other headlines to get to first so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Tuesday, March 12:

Percy Harvin traded to the Seahawks, Boldin gone to the 49ers

In a blockbuster move yestserday, the Minnesota Vikings traded disgruntled wide receiver Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks for three draft picks including this year's first round draft pick, number twenty-five.  Harvin reportedly was going to hold out on the Vikings if he didn't get a new contract and he wanted out of Minnesota.  Harvin was becoming such a headache for the Vikings that they finally decided he wasn't worth it.  No doubt Harvin is one of, if not thee most talented player in the NFL.  He can do it all.  He is very fast, he can return kicks and you can use him all over the field.  Some of labeled him as injury prone, but in reality, that is not quite accurate.  Yes he missed seven games last year with an ankle injury, but he's only missed three other games in three years.  He does get knicked up and Seattle may have to deal with the migraine headaches issue, but to say Harvin misses a lot of games due to injuries and isn't durable just isn't accurate.  Seattle will give him a new deal and they are getting a tremendous weapon.  The Seahawks are definitely closing in on the San Francisco 49ers and making the NFC West one of the most fascinating division battles to watch this upcoming year.

What does this mean for Minnesota though?  For one, it definitely makes them players in free agency for a wide receiver or two.  They only have three on their active roster.  The Vikings have to go for a wide receiver.  They have no choice.  They released Michael Jenkins last week and now with the Harvin trade near completion, the team has no weapons for quarterback Christian Ponder.  Adrian Peterson is it and he doesn't like that the team traded away one of the best weapons in the NFL.  GM Rick Spielman has always preached that the draft is a way to build a team, but he needs to make a splash in free agency now to help put talent on this team and appease a fan base who can't be very happy about trading away a player as explosive as Harvin.  The Vikings have to try to get Mike Wallace or Greg Jennings and maybe reach out to a guy like Danny Amendola.  They have to.  They have no other options at this point, because frankly, they have no options at wide receiver.  It's going to be an interesting few days in Minnesota and around the NFL.  Free agency offcially begins at 4 PM ET today, the start of the new league year for the NFL.

With Seattle getting all of the headlines early, the San Francisco 49ers knew they had to make a deal of their own.  So they did, trading a sixth round pick to the Baltimore Ravens for Anquan Boldin.  They have guaranteed his salary of $6 million and only add another weapon to what should be an explosive offense led by quarterback Colin Kaepernick.  The Vikings were also in the mix for Boldin, but reportedly only offered a seventh round pick which has to infuriate Vikings fans more.  A player of Boldin's caliber and it only took a sixth round pick? Heck, maybe the Vikings should have offered a fifth since they have a few extras.  What this does for the 49ers is that it keeps them slightly ahead of the Seahawks, but this appears to be an all-out war going on between the two teams entering this season.  What a fun time we'll have watching these two battle it out for the NFC West crown.

 

Tiger Woods wins at Doral

From the weekend, Tiger Woods continues to look like he is back close to his once dominant self.  He won the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral, shooting nineteen under (-19) for the tournament in route to his 76th career PGA tournament win and 17th world golf championship win.  He was in it from the moment he stepped onto the first tee box and was dialed in all weekend.  The competition was stiff as Steve Stricker only finished two strokes back, but Tiger was on his game all weekend long.  He has five wins in the last year, most of anyone on tour and with the Masters in sight, Tiger couldn't be playing any better at the moment.  There are plenty of great players out there who have a shot to win the Masters like Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson, but with the way Tiger is playing right now and with how focused he is, this would appear to be the year that Tiger finally breaks his majors drought and picks up at least one win.  With how good he has looked in his two wins this year, we may be talking about more than just one major win this year when it is all said and done.

 

WBC fight thoughts

It ended up being a simple misunderstanding of the rules, but the fight that broke out between Mexico and Canada on Saturday was something to see.  Because the first tie-breaker to advance out of group play in the World Baseball Classic is run differential, Canada up 9-3 in the 9th inning, led off with a bunt single in an effort to get on base and try to score a few more runs.   Mexico didn't take too kindly to that and hit the next batter prompting the all-out brawl between the two teams.  Plenty of punches thrown as well.  A few ejections between the two clubs, but what was really scary is that several fans threw debris including a water bottle and baseball aimed at players and coaches on Canada.  The water bottle had a cap on it.  I've been to plenty of professional sporting events in recent years and they always take the cap off at the conession stands.  Not sure why that wasn't the case here.  The fans, most of them pro Mexico, had no right doing what they did, but the players shouldn't have gotten into a fight to begin with.  Maybe this all comes back to the WBC and the rules they have set up for this compteition.  Canada was simply doing what they needed to do and that was try to get on base and score more runs for the run differential tie-breaker.  Perhaps everyone needs to be told the rules again, but the WBC has to do away with this one.  You can tell that they players care about this and that they have a lot of pride and passion playing for their respective countries.  Don't let something like this happen again.

 

Big East tournament preview

The final year of the Big East tournament structured as it is tips off today at Madison Square Garden and if it is anything like we've seen in recent years, we're promised a really good tournament.  With all of the teams leaving, the Big East tournament next year will not be anywhere close as good as it has been.  Georgetown, Syrcause and Lousivlle are the three teams that have the double-bye and are most likely to win the tournament.  Sorry Pittsburgh and Notre Dame, not buying you.  Georgetown has played the best over the last couple of months, but Louisville's style of play is what will help them in this tournament.  If they can get on a run and win the Big East tournament and garner some momentum headed into the Big Dance, they are a great pick to reach the Final Four and maybe win it all.  It's going to be tough, but Louisville is my pick to win the Big East.  It's going to be a fascinating tournament to watch.

 

Mountain West Conference tournament preview

One of the best conferences this year begins their tournament today, the Mountain West. This is a potential five bid league should Boise State get a little help (a win over San Diego State would certainly qualify).  New Mexico is the best of the bunch and I like their chances of winning this tournament, but the other top teams (Colorado State, UNLV and San Diego State) have a good chance as well.  They're not one of the power six conferences, but they have played better than most of them this year.  Some of these teams have a great chance of going deep into the NCAA tournament.  But in the end, I like New Mexico to win the Mountain West tournament.

 

SWAC tournament preview

The SWAC isn't much, especially with winless 0-27 Grambling State in the tournament.  This is a one bid league and even though Southern is the top seed, I'm picking the two seed Jackson State to win the SWAC tournament and clinch an automatic birth.

WAC tournament preview

The WAC is wacky, no other way to go about saying it.  They keep losing teams left and right and bringing in newcomers for next year like Grand Canyon and Kansas City (formerly UMKC).  Ok then.  But back to the tournament that begins today.  Louisiana Tech was looking so good prior to the last week in which they lost two games and badly.  This was a team that was ranked only a few weeks back and could have made a run as a Cinderalla in the NCAA tournament.  They still could, but I'm cool to them now.  I'm picking Denver, the two seed to win the WAC.

 

Quick picks (conference championships)

Congrats to James Madison (CAA), Iona (MAAC), Davidson (SoCon), Western Kentucky (Sun Belt) and Gonzaga (WCC) for punching tickets to the Big Dance.  Three more get punched today.  

Horizon: #3 Wright State vs. #1 Valporaiso (9:00 PM ET ESPN)

Pick: Valporaiso

NEC: #5 Mt. Saint Mary's vs. #3 Long Island (7:00 PM ET ESPN2)

Pick: Long Island

Summit:  #3 North Dakota State vs. #1 South Dakota State (9:00 PM ET ESPN2)

Pick: South Dakota State (very nervous about this one)

It's going to be another wild night of college hoops.

 

Coming up tomorrow: More conference tournament previews and predictions plus NFL free agency news.

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