They've been calling Scott Skiles a miniature Larry Bird, and Skip Bayless of the Dallas Times Herald says they're not far off.
"Inch for inch, Skiles has to be college basketball's MVP," Bayless wrote after the 6-1 Michigan State guard led the Spartans to an 80-68 upset of Georgetown Saturday. "With their natures and minds, Skiles and Bird dominate players who have much better basketball bodies.
"Skiles doesn't look dominant. He has a roundish, pocked face and receding hairline somewhere between Barry Switzer's and Dale Brown's. No upper-body definition. Skinny legs with out-of-fashion knee socks. Sweats a lot. Often bleeds from the knees. Like Bird, Skiles confounds defenders who can't quite figure how he does it.
"Like Bird, Skiles can be a jerk. A punk. A bully. A beer-drinkin' blue-collar redneck who won't take nuthin' off nobody. He doesn't care if you're black or blue, he'll beat your butt in basketball."
Add Skiles: "He did something I thought I'd never witness," Bayless wrote. "He intimidated the pressing, breaking, taunting Hoyas. He simply took over the first eight minutes of the second half, scoring 10 points, making a Magic Johnson of a pass and even backing down 6-8, 240-pound Jonathan Edwards, who made the mistake of saying something to Skiles. Skiles answered by pointing at and cursing Edwards and ripping a jumper from maybe 30 feet."
Last Add Skiles: "It's worth the admission price just to watch Skiles warm up," Bayless said. "Like a pool hustler, he practices double-pump reverse left-handed layups with excess English. He works on jumpers from the same spot with different trajectories."
Trivia Time: If the Auburn Tigers and LSU Tigers make it to the championship game, it will be the third time schools with the same nicknames have met in the NCAA final. What were the other two? (Answer below.)
Whitey Herzog has changed his tune. Last fall, the St. Louis manager was telling the world that he was delighted with Joaquin Andujar's 21 wins, even though the Dominican hit the skids in the stretch.
Andujar is now in Oakland, and when the New York Times asked Herzog how he will replace him, the manager said: "I feel anybody who can throw strikes in this league can win with a team like us that scores runs and plays the best defense in baseball. Look, Andujar won 21 games, but he won 20 of them by Aug. 23. In his last 14 starts, he had an earned-run average of 6.90. In his last 22 starts, he had one complete game.
"I don't know what happened. He won 20 games the year before, and he should have won 25. He won 21 last year, and should have won 30."
Charlie German of University High pitched a no-hitter last Friday, but he won't be pitching for the Warriors this week. He has been suspended because he left the campus last Wednesday to eat lunch without a lunch pass.
Shed no tears. As reported in this space Sunday, it was during a Wednesday visit to the neighborhood Burger King that German ran into Herb and earned himself $5,000.
Trivia Answer: In 1941-42, the Stanford Indians defeated the Dartmouth Indians, 53-38. In 1950-51, the Kentucky Wildcats beat the Kansas State Wildcats, 68-58. Note: Today, the official nicknames for Stanford and Dartmouth are Cardinal and Big Green.
Mike Jorgensen, on being hired as a coach by the St. Louis Cardinals after being released as a player: "I got released because I couldn't hit. Then they signed me as a hitting instructor."