Greg Trietley: No winter break in the sports world

By Greg Trietley

Greg Trietley

Senior Staff Writer

While we were on break, the sports world worked overtime…. Greg Trietley

Senior Staff Writer

While we were on break, the sports world worked overtime. Let’s catch up.

— Pitt hired Michael Haywood as the new head coach of the football team at the end of finals week. Sixteen days later, the University fired Haywood after he was arrested for domestic battery. It’s best not to talk about it, especially to the remaining recruit. I think his name is John Something.

— In other allegedly malfeasant-head-coach news, George O’Leary led his University of Central Florida Knights to a win over Georgia in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. O’Leary — who served as coach at Notre Dame for five days (0.31 Haywoods) in 2001 until the school uncovered inaccuracies on his resume — has turned the UCF program around. If this proves anything, it’s that Haywood’s head coaching career might not be over, and he too might someday resurge with a win at the Beef ’O’ Brady’s Bowl.

— Meanwhile, Pitt basketball — the Jekyll to Pitt football’s Hyde — improved to 8-0 against top five teams at the Petersen Events Center with a 78-63 win over then-No. 4 Connecticut. The Panthers even beat Providence by a solid four points on Tuesday — and the Friars always give Pitt fits.

— St. John’s basketball was considered overrated when it was selected sixth in the Big East Preseason Coaches Poll. Well, the Red Storm beat No. 13 Georgetown Monday to move to 3-0 in the conference, good for first place. The team, with its 10 seniors, can relax now — it only plays seven more ranked opponents in a row, concluding with No. 1 Duke at the end of the month. Whatever happens, I’ve already prepared next year’s “Young St. John’s squad looking to impress” headlines.

— The Connecticut women’s basketball team broke a men’s basketball record. Don’t question it. The Huskies’ win streak was snapped at 90 by then-No. 9 Stanford on Dec. 30.

— In the pros, LeBron James dubbed his basketball super group the “Heatles” following a relatively unimportant January win in Charlotte. Yep, nothing makes more sense than a trio of basketball stars on a 15-man roster nicknamed after a four-person band. In the spirit of the moment — the moment of self-anointing terrible nicknames — my new roller hockey team is going by the “Gregoyles” these days.

— Hey! Remember the awful Big East? The conference is 3-2 in bowls so far, with Pitt yet to play. The almighty Southeastern Conference, meanwhile, is 3-4, with LSU, Kentucky and Auburn still bowling, and the Big Ten went 0-5 on New Year’s Day. Does it mean anything? Not really, but we all have some time to kill until savior Texas Christian University rides in.

— The Pittsburgh Pirates appear out of the running for free-agent pitcher Carl Pavano. He’s the missing piece! This is terrible news for any die-hard fan, defined as any person who still attends games after 18 years of losing. Buc Night doesn’t count.

— Sidney Crosby had his 25-game points streak snapped by … the Islanders? Hmm. Apparently New York’s favorite maritime-themed franchise is 7-1-1 in its last nine games. With Dwayne Roloson traded away and Rick DiPietro hurt again, a cinderella run into the playoff race now rests on the shoulders of goaltender Nathan Lawson. Yeah, Nathan Lawson. I don’t understand the hot streak either.

— In more Penguins news, NBC faced criticism for the unique camera angles the network used during the Winter Classic. One aerial cam that filmed game play from the point of view of an airplane was panned, but the worst-reviewed angle of the night was the “McGuire cam,” which filmed game play from the point of view of analyst Pierre McGuire. It focused on the gentle eyes of McGuire-favorite Jordan Staal for the entirety of the second period.

— The NFL playoff season kicks off this weekend. New Orleans takes on Seattle and Indianapolis plays host to the Jets on Saturday. On Sunday, Baltimore faces off against Kansas City and Green Bay plays Philadelphia. My picks: New Orleans, New York, Baltimore and Green Bay. Who’s ready for another Ravens-Steelers nail-biter?