The NCAA tournament starts tonight with those wacky Dayton First Four games — one of which includes the surprising Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, who will be playing in front of some VIPs.
Vandy and Belmont start play Thursday and Friday, respectively, and the normal Friday version of The Hippodrome will include all the hoops you can handle but with the two big-league teams looking at some huge acquisitions, dulce et decorum est to put out a special mid-week edition.
Rads Watch, Rads Warning, Go To Your Safe Place! Turn now to the 15th chapter of the Gospel of St. Luke.
"But it was appropriate to celebrate and be glad, for this, your brother, was dead, and is alive again. He was lost, and is found."
For the first time in a long time, the prospect of the return of Alexander Radulov, that prodigal Predator, seems all but a certainty.
Radulov, widely regarded as the world's best player not in the NHL, bolted the Preds in the summer of 2008, wooed to the otechestvo's KHL by patriotism and huge Gazprom-backed salaries.
His Salavat Yulaev Ufa team was knocked from the KHL's Gagarin Cup playoffs last week by Ak Bars Kazan, prompting speculation he might just come back to Music City to fulfill that last year of his Nashville contract — and boosting the Predators' forward corps to boot.
The Google Translate renderings of top Russian sports site SovSport have no doubt seen a spike in inbound traffic from Tennessee as we've learned KHL president Alexander Medvedev — who may or may not have been a KGB agent — will not act as an "iron curtain" (that Alex, such a card) to Radulov coming back for the balance of the Predators' season. We have also learned that the Russian word for "waivers" translates as "Draft of Rejections," which is either a plot point in an Aldous Huxley novel or the title of Dostoevsky's as-yet-unpublished hockey tome.
On this side of the Cold War, the NHL has cleared the way for Radulov to return without the normal process of waivers (or "draft of rejections," as it is now known). Also, because Radulov is on Nashville's so-called reserve list, he'll be eligible for the playoffs.
As Barry Trotz looks for the whites of Radulov's eyes, David Poile says he feels like Radulov is returning, and we seek out badass bluegrass covers of "Panama," Radulov will meet with Medvedev Wednesday in Moscow and by the time the spring-forward delayed sunrise hits the hills of Tennessee, we may know if an already deep Nashville just added a dynamic piece for a run at the Stanley Cup.
You Can't Out Wildcat A Wildcatter:
Oh, how Jim Wyatt must have smiled when Bud Adams dialed him up to say he wanted Peyton Manning and was willing to shell out all the petrodollars he had to get him.
Ignore for a moment the Titans have quarterback-of-the-now Matt Hasselbeck, quarterback-of-the-future Jake Locker and quarterback-of-the-clipboard Rusty Smith under contract. Ignore for a moment the Titans need to address defensive needs, especially on the line, in free agency. Ignore for a moment Adams is basically making a liar of 'Drome Hero Ruston Webster.
Ignore it all, because as we speak, Mike Munchak has silently departed Baptist Sports Park and what may be Bud Adams' private jet is flying from Texas to Raleigh-Durham (Manning has been working out at Duke) with a brief stop in Nashville (H/T to Pierce Greenberg).
A healthy Manning is an improvement over Hasselbeck and Locker. He very well could be that next-level quarterback the Titans need to win a Super Bowl for their kooky octogenarian owner, so he can replace at least one of his hundreds of white suit coats with the earwax-toned Hall of Fame jacket.
What's certainly true is this: Signing Manning would be a jolt to a fan base that showed signs of moribundity last season.
Disclaimer: Both the Radulov and Manning situations are developing faster than Mitt Romney's use of Southern vernacular. Email me your complaints and compliments anyway at jrlind[at]nashvillescene[dot]com and be sure to listen to 102.5 between 4 and 5 this afternoon as I join Willy Daunic and Joe Dubin as I do every Tuesday.