>Welcome to this week’s edition of the Friday Five! It’s a big week in college sports with the Tournament field announced and games starting Thursday. Let’s not forget the NIT as well!

5) Pujols for Howard rumor gets unnecessary hand-wringing going
Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard were at the center of some major rumors earlier this week. The story, originally reported by Buster Olney, was that there had been talks in the Phillies front office about a possible blockbuster trade involving the two stars. My initial reaction: Well, duh, what front office hasn’t had conversations about what it would take to get Pujols. Unfortunately, for some teams, it would involve trading the entire major league roster, 4 prospects and promoting the entire Triple A squad (yeah, I’m talking to you Orioles and Pirates). On paper, does this trade make sense? Yeah, for the Phillies, but I’d give it a 0.007% chance of ever happening.
4) Joe Nathan injures arm and is possibly done for the season
The Twins had high expectations of seriously competing in the AL Central this season, but Nathan’s injury just made it a little harder. If you don’t think it’s important to have a solid closer like Nathan in your bullpen, take a look at the 2008 Cardinals, who blew 30-odd saves and ended up just 11.5 games behind the Cubs.
3) Texas Rangers coach Ron Washington admitted to using cocaine
It came out this week that the manager of the Texas Rangers tested positive for cocaine use during the 2009 season. Washington was very apologetic and has been enrolled in the MLB’s drug rehab program. Even though he has finished the program, he has asked the MLB to continue testing him on a regular basis for accountability. Of course, if you were managing the Texas Rangers, wouldn’t you want some crack?
2) Illinois gets the shaft
In spite of playing well against some of the best teams in the Big Ten (including being the only team to beat Wisconsin in Wisconsin), Illinois got left out of the Big Dance. Meanwhile, the team that finished behind them in the Big Ten standings and was blown out by Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship game is currently a #11 seed in the Tourney. Don’t worry, folks, you can follow Illinois’ quest on this blog to become the 66th best team in the country as they attack the NIT (Not Invited Tournament) as a #1 seed!
1) NCAA Tournament field is set and the upsets have begun
Thanks to teams such as Murray State, Ohio and Old Dominion, people all over the country have already lost interest in the Big Dance. However, for geniuses like myself, who still have 15 Sweet Sixteen teams alive, it wasn’t all that bad.
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