Some of the statements CBS hoops commentator Billy Packer makes might be considered humorous in a warped sort of way if it wasn't for the fact he's usually serious.
Packer, avowed defender and apologist for college basketball coaches no matter what the circumstances, thinks Villanova should hire Jerry Tarkanian to coach the Wildcats now that they've lost coach Rollie Massimino to UNLV. That thud you just heard is several Villanova priests hitting the floor in a dead faint.
Making matters worse, fellow commentator Dick Vitale thinks the Packer brainstorm is a good idea while pointing out Massimino is the "perfect choice" for UNLV since he has a near-perfect graduation rate of players. Scary they put microphones in front of these guys, isn't it?
* The NCAA tourney semifinal doubleheader starts at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow and it should do quite well, thank you, now that it doesn't have figure skating to contend with. Last week's world figure skating championships on NBC put a big dent in college hoops Friday night, getting a 9.1 rating to the hoopsters combined 9.6. Sunday, the skaters (women) got a 10.4, which makes you wonder why the NCAA doesn't start pushing figure skating at its member institutions.
BTC * The Ray Mancini-Greg Haugen fight for the NABF junior lightweight crown, where every punch is assured of landing, is getting pay-per-view treatment but not from the usual source, TVKO or Time-Warner. Lou Falcigno, longtime expert in the business of closed-circuit and PPV, is the producer and he's predicting a buy rate of 200,000 homes.
"While I can't afford to build a market as the others are doing," he explains, "at the same time, I don't have their huge overhead. The fighters get the same money."
Falcigno is hard at work creating a sports-bar network he says could number 5,000 someday. "It's at 700 now," he says, "and it will grow because it's a good deal for the bar owner as he can advertise his place will be the only place you can see the fights. They don't have to be the big mega-bucks fights either."
Mancini, out of retirement after a three-year hiatus, says he's back for only one year. He became convinced he could handle Haugen after watching him fight Hector Camacho. "I beat him," says Mancini, "and I'm in line for a fight against Julio Cesar Chavez [and huge money]. We've talked about getting it on."
* CBS is doing both ends of the NCAA women's tourney semifinals tomorrow after a half-hour preview show at noon. And the women are still complaining?
So a 9:30 a.m. start in Los Angeles inconveniences some fans and players? What's the big deal, there's give and take in everything. And as for coaches griping there's no day off between the semis and final, remember these youngsters practice every day for longer periods of time than a game takes.
* NBC has the women's Family Circle Cup tennis tourney tomorrow (2 p.m.) and Sunday (2:30 p.m.) and already suffered a ratings blow when Jennifer Capriati lost the other day. Also, top seed Monica Seles pulled out with an injury, but losing little Miss Grunt 'n' Squeal isn't as big. Regardless, the field is as good as that found at any "major."
* Tom Davis has found another chubby to talk with. This one's Boog Powell and their half-hour show "Chewing the Fat" will air Sundays at noon on Channel 13 . . . A bidding war is in progress to nab the pro football exhibition game at Memorial Stadium in August. Come on, someone's going to listen to a Saints-Dolphins game on a steamy Thursday night?
* An announcement from last Wednesday that probably missed your notice concerned the WWF saying it is getting rid of several of its steroid-produced wrassling stars to prove it is indeed interested in cleaning up its drug problem during the pay-per-view WrestleMania show Sunday. Remember, Wednesday was April Fools' Day.
* An outfit named Simmons Research contends that nearly 60 percent of the kids between the ages of 6 and 14 watch NBA games on TV every season. Timeout! Six-year-olds?
* Channel 45's Max Morgan is Maryland's sportscaster of the year as voted by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. Max won the award a couple of times while working in Arkansas.
* Actually, it's far from a "giveback" the NFL is according the networks as the league hasn't earned the revenue yet. And, if the greedy owners aren't of a mind to keep their media partners happy and within hope of keeping their losses reasonable, remember what they say about the golden goose. Among those not wanting to provide relief for the nets was Bob Irsay, whose Indianapolis Colts will be enriched to the tune of $34.5 million this year even though it hardly does its share ratings wise.
* Actor John Goodman, who admits to being a football junkie, is picking up work in baseball these days after playing the part of George Herman Ruth in the soon-to-be-released movie "The Babe." Roseanne's TV husband is hosting "The Atlanta Braves: America's Team Returns" Sunday (8 p.m.) on TBS.