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Simmons Says - Jumping around sports

It’s pure madness on the sports scene right now. Spring sports are getting in gear, the NFL draft – coming to Nashville this year - is one month away, the NHL and NBA playoffs are about to begin and, more importantly, the NCAA tournament is getting close to reaching peak craziness.

Let’s jump through a few different topics dominating the sports world.

• I had a few people ask, following another one-run loss Thursday night, if the Lady Pioneers are showing some cracks following back-to-back district championships. I think they’re fine.

This team can absolutely light up the scoreboard on any given night, with a lineup that doesn’t have many holes. Right now, the Lady Pioneer offense can’t get everybody clicking at the right time. Once it warms up, the bats will get hot too.

The Lady Pioneers still have the dynamic duo of Hailey Wood and Emily Mikkola, and freshman Madison Hollis is a rising star. Cookeville will have a say, but Warren County should still be considered the district favorites.

• It’s harder to get a read on the WCHS baseball team, if only because they’ll have played 10 games in 13 days by Sunday and none have been at home. The Pioneers have a lot of good pieces, led by seniors Ethan Smith and Brooks Helton and a potentially loaded sophomore class.

Can the team gel before May? That’s a good question. Warren County may need another long winning streak, like last year’s 10-win run in district competition, to build the unity needed to compete for titles.

• The biggest storyline surrounding the NFL draft is Kyler Murray – the Heisman Trophy winner who also happens to be a tremendous shortstop (drafted last year by the Oakland A’s No. 9 overall). Murray has risen to the top of many mock drafts, but some wondered after Mike Trout’s ridiculous contract (12 years/$430M) if the Oklahoma QB would go back to baseball.

It’s Murray’s decision – and it looks like he’s still leaning toward football. Who knows – maybe he’ll be the next Deion Sanders or Bo Jackson. 

Murray is a great example that athletes can excel at two sports. Local athletes should take note.

• There are two pro teams which dominate the Standard office sports conversations – the Nashville Predators and San Antonio Spurs. They’re both getting hot at the right time.

Even so, I’m going out on a limb and saying the Golden State Warriors and Tampa Bay Lightning – huge favorites in their respective sports – take home trophies in June.

• What looked like a cruise-control day turned into a potential nightmare Friday when the Vols played Colgate. Admiral Schofield saved Tennessee from an all-time upset.

I can’t muster any confidence now - I’m terrified of the Iowa Hawkeyes. I’ll be sweating Sunday about earning a Sweet 16 bid.