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What to read while researching the names of obscure bands to bring up in weekend conversations

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Because if you mention the name of a band that you like and the other person has heard of them, they own you.

My softball fandom has definitely taken a step backwards this season, but I was still excited to see that the ladies earned their fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament bid over the weekend. The Cards are just 30-21 and most figured their season had come to a close when South Florida knocked them out of the Big East Tournament last week, but they managed to sneak into the big dance as a three seed in the Knoxville Regional. U of L will take on Virginia Tech (44-15) on Friday, and will then face either the winner or loser of the Tennessee/Winthrop game on Saturday.

One of the best things (for us) about Brian Brohm being a Green Bay Packer is that there's always going to be a steady stream of information whenever he does anything from now on. Already we've had a look at his first day of rookie camp (he went 7-of-8), a brief Q & A, and a locker room video of him fielding questions after practice.

Also, for those interested, the first Brohm Packers jerseys have officially hit stores.

Life after college has been decidedly less kind to a certain best kicker in the history of football. Art Carmody still hasn't signed with an NFL team, but recently worked out for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Kickers always seem to have a lonely life, which Art Carmody (Louisville) and Chris Gould (Virginia) can attest to.

Both were invited to try out for the team and spent the majority of their practice time on a separate field away from team activities. On Saturday, they shared their field with children who were playing catch nearby, but on most days they were solo.

"We know there are two of us, so they try to get us to compete to see who can take the pressure when it does come in a game," said Gould, younger brother of Chicago kicker Robbie Gould. "They kind of look at the small things, too."

It is unlikely either will be signed by Tampa Bay in the immediate future because of incumbent K Matt Bryant, but both understand their NFL opportunity can arise at any moment.

"It's all about perseverance," Carmody said. "You have to stick with it. Special teams Coach Richard Bisaccia was telling us to stay physically ready and mentally ready. You never know when you might get that phone call. Now I'm going to go back home, continue working out, get ready and maybe get a small job."

Sharing the field with children? The man should be having red sports turf laid out especially for him wherever he goes.

Matt Bryant can't spell Groza.

Fantastic piece from John Branch of The New York Times on a goodwill trip to Nigeria organized by Amobi Okoye. Okoye and fellow NFL players Osi Umenyiora, Adewale Ogunleye and Israel Idonije helped dig water wells, distribute HIV testing kits, outfit a youth soccer team, and establish scholarships at 10 Nigerian universities.

It was Okoye, a rookie last season, who rallied the group, believing it could do more good than the players individually. Others agreed.

"We said, let's do this together and make a bigger splash," Ogunleye said in a phone interview.

In December, Okoye's older brother, Arinze, and a cousin, Okey Chidume (the three live together in the Houston area) began working on details of the trip. The fathers of Okoye and Ogunleye laid some groundwork with contacts in Nigeria and took part in the trip. So did Ogunleye's brother, Ranti.

The mission was called Athletes in the Diaspora: Community Interventions, and received plenty of news media attention in Nigeria. At the heart of their charity is the scholarship program, called Changing Africa Through Education. The contingent met with officials of the National Universities Commission, and plans to finance 20 scholarships at 10 Nigerian universities. The group hopes to increase the total yearly.

Just 16 months removed from his playing days as a Cardinal, Okoye is already about as impressive an ambassador for both the city and the university of Louisville as there is. There's also the tiny tidbit of him doing all of this at an age that prohibits him from setting foot inside a bar.

I had to pick up trash for some class project one Saturday morning when I was 20, and doing so meant that I had to miss the first half of the noon football games and fight through a pretty nasty hangover. So, get ready for dueling autobiographies on the bestseller list in about 50 years.

Kentucky finally got a commitment from a player in the class of 2018 when Trigg County's Darrin Brown verballed to the Cats on Friday. You can listen to his press conference here.

In all seriousness, the story of Billy Gillispie shedding tears of joy and calling it the "happiest day of his life" when 15-year-old Vinny Zollo committed to UK last week is so bizarre that I'm still not sure I believe it. Either this guy is a sleazier salesman than Edward Doheny or he's got some pretty extreme issues.

Undrafted Pat Carter has signed a free agent contract with the Baltimore Ravens.

I repeatedly slept through and failed to show up to economics courses in high school and college, respectively, so here's what I have to report on yesterday's downtown arena development: $360 million. Bonds. Bermuda. Good?

A few basketball notes from around the Big East:

--With Greg Monroe on his way to campus, former McDonald's All-American Vernon Macklin is taking his game from Georgetown to Florida.

--Also bolting from D.C. is guard Jeremiah Rivers, who's headed to Indiana where he, Jordan Crawford and three janitors with eligibility left comprise the current Hoosier roster.

--Bob Huggins struggles with airports.

--Syracuse's Donte Greene and West Virginia's Joe Alexander are both still on the fence as far as the NBA Draft is concerned. I'd be surprised if Greene came back, and more surprised if Alexander didn't.

--Guard Doug Wiggins and forwards Curtis Kelly and Marcus Johnson have all decided to leave Connecticut. I have a sneaking suspicion that Jim Calhoun is still pretty confident about his team's prospects.

Big Brown trainer Rick Dutrow should probably be dating Jan Levinson (formerly Jan Levinson-Gould, babe).

Samardo Samuels scored 29 points for the Shooting Stars, who dispatched of UConn-bound Kemba Walker and the Gauchos 90-88 in the quarterfinals of the iS8/Nike playoffs.

Reading the aforelinked story reminds me of Jerry Seinfeld's bit about horse racing. "Easy fellas, easy. You win, I'll place, whatever. It's all the same oat bag, fellas. The important thing is your health."

Stay healthy big man.

And finally, The Washington Post has updated its preseason top 35 for the '08-'09 college basketball season, and Louisville now comes in at No. 4. Sadly, number four in this poll is only good for second runner-up in the Big East. Connecticut is the WaPo's number one squad, followed by Pittsburgh, North Carolina, U of L and Texas.