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It's bird! It's a plane! It's a Matt Mangini extra base hit!

-- NC State 3B Matt Mangini is killin' the ball dead, and people are noticing:

Speaking of 2007 hitters -- as offensive players will obviously be back on the map by then -- there has been no bigger story this year than NC State third baseman Matt Mangini. While the sample size police are surely on their way to arrest me, it is safe to say the best hitter in the country thus far (through 50 AB) has been Mangini. In a lineup that already features insane firepower from the likes of Aaron Bates and Jon Still, Mangini is hitting an insane .680/.730/1.080 this season. Not the most athletic player in the nation, Mangini will go as high in the draft as his bat takes him. Right now, that is pretty damn high.

Looks like Matt's OPS has dipped from a herculean 2.000+ to a merely titanic 1.810.

Also discussed: Bryan Smith's list of the top 20 pro prospects in college baseball. Two UNC pitchers are in his top five, and one of the two--lefty Andrew Miller--is number one. I knew those guys were good, but...wow.

-- Sometimes you run into strange things on the Internets. Take, for instance:

March is Tournament time, the season for what everyone refers to as March Madness. It is the season for me in which basketball is on the TV 24-7. It is the season in which my fiance walks around rattling off team stats and telling anyone he meets who the number one player/team/coach/division is and why they're going to beat all of the other players/teams/coaches/divisions. It is All Basketball, All the Time.

Case in point: David is currently in the living room yelling at the TV. And since this is not an unusual occurrence in our apartment (I, in fact, was yelling at the TV yesterday watching last week's episode of "24") let me share with you what is being yelled in the living room.

"NC State! You are NOTHING, NC State! I want you in ASU's bracket, NC State, so you can some here and play some real women and we can tear you apart. You need to come play here in the Valley of the Sun, NC State, because you suck! You ... are ... nothing!"

Two oddities: (1) this person lives in Arizona, and (2) he is directing his ire at the women's basketball team.

Yeah, well, you know what you can do, Sun Devils? You can cram it, that's what you can do!

Must be RPI envy.

-- Manny Lawson and Mario Williams are improving their draft prospects at the NFL combine:

We had a tremendous time from N.C. State defensive lineman Manny Lawson, who ran a 4.44 and 4.45. We had a linebacker -- Tarna Nande from Miami, Ohio -- lift 41 times and we had a record-tying bench press (45 times) by Mike Kudla from Ohio State. Defensive lineman Brodrick Bunkley from Florida State had 44 lifts to really help himself. N.C. State defensive lineman Mario Williams was already high, but his stock went higher after his workouts.
From Sporting News:

Another player who really helped himself Monday was North Carolina State defensive end Manny Lawson. He ran a 4.45 40-yard dash, which could put him in the first round. Lawson also participated in linebacker drills and looked good, which opens up the possibility of him being selected by a team that runs a 3-4 front.

Also in that Dan Pompei post: Maryland's Vernon Davis ran a 4.38 40. Nothing against Marcedes Lewis, but any GM who passes on Davis is outta his mind.

Mario Williams, Bronze God:

Most impressive: N.C. State DE Mario Williams wins the award in a close call over Southern Cal TB Reggie Bush. Although Bush is "cut like Charles Atlas," according to NFL consultant Gil Brandt, Williams (6-7, 295) is a bronze god who fills doorways with his awesome physique.