NFL Divisional Playoffs
CBS 12:35 PM, FOX 4:15 PM; SUNDAY FOX 12:35 PM, CBS 4:05 PM Who
took the heavy starch out of the NFL's shirt? Those Feel the
Power ads are funny, hip and poignant. The bit featuring
decade-by-decade spousal sparring over the pro game's fine points
("It's complicated") rings true. Moreover, using alternative
rocker Ani DiFranco's 32 Flavors as a soundtrack to a montage of
memorable NFL number 32s, including (Di)Franco Harris? Genius!
Let's hope this weekend's quartet of matchups, including three
Florida franchises, two domed stadiums (in Indianapolis and St.
Louis), one league MVP (Rams quarterback Kurt Warner) and
absolutely zero chance of cold weather, is similarly enthralling.
Roy Jones Jr. vs. David Telesco
HBO 9:45 PM New York's famed Radio City Music Hall has hosted
Night of 100 Stars. Here's wondering whether underdog Telesco
will be staring up at a galaxy after a few rounds with light
heavyweight champion Jones (40-1, 33 KOs). Last year Telesco
(23-2, 18 KOs) pulled a Clubber Lang by attending Jones's fights
and imploring, "Why don't you fight a real man?" (Roy, who'll be
next--Dolph Lundgren?) Tonight's bout will mark Radio City's first
sporting event, not counting Rockettes fending off ardent elves
backstage during the Christmas Spectacular.
Pistons at Knicks
TBS 4 PM Through Sunday the Pistons' Research Triangle offense
had led Detroit (18-15) to six victories in seven games. Forwards
(and Duke alumni) Grant Hill and Christian Laettner and guard
(and North Carolina alum) Jerry Stackhouse were collectively
scoring just under 64 points per game. Hill, who began the new
century with consecutive 42-point efforts and who scored 40 in a
110-105 loss to the Timberwolves last Saturday, has widened his
range. Last season he converted not a single three-pointer out of
14 attempts. This season he had already gone 18 for 44.
TNN 8 PM And you thought the college bowl season was over.
Sixteen schools compete in this weekly series that combines basic
kegling with extracurricular events such as Recliner Bowlin', in
which contestants throw while supine on a La-Z-Boy. Tonight's
frames pit Ball State against San Jose State. Our money, on name
alone, is on the former.
Iowa at Indiana
ESPN 7 PM This melodrama is one Jimmy Chitwood jumper shy of
Hoosiers. Steve Alford, the emblematic Indiana player of the
Bobby Knight era, returns to Bloomington for the first time as a
coach--and he's not on speaking terms with his mentor. Will
Alford measure the rims at Assembly Hall to reassure his
underdog Hawkeyes (7-6 through Sunday)? Will Knight (above),
whose team (12-1 and ranked No. 9) is led by senior guard A.J.
Guyton, ask for an autographed copy of Alford's 1990 book,
Playing for Knight? For a soundtrack, mute the play-by-play and
cue John Cougar Mellencamp's The Lonesome Jubilee on the CD
During last Saturday's telecast of the Bills-Titans game on ABC,
oft-maligned analyst Joe Theismann had a career day in the booth.
He was on target throughout but never more than when he insisted
(before the replay) that Frank Wycheck had thrown a lateral and
not a forward pass to Kevin Dyson on Tennessee's game-winning
kickoff return.... Nick Bakay's favorite sports film is North
Dallas Forty ("It rings true"). In the tradition of legendary TV
movie mavens Joe Bob Briggs and Art Fern, Bakay hosts ESPN
Classic's Reel Classics (Sundays, 9 p.m.), showing films related
to sports or featuring athletes turned actors. This week Ernest
Borgnine and Jim Brown stage a killer karate scene in The Split.
ALL TIMES EASTERN. SCHEDULES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
COLOR PHOTO: MANNY MILLAN