April 10, 2006
April 10, 2006

Table of Contents
April 10, 2006

College Basketball
SI Bonus Section: Golf Plus
SI Players: Life On and Off the Field
Pro Football
  • Teams from the National League have been dominated by their American League counterparts in recent years, by almost every measure, and the trend will only continue this season. How did this happen?

  • Besieged all season by injuries--including ones that sidelined stars like Peter Forsberg and Simon Gagné--the Philadelphia Flyers are finally getting healthy. Playoff opponents beware: Adversity has made them stronger



APRIL 10, 2006
VOLUME 104, NO. 15

This is an article from the April 10, 2006 issue


34 ... Go, Go Gators
Behind coach Billy Donovan, Florida won its first NCAA championship
by Grant Wahl

44 ... He's D'Man
D'Brickashaw Ferguson will be the first offensive lineman drafted
by Nunyo Demasio

48 ... Out of Their League
In recent years the AL has clearly been stronger than the NL. But why?
by Tom Verducci

52 ... Healed and Ready
Playoff opponents beware: Adversity has made the Flyers more dangerous
by E.M. Swift

54 ... Back in the Picture
Have you noticed that the streaking Nets are once again title contenders?
by Chris Mannix

To understand his worshippers from Pittsburgh to Puerto Rico, you have to firstknow how he died
by David Maraniss


6 Leading Off

12 Letters

15 Air andSpace
Buy the numbers? A fantasy site refuses to pay MLB for the right to useplayers' stats
by Steve Rushin

16 Scorecard
• The Blue Devils' wall of silence
• A banged-up boxer returns
• NFL celebrations: What's legal

26 Faces in theCrowd

29 Players

76 Life ofReilly
Where a first base coach shouldn't stand, who should skate out first and otherunwritten rules
by Rick Reilly

Inside ...

71 Tennis
•New replay system passes muster

72 Baseball
•The unkind road ahead for Bonds

74 The NBA
•Phil Jackson's coaching masterpiece

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•Fresh off a13-stroke win in the BellSouth Classic, at which he shot a career-low 260, PhilMickelson (left) heads into the Masters on a roll. Will Lefty stay hot enoughto win his second green jacket? Follow the first major of the season's live leaderboard, Mike McAllister's daily blog from Augusta andanalysis from Alan Shipnuck and Gary Van Sickle at

•Now that firstpitches have been thrown, want to guess who's in the top five of the MLB PowerRankings? Care to check out a new feature, Jacob Luft's daily major leagueblog? And what would a season be without Tom Verducci's Inside Baseball columnon Tuesdays and John Donovan's insight and perspective every other day of theweek? They're all at

•At week's end,Jason Kidd (left) and the Nets were in contention for the No. 2 seed in theEastern Conference thanks to the second-longest winning streak in team history(12 games). Do they have enough kick to overtake Shaq and the Heat? Get NBAnews and analysis, as well as weekly columns from Jack McCallum, Ian Thomsenand Marty Burns, at

•Even those whohave had their fill of Terrell Owens (above) will no doubt make a mental noteof when the bridge-burning Cowboys wideout is due to face his old team, theEagles, for the first time next season. With the 2006 NFL schedules expected tobe released any day now, check out team-by-team slates at and jointhe debate on which outfit has the toughest dates ahead of it this season.

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PHOTOBILL FRAKES (FERGUSON)44 -POWER SURGE Virginia tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson has impressed scouts with hisspeed and 7'3" wingspan.PHOTOWALTER IOOSS JR. (CLEMENTE)PHOTOPETER READ MILLER (BRYANT)74- HEADWAY While Kobe Bryant leads the NBA in scoring, he credits coachPhil Jackson with keeping the young Lakers in playoff contention.PHOTOROBERT BECK (MICKELSON)PHOTOMANNY MILLAN (KIDD)PHOTODAMIAN STROHMEYER (OWENS)