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Starzz won't be shining much on TV

No WNBA team will be on national television less than the Utah Starzz.

Not that this is a particular surprise, given that the Salt Lake TV market is the smallest in the 12-team league (we're No. 36; the second-smallest is Charlotte, N.C., at No. 28) and that the Starzz have been one of the league's least successful teams in terms of won-loss percentage.Utah, Charlotte, Minnesota, Orlando and Sacramento make only two appearances each on the national providers -- NBC, ESPN and Lifetime. Actually, none of the five appear on NBC at all.

At the other end of the spectrum, New York (in the No. 1 market) makes 11 national appearances, including four on NBC, and defending champion Houston (No. 11) makes 10, including four on NBC.

The Starzz's two national games are July 30 at L.A. (on Lifetime) and Aug. 16 at Houston (on ESPN). Only Utah and Sacramento don't have a home game on the national TV schedules.

WITHDRAWAL? Local TV sports fans don't seem to be going through too much NBA playoff withdrawal since the demise of the Jazz -- most of them seem to have gone cold turkey.

Not that this is surprising, but since the Jazz were eliminated the local ratings for the games have dropped by as much as 60 percent. Not that Utahns have any particular reason to care who wins the title anymore.

(Well, we have about as much invested as we do in the Buffalo Sabres-Dallas Stars matchup in the Stanley Cup finals.)

Of course, there can be good things about not watching the NBA on NBC -- chief among them is not having to listen to the increasingly atrocious Bill Walton, who may indeed be the worst basketball analyst on the face of the Earth. If you missed it on Tuesday night, Walton went on and on about how the Knicks' Marcus Camby wasn't contributing as much as he should.

Mind you, Camby had 18 points and 14 rebounds -- 23 percent of New York's 78 total points and a whopping 46.6 percent of the Knicks' 30 total rebounds.

Even Snapper Jones couldn't believe and jumped all over the unrepentant Walton. And you're really in trouble if Jones is more insightful than you are.

Isn't it amazing that NBC can have a lineup of analysts that includes both the fabulous Doug Collins and the atrocious Bill Walton -- and that, so often, Walton seems to be the one the network favors?

MAILMAN ON "TONIGHT": Jazzman Karl Malone, newly crowned as the NBA's most valuable player, is scheduled to put in a guest appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on Friday (10:35 p.m., Ch. 5).

And, no doubt, he'll be asked to explain the Jazz's early exit from the playoffs. His answer should be interesting.

Of course, the only thing that's pretty much absolutely certain is that any time someone with a Utah connection is on "Tonight," the host will make lame and unfunny "jokes" about polygamy and the Osmonds.

YOU GOTTA LOVE IT, BABY: If you happened to catch Malone's recent appearance on the Fox Sports Net show "The Last Word," you had to love how host Jim Rome handled the Mailman.

Not so much because he gave him a hard time about what happened to the Jazz. (He didn't, really.) But because Rome continues to give Malone a hard time about his foray into wrestling last year.