Tuesday, March 21, 2017


It's now time for the Sweet Sixteen and then the Elite Eight and lastly, the Final Four. I haven't heard any alliteration for the last game - maybe the Top Two?

** The  #1 seeds left are Kansas, Gonzaga and North Carolina, so the pre-tournament seedings seem to be pretty good, in spite of some analysts belief that Wisconsin, for example was seeded too low and shouldn't have been playing the #1 seed in the second round.  Of course it's interesting to have the #1 team playing the #2 team in the finals, but who says they're the #1 and #2 teams? Isn't the whole idea of the tournament to determine who is #1 and #2? Logically, the last two teams playing ARE 1 & 2. So what if Wisconsin - a really good team - played the so-called #1 team in the nation - Villanova - in the second round. It was still a good game and proved that obviously, Villanova was NOT the nation's #1 team.
No matter how you seed them, the tournament will always be full of good games. Seedings are just someone's opinion anyway. Historically, the biggest upset pairing has been the #12 - #5 matchup.There are four #12s and four #5s, so the #12 team could be the 48th best team in the country or the 12th best, and the #5 team could be the 20th or the 5th. So why is that such a big upset? If #12 beats #20, it could be expected. Draw the match-ups out of a hat and you'd still have a great tournament.

** Another big upset is Duke getting eliminated by South Carolina in the second round. One good lesson from this is that Duke's Grayson Allen now knows what it's like to be tripped up.

** There is always a team that gets hot at the right time, a Cinderella team if you will, and this year it's Xavier. They will play Arizona on Thursday and that should be interesting. Unfortunately, that game doesn't start until after 10:00 pm EDT and probably won't end till close to 1:00 am, but that's okay. I'm sure your boss or teacher won't mind if you drag your sleepy butt around all day Friday, after all, it is the Sweet Sixteen.

** I love that the color commentators, usually former players, like to talk about rule changes they'd like to see. Sometimes they make sense, but sometimes they overreact when they don't like the enforcement of a good rule. The Flagrant Foul rule is a good example. This is when a foul is deemed excessive and stricter penalties are assessed. The analysts will object when that call is made when they feel the intent was not there. Sorry, but you can't have a rule that relies on someone's judgement of "intent." The rule is very specific and intent is not part of it. You commit the foul, you pay the price. It's meant to protect the players, so deal with it.

** There is always a discussion of how to shorten the length of the games and one of the big causes is the last two minutes of a game. There are the endless 'intentional' fouls and timeouts galore. Here's a suggestion that will help.  A team can't call a timeout unless it is in possession of the basketball. In a close game, the team behind will score a basket and then call a timeout to set up their defense. Oh, no you don't. You don't have the ball so you're on your own. The coaches will never let this rule in. This is their time in the sun. "What do you think Coach Smith will do here, Harry? Will he press or will he foul?" "I don't know, Jim, but he always has something up his sleeve. Look, he's drawing up his plan now." They need that time with the cameras on them, after all, the players come and go but the coach, he's always there. Unless he loses and gets fired.

** Speaking of coaching changes, the big discussion in New York is the continuation of the coaching career of Syracuse's Jim Boeheim. After saying for two years that next season will be his last and assistant coach Mike Hopkins will take over, it's all changed. Hopkins has taken a job as head coach with Washington and Boeheim has signed an extension beyond next year. No other details are known except Adrian Autry, a former player and assistant coach, has been named associate coach. The one question remaining is, did Boeheim sign an extension because Hopkins left or did Hopkins leave because Boeheim signed an extension? I think Hopkins was smart to leave since it would have been awfully tough for him to step in behind Boeheim after being his assistant for 10 years. I don't think Boeheim really wanted to retire after the NCAA stripped him of 100+ wins, not that anybody is actually taking that punishment seriously.

Back to baseball.
The USA WBC team is in the semi finals, which is their best showing ever. Well, good for them. I just hope no one gets hurt.
I haven't been taking seriously the success the Yankees have been having in the Grapefruit League, since they are playing against a lot of minor leaguers, but the further along they go with the continued success, it's becoming harder and harder to ignore. Maybe they will contend strongly for the playoffs this year. Greg Bird and Matt Holliday have been particularly impressive. 
ESPN asked a pretty interesting question this week. If you were starting a team, who would you take as the first pick: Bryce Harper or Manny Machado? I guess I'd go with Machado because he's more flexible defensively and more of a team player. I think Harper's ego may get very tiresome after a while.
Tim Tebow will begin the season with the Mets Class A team in Columbia, SC. No surprise there except maybe that it's not Class C or D.

"Johnny Manziel hired an NFL agent. That’s a little like me hiring a caddy to tote my bag during the championship round of the Masters."  -- Brad Dickson
"I had to tell a non basketball fan that the Zags were not named after one of the guys that invented that ‘rolling paper’. (and Duke is not named after John Wayne)"  -- TC Chong
"Contrary to rumours, a Miami attorney did not lose any fingers when his e-cigarette battery exploded. At the time, both his hands were deep in his clients’ pockets."  -- RJ Currie
"The Raiders reportedly want to coax running back Marshawn Lynch out of retirement. For some odd reason, Lynch wasn’t available for comment."  -- Dwight Perry
"How bad did the first spring training game go for Tim Tebow? He was charged with three errors and he was the DH.  -- Brad Dickson  
"SMU blew a 10 point lead with 11 minutes to play to lose to USC, who had already survived a play-in game. Normally for this much embarrassment, SMU relies on their football team."  - Janice Hough
"Sports Illustrated has released a video of 2017 swimsuit model Nina Agdal asking Houston people for tips on how to get a date. Tip one: look like  Nina Agdal."  -- RJ Currie
"British Open host Muirfield Golf Course in Scotland will finally admit females as members. This coincides with their first purchase of two “Beer Carts”.  -- TC Chong
“Just filled out my March Madness tax bracket and I’m picking the IRS to take it all.”  -- Argus Hamilton
 "The women’s NCAA tournament kicked off with UConn being presented the 2016 championship trophy — no, wait, that was the 2017 championship trophy. Why wait?"  -- Brad Dickson  [I doubt the Syracuse women would object after last night's 30-point loss to the Huskies - CP]



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