Now that it is federal law that all American residents must ooze enthusiastically about the NCAA Tournament, it may be time to remind everyone that it is an entertainment, and that means it should be held to at least minimal standards of watchability.
As in, the games cannot actually require that you sit in close proximity to a waste basket for potential digestive issues.
And Thursday was kind of a letdown for that. Three upsets: Harvard, Oregon and Cal. Harvard over New Mexico was a legitimate jaw-slackener, a destroyer of brackets every bit as sure as Butler over Bucknell or Marquette over Davidson.
But the other two were false upsets. Oregon beating Oklahoma State was clinical, and Cal over UNLV would have been if Cal had made its free throws down the stretch.
[RATTO: Montgomery mixes it up in Cal's win over UNLV]
No buzzer beaters, no magic, no extraordinary memories except for the principals. In sum, a pretty dry day on the first day of the event most people wax so hysterically poetic about.
A festival, if such a thing is possible, of meh.
We have no overarching lessons to impart here, except that Friday better be better than Thursday was. The basketball industry owes it to us to allow us to forget that college basketball has hit a rut, in scoring, thrills, big names and ratings. We’re not going to tolerate this sort of thing for more than twenty, thirty years. Tops.
The Sacramento River Cats have announced they will fine anyone who misspells their nickname, by making it one word, or forgetting the space between the second R and the first C. They will take the money and put it to their charity, but how they intend to collect it is probably more a matter of shaming people into doing a charitable thing for a stupid/clever reason.
Well, not this little black duck. The Sacramento Mxtyplzks. The Sactphmblgk Riwqn79%2@. Go on, come and get me. Do your worst.
Martin Brodeur’s third career NHL goal, coming as it did on a play in which he was never within forty feet of the puck, is the real reason he will go to the Hall of Fame without a vote. Jordan Staal of Carolina actually slid the puck into his own net from deep in the offensive end, playing the carom off the boards and past his defenseman, and since Brodeur was the last to touch the puck for New Jersey, a goal.
And cheap though it was, it still puts him in a tie for 426th (out of 771), and ahead of, among others, the noted non-non-scorer Ryane Clowe, who won’t be teased about it at all. By anyone. Especially not his teammates. Who know that he would be willing to clock a guy who thought he was being funny.
One of the minority (like 25 percent, give or take) owners of the Golden State Warriors, Vivek Ranadive, is now riding 90 miles east to try to save the Sacramento Kings from being sold and moved to Seattle. He is the third “big money” guy, after Mark Mastrov and Ron Burkle, who has been linked as the big player in saving the Kings from their fait accompli at the hands of Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer.
But in becoming the new white horse owner, Ranadive leaves Golden State owner Joe Lacob with no choice but to vote for the Seattle group, since he not only would like to have all of Northern California to himself, for what that may be worth, but because he would have to hustle up a considerable chunk of money to replace Ranadive’s piece of the action, since Ranadive would have to sell his Warrior holdings.
Why should this concern you? It shouldn’t. It’s just nice to see billionaires, kind of billionaires and lots-of-millionaires getting along so . . . well, tentatively. Hey, for the rest of us, it’s just a daily battle to skate our wings and keep our elbows up. For those guys, it’s just another day of dog-eat-kennel.
And finally, to Scott Lewis of Backhand Shelf, who has come up with an advanced metric for hockey fights called Fight Corsi. The formula is this:
Punch Corsi Number = (Punches on Target For + Missed Punches For + Blocked Punches Against ) – (Punches on Target Against + Missed Punches Against + Blocked Punches For).
I like numbers as much as the next dweeb, I do not judge the more advanced schools of thought about enjoying any sport. Let a thousand calculators bloom, I always say. But on this, I think I’d rather have the old formula. MF+YF=IW. My Fist plus Your Face equals I Win.