By Lenn Robbins
Pitchers, catches and cheaters report in less than four weeks.
The winter stretch from late-January to March has traditionally been a slow spell in sports. That’s one recent Sports Illustrated used to give us the swimsuit edition in February. Now it’s May. Enough of that.
This is not your typical year. MLB is giving us the Rocky Horror Sign Stealing Show. Need to focus on the something less tainted? Consider this:
Based on the many college basketball results in this week alone we’ve seen enough head-scratching results to make a safe bet, (sorry MLB) that this has the potential to be the most maddening, thrilling, impossible to predict NCAA Tournament in recent time – if not all time.
Considered these results:
Unranked Alabama crushed No.4 Auburn, 83-64.
No. 18 Seton Hall slapped No.5 Butler, 78-70 in Indianapolis. South Carolina stunned No. 10 Kentucky, 81-78. Fear not Kentucky, here’s as good a place as any to point out that the Gamecocks got plucked by Northern Iowa, 78-72.
Struggling Georgetown edged No. 25 Creighton, 83-80.
Clemson shocked No. 3 Duke, 79-72.
Wisconsin tripped up No.17 Maryland, 56-54.
Minnesota banged No. 19 Michigan, 75-67.
Oregon State humbled No. 24 Arizona, 82- 65.
And Purdue humiliated No. 8 Michigan State, 71-42.
Defending national champ Virginia is not ranked.
Indiana and Syracuse (see 1987 NCAA National title game finalists) are not ranked.
Man, this his is fun:
Duke was upset at home by Stephen F. Austin, 85-83.
“We played young,” Coach k told reporters. “You gotta get old. You get old by experience, and I can’t teach them to be 22. They’re 18, a lot of them.”
Young gets you beat in the big Dance.
Kentucky fell at home to Evansville, 67-63.
“Stuff like this happens,” Kentucky coach John Calipari told reporters. “You wanna grow from it, you wanna learn from it. We may look back in a couple weeks and say ‘this is the greatest thing that happened to this team.'”
Georgia was blown out at Dayton, 80-61.
“I knew we were going to be coming in against a whole different level of intensity, physicality, the way guys play,” Bulldogs coach Tom Crean told reporters. “That’s where we’re at and we got exposed by that.”
LSU got manhandled at home by East Tennessee State, 74-63.
“Obviously, this was a tough night,” LSU coach Will Wade told reporters. “East Tennessee had a great game plan. They shrunk the paint on us and then just pinned their ears back and killed us on the offensive glass. They got 15 more shots than we did and that really, really hurt us. It was too much for us to overcome.”
Boston College has become an attractive game for every mid-major, having lost to St. Louis, 64-54, and Richmond, 64-44. Richmond also owns a 93-92 win over Vanderbilt.
Santa Clara might be pushing for membership in the Pac 12 after knocking off Washington St., 70-62 and Cal, 71-52.
And our most convincing argument for March insanity is this:
North Carolina isn’t even listed in ‘Others Getting Votes.” North Carolina. Take that Rob Nelson, Channel 7!
“I want to apologize to all the North Carolina fans, the people that care about our basketball program, former players, everyone that cares about us,” Roy Williams said after a 79-76 home loss to Clemson, which had lost 60 straight to the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill.
Why apologize? It’s not like anyone cheated. In fact, North Carolina could have a starring role in the maddest March of all time.