by John Walters
The Crying Games*
*The judges will also accept “March Meme-ness”
After a desultory first round (no losers in the top 4 seeds, only 3 games decided by 2 or fewer points, no buzzer beaters), the tourney kicked into a higher gear over the weekend:
–No. 1 seed and defending champion Villanova lost to Wisconsin.
—Caleb Swanigan of Purdue was both an inspiration and a perspiration.
—Joel Berry Carroll of UNC used good pad level and a non-call by a ref to help UNC go on a game-ending 12-0 run to hold off Arkansas.
I’m told the crying kid CBS wouldn’t stop showing (unfairly, IMO) was Northwestern AD Jim Phillips’ son.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) March 19, 2017
(Stew’s a Northwestern alum)
–Michigan, a.k.a. Project Runway, continued its magical run by upsetting No. 2 Louisville, 73-69.
— Lindsay Joy (@SWXLindsayJoy) March 18, 2017
–And Gonzaga nearly squandered all of a 20-point lead to hold off Northwestern. Yes, it was basket interference but no, Chris Collins, you can’t take three steps onto the court and get in a ref’s face as play continues. Besides, it wasn’t even that ref’s call to make. Just because you sat NEXT to Coach K doesn’t mean you can behave like Coach K. Not yet. Refs blew it, sure, but as a head coach you can’t cost your kids 2 points that late in a game. Four-point swing there (score was 73-68 when Pardon went up for dunk), from potentially 73-70 to 75-68. And yes, Northwestern kid, we don’t blame you for that reaction. But you’re only 12. The head ball coach needs to know better.
2. Whistle Blowers
How many times have you seen this? pic.twitter.com/X1A0hHg38P
— Sean Adams (@thatsean) March 20, 2017
There were 48 meaningful games between Thursday at 12:15 p.m. and Sunday at 11 p.m., so yeah, there are going to be some poor calls by the refs and, yeah, they’re going to be hyper-exaggerated because every game is do-or-die. Having said that (and you know what Seinfeld says about “Having said that….”),
…there were some obvious poor calls (Gonzaga’s goal tend and Joel Berry’s three yards and a cloud of dust, not to mention the tipped shot by the Tar Heel defender that the refs reviewed and still got wrong). Meanwhile, dudes take two steps after dribbling on drives to the hoop and no one calls a travel.
If you’re like me, you want the games to be called correctly, you don’t want refs to reward players for playing out of control, and you want the game to have a flow. Oh, and you don’t want every last thing reviewed because there’s no better way to rob the last 2 minutes of a game of its natural rhythm. Is that so difficult?
3. More Wisdom From Geno
I always enjoy watching people’s preconceptions (i.e. misconceptions) about Geno Auriemma undergo a transformation. This was from over the weekend. Here he is talking about “body language,” and I’m not talking about the Queen
Geno gets it. He always has.
4. Here Come The Conways
Remember just a week or two ago when the Kellyanne Conway train had run off the rails? Now she’s being profiled in New York magazine (my pull quote from Olivia Nuzzi’s story: “Anybody who pretends I’m not smart or not credible, it’s like, ‘Excuse me, I’ve spoken 1.2 million words on TV, okay?,’ ” Conway told me before the Flynn mishap. “You wanna focus on two here and two there, it’s on you, you’re a fucking miserable person, P.S., just whoever you are.”) and her husband, George, is up for a job with the Department of Justice (psst: I think he’s got a legitimate shot of landing it.
5. Bye, Bye Breslin
In New York City in the Sixties and Seventies Jimmy Breslin was a legend. Even people who didn’t know how to read knew who the New York Daily News columnist was. Breslin epitomized New York of that era: he was loud, he was unkempt, he was in poor shape, he was obnoxious, he was provocative, he was angry, and he was smart.
One of his better quotes: ““Rage is the only quality which has kept me, or anybody I have ever studied, writing columns for newspapers.”
I thought about all the people on Twitter who have told me I’ve gone off the deep end about Trump in the past 20 months and I thought, Exactly. Rage stirs passion, which is why I’ll never apologize for not seeming rational about Trump. What I do wonder is why anyone would be dispassionate about him.
No Particular Place To Go
On Saturday night Chuck Berry died at the age of 90, and there are a whole lot of people who know more about rock-and-roll than your intrepid correspondent who consider him the father of rock-and-roll. Yes, there were a few predecessors (Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson), but Marty McFly never appropriated any of their hits (“Johnnie B. Goode”). This was not his first hit (“Maybellene”) but you can see a lot of Berry’s personality in this live performance. If you want to read more on Berry, here’s a piece by The New York Times.
Warriors at Thunder
8 p.m. TNT
Will everyone rest again? If you’ve overindulged in hoops the past four days, may I suggest Psycho on TCM, also at 8 p.m.?