by John Walters

Starting Five

Nielsen Ratings Plunge

Homeland Security Security Kirstjen Nielsen, the Heinrich Himmler to Donny T’s Adolf, has resigned. It may be that she was tired of being yelled at by both the national media and her boss, or maybe she found a job opening at the Bronx Zoo. We don’t know.

What’s that, now 22 or so major cabinet members who have resigned under Trump? The main one who stays is Stephen Miller, because he’s the one guy who’s more Extreme Ghoul than his boss is. It’s like when Dr. Evil looks at Mini-Me and thinks, “No, not that far.”

Felonies And Misdemeanors

Virginia is onto the national championship after a wild and woolly final 10 ticks in Minneapolis. Our thoughts: Yes, you can call that foul on Kyle Guy‘s attempted three-pointer but then certainly you have to call the double dribble on Tyler Jerome in the backcourt.

A few folks will point out that Jerome’s shirt was held—briefly—but if you watch the replay, it would have been impossible for the backcourt official to see that from his angle behind Jerome. The double dribble, though, he could not have missed.

USA Today columnist Dan Wolken took the angle that we as fans should want the game called objectively all 40 minutes. He did so in defending the foul call. I agree, but that’s not the takeaway from this final 10 seconds of action. The takeaway, and anyone who has been watching hoops the past decade can confirm, is that in modern basketball some crimes are felonies and others are misdemeanors.

Fouls on shots are still felonies. Mishandling the basketball, be it traveling or palming or this double dribble, have unofficially been downgraded to misdemeanors. That should not be. But it has become. And so we were left with an unsatisfying conclusion such as Saturday night’s…

GOAT, Not Goat

Kyle Guy still needed to drain at least two of his three free throws for UVA to tie and all three to win, and he needed to do so in a packed football stadium as a national TV audience watched. Swish, swish, swish.

One day later in Tampa Arike Ogunbowale of Notre Dame needed to bury her two free throws in order for the Irish to send their championship game versus Baylor into overtime. Could not do it. Alike missed the first on a cruel bounce, then attempted to miss the second shot but alas, made it.

Baylor 82, Notre Dame 81.

Ogunbowale led the Irish in scoring on Sunday afternoon with 31 points, led them in scoring on Friday night, is the school’s all-time leading score and, of course, led them to last year’s national championship with not one but two buzzer-beating threes. It’s only natural for her to feel that she let her team down in the last seconds, but everyone who pays even the scantest attention to women’s hoops knows that at Notre Dame, Arike is THE GOAT, not a goat.

Snow Wonder

An avalanche in the Himalayas that these climbers were lucky to capture, as opposed to being consumed by.

Red-Hot Dodger

Bellinger, the 2017 Rookie of the Year, is starting his third season off right

Baseball’s hottest player through it’s first week-plus is a dude playing in southern California, but not that dude, the one who signed the $430 million deal in March. The Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger has had a triple crown start to 2019, leading the National League in home runs (7), RBI (18), and batting average (.455).

Mike Trout’s doin’ alright, too: second in the American League in home runs (5) and RBI (12), fifth in batting average.

Also worth paying attention to: Chris Davis of Baltimore is now in an 0-44 funk and if he plays tonight could break the existing Major League record for futility. That 0-46 mark was set in 2011 by L.A. Dodger Eugenio Velez. Davis plays first base so that technically makes him a Futility Infielder.

Final note: the Red Sox, with their 1-0 win at Arizona yesterday, played their 14th consecutive game in the Pacific Time Zone stretching over six months. The record? 5-9 with one World Series championship while losing all three series without being swept in any of them this spring.

Music 101

Take On Me (Weezer)

Rivers Cuomo and his band have now released covers of Toto’s “Africa” and this tune by A-Ha. Can’t wait until he tackles “Undone (The Sweater Song).” Our favorite part of this is seeing Finn Wolfhard of Stranger Things playing teen Cuomo, and let’s face it, Finn Wolfhard is as A-Ha sounding as anyone actually in the iconic Norwegian Eighties band.

Remote Patrol

Texas Tech vs. Virginia

9 p.m. CBS

Matt Mooney’s, Tech’s MOP this tourney, actually began his career at Air Force

A pair of non-ESPN faves, programs that exist outside the Duke-Carolina-Kentucky valence level that play excellent defense and have a couple of Jimmy Chitwood clones in Matt Mooney (Tech), a South Dakota grad transfer, and Kyle Guy (like Chitwood, a Hoosier native). Should be a great show. Some school is about to win its first men’s hoops championship.

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