by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Enjoyed this, but why you gotta be poaching lyrics from The Cars to make your point?

Starting Five

Ky Is Their Guy

With the No. 1 overall pick in next month’s NFL draft, the Arizona Cardinals will select Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray.

Cut it. Print it. Next scene.

We’re not saying why we think they should or will, or enumerating those reasons (e.g, this is a team that faces Russell Wilson and the Seahawks twice per season), we are just flat-out telling you that the Cardinals are going to cut their one-year losses with Josh Rosen and move on to the reigning Heisman Trophy winner.

Kyler will be a Card.

2. Tennessee Chuxedo

The Vols battled back from an 18-point deficit, took a three-point lead, and then with Purdue inbounding and down 2 with under 3 ticks on the clock, fouled Carsen Edwards as he attempted a corner three.

No. No. No. No.

At the time Purdue was shooting 25% from the line, so you figured Edwards would not bury all three, but after missing the first he did drain the next two (“Onions!”) and the Makers Of Steam took over in OT.

Other Sweet 16 victors: Gonzaga, Texas Tech and Virginia (the last of whom will face Purdue on Saturday).

Also, TV producers: Don’t give away your age by constantly going to shots of older dudes such as Gene Keady and Phil Fulmer all night. Half your audience doesn’t remember who they are.

3. Chavez Ravine Ballnado

On Opening Day, the Dodgers held a baseball giveaway courtesy of the Diamondbacks, as Arizona yielded eight home runs. On octet of homers. That’s an Opening Day record.

Austin Barnes, Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy and Corey Seager all hit round-trippers, while Enrique Hernandez and Joc Pederson launched two. Whatever the odds were at Harrah’s, we really hope you didn’t lay a bet on the D-Backs winning the World Series.

Elsewhere, the Red Sox lost in Seattle (their second consecutive series on the West Coast, by the way) and Luke Voit, batting cleanup for the Yanks, sent a 428-foot, three-run rocket to dead center in his first at-bat of the season. Greg Bird whiffed thrice but also hit one out.

4. Tiger Beat The Bushes

On his knees.


Club-face upside down.

On the green.

Tiger Woods has all the shots. Have the club pro work with you on that shot next week.

Tiger lost his match-play match in Austin yesterday, but who cares?

5. To Infinity! And Beyond!

A visitor from Hong Kong slipped and fell to his death (Rule No. 1) at the Eagle Point Observation Area at the Grand Canyon on Thursday. Another Grand Canyon visitor died on Tuesday although officials have not released details of that person’s demise. We always wonder if these people’s final thoughts are, But I’m on vacation!

Music 101

Smile A Little Smile For Me

British band The Flying Machine got a head start on all those one-hit wonder bands of the Seventies by being a one-hit wonder in the autumn of 1969. This tune rose all the way to No. 5 on the Billboard charts in the last months of the decade.

Remote Patrol

Sweet 16

7 p.m. CBS & TBS

An evening of 21st century champs versus excitable upstarts: Michigan State-LSU, North Carolina-Auburn, Duke-Virginia Tech and Kentucky-Houston. Who is most primed to be upset? We’ll say Sparty.



by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

The headline here is “Presidential Candidate Does Own Laundry”

Starting Five

1. Play Brrrrr-ll!

March 28 is way too early by at least a week to begin playing ball games that count, but here we are, anyway. The Bronx (currently 34 degrees), Milwaukee (33 ℉), Philadelphia (38 ℉), Minneapolis (31 ℉) and Cincinnati (28 ℉) will all throw out the first pitch today.

We’ve never attempted to swing at 95 m.p.h. heat in 30ish degree weather, but you have to imagine that anything less than a square connection on the bat is going to hurt fierce. It’ll be interesting to see what kinds of attendance these games do, as we’ve long advocated for playing the first week to 10 games at spring training sites. Why not? You’d have two home openers for each franchise, and the players would get to play in far more clement climes.

Related: It’s currently 54 degrees in the Phoenix area on its way up to the low 80s this afternoon.

2. Mean Girls

Betsy DeVos. Kirstjen Nielsen. Kellyanne Conway. Sarah Sanders. What do they all have in common? An uncanny aptitude for not only demonstrating no empathy for anyone outside their own ethnic and fiscal demographic, but then also taking offense at being called out for the very things that they do. While being unable to invalidate the accusations being levied against them.

Take DeVos, for example. On Wednesday the heiress of billionaires appeared before a House Appropriations Subcommittee and referred to journalists as “shameful” and “counterproductive” for scrutinizing her budget cuts, specifically the $17.6 million defunding of the Special Olympics…then she later admitted that, yeah, the reporting is all accurate.

Shameful. But accurate.

Dig, the Special Olympics already receives the lion’s share of its funding through private donations. But what would it hurt for the federal government to just say, You know, we’re going to maintain a token amount of fiscal support (say, $9 million) just to demonstrate that we believe in its mission. Nine million dollars. Hell, that’s one weekend of Air Force One and Secret Service costs at Mar-A-Lago. Likely less.

But this is what DeVos and the rest of the White House’s Mean Girls do. “How dare you call me a child abuser!?!” Yes, but you’re locking up children in cages for an indeterminate amount of time without even telling them where their parents are because you don’t even know, right? “Oh, sure, we’re totally doing that, but I am NOT a child abuser.”

Oh, okay. It’s like Jeffrey Dahmer being offended at being called a serial killer and cannibal while showing you his assortment of human heads in the freezer.

3. Making A Millionaire

Someone from Wisconsin just won $768 million (before taxes) in the Powerball lottery and we kinda hope it’s someone related to Steven Avery (but not his brother-in-law, who is probably the real killer). That’s a lot of cheese.

4. Strange Magic

The world’s greatest Nikola since “An Affair To Remember”

Don’t look now, but the Orlando Magic have won six in a row and vaulted into eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Can you name two Magic players? One?

On January 30th, the Magic were 20-31 after losing their fourth in a row. They’ve gone 17-7 since and currently have supplanted their Sunshine State neighbors for the final spot in the playoff race. Disney World may be in Orlando, but we imagine Disney execs would rather see Dwyane Wade and the Heat in that final spot.

Since you nearly asked, the Magic are led by 7’0″ Montenegro native Nikola Vucevic, who leads the squad in scoring (20.8) and boards (12.1) and probably in WAR if that is not a hoops stat yet. So we could have a first-round playoff series pitting Greece’s best versus Montenegro’s best in the Adriatic Division. Sweet!

And no, you didn’t dream it, but 10 years ago this June the Magic actually played in the NBA Finals. They lost in 5 games to the Lakers, but they were there. Allegedly. In case you were wondering, cuz let’s face it, we won’t be doing a Magic item again likely for at least a year or two, the Magic’s all-time NBA Finals record is 1-8. Then again, at least they’ve been there. We’re looking at you, Atlanta Hawks.

5. Oops, He Did It Again

Another Suns loss. Another Devin Booker 50-point game, his second in a row in the span of three days. Last night he went for 50 after a 30-point first half in a 124-121 loss to Washington at Talking Stick Arena.

Here’s a list of the other nine players who have posted consecutive 50-point games and there’s only one name on that list who is not a (future) Hall of Famer: James Harden, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Bernard King, Antawn Jamison, Allen Iverson, Rick Barry, Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor.

And our guess here is that none of them were 22 or younger when they accomplished this feat, as Booker is. He also now has three career 50-or-more games, all Suns losses.

Booker also has four, count ’em four, 40-or-more-points performances this month.

Everyone in Arizona knew before this week began that Booker was the Suns’ top player, that he was the building block for the future. The upcoming draft will demonstrate that the Suns need to draft—or trade—a probably top three pick with the idea of building around his production. Should be an interesting and hot June in the Valley of the Sun.

Here’s a thought considering the five most likely draft picks (assuming the worst the Suns, who have the NBA’s 2nd-worst record, do in the draft lottery).

R.J. Barrett, Duke: No thanks. He’s a terrific scorer, but he, like Booker, needs the ball in his hands to maximize effectiveness.

Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga: We are elevating the Zag forward (he’s closer to a 6-15 pick) because we love his energy and his defense. Not unlike Nassir Little of North Carolina. Either would be a terrific piece because both are great glue guys, something the Suns need desperately.

Zion Williamson, Duke: Well, of course. Who wouldn’t want him? Phoenix already has a dedicated rim protector/rebounder in De’Andre Ayton, but Zion would demand attention giving Booker even more shots.

Rui Hachiamura, Gonzaga: He’s a four who can score, which Phoenix also needs. Also an underrated ball-handler with terrific foot work and he just seems like he’d be a fantastic teammate. He would not be the first Japanese player to wear a Suns uniform, by the way (remember 5’9″ Yuta Tabuse?), just the first one over six feet.

Ja Morant, Murray State: We think this is the most likely choice. It just feels fated that the Knicks will land Zion (good for the NBA, for the commish, for NYC, and of course for Spike Lee) and if the Suns get the 2nd pick, this human windsock is perfect. He’ll get Booker (and others) more open shots and he’ll captivate the Valley.

Yes, we are devoting entirely too much space to an NBA franchise that is 17-59. It’s been a long, dry decade, though.

Music 101 

Lost Horizons

Tonight, the Gin Blossoms are playing Sun Devil Stadium. Seriously. I’ve seen three bands play Sun Devil Stadium: the Rolling Stones (1981), The Who (1982) and U2 (1987). Yes, I’m well aware they’re from Tempe but this is a venue they could never hope to play in their early Nineties prime.

Speaking of which, this is the first track from their second album, New Miserable Experience, released in 1992, but this performance took place three years earlier. And yes, that is Penn Jillette introducing them.

Looking for pathos? The song was written by lead guitarist Doug Hopkins (playing here), but during the recording of the album Hopkins, who wound up also writing the band’s breakout Top 40 hit, “Hey Jealousy,” was fired. Reason? Persistent alcohol problems (listen again to the lyrics of this tune). Then, more than a year after this album’s release, it finally blew up due to the aforementioned Top 40 hit—and that’s when Hopkins committed suicide.

Technically, this is not a debut album, but it may as well have been. And it still holds up 27 years later. There’s more than a good song or two on it. So if you’re in the Valley of the Sun tonight, Sun Devil Stadium will be rocking.

Remote Patrol

Orioles at Yankees

1 p.m. ESPN

Florida State-Gonzaga 

7 p.m. CBS


7:30 p.m. TBS

Texas Tech-Michigan

9:30 p.m. CBS


10 p.m. TBS

“Here come the Judge, here come the Judge, here come the Judge…”

It’s a YUUUGE day of sportsball as Major League Baseball’s Opening Day collides with the Sweet 16!


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Grateful that Gregg Popovich wasn’t alive to see this. Wait, what?*

*The judges thought of making this an item and heading it “It’s Not Easy Being (Jeff) Green,” but we simply have more respect for you than that.

Starting Five

We Jussie Don’t Care

We’ve never seen even five seconds of Empire.

We’d never heard of the actor.

Just because it’s on Twitter doesn’t mean we have to care about it. Sure, we could follow that guideline more often, but this time, we jussie don’t care.

This much we will say: Don’t expect him to be showing up as a new character on Chicago Fire, Chicago Med or Chicago PD.

2. Intolerable Cruelty

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, whom you may recall has pledged to keep our nation’s public schools free of grizzly bears, submitted her 2020 budget proposal. Her proposed budget would eliminate funding or Special Olympics.

The funds in question are $18 million, a drop in the bucket for someone such as DeVos or her big boss. And likely some billionaire will step up and fill the void. But what’s the motivation behind being so unnecessarily cruel? Does DeVos think that Special Olympians are Puerto Rican?

We’ve worked a Special Olympics event and here’s what we know: We’ve never, I mean ever, come across athletes who were more genuine and thrilled to compete. They are so grateful for the opportunity, which is an offshoot of Rule No. 9 (some day, we promise, we are going to write a list of the 100 Rules), which is, “How Grateful Someone Is For What They Have Is Inversely Proportional To How Much They Actually Have.” Need more proof? This, which was all over Twitter yesterday.

We hate to return to the Nazi comparison again, but if the Heil fits…Hitler’s Reich was all about eliminating the mentally challenged and other handicapped folk from the general population (but yeah, the irony is that he would not remove himself). What so ever you do/To the least of my brothers/That you do unto me. 

3. Fredric March Madness

March with Myrna Loy, another all-time great, in The Best Years Of Our Lives

Our favorite channel is honoring the ultimate pro’s pro of an actor this month, Fredric March. The only male actor, ever, to win two Oscars and two Tonys, March is one of those old-timey actors who flies under the radar. You know Bogart and Brando, Gable and Grant, Cagney and Lacey (wait, there’s no Lacey!)—and Cooper, Jimmy and John (Stewart and Wayne).

But Fredric March is a name most casual fans don’t recall. He’s worth watching. Begin with The Best Years Of Our Lives, for which he won a Best Actor Oscar in 1947 (shoulda been Best Supporting, which would have allowed Jimmy Stewart to win Best Actor for It’s A Wonderful Life, same year). We’ve combed through most of AFI’s “Best 100 Movies” list, at least of those made after 1933 or so, and the more we watch TBYOOL the more we feel that not only is it the most representative film of American Life in the mid-20th century, but it’s just one of the 10 best all-time. Far superior to, say, Citizen Kane.

Also, it may have the most poignant final scene of any movie you can think of.

Then you can watch A Star Is Born (the original, 1936) and Inherit The Wind, where an older March jousts with Spencer Tracy (another more famous name, but also a pro’s pro among thespians). So yes, Fredric March being honored in March. We look forward to Virginia Mayo month and June Allyson month later this spring.

Final note: There’s a great line from Gene Kelly, as a journalist, to March in Inherit The Wind, which is a re-telling of the Scopes Monkey Trial. “A journalist’s job is to bring comfort to the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.”

Somewhere off camera Jesus heard that line and said, “That’s my jam!”

One more March item we nearly forgot: The Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1947 went to one of March’s castmates in TBYOOL, Harold Russell. A double-arm amputee—military wounds in World War II—Russell was not an actor. But William Wyler, the director, saw him in a training film and decided to cast him. Russell credited March with taking him aside on set and giving him pointers on how to act on camera and the result was a golden statuette.

As brilliant of an actor as March was, he was an even better acting coach. And, judging from that anecdote, an even better person.

4. Pause Interference

That zebra in the background? Blame him. “I’m the guy doing his job; you must be the other guy.”

We’ll never forget the cross-generational conversation we had with a sports writer about instant replay. I said that the rhythm of the game is a more important aspect than the average person appreciates and he fixed me with a rather smug look and said, “I just want them to get the calls right.”

Well, everyone does. But the advent of video review has only demonstrated that while, yes, sometimes egregious errors are fixed, often they are not. It still requires human interpretation and there are still times when the eye in the sky (or the guy in Chelsea or Secaucus) doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground. Meanwhile, we wait and the contest has all the momentum sucked out of it.

So now the NFL has, in its infinite wisdom, passed a rule saying that not only is pass interference reviewable, but that the non-call of pass interference is reviewable. It still goes to a coach’s two challenges per game, and can only be used in the final two minutes of a half.

Which we do not understand. If your gripe is that video replay erases egregious errors—this all a reaction to the horrible missed call at the end of the Rams-Saints NFC title game—then why would you compromise and only employ it for a limited time? What happens when a similarly egregious missed call happens with, say, 2:05 remaining in the Super Bowl?

People (in this case, referees) have jobs and it is their duty to do those jobs well. Mistakes will occasionally be made. But as soon as you employ this safety net, then all you guarantee is that these people will not do their jobs any better. If anything, worse. Meanwhile, the four-hour football game is upon us, as we’d imagine there are at least 60 passes attempted in any NFL game.

No one wants bad calls. It’s just a matter of what you’re willing to sacrifice in order to eliminate them, and the understanding, with years and years of evidence, that even video review will not change the fact that bad calls will happen. It’s a football game. Not asbestos litigation.

5. Bruce Almighty!

We love this.

The World Cross Country Championships are this weekend in Arhus, Denmark (“Arhus/In the middle of our street/Arhus!”). But most premium athletes bypass the event as it’s not as prestigious, or as lucrative, as being paid to appear in 10-Ks, half-marathons, what have you. It’s also done off-road where there is greater chance for injury.

This year, the WCCC have allowed that any runner who meets the relatively doable (not for  the average runner, but for the guy or gal who finishes in the top 5 of a local 10-K) times of 33:00 for men or 37:00 for women may enter. Which opens up the field a lot. But you still have to get yourself to Arhus.

So, the ultimate runners’ site, has decided to foot the bill to send one qualifying runner to the meet, and that person is Kelsey Bruce, above. She’s 26, a native of tiny Bracketville, Texas, and a former D-II runner at Dallas Baptist. Bruce’s best marathon time is a 2:31, which is excellent but only three years ago she was running 2:48, which is terrific but nowhere near Olympic class.

Anyway, she gets a free trip to Denmark and a chance to be a world champion this weekend, thanks to LetsRun. That’s kind of cool.

Music 101


Few catchphrases in music history more annoying than “Frankie Say Relax,” which may be why it became such an iconic t-shirt (Ross Geller owned one, but it was a little snug by the time he became a paleontologist). In the autumn of 1984, though, as New Wave peaked, Frankie Goes To Hollywood‘s breakout hit was playing in every dance club in America. I’d have paid to see these guys an Duran Duran engage in a winner-take-all slap fight.

Remote Patrol

The Dirt


Arguably the most distressing thing about sitting through a 107-minute biopic about Motley Crue is accepting that the soundtrack of the film will feature wall-to-wall Motley Crue tunes. The Crue didn’t invent hair metal (Alice Cooper and also the New York Dolls) but they were its most audacious ambassadors during its mid- to late-Eighties zenith. And if your band’s drummer banged wed both Heather Locklear and Pamela Anderson, then we’ll rescind that statement.

Bonus: Mick Mars is played by Iwan Rheon, whom you may recognize as Ramsay Bolton from Game Of Thrones.


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

I mean, your eyes don’t deceive you.

Starting Five

Thud Missile

So it turns out that, at least according to William Barr’s book report of the Mueller investigation, that the collusion-obstruction of justice suspicions were a huge nothing burger? Or is that nothingberder?

We honestly haven’t dived in too deep other than to realize that impeachment ain’t happening. Now please remind your Republican friends who are clutching their pearls about all this that folks are still chanting “Lock her up!” at Trump rallies.

2. The Porn Star Lawyer And The Extortion Scandal

Was it only a year ago that Michael Avenatti was flitting between MSNBC and CNN green rooms and dining with Christie Brinkley on the sly in Sag Harbor? Yesterday the FBI arrested Avenatti and charged him with attempting to extort $20 million from Nike relating to their latest sneaker deal scandal. Also, his alleged co-conspirator, Mark Garagos, is the same lawyer who brokered Colin Kaepernick’s monster payout from The Swoosh. Hmm.

If you’re keeping score in the Michaels Avenatti and Cohen-slash-Donald Trump-slash-Stormy Daniels ecosystem, the porn star is the person of integrity here.

The Nike Soulburst, coming to a Foot Locker near you…

That said, let’s not pretend that Nike or other shoe companies are clean. They cannot pay college (or high school) athletes, so instead they pay coaches. Coaches are competitive people and many of them are not yet Mike Krzyzewski but they aspire to be. So why not funnel some of that loot to players in hopes that they will play for me? It’s a dirty biz and if Nike, Under Armour and the NCAA wanted to clean it up, there’d be no restriction in paying the players directly. No one’s tuning in to see Sean Miller wear Kyrie 4’s, after all.

3. Booker Mark

Remember, Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is still just 22 years old. Two years ago in late March the former Kentucky guard put up 70 points against the Boston Celtics, in Boston. Last night, in a 33-point defeat at Utah, Booker put up 59 against the Jazz. It’s the most points scored in a 30-plus points defeat in NBA history, a dubious mark if ever there were one.

Five other players in NBA history have had multiple 59- or better point games. Here’s the list: Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Elgin Baylor, James Harden (who’s done it this season). That’s it. Not Kareem. Not Larry. Not Barry. Not LeBron.

And he’s only 22. By the way, the Suns took Booker out of the game hopelessly trailing by more than 25 with 5 minutes to play. He had 56 points. Then they reinserted him, likely in an effort to get him to 60. He finished one point shy as the Jazz fouled a teammate intentionally with :16 to play in order to deny him.

4. Royal D-Bag

Here’s UC-Irvine head coach Russ Turner glibly explaining that he called Oregon player Louis King “Queen” (get it!?!) during the Anteaters’ second-round loss to the Ducks (Chicks?) Sunday.

I actually want to thank him, only because he inadvertently provided a counter-balance to the Tom Izzo defenses all weekend. See, if you have a problem with what Turner did, I can use all of the same excuses some of the national cognoscenti used to defend Izzo: “It’s none of your direct business, stay out of it”; or, “Stop being offended by every little thing” or, my favorite, “He’s passionate and this is how he molds young men and makes them winners” argument.

Listen, neither Izzo’s or Turner’s offenses are that big of a deal. Just know that if Izzo’s actions didn’t bother you, you best not turn on that spigot of righteous indignation about Turner’s. Otherwise, maybe you’re just admitting that this is really about the cult of personality and that you like and know Izzo, while you don’t really know Turner.

One man’s physical intimidation is another man’s gay slur of an opposing player. The common denominator? Grown-ass millionaire coaches acting in a way that they’d never accept from their own players. Or that most of us wouldn’t.

5. Meet Us In Kelowna

You live on a continent more than half a century, you think you know it, right? Then you meet an amiable Canadian couple (going against type!) who tell you about the lovely inland British Columbia haven of Kelowna. A seven-hour drive west of Calgary, a 4 1/2-hour drive east of Vancouver, located on the shores of Okananagan Lake.

What a haven. Vineyards that come right up to the shore. Mountains and Banff National Park (relatively close). Fewer than 200,000 inhabitants. Do they have WiFi? A bartender shortage? Do they sell Ding Dongs? If so, sounds ideal.

Music 101 


Thoughts on Minneapolis-based Soul Asylum: 1) Never thought Dave Pirner and the gang fully got the love they deserved, 2) always seemed as if they’d have been just as happy playing bars in Uptown and along Hennepin their entire careers, and of course the annual Basilica Block Party every July, as they were becoming “modern rock” stars. This was their lone hit, in 1995, from Let Your Dim Light Shine, their follow-up album to the 1993 smash Grave Dancers Union.

Biblio Files

The Great Brain 

You may love to read because a certain childrens’ series hit you and hard. I’ve already noted The Hardy Boys from my childhood and certainly anyone under the age of, say, 30, absolutely spent hours and hours in their bedroom devouring Harry Potter. Chip Hilton. Jupiter Jones. Encyclopedia Brown. Nancy Drew. Etc.

One of the lesser-known series, I think, is another favorite of mine. The Great Brain books by author John Dennis Fitzgerald are all based on the author’s actual childhood, growing up in Utah in the late 19th century as the younger brother of a boy genius. There were three brothers in all. Narrator John Fitzgerald is the Nick Carraway to older brother Tom’s Jay Gatsby, except that this is all pre-pubescent or adolescent hi-jinks in the American southwest.

Eight books in all, but my favorite was The Great Brain At The Academy.


by John Walters

So close, then fading out to eternity….

Dawkins, Duke, Dynasty, Destiny

On its own merit, Duke 77, UCF 76 was a classic almost as dramatic as the Christian Laettner game from 1992. If the Knights convert that alley oop with 1:56 to play they’re up 6 and the arena in Columbia is going bonkers. Alas, UCF boofed that bunny and the game-ending tip-in and allowed a pair of costly offensive boards in Duke’s final trip on offense, the latter being converted to the game-winning tip-in.

The Blue Devils survived, barely; the empire is safe. And sure, Zion got away with a charge on Duke’s final offensive sequence, but the refs were not about to call two charging violations on the most lauded player in the game in the final four minutes. Wasn’t fair, but it wasn’t happening.

Heeeeeeeeeeere’s Johnny!

What added an extra layer to this contest is that the player who missed those two UCF bunnies was Aubrey Dawkins, whose dad is not only the coach at UCF, Johnny Dawkins, but was also Mike Krzyzewski’s first big-time recruit 37 years ago. In 1982, when the ACC had the likes of Ralph Sampson and Michael Jordan, Coach K was just a dude in his mid-thirties struggling to hold onto his job. But that winter he landed his first elite recruiting class: Dawkins, Jay Bilas, Mark Alarie and David Henderson. By the time they were seniors they were playing for the national championship (losing to Louisville and freshman phenom Pervis Ellison).

If Coach K fails to land Dawkins, the class of that class, his ascendance at Duke is at best delayed and at worst never takes place. And here is Dawkins, nearly four decades later, with a chance to bounce his mentor from the tourney, with his son, who would score 32 points in an otherwise outstanding performance, only needing a tip-in at the buzzer to complete the odyssey.

Didn’t happen. But what a dramatic twist. It was Dickensian. It was Dawkinsian.


Tacko Fall won the posterization battle with Zion, who likely had never played against someone 11 inches taller than he. The 7’6″ Senegal native finished with 15 points and six boards and UCF’s program and fans will always wonder what might have been if he hadn’t fouled out on that final Zion drive. If he’d had 3 fouls heading into that play, he likely grabs the missed free throw.

–Teams seeded 1-4 in each region finished a combined 29-2 in the first and second rounds. The lone losses both came out of the Sunflower State: Kansas, a 4, lost in the second round to Auburn and Kansas State, also a 4, to UC-Irvine in the first round.

–The Sweet 16: Five ACC schools, four SEC schools, three Big Ten schools, one Big 12, one Pac 12 and two mid-majors: Gonzaga and Houston, 32-2 and 33-3, respectively. Cinderella   got stood up.

–We’re huge fans of North Carolina freshman Nassir Little, whose spirit animal is Dennis Rodman. The 6’6″ frosh is a muscular, athletic dynamo. It doesn’t look as if he could even finish third in a rec league game of (below-the-rim) horse but all he does is make plays and  be in the right place at the right time. Little, UNC’s sixth man, has played 37 minutes in the Tar Heels’ two games, and has 49 points. Pretty damn good.

–Yes, in terms of games, the tourney is more than 75% complete. And through 48 games we’ve had just one contest that people will remember a month from now. The upside is that with so much chalk advancing, next weekend should promise some tight match-ups. Our top three:

  1. Gonzaga-Florida State
  2. Auburn-North Carolina (the “Inside the NBA” family feud)
  3. Oregon-Virginia


by John Walters


The Traveling Marburys

Watch for yourself. LSU guard Tremont Waters takes three steps, and arguably commits a palming violation, on his game-winning bucket. I’m not mad, bro; just resigned to the fact that basketball has come to this. It’s sort of peculiar that the only times basketball players take three steps on the way to the basket is when they absolutely need to. It’s almost as if the rules don’t count when the will to succeed becomes paramount.

Where have we seen that mind-set before?

Here’s what we don’t understand, and yes we’ve read the rules. Why is that if a post player picks up his pivot foot—in theory a second step—that is a travel, but if a high-flying, potentially posterizing potentate picks up his dribble near the top of the key and takes three steps it’s not? One of those three steps would’ve had to have been his pivot foot, no? And he still gets an extra step?

While we’re at it, the cradling-the-rock-as-I-drive-to-the-hoop move also must be banished. Thanks for listening. I’ll see myself out to work on my golf shots and cribbage game.

Blowout City: In games that featured 20-point leads, and in Auburn-Kansas’ case, 25, and in Purdue-Villanova’s 32, Saturday was plagued by blowouts: Florida State over Murray State, Michigan State over Minnesota, Gonzaga over Baylor, the Tigers over the Jayhawks and the Boilermakers over the JayWrights.

(Yes, yes and yes)

See Ja Later: Florida State, which got knocked out in the Elite Eight last March, played like a Final Four squad in humbling Ja Morant and Murray State. This was the worst defensive outing of the tournament, 90-62. This was the ugliest defensive outing of the tourney, as the Seminoles shot above 50% from the field.

Fletch: On Thursday Wofford’s Fletcher Magee set an NCAA record for most three-pointers made in a career, 506. Two days later the senior set an NCAA tournament record for most threes missed in a game without a make, 12. They say you miss all of the shots you never take, but sometimes you miss all of the shots that you do, too.

That’s Livers AND Onions!!!

The Best Of Carsen: Purdue guard Carsen Edwards springs for a career-high 42 points as the Carbombs obliterate the defending national champs, 87-61. It was 64-32 at one point early in the second half. The top three teams in the Big Ten have advanced to the Sweet 16: Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue.

Growth Spurts: How do players such as Ja Morant and Brandon Clarke, who scored 36 in Gonzaga’s win over Baylor last night, wind up at mid-majors? By growing late in, or even after, the recruiting cycle. Learned via announcers yesterday that Morant was a 5’10” high school senior (he’s now 6’3″) while Clarke took a scholarship offer from San Jose State as a 6’2″ guard out of the lovely desert haven of Ahwatukee. He’s now 6’8″ and for our money, a top 20 NBA draft pick this June.


We believe in equal time so we’ll air Scott Van Pelt’s commentary on the Tom Izzo-Aaron Henry incident here. We disagree completely with SVP’s premise: that this was about how some people (us?) get offended too easily or don’t understand what it takes to hold someone accountable. Hardly. Yell at a player all you want. The moment you make it about physical intimidation you cross a line. Where was this attitude a couple of years ago when that Rutgers men’s coach was seen in practice abusing his players? Or is the difference simply that Izzo is well-liked and has won? The results don’t alter the behavior. The behavior is what it is. We agree with Drew Magary here.

One more thing: SVP seems to be making the argument that you shouldn’t be offended or opine on things that don’t directly concern you. Great. So let’s cancel First Take, High Noon, PTI, Around The Horn, Highly Questionable….

Dynasties Dunked On: With Villanova, Maryland, Florida and Kansas losing Saturday, that’s four schools that have accounted for six national championships this century. To see that many national championships this century fall today, you’d need Duke and North Carolina to lose. Don’t see it happening.

Uncontested Shots

I’m going to enjoy Announcer Phil’s schtick right up to the moment that he informs me that CBS’ coverage of the NCAA tournament does not include corn syrup…That was a really nice touch by CBS, giving Baylor’s Mark Vital a chance via recorded video to tell Charles Barkley what a role model he has been to him, and then it was a really awkward moment as you could tell Barkley did not know the kid’s name. And then it was even funnier, after Barkley promised he’d reach out to Vital, when you heard Kenny Smith mutter off-camera, “Wish he knew you like I know you”…Also enjoyed CBS’ feature  on the Michigan managers and their obsession with taking hotel ballroom taping to the next level…Coby White. Nassir Little. Half of the Wolverines’ squad. Will some announcer please explain what’s up with the pink sneakers? We assume it’s breast cancer awareness, but maybe these players also like the way they look/feel? Someone? Please?…While we’re at it, after we outlaw the ball-cradle-move, let’s outlaw the off-ball defender draping his arm around the back of his man…No one is doing a poor job, but as sideline reporters go, Lisa Byington (Salt Lake City) has distinguished herself as network-level quality. Also, apologize for not knowing her name, but the woman who handled Liberty post-game oncourt interviews on Friday also did a terrific job…We didn’t like the way the LSU game ended (had no dog in fight, just wanna see rules enforced), but wow was that a GROWN ASS MAN game. At one point we thought to ourselves, “What a sequence!” and just then Jim Spanarkel said, “What a sequence!”…By the way, yes, Ian Eagle and Spanarkel do a fantastic job and yet we’re going to get all Jim Nantz and whoever when the Final Four comes. That’s just the way it is…


Sunday Spectacular (best three games): 1) North Carolina-Washington (2:40 p.m., CBS), 2) Oklahoma-Virginia (7:45 p.m., TRU) 3) Buffalo-Texas Tech (6:10 p.m., TNT).

No, UCF-Duke did not make our list and yes, we know it will garner the highest viewership of the day. Duke doesn’t have an interesting game until Michigan State in the Elite Eight next weekend.


by John Walters

Day 2

Scare Tactics: For the first time in tournament history, two No. 1 seeds (UVA and UNC) trail to 16 seeds at halftime. The Cavaliers were behind by 6 to Gardner-Webb and the Heels by 5. After intermission the Wahoos outscored the upstarts by 21 and the Tar Heels by 20 as both advance.

Colgate: Better to have loved and flossed…

Pink Eye For The ‘Gate Guy: Colgate’s best player, 6’10” Rapolas Ivanauskas, the Patriot League Player of the Year, missed the entire second half with pink eye. He wears contacts and was unable to insert them. Ivanauskas took four shots and missed all of them and was a non-factor.

Where’s The Drama?: Through two days and 32 games—in terms of games, the tourney has already passed the halfway mark—there have been zero buzzer-beaters or overtime games. In Friday’s action, no one even had the chance to attempt one. On Thursday, NMSU did and air-balled.

Hot Halves: The three most prolific scoring outputs in a half thus far: 55, by UNC (2nd half), 54, by Duke (2nd half), and 53, by Gonzaga (1st half). Yes, those are all No. 1 seeds. The only other squad to put up a 50-point half thus far is Oklahoma, a No. 9 seed that scored 50 against Ole Miss in the first half. The Sooners’ 95-point game is the highest of th tourney. Lowest scoring half belongs to Abilene Christian, which put up 13 against Kentucky.


Impressive Showings: Va. Tech and Oklahoma, which ran out to 22- and 17-point first-half leads, respectively. Also, the Pac-12 somewhat redeemed itself as both Oregon and Washington won.

Fall Guy: UCF’s 7’6″ Tacko Fall had 18 rebounds and will face Zion Williamson and Duke on Sunday. Get your seismographs ready.

The hyper-athletic Nassir Little

Big Little: There’s something Vernon Maxwell-meets-Dennis Rodman-ish about North Carolina frosh Nassir Little. Muscular and athletic and he always seems to be wherever the ball or action is. The 6’6″ Floridian had 19 points in just 17 minutes of action for the Heels yesterday. He’ll never lead his NBA team in scoring but he’ll be a fan favorite wherever he lands.

Adam Anteaters!: Wofford has the nation’s longest current win streak at 21 games, but coming in second is UC-Irvine at 17. The Anteaters (the most heavily played 12-seed this side of Murray State) took down Kansas State, which was without its top player, Jordan Wade. Both Wofford and UC-Irvine notched their first tourney wins in school history, as did the program we’re about to mention…

Homesley Not Homely: The leading scorer in the tournament among teams that advanced to the weekend is Liberty’s Caleb Homesley, who put up 30 in the Flames’ come-from-behind win versus Mississippi State.

Uncontested Shots

Okay, we find the Phil campaign somewhat amusing, though we gotta ask, “Isn’t yellow a primary color?”…Kudos to the broadcaster who added the cherry on top to Colgate guard Jordan Burns‘ 32-point performance. After the 6’0″ sophomore scored his final three to give him his point total (2nd-best of tourney thus far) in the waning seconds, the announcer noted that his high school football coach had told him he’d never play D-1 hoops. That’s the perfect announcing complement to a well-played game. Well done…I’m not digging the 5-man team chemistry of that TBS studio show. Coach Capel has the look of someone who’s hangry and just found out the kitchen closed 5 minutes ago but the bar’s still open; I know some people who read me think I have a strong dislike of a certain person on that crew but the truth is that we were once good friends and that whatever exchanges passed between us before (thanks for keeping that alive on the inter web forever, Awful Announcing; you’re doing the Lord’s work), he is terrific on TV. That studio show needs to subtract one to two people to do better…Steve Smith, for good and bad, doesn’t hold back on the opining. He made a fantastic point in Columbus yesterday about how you can talk about team chemistry on the bus and in the locker room but the real litmus test is watching how well a team helps on defense. True dat. The other point he made, one that was flat-out salt in the wounds, was noting that Colgate’s Ivanauskas, the pink eye victim, will feel bad today but what will really haunt him is all the years to come when he reflects on how he might’ve been the difference in an upset of Tennessee if only he’d been able to play. Here’s salt in your eye!…Are Makai Mason and Payton Pritchard the same dude?…Did Chris Webber need to mention twice that Kenny Smith’s son, who entered Lori Loughlin the game in the final minute Felicity Huffman for the Tar Heels, is there on merit Lori Loughlin and is not the Felicity Huffman product of entitlement?


Saturday Slate: Finally, the tournament should find some momentum and drama today. Top three games we are most looking forward to viewing: 1) Murray State-Florida State (6:10 p.m.), 2) Wofford-Kentucky (2:40 p.m.) 3) Gonzaga-Baylor (7:10 p.m.)


by John Walters

As @TheBenSwain wondered, “Why is Luke Maye on here twice?” 

Day 1

Ja Rules: Murray State’s Ja Morant goes for 15-10-10 and notches the first triple-double in NCAA tourney since Draymond Green in 2012 as Murray State blows out Marquette.

Wofford Wollops: The Terriers go on a game-ending 17-2 run to take out yet another Big East school, conference champ Seton Hall. Fletcher Magee becomes the NCAA’s all-time leader in made threes (506) by shooting 7 of 12 from beyond the arc. Love the pogo-stick three, by the way. Wofford’s first ever tourney victory.

Izzo Wigs Out: No, Tom Izzo did not actually touch freshman Aaron Henry, but that’s hardly the point (more below).

Football Conference Power: The B1G and SEC go a combined 9-0 on Day 1. All told, Power 5 conferences went 12-2 with the lone losses coming to other Power 5 schools.

Gonzaga’s Back: The Zags, who scored 47 in last week’s WCC Championship Game loss to St. Mary’s, posted 53 in half one in routing Fairleigh Dickinson 87-49. The Gaels, meanwhile, fell to Villanova, the lone Big East survivor.

The moment we realized Maryland was going to survive Belmont

Windler Warrior: Belmont’s Dylan Windler scores 35, high man on Day One, but the Bruins fall by 2 to Maryland. Was Windler’s effort the best thing Scott Van Pelt saw yesterday (in person)?

NMissU: The Aggies pass up an uncontested layup, down 2 late, for a three-point shot that misses. Get the foul call but shooter misses 2 of 3. Get yet another final-second chance, air ball a three. Yeesh surplus.

If You Can Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em: Baylor’s Makai Mason joins a very short list, we assume, of players who lead a team to a tournament victory (the Yale grad transfer scored 21 points in the Bears’ defeat of Syracuse) that he formerly defeated in the tournament (the Bulldogs upset the Waco school in the first round of the 2016 NCAAs).

Daily Barkley

“Chess is really difficult, I heard”

–Charles’ checkers speech

Wondering if Bill (left) gave the Cards the pre-game “Meatballs” speech: “It just doesn’t matter! It just doesn’t matter!”

Uncontested Shots

When an announcer says, “Almost a travel” or “almost a carry,” 100% of the time that means it was simply an uncalled travel or carry…We love that the name of the host city is written on the side of every court, even if the glare from the venue’s lights make them difficult to read; Still, good job on that one, NCAA…We’ve got nothing personal against Casey Stern, but the dude who finished runner-up to him for that TBS studio host gig must be a tad non-plussed…Do yourself a favor and keep a tally of how many times the CBS studio dudes, particularly Charles and Kenny, reference something but cannot recall the name of the player or coach or school and then Ernie has to step in to supply the name. Yesterday we noted this on Twitter and moments later Kenny was making an LSU in ’19 comparison to Michigan in ’90 and could not recall the names of Bill Frieder-Steve Fisher…I know I’m an old-timer in terms of rules, but we need to eliminate the tuck-the-ball-under-your-arm drive to the hoop maneuver. Never mind that it can only be accomplished by taking an extra step, which leads me to this question: Why isn’t it a “gather step” when a post player moves his other foot on the low post?…How poetic to see Bill Murray, whose son is a Louisville assistant, rooting once again against the Gophers; you’ve gotta wonder is someone at the Selection Committee set that up, though we wouldn’t give them this much credit. Alas, for the Cardinals, it was not “a Cinderella story”…Tell me you laughed when you saw the “Introduction to Basket Weaving” ad; does the NCAA really want to be calling extra attention to this skill during the tournament?…

H To The Izzo

It’s difficult to opine on the Izzo Incident without, by the very act of mentioning it, making it appear bigger than it was. But we’ll try. Yes, if you watch the video (above) closely, you’ll note that the only humans who actually put hands on other humans here were the Spartan players placing hands on Izzo (to hold him back). So, yes, I gotcha.

But here’s why, for us, it’s so wrong: When a 64 year-old moves toward an 18- or 19- year-old in a threatening manner, he’s unconsciously acknowledging that the only reason he may do so with impunity is that he holds all the cards. He has job security and is financially set for life. The player’s hoops future, meanwhile, rests in his hands. The coach has all the leverage, which is the only reason he can presume that a physical altercation between the two won’t end up with him laying unconscious. Which is how it would end up any other time these two squared off. So by moving toward Henry the way Izzo did, he’s exploiting his position.

Bark at your player all you want. But when you move at him as if you’re going to physically manhandle him, you’re being a bully. Because in the real world you’d be KO’d.

We thought it was telling when Reggie Miller, seated courtside, offered, “I don’t mind the passion and the fire, especially if it’s directed at—with good intent.” Are you paying attention? Reggie was about to say “a freshman” but then caught himself and realized how out-of-touch that would sound. So, deftly, he quickly changed it to “with good intent.” Me, personally, I’m sick of “good intent.” Give me “good results” instead.

Hey Ja!

While only attempting eight shots yesterday afternoon, Murray State sophomore Ja Morant totally controlled the action in the Racers’ runaway win against Marquette. We liked what Kenny the Jet said about him: “He’s quick, but he doesn’t hurry.” So true. There were moments when Morant would grab a defensive board and lead a fast break that led to an assist, but there were just as many when he’d slow the action, wait for a pick to develop, and let the play come to him.

One final pleasure of watching him play? I’d pay just to see him dribble out of half-court double teams.

We’ve been extolling Ja for two months on this site as the only other player in the same galaxy as Zion Williamson. Yesterday, with his first real opportunity, he showed the world why. Zion and Ja (what outstanding and marketable names, by the way) are picks one and two in the NBA draft, in no particular order. Though we think Zion will go first. But no team (Phoenix? New York? Cleveland? Dallas?) is going to mind settling for the second dude in that pair. No team. Different skill sets, but both are WOW! players.

And we like R.J. Barrett as much as you do. He’s just not a human dynamo the way those two are. He’s more of a Tracy McGrady type, which is to say he’s a scorer but he’s not a lead-us-to-the-promised-land level talent.


Maybe this is the Snowflake Libtard in us coming out, but we’re a little dubious about Nike’s “Family” warmups, just as we are dubious about constantly being bombarded on Twitter with videos of “soldier returns home after a year away and surprises son/daughter” videos. We appreciate military service; we also understand that military service is voluntary (like Hyman Roth, “this is the business we’ve chosen”) and we’re not really at war with anyone in that a president Congress has to technically declare war. We appreciate the military servicemen, but we appreciate teachers every bit as much. Just as we appreciate family, but there’s no proof (in fact, quite the contrary) that being part of a family makes you a more valuable member of society or a better person.

File the above paragraph under “Unpopular Opinions.” But we’ll stand by it. Meanwhile, the push toward military worship and family above all and law-and-order are all aspects of the same movement. And that is to strip away the freedom and/or the voice of the individual. Pay attention.


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

NZL > NRA. It’s amazing what can be accomplished when you get money out of politics.

Starting Five

Luke Maye could finish his North Carolina career with more national championships than Michael Jordan

Tourney Time

This is the first day of the sports year. The Super Bowl is the last day of the sports year. The six weeks or so in between are a void of frigid despair that only exist to help us better appreciate the other 10-plus months.

It’s also the first full day of spring. You made it again, America. Damn proud of you.

Your top seeds: Duke, Gonzaga, Virginia, North Carolina

Our Final Four: Duke, Michigan, Tennessee, North Carolina

Best first-round matchup: Marquette and Markus Howard versus Murray State and Jam O’Rant (or, if you prefer, Ja Morant). These are the top two scorers in the entire tournament facing off in Round 1, today at 4:30 EDT.

Sexy Sleepers (teams that could advance to second weekend)

East:  Belmont (11), Yale (14)

West: Murray State (13), Buffalo (6)

South: Oregon (12), UC-Irvine (13)

Midwest: Wofford (7), New Mexico State (12)

2. For Pete’s Sake

Really was impressed by South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 37, in this interview on Morning Joe yesterday. Intelligent. Honest. Fair. Thoughtful. Insightful. Unsullied.

Mayor Pete: “The most important job of an elected leader is to call people to their highest values and to bring them together.”

Honestly, it really feels as if he watched every episode of The West Wing twice and in between watched every Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood that aired. Smart, smart dude and not about to be tripped up by any gotcha questions. There’s a sense, unlike what we’ve been dealing with for two years, that he actually does know what he’s talking about (as opposed to just continually declaring, emptily, “I know what I’m talking about!”).

He’s going to be the smartest guy in the room (he speaks about 4 or 5 languages, at least) in any room he walks into (we suspect he’s heard of Aleppo) and it’s going to be a matter of people getting past his youth or his open sexuality (he’s married) or the fact that he’s not going to flop in the mud with the incumbent.

Should be verrrry interesting to see where this campaign heads…

3. There’s A New Stick In Town

Don’t misunderestimate (I know) the symbolic significance of Tampa Bay’s 5-4 overtime win at Washington last night. Yes, we’re talking about the NHL. Hockey. Yes. Here, in this blog.

The Lightning defeated the Stanley Cup champs, the Capitals, in overtime and were led once again by Nikita Kucherov, who had two goals. The Bolts have by far the top record in the NHL (the victory gives them 118 points; the next highest total is Boston’s and Calgary’s 97) and Kucherov is the favorite to win the Hart Trophy as the league MVP.

The 25 year-old Russian is the NHL’s leader in points (goals + assists) with 119 and while his compatriot, the Caps’ Alex Ovechkin, still leads the NHL in goals scored (48), he’s now 33 with a streak of white in that feral mane. Kucherov isn’t physically imposing (5’11”, 178) the way Ovi is, but he’s been the league’s top skater this season.

4. Fake Moos*

*The judges will also accept “MooToo Movement” and “We’re With Leather”

A couple of days ago, noob congressman Devin Nunes (R-Cal) brought a $250 million lawsuit against Twitter, specifically a pair of parody accounts (@DevinCow, @DevinNunesMom) that openly mocked him. Seems like the kind of thing senior legislative leadership should be devoting energy and resources to doing, no?

Nunez always has the look of “the presentation didn’t go well, did it?”

Anyway, at the time Nunes brought the suit, @DevinCow had a little more than 3,000 followers. This morning it has more than 500,000 followers, or more than 25% more than Nunes himself has on Twitter. That’s what’s known as a self-own (and not a cellphone).

Our mom and dad (and yours) always had the best advice on taunting: ignore them and they’ll stop. Too bad Nunes either had bad parents or failed to heed their advice.

5. Fantastic Finland

For yesterday’s World Happiness Day, the U.N. issued its annual World Happiness Report and for the second consecutive year, Finland finished atop the list. A Scandinavian nation that pretty much resembles northern Minnesota, Finland comes by its happiness honestly.

Scandinavia and Viking-related nations scored well overall, as the top five was rounded out by Denmark, Iceland, Norway and the Netherlands. The next five were Switzerland, Sweden, New Zealand, Canada and Austria.

If you’re thinking, They’re all basically the same country, aren’t they? Well, we were thinking that as well.

Music 101

Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm

Few songs invited more mockery, but the Crash Test Dummies penned a global hit in 1993 with this plodding tune. A No. 1 hit in seven countries, including Australia, Germany and Norway, it also was a top five track in the U.S.A. and UK. Not bad for a folk group from Winnipeg.

Remote Patrol

March Madness

ALL DAMN DAY (beginning at 9:15 a.m. on the Best Coast!)


1 p.m. TNT

1:30 p.m. TBS

Will Ja rule today?


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Nets And Yahoo

Down 103-78 to start the fourth quarter in Sac-Town, the Brooklyn (“Yo, BROOKLYN!”) Nets outscore the Kings 45-18 to win 123-121. D’Angelo Russell leads the charge, scoring 27 fourth-period points (44 for the game) while Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored the game-winner, a spinning back-to-the-hoop layup, with 0.8 ticks left.

It’s the fourth 25-points or more fourth-quarter deficit comeback since 1954, the launch of the shot-clock era. If you really wanna savor this, visit Brooklynite Marcia Herold‘s tweets from last night as the comeback began.

2. Play Ball!

Yes, the Major League Baseball season is underway. The Mariners defeated the Athletics 9-7 last night in the Tokyo Dome in Japan. Ichiro, back in his native land, had two at-bats, walking and flying out. Domingo Santana smacked a grand slam.

The boys of summer actually played an official MLB game in winter. It’s the earliest ever start to a baseball season (March 20).

3. Free Silo

How biblical is the flooding in Nebraska? Swollen rivers and late-winter ice chunks made for record floods and devastating losses for the state’s farmers. What you may not have heard from the Oval Office is that farms filing for Chapter 12 bankruptcy protection rose by 19% last year across the Midwest, the highest level in a decade. This according to the American Farm Bureau.

And now this late-winter flood is going to be the coup de grace for many a generational family farm in the Cornhusker state. “It’s probably over for us, now,” Anthony Ruzicka, whose alfalfa and corn fields were filled with giant ice chunks, told The New York Times. “Financially, how do you recover from something like this?”

Torrential rains aren’t the fault of the president (although Jerry Falwell, Jr., would probably claim they are if that POTUS were a Kenyan-born Muslim), but a tariff stare down with China that had farmers storing their crops, waiting for a brighter day to sell, is.

4. Bottom-Feeders

Maybe some enterprising Nebraskan will copy this idea: in the southern Norwegian town of Lindesnes, the world’s largest—and Europe’s first—underwater restaurant has just opened. It is named “Under” and we don’t suggest you ask if there is outdoor seating.

On the menu (glad y0u asked): locally caught fish, seabirds and wild sheep. If you’re curious as to where Lindesnes is, it’s pretty much the southernmost point of Norway, on the North Sea.

5. Carnage In Mozambique

More storm devastation news: In the southeastern African nation of Mozambique, which sits along the Indian Ocean and is just to the west of Madagascar, a cyclone has claimed at least 200 lives. You and I don’t know anyone from Mozambique, most likely, which is why this catastrophic storm isn’t receiving the attention of say, Donald Trump’s latest verbal slap fight with George Conway or Megan McCain.

Isn’t it odd how back in the Old Testament a spate of deadly storms and floods would signal that God was angry with mankind, but now we just explain it all away with fancy meteorological terms?

Also, in case you were wondering, a hurricane is a circular air mass that spins counterclockwise and is the term we use for such storms in the Caribbean and Atlantic. A cyclone spins clockwise and that is the terms we use for such storms in the southern hemisphere.

Biblio Files

Dark Matter

by Blake Crouch (2016)

Our first reader suggestion comes from Megan Stanage, who writes, “It’s a thriller with sci-fi and such a crazy theme that it makes you rethink every decision you’ve made in your entire life.

Oh, Megan. I’ve been doing that for quite some time.

Remote Patrol

First Four

Arizona State vs. St. John’s

9 p.m. TRU

This will most likely be a rock fight, but the coaches are HOF’ers and we’ve got family that graduated from both schools so we’re required to watch.