March Madness!

  • Wow what a time of the year!

    Moving back to the Chicago area has added HS hoops as a major attraction for me. Great talent in this area and fans pack gyms. March Madness at its best.

    In an unprecedented move a sectional final Friday night between Farragut (where Kevin Garnett attended) and North Lawndale Col. Prep (Where Anthony Davis attended) ended with a double disqualification of both teams when a brawl broke out on the court and players from both teams left their benches to participate. A team called Depaul gets a bye straight to the state semifinals as a result. Sad story. Both schools are from an extremely tough neighborhood called Lawndale and these sorts of things just make a chance at something positive turn negative. I pray it doesn’t lead to the type of retaliatory violence that plagues the city. Farragut was about to win the game and move on so there will be some really hurt young people there.

    Aston Francis scored 62 points Friday night to lead Wheaton College of Illinois to the D3 final four. First time ever for the school. Francis leads all divisions with a 33 PPG. I’ve seen him play a few times as we have a lot of family connections to the school including a daughter currently attending. Aston has almost unlimited range and has a green light to shoot that would make Charlie Moore blush.

    Conference tournament week is in full force. Every night there will be games on ESPN between little known teams and we get drawn to their stories. Lets hope Murray St., who qualified last night, gets a couple of games so we can see that great dunker they have. Then the week winds down when the bigger conferences get rolling with their shindigs. Usually as not much drama as infrequently bids on their tourney are on the line. A cinderella can win a game or two and get into the dance with their 10 or 11 losses and then lose quickly in the dance.

    Then the brackets come out. CBS shows a bunch of young men crying or laughing, dancing or sulking. They inevitably talk to the snubbed team with 13 losses as if any of us should really feel for them. But for every illegitimate snubbed team there are the legit snubbees and we get outraged there. The poor lads go 28-4, get upset in their conference final and see ya later, even though they own wins over 4 ranked teams.

    Of course some at this very space will whine about our unfair treatment, others won’t whine and say it’s an easy bracket. We’ll argue our cases, hurt a few feelings along the way, ask for forgiveness, usually granted, and we move on.

    (notice I haven’t written about the NBA?)

    Baseball is upon us! It’s actually my favorite sport. I’ll watch games from April 1 to Nov. 1. No complaints from me about season length although I guess I’m famous here for complaining about game lengths. I’m not much of a spring training watcher so those games don’t distract me from the matters at hand, but looking forward to the daily rhythms of the sport is something I take pleasure in a lot.

    And golf has suddenly gotten more interesting in March. A schedule switch has moved the Players Championship and its’ island green madness back to March. It’s great theater except it conflicts with the NCAA tournament of course. The Masters, while technically not March is a great low key drama after the NCAA madness dies down.

    Have fun. It may not be our typical Jayhawk March, but it may be as well. Who knows?

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