March Madness 2014 – Here we go!

Well, I had meant to do a post on the Winter Olympics, reflecting on how nice that it wasn’t dangerous and how nice that Team USA’s Meryl Davis and Charlie White won gold in ice dancing and that Bob Costas managed to pull through back on the anchor desk coverage.  And, how nice was that closing ceremony, even though I will never understand why NBC insisted on using (exploiting) the Olympics to promote its not very good new sitcoms.

But, then international realpolitick prevailed and kind of made my positive sentiment rather murky.  The Russia-Crimea-Ukraine situation is pretty mind-boggling, but the world is nuts, I think.

I kept looking for other things to distract me.  PBS NewsHour’s Miles O’Brien (the real one, although I’m sure he gets enough attention from Star Trek fans, since the Trek universe has its own Miles O’Brien) had quite a situation in losing his arm due to complications from compartment syndrome after his arm got banged up by his equipment.  He talked about the experience on the NewsHour, and I was so moved and wished him the best of luck.  Maybe his being a science journalist can bring some perspective to the situation.

Meanwhile, in time for the anniversary of the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear meltdown of Japan, the NewsHour aired O’Brien’s threepart story on the status of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, with the meltdown’s consequences still ongoing,  Really fascinating exploration on the science and the policies, and I recommend watching the story.

The disappearance of Malaysian Airlines, Flight 370, is just capturing our imagination, with the endless speculation.  When or if we get actual evidence is a real question, which might lead to some kind of answer, even if still unsatisfactory.

Amid all the turmoil in the world, I look forward to March Madness as a nice distraction.  It feeds the economy to some extent (umm, all that junk food and cable tv and gambling, etc.).  We enter the delusion that scholar-athletes can bring a little glory, and maybe some money via the NCAA will get to flow to other, less high profile NCAA sports. At least, that’s what I keep hoping every year.

Of course, every year, I keep thinking that I’ll pay more attention to the regular season and I’m too casual a fan to really watch much.  My Alma Mater undergrad school’s men’s basketball team actually did pretty well this season (certainly tons better than our football team this past season), playing competitively outside and inside the Ivy League, until Harvard blew us away in a blow out.  I’m impressed that Alma Mater got invited to play some post-season tournament (notwithstanding that I never heard of Tournament (CIT)).  I’ve heard of the NIT, and I don’t know what to make of the CIT, but hopefully people get some fun out of this. has a good post on the five games to watch, among the 64 teams of the NCAA Men’s Division 1 Basketball tournament.  I get the feeling that I’ll be too stuck at work to get to watch the games I’d like to watch.  Manhattan College has Louisville in (that’s what they call it these days) Round 2.  Hopefully Manhattan gets to be competitive.

I’m also hoping that Harvard gets a real shot against Cincinnati; hope springs eternal that the Ivy League can show that it can play with everyone else.  Then again, I picked them this time in my brackets so… eh, who knows?  Of course, I haven’t even done my brackets yet and it’s not like I followed any regular season games.  I’m also wishful about the Big East, but that’s old-fashioned local home region talking there.  Ah well…

I read this article in (dead tree edition) Sports Illustrated, about the Princetown v. Georgetown game, reputedly saving the NCAA.  Worthwhile read about that 1980’s era of college basketball and the personalities (the coaches, the players, the variety of issues/themes – race, class, the rise of Cinderella in the NCAA).

Meanwhile, President Obama has made his picks for his men’s brackets.  I guess he wants a distraction like the rest of us.

On with the rest of March.  Maybe we can some consistent spring temperatures already!

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