It’s been two years since we got to have an NCAA Tournament, and this one is going to be different, staged entirely in Indianapolis and entirely without Duke and Kentucky. Oh, and even though it’s in one city, that doesn’t mean a pandemic isn’t still happening, so who the hell knows what will happen with that?
Anyway, some early advice, even before the bracket comes out at… (congratulations to syracuse.com on winning the SEO battle here) 6 p.m. Eastern. That’s Eastern Daylight Time. You set your clock forward, right? No, not you, Arizona, but you do have to remember that 6 p.m. Eastern now means 3 p.m. your time, because we jumped forward and you didn’t. And Hawaii, that’s noon for you.
Right, the advice. You’re probably going to lose anyway, so don’t invest any time whatsoever in your bracket. Fill it out, sure, but have fun. Pick who you’d want to root for, but maybe with a little sense of decorum like not picking all the 16 seeds to assure your own destruction on the first day — which is Friday this time, not Thursday, because as we’ve all learned in the past year, time has no meaning.
So, maybe do actually put in some research. Base your picks on whether administrators at a school, say, attended Trump White House superspreader events while also chastising their own students for their behavior around coronavirus. Oh, Notre Dame was 11th in the ACC this year and won’t be any closer to Indianapolis than South Bend after getting steamrolled by 42 points by UNC in the conference tournament? Well, pick by which schools have football teams you like. Ohio State just beat Michigan on the way to the Big Ten championship game, and Alabama faces LSU to decide the SEC champ today, so that might actually work. Except Illinois is also really good.
Do what you want, don’t worry about it, and be pleasantly surprised if you’re in any kind of contention whatsoever. This was a weird-ass season and most of the old tips and tricks go entirely out the window.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Russell Westbrook became the sixth pair of NBA opponents to record triple-doubles in the same game. It’s happened once in each of the last four seasons, after previously only having been done by Oscar Robertson and Richie Guerin in 1961, then Johnny Kerr and Dave DeBusschere in 1965.
That’s a really weird thing! Some statistical feat happens twice in five years, doesn’t happen at all for the next 43, then happens four straight years. Plus, Julius Randle and James Harden also logged triple-doubles on Saturday, setting up Monday’s game between the Knicks and Nets that’s somehow a potential playoff preview.
Kieffer Bellows scored his first two goals of the season to lead the Islanders to their eighth straight win. If you want to feel old, yes, Kieffer is Brian Bellows’ kid. Also, there was a time on the Hockey Internet when the clip of Brian Bellows getting verbally harassed (warning: slurs) by the Penguins during the Stanley Cup Final was widely seen as hilarious.
Sometimes, it’s good to feel old, and to know that you’ve seen the world change for the better, where vile behavior that was admired in your lifetime has become entirely unacceptable. Hockey, like other sports and like the wider world, still has a long way to go, but there’s been real change in one generation, and that’s worth keeping in mind through the slog of the nonsense that still plagues it.