Well, my NCAA basketball bracket isn't looking very hot. I thought the Big XII would put forth a better performance than they have so far, but I don't think I was alone in thinking Kansas would at least survive the first weekend. Still might have a chance if Kentucky wins it all, though.
I still think March Madness is perhaps the greatest televised sporting event in America today. In this age of digital cable and talk of expanding the tournament, I worry that this might be CBS' last year to televise the tournament. Which would be a shame because I fear what ESPN might do to the tournament, especially in light of ESPN's obligations to carry women's basketball, wrestling, hockey, and the NBA. CBS has mastered the art of rotating fans around between games, yet keeping fans on games of local interest. I don't think ESPN can match it, especially with satellite subscribers.
After UNO's loss in the second round of the CCHA playoffs, we knew that Maverick hockey season was over, but it turns out UNO was a little closer than I thought. UNO finished the season in a three-way tie for 20th place in the Pairwise; no where close enough to an at-large spot, but closer than I thought they would be. Conspiracy theorists will be watching Michigan this weekend; the concerns about filling Ford Field for the Frozen Four likely disappear if the Weasels win the Midwest Region. I'd be skeptical if Miami lets the Red's gang knock them out for the second week in a row. (And yes, I'm assuming that Miami will beat Alabama-Huntsville.) Speaking of which, what a story that would be if Huntsville makes some noise in the NCAA tournament without having a conference home to play in next season? When UNO jumped to the WCHA last summer, it was assumed at the time that Alabama-Huntsville would replace UNO, but concerns about the viability of Bowling Green led the CCHA to hold back. For the Chargers, the future is now.
KSTP's Patrick Reusse (1500 AM in Minneapolis) raised a bit of a stir this weekend by tweeting about rumors that Minnesota was thinking about firing Don Lucia and hiring UNO head coach Dean Blais. For what it's worth, it would be hard to blame Blais for returning to his alma mater, but it wouldn't be good for UNO after only one season. While it's still a rumor at this point (Lucia still has a job), the rumor mill was running quite strong in Minneapolis this weekend at the WCHA Final Five. Trev Alberts was asked about the situation, and felt flattered that that UNO's hockey coach was the subject of these rumors. Until Lucia is actually fired, it's just speculation, but it's pretty clear that it's more than just "internet idiots" talking about it. (Yes, I'm looking at you SpamMania. Before you start labeling people as "idiots", at least get your source straight. The idiot might turn out to be the guy in the mirror...)
When word about Tiger Woods returning at the Masters first came out, I worried that the Woods situation would turn Augusta into a three-ring circus. Then ESPN Radio's Colin Cowherd mentioned how particular Augusta National is with how the Masters is covered, and realized I have nothing to fear. This is the institution that banned Gary McCord fifteen years ago for mentioning that the greens were "bikini waxed". When Martha Burk protested Augusta National in 2003, the Masters were televised commercial free by Augusta National rather than allow sponsors to be pressured. Television contracts are granted on a year-to-year basis, so frankly, the only way Tiger Woods is going to be the focus of attention that week once the tournament gets started, it's because he's playing well. And that's the way it should be.