A blown call-by-blown call review of The NCAA Tournament

by Jacob McKay. (I talk about sports too)

This years NCAA tournament has busted many brackets, including mine. After 40 games, there are no longer any perfect brackets left. The only bracket to make it past 37 games was entered in the Yahoo bracket contest, and now we all watch the rest of the tournament for fun, as it was meant to be enjoyed. The tournament would be more fun in my opinion if it wasn’t for the glaring errors in officiating that I’ve seen all tournament. The improvement of replay technology may be to blame, but I’m watching most of these calls live on TV, from a worse point of view than the officials, and being blown away by the amount of touch fouls and whistles being blown on absolutely no contact. Duke lost to South Carolina in part to the call that created the tournaments second most popular meme. Luke Kennard got called for a foul after being elbowed in the face on defense, and the meme is hilarious but the reaction was kind of warranted. perfectbrackets34_final_copy

Via NCAA.com

haha

Duke wasn’t the only victim of questionable calls. St. Mary’s got absolutely cheated in their loss to Oregon, the Northwestern-Gonzaga game had some heartbreakers, Arkansas, URI, the list goes on and on. The tournament has been robbed of even more upsets and deserving teams have gotten railroaded. Is it like this every year? It hasn’t been in recent memory, at least for me. And the enduring images of this tournament say it all. Crying Northwestern kid will live forever in the annals of tournament history. This is the tournament where the refs robbed children of their hopes and dreams. northwestern-fan

My dad is an official, and he taught me a lot of what I know about the game. Our one-on-one contests at the park lasted hours, and I still remember the firs time I beat him in fifth grade. We operated on the no blood no foul rule, and in AAU and school games I grew up on a pretty physical brand of basketball most of the time. I learned how to play defense aggressively, how to make people earn buckets. Defense is as much a beautiful part of the game as offense, the art of denying a man of everything he wants. One of my coaches used to call it “protecting your mama’s house”, and he’d yell that us while we did wall sits in between suicides. That’s basketball, and the finesse part of the game is important, but if contact is dead then every kid will have to try to be Steph Curry. Three-Point shooting is already dominating the game, and this tournament is the perfect example of teams like Duke living and dying by it. Sometimes it works like it has for Oregon. I understand officials have an incredibly tough job, and I’m not disparaging the profession whatsoever, I’m just saying we should let the kids play. Blow the whistle less if we’re going to keep blowing it for everything thing that might appear to be contact. If the defense isn’t allowed to put bodies on people, then a whole element of the game is gone. As we roll into the Sweet Sixteen, the bad calls will probably continue. It’s March, and March is for basketball no matter what. In one of the most divisive times in modern history, I think we can all agree that basketball is pretty cool. The NCAA is going to give us this tournament their way and year after year I will stop all other thought for a full day to work on brackets. It’s called Madness for a reason.

This year, This team: The 2016 Cubs

by Josh Cook

I know you already read 108 stories about this team, but hear me out.

This season was insane. It doesn’t matter if you are a Cubs fan or even a baseball fan; this was absolute chaos. Chicago has been going crazy for 100 years. Cubs fan have been going crazy about this roster for three years. People who don’t care about baseball have been paying attention for two years. And anyone who is attracted to human beings has been in love with Kris Bryant since he stepped in the box for the first time. The hype could not have been any more real. The pressure couldn’t have been heavier. The expectations couldn’t have been higher. And despite all that, they did it.

For you, I would like to explain what I think the implications of this game are for the Cubs, the MLB, Cubs fans, and non-Cubs fans.

First the Cubs; they can just play baseball now. This team has been playing for the last 45+ years with the prayers of winning this trophy, now it’s done. No more worrying about goats, no more worrying about curses, Bartman can be forgiven, all the managers that tried and failed can be reprieved of their hatred, and the Tribune can disappear without a trace as people forget that they messed up running this team for three decades. A losing tradition is a heavy burden, there’s no way around it. Now that this team has broken that tradition, they can realize their full potential. However, there are some things to consider.

Jason Hammel, Trevor Cahill, Aroldis Chapman, Chris Coghlan, Dexter Fowler, and Travis Wood all contributed this year and are free agents in the offseason. Hammel is not returning, the Cubs didn’t pick up his option so they could give him a chance at a real career. Chapman more than likely won’t be back, he’d like to return to New York. Fowler is up in the air, though the Cubs (players and fans alike) would love to see him back. The biggest factor there is outside interest. Fowler looked like the best true leadoff hitter in the league nearly all year, that doesn’t go unnoticed or undervalued. Carl Edwards Jr will likely replace Trevor Cahill so I doubt he comes back. Finally, Chris Coghlan has already gone and come back. So does it really matter if he leaves again?

The Cubs have a few decisions to make, but realistically while they still have Bryant, Rizzo, Russell, Baez, Contreras, and Zobrist, the future looks bright regardless of what they do.

Now, the MLB; things can return to normal? No one has a 100+ year drought anymore, so there goes a Cinderella except Cleveland – this is for you. Coaches, players, managers, GMs, owners, and the media can stop talking to everyone and their mother about whether or not the Cubs will do it, they did. It also means that Theo Epstein is going to the MLB Hall of Fame. So they should prepare for that.

Additionally, and this is hopefully the exciting part: baseball will be rejuvenated (in theory). More people watched game 7 than any other baseball game of all time – and it was a damn good game for that to happen. My hope is that this monumental game, which was nowhere near the stereotypical “boring” game, will lead to a spark for the MLB.

There are so many young, great players in the league right now that watching games should be easier than it ever has. I think there is going to be a revolution in baseball where actual athletic people start playing this game very athletically, and it’s going to be electrifying. If people tune in, it should be nearly impossible to turn off. If this World Series doesn’t lead to increased revenue for the MLB, it is entirely their fault.

 

Cubs fans: we finally get to stop hearing our a**hole Cardinals fan friends tell us that there is always next year. We get to stop hearing the media bash the Cubs, although this has been on the decline the last two years – special thanks to Bryzzo. But mostly, we can return to just being baseball fans. We don’t have to constantly defend why we root, root, root for the Cubbies anymore, they gave us a reason to tune back in for the first time in all of our lives.

Cubs fans can just be baseball fans. They can go to Wrigley to watch great baseball; they don’t have to make up other reasons on why they should spend a day watching this beautiful game. It’s not about the curse anymore, it’s not just about historic Wrigley field and Wrigleyville; it’s about the team on the field. This is a damn talented team, watch them play the game. If you’re at Wrigley, watch the game. If you’re at home, turn the game on and actually watch it. It’s going to be special, if you don’t tune if you’re either going to wish you had or lie and say you did.

For non-Cubs fans: Now, what does this have to do with people who don’t root for the Cubs? For people who didn’t follow baseball before this, it means they’re probably Cubs fans now.

For people who follow other teams, it means your memes are going to have to get a hell of a lot more creative. You can’t just say something about goats or Bartman or time. You’re actually going to have to have substance in your offensive jokes, or you’ll just look sad.

This also means that the game should be more interesting, the Cubs are just like any other team now; they can also win the World Series. That should intrigue non-Cubs fans that thought there were essentially 29 teams in the MLB. Also, this means that we will all see more of Kris Bryant everywhere, so really you can’t lose.

 

Moral of the story: Watch baseball, it’ll be fun I promise.