Sister Jean, the 98-year-old nun who is Chicago Loyola’s chaplain, has been a great story since the 11th-seeded Ramblers began the tournament March 15 by beating Miami. The only people that don’t like Loyola are the people whose team the Ramblers next play.
I spent eight years in a Catholic school, and have the knuckles to prove it. I hope Sister Jean never smacked a wayward kid with a ruler. These days, her team is doing the smacking…
▪ I still have two teams in the Final Four, Villanova and Michigan, with Villanova winning it all. Despite my picks, I love the upsets and the near upsets in the NCAA tournament. Forgotten are College of Charleston’s almost victory against Auburn, and UNC Greensboro’s almost victory against Gonzaga.
There’s another. Trailing Kentucky by 10 at the half, Davidson rallied in its first-round game. The score was tied with 7 minutes, 12 seconds to play, Davidson trailed by one with 5:29 to play and by two with 2:50 to play. Victory was feasible. Then it wasn’t. Kentucky won by five.
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Despite the underdogs, upsets and near upsets that have characterized the tournament, the best game was Kansas versus Duke. The Jayhawks and Blue Devils went at it thrill for thrill, rebound for rebound, and fast break for fast break. Kansas coach Bill Self has a reputation for underachieving once his team reaches the NCAA tournament. But nobody solved the Duke zone this season the way he did. The Jayhawks won 85-81 in overtime…
▪ Can you envision Johnny Manziel in the NFL? He’s performed in front of NFL scouts and officials twice in March, at pro days for San Diego and Texas A&M, the latter the school at which he played collegiately.
The Cleveland Browns took Manziel with the 22nd pick in the 2014 draft. To put that in perspective, the Carolina Panthers selected Kelvin Benjamin six picks later. The Panthers traded Benjamin last season to the Buffalo Bills.
Manziel, 25, last played in the NFL in 2015. Two yeas ago, on March 11, 2016, the Browns cut him. When the Browns cut you, you might not be good.
The first time around, Manziel appeared more interested in playing celebrity than playing quarterback. But we live in a second-chance world, which is good. He’s had several second chances. If he can play, he’ll get one more…
▪ The Charlotte Knights took out rain insurance for their exhibition Monday against the Chicago White Sox. Rain wasn’t a problem. Cold was. The temperature Monday dipped to 38 degrees. The only insurance against the cold is to move to Florida…
▪ Some broadcasters, in basketball and football, seem less interested in the game than the officiating. There must be a supersecret memo in which commentators are directed to review calls. I know that officials miss calls, and some of the misses are blatantly head-shaking. But players also miss. They miss shots, miss blocks, miss tackles and miss dunks.
Lesser fans believe that officials go into a game with a bias against a team. Which team? The team for which those fans cheer.