A GRIP ON SPORTS
"And the at-large berth goes to ..." No, tonight isn't Oscar night, but it might as well be. It's Selection Sunday (both words capitalized please), the day we find out who is playing whom in the NCAA tournament. Read on.
• It's not just who is playing whom, it's more than that. (And, as a personal aside, for the 36th year, all of which I have rooted for them passionately within my heart-of-hearts, the UC Irvine Anteaters won't be playing anyone in the NCAA tournament; they lost last night to Pacific with a berth on the line.) It's who got a lucky break. It's who got screwed. It's who got overlooked. It's who the committee should have passed on. In other words, it's the American pastime of second-guessing. If that activity had a holiday, this should be it. How could Team A be given a berth over Team X? How could my beloved Widgets get sent out West? How could Gonzawga be handed a No. 1 seed? Yep, that's going to be the second-guess of choice today, I'm pretty sure. That little Catholic school from Spokane being given (not earned, mind you) a No. 1 seed. Not Georgetown? Not Florida? Not Duke? Not Miami? How can that be? We could sit here and cite statistics, toss around numbers, pass along observations from basketball experts that explain why the Zags deserve a top-seed, but we won't. Instead we'll pass along advice. Enjoy it. Tune out the second-guessers and revel in it. Sure, the second seeded teams might advance further in the tournament than GU, but that's for down the road. For today just sit back, take it all in and enjoy the moment. The first time the Bulldogs were awarded a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament will never come again, so live in the day. And if the Zags are passed over, drop to the No. 2 line or, god forbid, even lower? Well, it is Second-Guessing Day, so have at it. Enjoy that too.
• Gonzaga: Yesterday was the St. Patrick's Day parade in Spokane, today – the actual St. Patrick's Day – the Zags find out their happy fate. Talk about a challenging weekend for a certain segment of our community. Tomorrow might not be a productive workday at some establishments. ... Jim Meehan is always productive and he has an advance of the Zags' selection party this afternoon. ... There is also some thoughts from Bud Withers in Seattle, a look at the selection process from WCC commissioner Jaime Zaninovich, St. Mary's Randy Bennett talking about his team's chances and some thoughts on the agony of being on the bubble. ... The GU baseball team is 2-0 in WCC play after another win Saturday.
• Idaho: The Vandal women are still playing. They cut down the nets after defeating Seattle U. and earning an NCAA berth. Wonder if they will be in Spokane? Christian has the story of the victory. ... Jerry Brewer covers the Seattle U. end of things. ... New Mexico State was the surprise winner of the WAC's automatic berth to the men's tournament.
• EWU: Christian caught up with former Eagle Glen Dean during the Pac-12 tournament and has thisfeature. ... Montana just has Weber State's number. The Griz did again last night as they earned the automatic berth by winning the Big Sky tournament title. ... The Montana women also won.
• Whitworth: It was not to be last night as Mary Hardin-Baylor attacked inside to defeat the Pirates in the NCAA Division III Sweet 16 game. Jim Allen was in the packed Fieldhouse and files this story. John Blanchette was also there and has a look at the Pirates legacy.
• Chiefs: Spokane traveled to Tri-City and won again, though it might be a good idea to save some of the wins for the upcoming playoff series. ... Former Chief Tyler Johnson scored his first NHL goal last night. ... Portland set some records as it held off Seattle last night and are ready for the playoffs.
• Preps: Greg Lee was at the Idaho all-star basketball games last night though they turned out to not be close.
• Mariners: Saturday was all about pitching. Who will make the team, who has helped themselves and whose contract means the M's have to make some decisions this week. ... Why you shouldn't use statistics as your spring-training metric.
• Seahawks: The past week is going to give Seahawk fans hope over the long offseason.
• Sounders: For 85 minutes last night, scarf-wearing Sounders fan thought he/she was going to get to celebrate a win over the archrival Timbers. Then a late goal crushed that hope. Ties are expected in soccer but last night's might have felt like a loss to the aforementioned Sounders fan. ... The Sounders might get a break in their schedule. ... The newest Sounder has a tough schedule as do a few of his new teammates.
• Someone asked yesterday why I didn't mention UC Irvine. It's simple. I didn't want to be a homer – until something was decided. You can be assured, if the Anteaters had defeated Pacific last night, I would have dedicated this entire blog post to crowing about UCI being in the tournament (and figuring out how I could get to wherever the Eaters would have been playing). But, alas, it was not to be. But unlike Northwestern fan, I am not going to wallow in self-pity. I'm going to attack today just like I've attacked the last 36 Selection Sundays: With my head held high, knowing someday I will be sitting in front of my television when the Irvine name is announced. But they better hurry. I don't have another 36 years of TV watching left. Until later ...