Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo was interviewed by the hosts of “Pardon the Interruption” on Monday, March 30. What he said about his team’s Final Four berth was refreshingly honest, compared to what you might expect from the typical college coach.
Archaeologists in Egypt have uncovered an ancient piece of papyrus that appears to correctly predict the result of every major sporting event through the year 9999. Previously thought to be only a myth, this “Sports Oracle” has accurately predicted millions of athletic outcomes, from Sparta’s six gold medals in the 436 BC Olympic Games, to the Chicago Cubs’ defeat later this year in the 27th inning of Game 7 in the 2015 World Series.
There are a few popular cultural opinions of my generation that I proudly stand against, high on my mighty, crooked tower of self-righteousness. One in particular speaks to my background in theater: while I think Meryl Streep is a very talented actress who deserves critical acclaim, I’m sick of people treating her like a sort of cinematic demigoddess, like she’s the greatest thing to ever happen to movies, ever.
Way, way back when I was an 18-year-old in the great state of Florida, I had a realization that would inform many of my future life decisions: if you play enough hands of poker, it’s all math. This is a realization many stat heads have had. Then they go into careers in statistical fields, to make the whole thing look cool. Multiple times, a friend and I played poker tournaments deep into the night after having been at HIGH SCHOOL earlier in the day. Yes, the casinos there let you play poker at 18, because it’s Florida.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN — An NCAA men’s basketball bracket was busted outside of a local nightclub last night, on charges of drunk and disorderly conduct. Harris Parsons, owner of the popular nightlife destination Converted Cornfield, spoke with reporters about the incident.
16 Players You’ll See During March Madness
1. The annoying guard who manages to have a 4.0 and is pre-med, who you probably only find annoying because you had a 2.5 and have popcorn residue in your beard right now
2. The coach’s son who suspiciously gets to take the game-winning shot
3. The really, really good freshman who deserves an Oscar for his insistence that he will not be entering the NBA Draft.
4. The really, really good freshman from last year who came back “to finish what he started”
5. The guy who cries most prominently (see: the really, really good freshman from last year who came back “to finish what he started”)
6. The 7-footer from Africa who learned how to play basketball literally days ago
I’ve now mentioned my mother at least twice in my few writings for this blog. She’s a sports fan, but she’s certainly not your traditional sports fan. She loves the idea of sports, but, with the exception of the few teams she follows, she doesn’t watch much of anything.
So when March Madness rolls around, she decides to do something fun: she makes a bracket picking games not based on quality, or mascots, or colors, or attractiveness of cheerleaders, or anything else. She makes one based on where she’d rather live.
Earlier this year, David Berri shared his thoughts on why sports fans often disregard, or even lash out against, statistical insights into their favorite players’ performances. Numbers remove the mystery, he said. If a quick glance at some advanced metrics shows that LeBron James is a much more valuable basketball player than Carmelo Anthony, then there’s nothing for us to yell at each other about over a round of drinks at Buffalo Wild Wings. For sports fans, knowledge isn’t the end goal; entertainment is. And that’s perfectly fine!
But what about those who are more than just fans? What about the alleged experts, who make their livings writing about and talking about sports?
If stadiums were honest about their food and drink choices, we’d see something like this.
Every now and then, I hear a friend or media member opine that Spring Training is the best time of the baseball season. While I don’t share that sentiment, I understand the affection for the boundless optimism that comes with a 0-0 (undefeated!) record. Spring Training has no disappointing midseason results from preseason favorites, no white-flag trades at the deadline, or ugly collapses down the stretch. In March, every team has a chance to win it all.