Congratulations to the Villanova Wildcats. They won their second national championship in the last three years last night with a 79-62 win over Michigan. This is Villanova’s third NCAA Tournament championship in school history; the previous two final game wins were nail-biters; this one was a beatdown. The hero of the game is Donte DiVincenzo who came off the bench with Villanova trailing and struggling in the first half to turn the game around by scoring a game-high 31 points. Whether by performance or by coincidence, DiVincenzo’s entry into the game also marked the point where Villanova’s defense kicked itself into “lockdown mode”. After the game, several folks commented that Michigan did not shoot nearly as well last night as they had in previous tournament games. While that is unarguably correct, that statement does not acknowledge why that was the case.
- For about the last 30 minutes of the game, Michigan took no uncontested shots.
Villanova is a worthy champion; they did not take a backdoor to get to the Final Four; once there, they had to beat Kansas and Michigan – two very good teams – to become national champions. And here is the scary thing:
- None of the first eight players on the Villanova roster are seniors. Unless one or more of them decides to declare for the NBA Draft, all eight of them could be back next year.
I have not yet seen/heard any speculation about Jay Wright leaving Villanova to go to the NBA in the “Brad Stevens-mode”, but I expect such speculation to kick in sometime soon. Having said that, I also expect Jay Wright to stay right where he is. Yes, he could make more money coaching the prima donnas that inhabit NBA rosters; but shed no tears for Wright; you are not going to see him and his family sustaining themselves at a soup kitchen any time soon. Looking at his situation from afar, I think it is very similar to Mike Krzyzewski’s situation at Duke and to Roy Williams’ situation at UNC. All three men “fit” into the environment where they are; Krzyzewski and Williams are going to end their coaching careers where they are; Jay Wright is 56 years old and I would not be surprised to see him finish out his coaching career at Villanova.
Switching gears, someone else finished out his career last week. Don Imus did his final Imus in the Morning program. There was a time in the 1990s when that program was extraordinarily influential; I woke up five days a week listening to it as I got ready to go to work. Don Imus was a shock-jock and had plenty of controversy surrounding him and his program for more than 40 years. His comments about the Rutgers women’s basketball team were hideously inappropriate and he atoned for those comments. I do not know if there is a Shock-Jock Hall of Fame; there are so many Halls of Fame that it would not surprise me if there is one; Don Imus belongs in that Hall of Fame.
The NFL announced that Bengals’ linebacker, Vontaze Burfict, will miss the first 4 games of the 2018 season on suspension for violating the league’s PED policies. Before you go and start to think about how this may affect the AFC North division race next year, consider that the Bengals have probably gotten used to this sort of thing and may have even had this in a contingency plan somewhere. Consider:
- In 2016, Burfict missed the first 3 games of the NFL season for “repeated violations of player safety rules”.
- In 2017, Burfict missed the first 5 games of the NFL season for an illegal hit he put on an opponent in one of the Exhibition Games.
Now he gets a PED suspension… Vontaze Burfict is a good linebacker unless and until he goes over the edge and morphs into a dirty player. You can hold him solely responsible for the PED suspension, but I think you must include the Bengals and the Bengals’ coaching staff when you assign blame for the “dirty play”. It sure seems from here that Burfict has had plenty of enabling from coaches and team management.
In these early days of the MLB season, we had both NY teams scheduled for home games yesterday. Both were postponed as snow blanketed the metropolitan area. The Yankees and Mets will try to play later today.
Just before the season started, MLB announced that it will hold its first MLB Food Fest in NY where the teams will “present” their haute cuisine food items for this year. Here are some of the dishes that will be on display:
- Toasted grasshoppers (Seattle Mariners)
- Chicken and pork rind sandwich (New York Yankees)
- Breaded cheese curds, bratwurst and gravy (Minnesota Twins)
- Cheddar beer bratwurst on a pretzel roll (Milwaukee Brewers)
While “Toasted Grasshoppers” may sound a bit outré, I think there will be a stranger concoction presented at the Food Fest. Here is what the Oakland A’s will introduce:
- A sandwich of turkey, ham and cheese with strawberry preserves between two Belgian Waffles.
Personally, I think I would prefer to try the grasshoppers…
Finally, here is an item from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times:
“A man in Cocoa, Fla., was arrested for allegedly punching an ATM because it gave him too much money.
“Taking no chances, the ATM is now in the concussion protocol after complaining of withdrawal symptoms.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………