Congratulations To The Kansas Jayhawks

I must admit that I did not think Kansas had a chance to win that game when the second half started.  The Jayhawks were outplayed and outhustled for the first twenty minutes to the point that I thought they were going to suffer an epic defeat in a championship game.  Obviously, those thoughts were completely invalid.

Kansas shot 44% from the field and UNC shot only 31.5%; normally, that would produce a solid win for the better shooting team.  Last night, the game had a 3-point margin and UNC had two shots at tying the game in the final seconds.  Carolina’s poor shooting for the night can be traced to the three players who carried them to the championship game.  RJ Davis, Caleb Love and Armando Bacot shot a combined 13 for 54 from the field.

Congratulations to Kansas – – and thank  you for providing basketball fans with a dramatic and exciting championship game.

While Kansas sits atop men’s college basketball at the moment, it would appear that LSU is plumbing the depths of the sport.  The school chose to fire coach Will Wade just before the start of the tournament after the NCAA notified LSU that it was facing multiple serious penalties for rules’ infractions.  Since that firing about a month ago, LSU hired Mike McMahon from Murray State as its new coach but here is the rub:

  • Eleven LSU players have entered the transfer portal and a couple others have declared for the NBA Draft.
  • As of this morning, LSU has zero scholarship players on its roster who are certain to be back next year.

There are two important caveats to that situation.  First, players in the NCAA’s transfer portal can choose to return to the school they are in if they do not find a suitable situation for themselves elsewhere.  Second – and probably more important here – is that Coach McMahon is likely to bring some of his Murray State players with him to LSU and those players were part of a Murray State team that made it to the NCAA tournament this year.

All is not lost in Baton Rouge, but the situation there is a lot more fluid than is the situation in Kansas where Coach Self is a fixture and can stay there as long as he chooses to stay there.  And I say that even considering the NCAA holding the Sword of Damocles over the head of the Kansas basketball program which also faces multiple charges of NCAA rules’ infractions.

Moving on …  There are some famous “jinxes” in sports:

  • Being on the cover of Sports Illustrated
  • Being the face of Madden Football in any given year
  • The Chicago Cubs and the “Billy Goat Curse”
  • Appearing on the Manningcast
  • The “Curse of the Bambino”
  • Winning the Masters Par Three Tournament

I am beginning to wonder if there is one other sports jinx/curse that has gone unnoticed until now.  Maybe it is a bad idea for major league starting pitchers to sign with the NY Mets.  Consider:

  • Last year, Noah Syndergaard spent most of the year rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.  He threw a total of 2 innings for all of 2021.
  • Jacob DeGrom has been “shut down completely” for at least 4 weeks this Spring with tightness in his back.
  • Max Scherzer who signed with the Mets in November 2021 may or may not be able to start on Opening Day for the team because he has tweaked his hamstring.
  • Hmmm…

An interesting player to keep an eye on in MLB this season is Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers.  He is 26 years old and was the NL MVP in 2019.  In that season, he posted an OPS of 1.035, hit 47 home runs and drove in 115 runs.  Not bad for a 23-year-old kid…

In 2020, Bellinger’s OPS dropped to .789 which is clearly a precipitous decline – – but 2020 was a truncated season due to COVID and it was easy for folks to see the entire season as an aberration.  The problem here is what happened to Cody Bellinger in 2021:

  • Batting Average = .165
  • OPS = .542
  • Base Hits + Walks = 83
  • Strikeouts = 94

If Bellinger can return to anything near his 2019 performance, he will win the Comeback Player of the Year Award in a walk.  Here is the problem.  As of this morning his Spring Training Batting Average is .121 and his Spring Training OPS is .262.  Moreover, he struck out 14 times in his first 20 plate appearances this Spring Training.

If you believe there is some mysterious force at work creating injuries for Mets’ starting pitchers, perhaps you might also think that some malevolent energy has caused Cody Bellinger’s career arc to change dramatically over the last year or so.

Finally, let me close today with an observation about the sport of boxing by longtime boxing promoter, Lou Duva:

“You can sum up this sport in two words.  ‘You never know.’”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



6 thoughts on “Congratulations To The Kansas Jayhawks”

  1. A minor correction to your bit about LSU. Players who enter the transfer portal are no longer on the roster and the school has no obligation to accept them if they want to return. Occasionally, the team is happy to have them back, but a lot of players end their basketball career in the portal.

    1. Doug:

      Agreed. However, I thought that with zero scholarship players on the roster outside the portal, the school would likely welcome some f them back.

  2. …shot a combined 13 for 54 from the field.

    I used to watch the Pat Riley-coached Los Angeles Lakers (Worthy, Wilkes, Jabbar, Johnson, Rambis) have games like that. I even had a name for it.

    The unforgiving rim.

    Famous jinxes: “Todd Pennington has not thrown an interception in….”

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