Good morning. The Vanderbilt baseball team plays Belmont tonight at First Tennessee Park. First pitch is at 6:30 PM CT. The game won’t be televised, from best I can tell, but Joe Fisher will be calling the game, so there’s that.
Adam Sparks has a report from spring football practice, where four freshmen — early enrollees Ben Bresnahan, C.J. Bolar, and Javan Rice, along with transfer Rutger Reitmaier — are making a push for playing time in the fall. Rice is the odds-on favorite to replace Tommy Openshaw, while Bolar is coming into a receiving corps that suffered heavy graduation losses.
Also, Deuce Wallace is ready to play.
VandySports.com has more on Evansville graduate transfer Ryan Taylor ($). Three-star athlete Derick Hall II from Gulfport (MS) has Vanderbilt in his top 8.
Off the West End
After the first weekend of the tournament, a team that needed overtime and some missed free throws to beat Vanderbilt at home somehow has an 11% chance of winning the national championship, according to FiveThirtyEight. Ken Pomeroy, whose algorithms don’t inexplicably place more weight on more recent games, is less sanguine, with only a 5.8% chance.
Luuuuuuuuuuuuuke scored 9 points in 9 minutes for the Knicks, who are apparently trying to lose but beat the Bulls, who are also trying to lose, 110-92. The NBA is so dumb. Why would you create incentives for teams to lose more? It’s mind-boggling. Give the most ping-pong balls to the team that had the best record of non-playoff teams, not the team with the worst record. This shouldn’t be that difficult.
Penny Hardaway is, for some reason, being hired as Memphis’s head coach, and history is not on his side.
Shit’s been blowing up in Austin and now it’s blowing up in San Antonio, too.
A self-driving Uber car killed a pedestrian, which is the exact thing people tell me is the thing that self-driving cars are supposed to prevent. Bang-up job, guys.
The Monday after the first weekend of March Madness is often slow, sports-wise, but we do get the annual “March Madness is secretly bad because sometimes the best team doesn’t win” takes:
The NCAA tournament is a great event and a bad way to determine a champion https://t.co/8Kp6ssEoms— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) March 19, 2018
Disagree. I think it's a great way to determine a champion and a terrible way to determine the best team. https://t.co/byMnRleXZE— Rob Dauster (@RobDauster) March 19, 2018
Here’s the thing: if you think it’s important that the champion also be the best team, you probably secretly hate March Madness even though most of the time a 1-seed wins the thing in spite of the fact that it’s theoretically possible for a 16-seed to do it. If, like me, you like to watch the world burn, you love March Madness because it creates a very real chance that Kentucky, Duke, and North Carolina are all crying in their beers in March.
There are, though, a surprising number of people who want college basketball to be more like college football, with its blatant preference for certain teams.