Weekend Hot Clicks
(Just learned that we can't link headlines. Here's where "Badger Badger Badger" would have gone.)
A bunch of white guys from Wisconsin beat No. 1 seed Arizona last night to advance to next weekend's Final Four. It was a close game—overtime, etc.—and not without controversy down the stretch, as the final 15 seconds included both a questionable offensive foul (against Arizona) and an even-more-questionable overturned out-of-bounds call (against Wisconsin).
I'm in Wisconsin for the weekend because my fiancée gave me a Brewers Opening Day trip as a birthday gift, so last night she and I met up with former Extra Mustard writer Ryan Glasspiegel, a Wisconsin alum, who drove up from Chicago with his girlfriend to watch the game with us at Major Goolsby's in downtown Milwaukee.
The place got festive after the Badgers' win, as you can see in this rapidly-moving GIF.
Having never really paid attention to a Wisconsin basketball game, seeing the expressions of Bo Ryan was a revelation … Meanwhile in Arizona, fans didn't take the loss too well … Wisconsin's win over Arizona calls into question Sam Page's "Risk" method of predicting outcomes, which had Arizona demolishing the Badgers. That may put an end to Sam's dream of launching a "Risk analysis" department at fivethirtyeight … Wisconsin will next play the winner of Sunday night's Kentucky-Michigan match-up, meaning they may face this guy.
Florida also won.
In a curious turn of events, the 76ers waited until their backs were against the wall of history before deciding to win their first game in 27 tries. Had they lost last night against the Pistons, Philly's 27-game losing streak would have been the longest in NBA history. As is, they settled for a tie. The 76ers can't do anything right.
Inspired by Philly's futility, SI writers reminisced about the worst NBA teams they've covered … The 76ers made for solid Fallon fodder on The Tonight Show … SB Nation has a list of things that occurred between the 76ers' most recent two wins.
We'll end with a reminder: Despite losing 26 straight games prior to yesterday's win, the 16-win 76ers still don't have the worst record in the NBA. That distinction belongs to the 14-win Bucks, who lost at home last night to the Heat. And so the Wisconsin theme continues.
Baseball returned to Montreal this weekend when the Blue Jays and Mets played a pair of exhibition games at Olympic Stadium. And to everyone's delight (I assume, because how could it not be?), Youppi returned to baseball, in the form of a young kid / hero.
I spent just about a year with SI, and during that time I did almost no yelling (or hyperbolic writing) about inconsequential sports topics. To make up for lost time, here's a speed round:
ILLOGICAL COMPARISONS: On Monday, the 2014 Brewers will play the 2014 Braves in a game of baseball at Miller Park. Yovani Gallardo will be doing something that approximates pitching for the Brewers, while Julio Teheran will start for Atlanta. At some point, on some television or radio broadcast, some announcer will say something to the effect of, "In his career, Gallardo is 3-16* against the Braves." Listeners will hear this and reflexively think, "Boy, the Braves really have Gallardo's number." And I will ram my head into a load-bearing girder at the stadium.
The 2014 Braves are not the same as the 2013 Braves, and they are most certainly not the same as the 2007 Braves. Yet broadcasters continue to lump teams from different years together into some sort of timeless abstraction. A player's career performance against another team is meaningless. It's a stat trotted out to help build a narrative (i.e., "Boy, the Braves really have Gallardo's number"). Is this damaging? No. But it's also not worthwhile. Fans aren't becoming savvier sports consumers when they're told that the Brewers have won 35%* of the games they've ever played against the Braves, or that Ryan Braun has batted .185* against the Braves in his career. It's filler intended to amp up the drama.
Team compositions change, and when this happens they do not bring with them the qualities of previous rosters. These are not valid comparisons.
This is the thing I despise most in sports.
*All stats made up
TANKING: We know it happens. Tanking doesn't mean that the players are willfully losing—they have contracts and pride and, more to the point, contracts to keep them motivated and playing hard. Rather, tanking is a tactic employed by GMs and owners. It is, in a sense, the management equivalent of "playing hard"—taking advantage of every opportunity to improve your team. There's no honor in ponying up for a couple mid-level players who will make your mediocre team five wins better. Be great, or be very bad. It makes sense, and I have no problem with this occurring.
QUARTERBACKS WHO "CAN'T" WIN (ESPECIALLY BIG GAMES): There are 200 people on a football team and half of them are playing with broken bones. A QB contributes to a larger extent than any other player, but team success is still beyond his full control. GTFO with this angle.
"BEST EVER AT HIS POSITION / IN HIS SPORT" DEBATES: This is laughably subjective, and the changing of rules and evolution of sports over time makes generational comparisons murky at best. Beyond that, it just doesn't matter. Sports.
Two notes about Shakira, who is a beautiful and talented woman:
1. When I was in college I used to play the music video for Shakira's "Whenever, Wherever" before tests to hype myself up. This was before YouTube, so I had to watch it as an .avi that I had downloaded from an FTP site. I liked to think that the video got my head right.
One semester, I made Dean's List.
2. During my senior year at the University of Rochester I held two roles at the Campus Times: First semester I was opinions editor, and second semester I was comics editor. At some point shortly after joining the staff I resolved to include Shakira's name somewhere in every edition of the weekly paper. Sometimes it was in a column I wrote; other times it was tucked into the fine print of the paper's publication information. Once I even managed to get her name into the masthead.
A little Easter egg to look for next time you're browsing the 2003-2004 Campus Times archives.
No question that you have to consider the lack of depth at the hot corner, but third overall pick in a fantasy draft? Reach.
In case you spent part of the week mourning Pele, here are the best Extra Mustard articles of the past seven days—plus five favorites from the past year … All is not A-OK at O.co Coliseum: Sewage is bubbling up again … A cavalcade of March Madness-themed comedy videos … Former Deadspin editor AJ Daulerio is starting a national-local gossip site network, and Mark Cuban is providing some of the funding … People give me crap for how hastily I sign documents (that's my mark at right), but it appears I'm in good (or equally indifferent) pro athlete company … Hey, look, a guy in this Tacocat photo is wearing a Seahawks jersey … Speaking of Seattle's football team, have you listened to Hauschka's new album yet? … Here's how to do a pull-up.
The guitarist from the band Fun ("fun.") has a new band called Bleachers. Since bleachers are used in Sports, here's the music video for the group's first single. His girlfriend Lena Dunham directed it.
See you around.