Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Bloated field, the sameness of play lessens the Madness

A few little things for early in the week.

At its most basic, I think we can all concur that March Madness is not a bad idea, the drama of win-or-go home makes it unique and can provide some compelling stories.

I’m sure I’ll see a buzzer-beater or two and get caught up in some game that has Minnow vs. Whale in some unlikely possible upset sometime during the tournament.

And if Minnow keeps moving on, that becomes rather compelling and a nice continuing story.

But, still …

I can make the case that it’s been ruined by NCAA greed, I don’t think there’s any reason for early week “play in” games, it’s become this gigantic money-maker that goes on too long now, involves too many suspect teams and that’s simply taken away a lot of the enjoyment for me.

Even if you’re fan of the game, you’d have to admit the bloated field takes away from the five months or so of the regular season; I’m not going to say I long for the days when the conferences each got one or two bids, but I do.

I don’t like the style of play – everyone seems to run a three-man weave for about a minute before someone launches a three-pointer; I detest the stunning amount of attention focused on and praise heaped upon the coaches (sorry, coaches) but maybe that’s understandable because no one knows enough of the players; I think the NCAA is right up there with FIFA and FIBA and the IOC as evil-doers out to serve its own purpose rather than the sport and that’s vey difficult for me to get past.

There’s no doubt that some games will be great, some will be bad but I’d bet the vast majority will be boring and predictable and if no one had ever invented a way for people to bet on the entire event – those ubiquitous “brackets” it would hold very little allure. Sorta like the NFL regular season.

Okay, it’s coming up on St. Patrick’s Day so we should do a few days of Irish stuff, right?


Okay, there might be a few over-the-top owners of sports teams in North America but …

Did you see the story about the guy who owns a soccer team in Greece who got so ticked off after a goal was disallowed late in a game on the weekend that invaded the pitch ARMED WITH A GUN????

Now he didn’t use it nor did even threaten to use it but, holy smokes, a pistol-packing owner charging on the field?

That’s a whole other level of owner-involvement and I cannot even begin to think of a comparable possibility on this side of the planet.

So the next time you see, say, Mark Cuban up on the baseline berating some official, think how lucky we are for relative calmness.

A gun? Wow.

Let’s start the mail early because they’re away all week and I’m not so there’s time to start on it and get a chance to maybe take Saturday off.

It’s askdoug@thestar.ca as it always is and let’s see how much we can get filed in the next day or so.

Okay, so I’m dead set against penalties to decide soccer games – I think they should keep playing, maybe give each an extra substitution for each extra 15 or 30 minutes – and no one’s going to change my mind on that.

But I have come around on away goals because (a) I think it’s cool and encourages offensive play even it does include a bit of math and you know me and math and (b) it’s a big part of the TFCs game down in Mexico tonight in the second-leg of the Champions League quarter-final with the Tigres.

The Reds gave up one up last week and that’s troublesome but if they were stay true to from and go forward most of tonight, they can get one of their own and that might be enough.

She Who Supports Arsenal’s got all the details and you know what’s going to happen, right?

Reds will score early, Tigres will get two at home, they’ll go goal-less in the extra time and, bam!, penalties.


A buddy, this morning via text, who’s seen a few Brooklyn games:

“Your guys will drop 142 points on the Nets tonight.”

So, take the over?

Hands up everyone who had, with less than a quarter of the NBA regular season to go, the Indiana Pacers in third place in the East or the San Antonio Spurs 10th in the West.

Been a crazy season and it’s going to get crazier in the race for playoff spots and seeding in the West and seeding in the East and it’s been one of the most remarkable regular seasons that I can think of.

And I’m wondering what all the people who weren’t going to watch because it was going to be Golden State vs. Cleveland again and the NBA sucks have been doing with their time?

Okay, some early stories to write and a nap to have because without one, there’s no chance in the world I make the 10 o’clock soccer game.