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Sports Shorts

Murky Crystal Ball- Well, ‘twas stated in this column some time ago that making sports predictions is for the foolhardy. So, call me a fool. I’ll man up and take it. Deservedly so I might add. But call me hardy in the same breath, if you will. Please allow me to explain:
Last time we engaged I broke protocol and suggested that the Patriots would win Super Bowl LII. Of course, that was the hex that sent them to defeat at the hands of the Eagles. My bad. The proverbial egg landed squarely on this scribe’s face. Sunny side up. With salt atop to sting the wound even more so. The fool!
No worries mate. Just happened to be in Las Vegas prior to kickoff and somewhat hedged my ill-fated prediction by taking the Eagles in the big game. Won a couple of bucks. Used those two bones to buy a stainless steel spatula to remove the salted egg. I’m now hardy! Moral of this story being: Don’t count (on) your Patriots before your Eagles have hatched.
The Symphony- You think that last topic was dumb wait ‘till this one is “dumped” on you. The morning after the Super Bowl I’m visiting the men’s restroom after collecting my pair of George Washingtons. There were roughly twenty stalls in this gigantic casino bathroom and me and about fourteen other guys are resting in said rest…room.
Now, the sounds rebounding off of the plastered ceiling and tile walls and mahogany stalls was quite symphonic if I may say so. You had the abbreviated, high-pitched squeal. You had the long-winded (no pun intended) swoosh sound an octave or two below the squeal. And then there was the deep-rooted base sound coming strong and long. Mustn’t forget the guttural sound which was thrown into the mix, as if someone who had picked the Patriots had become nauseated.
As I sat listening I closed my eyes and imagined that perhaps a famous maestro was just outside our row of stalls perched on a two-foot high step stool with white conductor’s baton in hand directing this ensemble of unwitting characters whom sat patiently going about their business and providing the notes to a score composed by either Puccini or Verdi or Beethoven or Mozart. Then I opened my eyes and wiped it all away.
Up for Grabs- With barely six weeks remaining before the migration of collegiate basketball fans to San Antonio, Texas for the Final Four showdown at The Alamodome it appears the field is supremely wide open as to which four teams secure travel dates. There exists a good chance that some of the same old blue blood programs may very well not make it that far.
Quite frankly, at this point the only top-level school that has shown any consistency this season is top-ranked Villanova which just got knocked off of its perch at home by unranked St. Johns University, who also upset then fourth-ranked Duke at Madison square Garden five days prior to the ‘Nova upset. Usual suspects North Carolina and Kansas and Kentucky and Arizona and the aforementioned Duke Blue Devils are all experiencing sub-par seasons and it just feels like a very ripe occasion for new blood to bubble to the surface of the field.
Nice to see the likes of Virginia, Purdue, Xavier, Cincinnati, Texas Tech, Auburn and little Saint Mary’s all in the mix. Virginia has a devastating defense which may very well punch their ticket to San Antone. #8 Auburn hasn’t been ranked nationally in a gazillion years and Cinderella Saint Mary’s is hoping to finally step out of the long shadow cast by conference foe Gonzaga.
Sleepers also include the likes of Rhode Island, Tennessee, West Virginia and Nevada. Here’s hoping that the madness, which comes with March college basketball, produces four fresh newbies that make it to South Central Texas for the shootout. I predict that…

By Michael Elliott

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