As I write this, it’s been exactly 24 hours since the greatest ending to an NCAA Tournament ever.
And I’m still smiling, thinking about it, and not because the team I hate most, the University of North Carolina, lost in the most excruciating manner possible. (not proud of my feelings, just admitting them).
What happened Monday night in Houston, between Villanova and UNC, was extraordinary. The game was well-played throughout, neither team got too far ahead, it was exciting, it was thrilling, and then the last 10 seconds happened.
Before we get into the awesomeness of Kris Jenkins’ shot, I have to throw a little love at Marcus Paige and the miraculous play he made to tie the game. A double-pump wild-looking 3-pointer that went in, it was the perfect capper to a great career.
And produced this incredible photo…
Only, there were still 4.7 seconds left on the clock. And Villanova is an experienced team that knows exactly what to do in those situations. And the Tar Heels played way too loose on defense at the end, and Jenkins is a great shooter, and as soon as he let it go, I thought it was in.
And it was, setting off an incredible celebration. Only once before has an NCAA Tournament title game ended on a last-second game-winning shot, and that was 1983 N.C. State over Houston. But let’s be honest: That Lorenzo Charles dunk was a fluky play; he snatched Derreck Whittenberg’s long desperation jumper that was going to fall short, and he put it back in.
This, Monday night, was perfect, flawless execution. The reaction videos were all over social media; this one of Charles Barkley was great, I thought:
Whew. What a great game. I say this all the time but there are SO many things wrong with college basketball, from the academic fraud cases to the exploitation of players, to the inconsistent officiating, yada yada yada.
But for two hours Monday night, it was sports at its best. Such a wonderful, wonderful contest. Thrilled the Villanova kids won. The NCAA Tournament remains the most wonderful sporting event of the year.
And I can’t wait till next college basketball season starts.
**Next up today, Tuesday night was another huge night for my man Bernie Sanders. In a very important state in the general election, everyone’s favorite 74-year-old Vermont Jew came up big, beating Hillary Clinton 56-43 as of this writing, with 86 percent in.
There was a lot here that favored Bernie: Wisconsin is a big union state, independents could vote in the Democratic primary, and there are some big college towns in the state, like Madison.
But this is more than that: He’s now won 7 of the last 8 contests. He’s winning big states and small states, and now he’s got yuuuge momentum heading into New York.
And let me tell you, as someone who lives here and is a big political junkie, the next two weeks leading up to the April 19 primary are going to be all kinds of fun.
Bernie slicing into Hillary’s lead, the whole Wall Street argument against HRC, the Jewish vote being up for grabs, the Clintons likely going super-negative to blunt Bernie’s momentum… it’s all on. Believe me, I don’t have blinders on, I know it’s still a longshot for Bernie to get the nomination.
But that he’s still this viable heading into New York, I never would’ve believed it. He’s got a real, real shot to win my state. And then, boy, the shit would really hit the fan in Hillary-land.
And don’t forget! We’ve got Satan in a Cowboy Hat, Ted Cruz, and the man Charlie Pierce calls the vulgar, talking yam, suddenly in a competitive race again. Cruz whupped Trump in Wisconsin by 20-plus points, and now Trump is saying all kinds of nasty things again, and the Orange man is coming back to his home turf here in N.Y., where nobody likes Cruz, and the mud will be flying from Brooklyn to Binghamton.
Get your popcorn ready.
**Finally today, I thought this story was truly fascinating. The Guardian newspaper of London came out with a story citing a German researcher’s recently unearthed archive material from the 1930s, and alleging that the Associated Press willingly cooperated in helping spread Nazi propaganda.
As the only foreign news source in Germany for several years back then, the story alleges that the AP was allowed to stay in the country only after agreeing to not publish anything negative about the Hitler government.
This is an explosive, explosive charge against a legendary news operation, and the AP has of course denied the charge.
But this is really interesting stuff. Here’s the AP’s response to the article.