Tag Archives: Tom Izzo

An all-time great weekend of NCAA Tournament hoops ends with four thrillers, and my Dukies coming up short. I have some thoughts. And “The Princess Bride” as a musical? I’m thrilled and terrified

Wow. What an incredible, amazing, heart-stopping weekend for the sport of college basketball that I love so dearly.

If you hate sports, or college basketball, you have my permission to stop reading now and skip to “The Princess Bride” photo below.

Because I have A LOT to say about the most incredible Elite 8 weekend I’ve ever seen, and I say that even though I’m super-depressed typing this, since Duke lost in a nail-biter for the second straight year in this round, coming agonizingly close to the Final Four then falling short.

— OK, first of all, I can’t remember an Elite 8 weekend that saw all four games be awesome and come down to the wire. Texas Tech, who I saw live at MSG against Duke in December and was super-impressed by, just played unbelievable defense against Gonzaga and scored just enough to pull out a win. Jarrett Culver and Co. were so tenacious, and played so well, that I think they might just win the whole thing.

— The next Elite 8 matchup, man, we’ll be talking about that one for years. Purdue and Virginia, both desperate to make the Final 4 for the first time since the 1980s, played a spectacular game. In the second half I was screaming with glee at my TV many times, as Purdue star Carsen Edwards and Virginia’s Kyle Guy went shot for shot, draining ridiculous 3-pointer after ridiculous 3-pointer.

It was thrilling, it was exhausting, and it was capped by a sensational play by Virginia’s Kihei Clark, who tossed a magnificent pass to his teammate Mamadi Diakite in the final second for a game-tying basket.  Check this out, what a pass.

Such a cliche when you see a spectacular game end and say “It’s a shame someone had to lose.” But in Purdue-Virginia, it really was. It helps that these are two clean programs with no scandals attached to them, and there was great sportsmanship shown throughout the game. Carsen Edwards, I salute you. Just an amazing performance.

— On to the Sunday games, where the “Cheater’s Bowl” matchup of Auburn (coached by notorious cheater Bruce Pearl) took on John Calipari and Kentucky. As you know if you read this space, I loathe Kentucky and was thrilled to see them go down. Auburn’s guards, Harper and Brown, were sensational, and I was surprised at how little resistance the Wildcats gave in overtime, P.J. Washington excluded. Sometimes, freshmen play like freshmen. Tremendous accomplishment for Auburn, and I believe alum Charles Barkley may have wept on the CBS air after the win.

— And now, time for my therapy. All year, despite the incredible talent of Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett, I knew Duke was a little bit fragile, and not quite as good as it should be. They couldn’t hit 3’s, they couldn’t make free throws, and as always, Mike Krzyzewski never developed his bench guys so the starters were often exhausted at the end of games.

And all three of those problems showed up Sunday. Look, Michigan State is a fantastic team, led by an all-time great coach in Tom Izzo, and the better squad won Sunday. I’m happy for Izzo because he’s a good dude and has been trying for a long long time to finally beat Duke in a big game.

But man, the Blue Devils shot themselves in the foot so many times Sunday. From R.J. missing that free throw at the end, to no reliable outside shooter to take the pressure off Zion inside, to once again Duke’s players looking totally wiped out at the end because K refused to play his bench, there was so much self-inflicted damage here.

Part of me (the rational part of my brain) realizes it’s ridiculous to ever complain when a Duke season ends, this team has given me so much joy and titles over my past 33 years as a fan, that anything they win now is just greedy.

But the other part of me, the irrational sports fan side, still takes these losses hard, because every Duke team is good enough to win a championship, and the margins are so thin, and two years in a row to come thisclose and come up short… ugh. I know I’m spoiled. But man, just once I’d like to see K use his bench more, and have Duke have gotten the ball to Zion more down in the final minute… Ah, to hell with it. Congrats to Michigan State. Go Sparty.

— Finally, sportswriter Jon Rothstein echoed my exact sentiments a few minutes after the Duke-Michigan State game ended, when he Tweeted this:
“Dear Zion Williamson, Thanks for being the best player college basketball has seen in an awfully long time. It was one hell of a ride. Best of luck in future endeavors. Sincerely, America.”

It was a privilege watching that young man, on and off the court. What an incredible talent. Please, basketball Gods, don’t put Zion on the Knicks. He doesn’t deserve that miserable fate.

**Finally today, now for something completely different. More than 30 years after it was released in movie theaters, when I first discovered it and laughed my ever-loving tuchus off watching it, “The Princess Bride” may be about to get another life… as a musical.

Yes, that’s right, the movie that I love as much as any other, ever, the movie that gave us Princess Buttercup and “As you Wish” and ROUS’es and “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die,” is now set to be a musical.

According to this story on People.com, writers have been hired to turn the classic movie into a musical, and I’m honestly not sure how I feel about it.

On the one hand, it sounds like blasphemy. “The Princess Bride” is so many things: funny, smart, emotional, wise, tender, and just an incredible piece of art. But what it’s not? A film with singing. I mean, I guess you could make a musical number out of Fezzik’s rhymes on the boat (“Are there rocks ahead? If there are, we’ll all be dead.”), and maybe the adventures in the Fire Swamp could be entertaining through song. But I’m terrified it would be terrible.

But on the other hand… maybe they’ll honor the movie and the songs will be terrific and the acting is great (is there a 500-pound Broadway star who can -recreate Andre the Giant’s Fezzik?) and it’ll be wonderful.

I dunno. I have a feeling I’ll be buying tickets to see it. Unless I’m in a land war in Asia at the time…

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The Madness is here! My annual quick-hit guide to help you win our NCAA Tournament pool. And a man gets small revenge on a litterbug, hilariously.

Say it with me now: It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Well, it is for me, anyway. Outside of the U.S. Open in late August this is as excited as I get about a sporting event. Yes, it’s time for March Madness, baby! Sixty-eight teams had their name called on CBS between 6-6:30 p.m., and now we all get to pretend we know what we’re talking about so Ted from human resources will call our names in a few weeks and tell us we’ve won the office pool.

As I try to do every year, I will try to guide and help you, dear reader, with your office pool or ESPN pool or CBS Sports pool or whatever pool you’re into, since, while I don’t watch nearly as much college basketball as I used to, I still watch a lot and read a lot about it. (And I’m sure I’ll have much more to say about my beloved Duke Blue Devils, their insanely non-human star Zion Williamson, as we go along here.)

So without further ado, some quick-hit thoughts on the bracket, which I have to say, is pretty damn good. Usually me and other college hoops fans spend an hour or so on Selection Sunday evening complaining about this team’s seed, how come so and so got left out, and other mistakes. But they did a really, really good job this year.

OK, onward to some first-round upsets you should pick, some dark horses who may go far, and some great matchups I hope happen. As always in this Monday column, I’m not sure I’m ready to pick a Final Four yet, I need at least 24-48 hours to study the bracket some more.

–OK, first off, all the No. 1 seeds are outstanding, and three of the four got very tough brackets, I think. The easiest region is the Midwest, where North Carolina has a cakewalk to the Elite 8, where they’ll play Kentucky, giving me yet another game where I wish both teams could lose, mutually assured destruction and all that. But the other three regions are incredibly difficult.

— First-round upsets I really like: Belmont as an 11 seed will beat Temple and then take out Maryland, a very young team. I really like No. 13 UC-Irvine over a Kansas State team that might be missing its best player (go Anteaters), and I might be crazy enough to pick Yale over LSU, because LSU’s coach Will Wade is suspended right now, Yale is very very good, and I’m scared to death LSU might beat Duke.

I definitely like New Mexico State, who’s won 30 games and is crazy-experienced, to beat Auburn.
One more upset I like but I’m not sure I can bring myself to pick yet: No. 12 Liberty over Mississippi State. Not because I don’t think it’ll happen, but I’m not sure if I can ever possibly pick Jerry Falwell’s school to win something. I hate him so much.

— A team you absolutely, positively should root against? No. 15 seed Bradley. Why? Just read this. Disgusting and disgraceful.

— Lower-seeded sleepers who could make a run: The afore-mentioned Lobos of New Mexico State, who will beat Auburn and then Kansas to get to the Sweet 16; No. 6 seeded Buffalo, who will take out either St. John’s or Arizona State, then possibly beat Texas Tech (I know, I’m wavering on that one, because I love Buffalo’s team but Tech is really, really good).
I like Wofford, too, as a 10 seed, but beating Kentucky in the second round is going to be very, very tough.

— First-round games that’ll be super fun to watch:

1.Marquette-Murray State should be terrific, with two amazing guards in Markus Howard (Marquette) going up against Ja Morant of Murray State. (Thursday, 4:30 p.m. EST, on TBS)

2. Wofford-Seton Hall will be all kinds of fun; the Pirates from Jersey are playing extremely well right now. (Thursday, 9:40 p.m. EST, CBS,
3. Utah State-Washington will be fascinating; the Aggies from Utah State are an outstanding, veteran team and the Huskies have slumped at the end of the season after being regular-season champions of a putrid PAC-12 conference. (Friday, 6:50 p.m. TNT)

— Best games we hopefully will see in the Tournament: Duke-Michigan State in the Elite 8 (if anyone got screwed in the seedings, it’s the Spartans, who could’ve made a strong case for a No. 1 seed) would be epic. Kentucky-UNC, as I mentioned earlier, would be a classic. Virginia-Tennessee in the Elite 8 would be tremendous, I have no idea who’d win that one.
Gonzaga-Florida State would be a rematch of last year when FSU drubbed the Zags; both teams are better this season.

–OK fine, best guess at a Final Four, if you made me choose right now: Duke in the East (duh), Michigan, maybe? in the West, Tennessee in the South, and the Tar Heels of North Carolina in the Midwest. But I don’t feel good about those at all.

Happy bracketing, y’all!

**Finally today, this gave me a good laugh Sunday. Not sure what city this is (looks like Asia based on the store writing) and some people on the Internet are saying it’s fake or staged, but I’m choosing to believe it’s real.
Because people who litter and throw shit out their window deserve to have what happened to this driver, happen to them.

Outstanding stuff.

Duke wins, Kentucky escapes, MSU stuns: An epic weekend sets up an epic Final Four. And Tom Hanks re-enacts scenes from every movie he’s ever made

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I haven’t blogged much this year about one of my ultimate sporting passions, the Duke men’s basketball team, because I know 95 percent of you hate Duke and/or don’t care about them, and I do try to keep the blog interesting to as many people as possible, while fulfilling the No. 1 goal I had when I started this thing: Entertain myself.

But Sunday night was special, topping off a fantastic weekend of NCAA Tournament action, as good a quartet of Elite 8 games as I remember in 30 years of watching March Madness.

So I’m going to spend a few words here talking about my Duke Blue Devils, who advanced to the Final Four.

This isn’t the prettiest Duke team ever in terms of style, they have their moments when they drive you crazy because four of the eight players are freshmen, and there were definitely times this season when I seriously doubted they’d be good enough to get to the Sweet 16, much less the Final Four.

But Sunday night, against a really good Gonzaga team, Duke did it.  They made their 12th Final Four under the greatest coach of all time, Mike Krzyzewski. (John Wooden is the only other acceptable answer).

They did it without much offense from Jahlil Okafor, the man-child freshman center who’ll be the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft next year. They did it with lockdown defense from their only key senior, Quinn Cook, who was so emotional after finally realizing a dream that he broke down (above) in tears when it finally came true.
They did it thanks to a sophomore who never gets any love, Matt Jones, hitting big shot after big shot, and freshman Justise Winslow, who was the least-heralded of the Big 3 freshman signees last year but was by far the best during the last two weeks.

I have no idea if Duke can win the national title; as a spoiled Duke fan, I just hope they make the Final Four every year; that’s the goal.

It’s been five years since they’ve been there. I’m really happy they’re back.

Some other thoughts from a fabulous hoops weekend:

— Michigan State is the only improbable Final Four team this year, and even though the Spartans struggled way more than usual, you can’t be too surprised they’re here. Because they’re coached by Tom Izzo, a legend in his profession. This is by far his least-talented Final Four team, but man oh man, did they claw and scratch their way to two wins this weekend. Tremendous.

— The Kentucky-Notre Dame game. I mean… wow. What a sensational game. When the brackets came out I picked Notre Dame to peat the Wildcats in this round, partly because I believed they really could, and partly because I didn’t want to be like “the herd” picking Kentucky to go all the way.
And for 99 percent of the game, Notre Dame played perfectly. They shot well, defended everyone but Karl-Anthony Towns well (that guy is a beast, and impossible to stop in the low post), and with three minutes to go had the lead and the Kentucky fans were pooping in their pants about their perfect season going up in flames.

And then, the Irish just couldn’t finish. They took some ill-advised shots the last 3 possessions, UK made a couple foul shots with six seconds left, and it was over.
Incredibly dramatic, wonderful game, though.

**This has nothing to do with basketball but everything to do with the NCAA Tournament: I am so freaking sick of those Buick commercials. Dear Buick: I don’t care how many times you make me watch those ads, I’m not buying a Buick. (And as a Twitter follower of mine pointed out: Why the hell does that couple in the beginning have binoculars in their kitchen? Do they spy on their neighbors? Are they anti-Buick spies? Just general voyeurs? I’m brimming with questions).

– Wisconsin is so much fun to watch play, aren’t they? So well-coached, Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky are tremendous (though Kaminsky flops way too much), and they just share the ball beautifully. I think they beat Kentucky on Saturday.

— So we’ve got maybe the four best head coaches in the sport going head to head at the Final Four, with a perfect season on the line, two legendary blue-blood programs, and absolutely anyone could win the whole thing.

— And there are some people who think the NBA is better than college basketball. Insane.

**Finally today, I don’t really have much interest in checking out James Corden’s new late night show after Letterman; not really familiar with Corden, not awake watching TV at that hour, etc.

But if this skit he pulled the first week of his show is any indication of what’s to come, I’m excited. He and Mr. Tom Hanks spent six minutes re-creating scenes from every Hanks movie ever made. Pretty hilarious, and it gets better as it goes along (the “Sleepless in Seattle” one is my favorite.)

Duke cruises, Nova and Virginia crash out of the NCAA Tournament, and Izzo is a wizard. And the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” calls C-SPAN

Duke.Okafor

Whew. My eyes are tired and my brain is on overdrive. Four days of NCAA Tournament viewing can do that to you.

But I’m happy, of course. Gloriously happy, that my Duke Blue Devils avoided the upset bug that has plagued them the last few years, and put on a dominating performance Sunday, beating San Diego State by 19.

It was a rare, nice enjoyable and relaxing Duke win for yours truly. Justise Winslow was sensational; he’s the whole key to this team this year. When he’s engaged and making plays in the first couple minutes of the game, they win. When he’s passive and making silly turnovers and being lazy on defense, they lose.

It’s strange because he’s probably the third best player on the team, but he’s definitely the most important.  Great to see the whole team play defense, too, which doesn’t happen often.

Some more March Madness thoughts from a pretty fabulous weekend:

— Tom Izzo and Michigan State. Man, he’s an incredible coach. That game with UVA Sunday was rough on the eyes; tons of fouls, missed free throws, and not many pretty baskets. But this is not that good of a Spartans team, and he’s got them in the Sweet 16 again. Incredible coaching job. For Virginia, just an awful result, to have such a great season end like this. They just couldn’t score at all Sunday, and missed a bunch of free throws, too.

— Not surprised at all to see North Carolina State beat Villanova Saturday night. The Wolfpack have been great and terrible all year, and their “best” is as good as anyone in the country. They’ve got a fabulous backcourt, excellent rebounders, and a pretty good coach in Mark Gottfried.
Now, that said, I wouldn’t be surprised if they lost by 20 in the Sweet 16. They’re just that erratic.

— It’s so great being a fan of this Tournament in 2015, technology-wise. Saturday night, the wife was at a concert, I put the little guy to bed at 8, then had a laptop, an iPad, and my TV on three different games, while toggling over to the Rangers game when one was at halftime. Sure it probably fried my brain a little but it was worth it.

— That UNC-Arkansas game was all kinds of fun to watch. After seeing so many slow-it-down, grind-it-out games in the 50s and 60s, that one was wild. Fast-paced, shooting every chance they got, high-flying, man it was fun. I’m not saying every game should be like that in the Tournament, but we could sure use a few more teams playing that style.

— Hell of a win for Notre Dame Saturday night, out-battling Butler. No points for the last 4 minutes of regulation, but that was old school Indiana basketball. And my man Mike Brey, coaching with a heavy heart after his Mom died earlier in the day. That had to be very tough to do.

— Sorry to see Georgia State and their coach who made a stool famous, Ron Hunter, lose on Saturday. But what a beautiful postgame opening statement he gave about his team, and about coaching his son for the last time. So emotional, so touching… you can tell how much this means to him. Really special.

— Kansas refused for decades to play Wichita State, as the Jayhawks coaches figured there was nothing to be gained (win, and you’re supposed to beat the smaller school in your state; lose and it’s humiliating) but one of the beautiful things about the NCAA Tournament is it sometimes forces  you to do things you don’t want to do.
So we got a Wichita State-KU matchup Sunday, and no big surprise, but the “little school” kicked the big school’s butt. The Shockers have been legit good for years, and dominated Kansas in the second half.
Moral of the story: Play the schools in your state, it’s wimpy not to.

— Some super matchups on tap for the Sweet 16: Notre Dame-Wichita State should be terrific. Wisconsin-Carolina is a total contrast in styles. Arizona-Xavier will be a great game. And can Michigan State keep its roll going against a really strong Oklahoma team?
Can’t wait till Thursday  night.

**Finally today, this made me laugh really hard, and if you remember early 1990s television, you’ll laugh to.

“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” had a memorable opening credits sequence, with Will Smith doing a song/voiceover of how a kid from inner-city Philadelphia hit the jackpot, moving to Bel Air to live with his aunt and uncle.

Well, apparently a C-Span caller named Jack from California remembered it too, and he called in and, well, this is perfect…

Everybody into the pool! I give you tips on the 2015 NCAA Tournament bracket. And a pretty awesome wedding proposal that took a year to create

North Carolina v Duke

It’s the most wonderful time, of the year…

Come on everybody, sing it with me!

Screw Christmas or the Fourth of July, for diehard hoopheads like me, Sunday was the glorious first day of March Madness, three weeks of non-stop college basketball that will leave me smiling from ear to ear and working that remote as feverishly as a teenager playing “Call of Duty.”

Selection Sunday was great, as usual, my Duke boys got the No. 1 seed they deserved, and the selection committee screwed up enough to have plenty of people outraged (Dayton barely gets in, and UCLA and Texas get in over Temple? That makes zero sense).

As usual here on the blog, I’m going to break down some of the early-round games and tell you which upsets I think you should pick, to give you the best shot at winning our office pool. Sure, I don’t get them all right, but last year I told you Harvard and North Dakota State would both score huge upsets, and they did! (Click here for proof of my Nostradamus-like forecast).

Some quick-hit thoughts to help you smash Ted from accounting:

First-round upsets you should definitely pick:  No. 12 Buffalo over No. 5 West Virginia (Bobby Hurley’s Buffalo team is really good, and Bob Huggins-coached teams rarely do well in the Tournament); No. 12 Stephen F. Austin over No. 5 Utah (Utes are sliding and playing terribly at the end of the year), No. 13 UC-Irvine over No. 4 Louisville (Louisville is very erratic and the Anteaters are for real).

First-round upsets that wouldn’t stun me but I’m not willing to pick: Harvard over UNC (oh man would I love to see Dukie Tommy Amaker and Harvard beat the Heels), Eastern Washington over Georgetown.

Sleepers to watch (lower-seeded teams that could go much further than anticipated:): No. 7 Michigan State (Izzo in March, need I say more?), No. 11 Dayton, No. 7 Wichita State.

Second-round matchups that would be awesome: Wichita State vs. Kansas (big brother vs. little brother in the state; KU refuses to play Wichita State); Gonzaga-Davidson (Davidson will absolutely give them a game, they play tough teams every year); Michigan State-Virginia (rematch of last year’s terrific Sweet 16 game; MSU’s not as good as last year and UVA is better, but Spartans are playing great right now and UVA’s limping in).

Is there any way Kentucky loses before the Final Four? Not really. In my heart I’d like to say Notre Dame and Maryland could knock them out, but the Wildcats got a pretty cake draw.

Can’t give you my Final Four picks yet because I haven’t studied the bracket enough. But Kentucky’s gonna be there. They’re not winning the title, but they’re at least making the Final 4.

Good luck in your pool; I’ll spend the next three days worrying about Robert Morris or North Florida (one of whom will be Duke’s first-round opponent. Hey, don’t laugh, my boys lost to Mercer last year and Lehigh two years before that; anything can happen.)

And that’s why I love March Madness so damn much: Because anything can happen. Maybe this is finally the year a 16 beats a 1 (Lafayette over Villanova, anyone?). Maybe some kid we’ve never heard of becomes instantly famous for a last-second shot.

Anything can happen. Can’t wait till Thursday.

**Finally today, I thought all of the unique marriage proposals in the world had been used up, but this guy’s was pretty great.

It takes a couple minutes to get going (you can skip to 2:30 and not miss much), but once it does I find it really sweet and charming.

And of course, she said yes…

Everybody into the pool! I help you win your NCAA office pool. And Julianne Moore does a great Palin in “Game Change.”

My favorite time of the year is here.
The Madness of March. Brackets, baby, brackets. Since Sunday at 6 p.m., around studying for a big exam Monday, yours truly has been studying, analyzing, and talking myself into picks for the NCAA Tournament starting Tuesday.
Since I know most of you are in pools at your office, I’m here to help. If any of my picks pan out and you end up winning a huge amount of money, feel free to donate to my “pay the government back its student loan money” fund.
First things first: I think the committee did a really good job this year. Except for putting Iona in over Drexel, I can’t really quibble with the 68 teams they put in. And even Iona getting in doesn’t kill me; at least more mid-majors got in this year.

OK, some quick thoughts on the bracket:
— First-round upsets you should pick: Long Beach State over New Mexico (LBSU is really good, and almost beat Kansas and UNC this year); Davidson over Louisville, Iowa State over UConn, and Ohio over Michigan. Possible sleeper: Belmont, a 14 seed, over Georgetown. That will be a very good game.
— Sleepers to maybe get to Sweet 16: Wichita State as a 5 seed, Murray State as a 6, St. Mary’s as a 7.
— Best first-round game to watch: Wichita State vs. VCU (Thursday, 7:15 p.m.. Of course you remember VCU made that miraculous run to the Final Four last year. This is a totally different Rams team, but still pretty darn good.
— My Duke boys didn’t get that bad of a draw; can’t complain too much. I think a game against Notre Dame in the 3rd round is winnable, but after that I can’t see the Devils beating Baylor. I think Sweet 16 is about as good as I can hope for this year.
— My very preliminary Final 4 picks: Kentucky (duh), Michigan State, Ohio State, and (I really hate to do this) North Carolina. And let’s go with the Spartans and their star, Draymond Green (that’s him up above) to win it all, because Tom Izzo is awesome and so is his team. I just think Kentucky, who everyone will pick, will fold like usual when the going gets tough.
Can’t wait for the Madness to begin!

**Ever since the historic 2008 presidential election ended, I’ve been waiting for Hollywood to make a whole bunch of movies about it.
I mean, it was an incredible, world-altering race for so many different reasons, but almost four years later we’ve had a ton of books about the Obama/Hillary/McCain/Palin duel, but no flicks.
Happily, HBO has changed that, premiering “Game Change,” based on a book by Mark Halperin and John Heilmann. With so much material to choose from, the producers decided to simply focus on Sarah Palin and McCain’s bizarre choice of her, and all that ensued.

The movie was terrific. Julianne Moore, as Palin, does an even better Sarah than Tina Fey did. Ed Harris as John McCain was dead-on, and Woody Harrelson was really good as McCain campaign leader Steve Schmidt, who was completely befuddled and then angry as Palin’s lack of knowledge about the world was slowly revealed.
The look on Schmidt’s face when Palin didn’t know what the Federal Reserve was was priceless.
The movie does move along slowly at times, but you really can’t say it makes Palin look worse than she really is; sadly, most of the horror show that the movie portrayed really did happen. She really is that stupid and vapid.
Really good film; check it on HBO when you get the chance.

A woman confronts her rapist on Facebook. A hilarious spoof of Lionel Richie. And the joy of Michigan State hoops

Sometimes the ripples of social media still stuns me, even 15 years into this Internet Web thingy.

This story showed up on the N.Y. Times website the other day, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind since. A woman named Dorri Olds was raped by a man when she was 13 years old. Recently, 38 years after the brutal attack, Facebook recommended she be friends with her rapist.

Stunned, she clicked “Add Friend.” And then… well, read this short but powerful essay. What would you have done in the situation? Friend him so you could unload, electronically, all the anger and vitriol you feel toward him? Or ignore him and get on with your life?

That’s the thing about Facebook: Everyone in your past is on there, good and bad. Sometimes it’s great. Other times, you find the sexual abuser you tried so hard to forget.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

**Yet another example of someone with WAY too much time on their hands: Someone took the time and effort to splice a whole bunch of movie clips together so that they speak the lyrics to Lionel Richie’s “Hello.”

I laughed.

**Unlike many Duke basketball fans, my second favorite college team isn’t “Whoever’s playing North Carolina (although I did enjoy hearing about that FSU beatdown of the Heels last week). No, my second favorite team, for the past 13 years, has been Michigan State.

Let me count the ways I love Tom Izzo and his program: 1, They don’t cheat. 2, Every year his team plays hard to the last second of the game. 3, They are always a ferocious rebounding team. 4, They rarely have blue-chip talent (Oh I know, they’ve had great players like Mateen Cleaves and Zack Randolph over the years) but Izzo squeezes every ounce of ability out of each kid, it seems. And finally, 5, they play the game the right way, fundamentally.

There are more reasons, but you get the idea. I just love watching the Spartans play, like I did Tuesday night in a one-point loss to Michigan. If you’re a college hoops purist, I think you have to like them, because they stand for all that’s good about the sport, and the college game.

OK, climbing down off the soapbox. But man they are fun to watch.

Another good veto by Florida’s Governor. And a plea to Tom Izzo: Please stay

So that’s two vetoes in a row for newly-independent Florida governor Charlie Crist.
When we last left the former Republican here on Wide World of Stuff, he had actually listened to the howls of outrage and vetoed a controversial new education law that was as stupid as it was short-sighted.

Now, no longer beholden to the lunatic fringe on the right, Crist has vetoed a disgusting and despicable law passed by the Florida legislature. The bill, HB1243, would’ve required women wishing to have an abortion to hear details about the fetus from their doctor, and would’ve forced them to have, and pay for, an ultrasound and view the image, with rare exceptions.

This was a dreadful piece of legislation, an absolute invasion of women’s privacy at a time they’re making a very difficult decision men like me have no concept of.

The law was designed to, I suppose, guilt women who chose of their own free will to have an abortion, into changing their minds.

It’s reprehensible to think this could’ve become law, and I commend Crist for vetoing it.

He’s not going to win this Senate election he’s in, I believe. But at least he’s salvaging his reputation and proving he’s not the Jeb Bush clone we all thought he was.

Here’s the great story on Izzo from HBO’s Real Sports from a few months ago:

**With the exception of Notre Dame’s Mike Brey (Formerly of the University of Delaware, thank you) and, of course, Mike Krzyzewski, there’s no college basketball coach I respect more, and like more, than Tom Izzo.

The Michigan State boss is everything you’d want in a coach: intense, dedicated to his profession, fiercely loyal to his players, and absolutely a winner. He’s led the Spartans to six Final Fours and one national title in 12 years, a ridiculously consistent mark in this era of one and done players and tremendous parity in Division I hoops.

Everything I’ve read about him, and seen, makes me think he’s a good, decent man, who is a credit to his profession.

Which is why I am really, really, really hoping he stays at Michigan State, and doesn’t jump to the NBA to coach the possibly LeBron-less Cleveland Cavaliers. As I write this, news reports say Izzo is torn about which way to turn.

He’s been offered the Cavs job, but you’d think he has no way of knowing whether LeBron James will be there when he arrives (I’d be shocked if James told Izzo one way or the other by now; no way that could stay quiet for a month).

Izzo is so good for college basketball, and for Michigan State. His kids don’t get into trouble with the law, and they play tremendously hard on both ends of the floor. Izzo has always struck me as a guy who loves the college game, with its high and lows. Would he really want to subject himself to 82 games with millionaire pros, especially when his MSU team this season is a national title contender?

Far be it from me to tell a man I don’t know what to do. But I really, really hope he stays at MSU and continues his legacy as one of the best college coaches ever.  The NCAA would be a lot poorer if he’s gone.

Watch that clip I’ve embedded above, a typically excellent HBO Real Sports piece on Izzo. Tell me that’s not a man perfectly at home.

Duke! Invisibility cloaks! And a little “Love Boat” music.


Good morning all. as you read this I’m probably on my way to Port Canaveral, Fla., humming The Love Boat theme (man I loved that show. The guest star lists were so random; it was always like, Fred Dryer, Charo, and McLean Stevenson).

My wife and I are going on a cruise for the first time together, a four-day excursion to the Bahamas. It’s my first-ever cruise, so I’m totally pumped. Sure, the weather forecast for the Bahamas this week is crappy, but I’m not letting that get me down. I’m going to eat, eat, eat some more, and do some para-sailing. I’m very much looking forward to disconnecting from the world for a few days: No phone, no Internet, nothing.

But fear not, loyal readers: My beloved blog assistant/father will be posting a few things I had written for a rainy day. Dad, this is is your chance to tell any embarrassing stories from my childhood you think the world should know. But remember, the police know the truth!

Have a great week.

So, I know lots of people hate Duke. And I understand it to a degree. People hate winners. But you know, Duke hasn’t won anything in a while, so I was beyond excited Sunday night.

Thanks to Jon Scheyer finding his jump shot, Lance Thomas rebounding like a man possessed, and everyone who played chipping in a little bit, the Blue Devils are going back to the Final Four. Phenomenal win over Baylor, a really good team who scared the hell out of me.

It looked bleak for a while, as LaceDarius Dunn and Tweety Carter (and come on, LaceDarius? What kind of a name is that?) were bombing 3-pointers.

But Duke came back in the second half and got it done. Huge props to Nolan Smith for his career-high 28 points, and Brian Zoubek played well before fouling out, and Scheyer, the leader, came up huge.

**Quite an interesting Final Four, I think. Butler, the hometown team and the little guy in field. Michigan State, who get to the Final Four for the sixth time in 12 years, a mind-blowing accomplishment for Tom Izzo. West Virginia, which hasn’t been there since 1959 and plays hellacious defense. And a Duke team most people still underestimate. Should be a lot of fun.

**Finally, this is one of those stories I can’t believe is really true. But remember the “invisibility cloaks” in the Harry Potter movies, where Harry and his friends could go from room to room undetected?

Well, apparently German scientists have created a 3-D cloak that can hide objects by bending light waves.

This is way too complicated for me to explain; go here for the details. But how cool would this be in real life? All those times you want to know what people are saying about you in the other room? Now you can! When I was younger this was the power I wanted most in life, and now it might be possible.

God bless science.