Monday meanderings: The NCAA men’s basketball tournament selections are set. So are the NIT’s. And the CBI’s (whatever that is — Consumer’s Bureau of Investigation??). Shouldn’t there be a tournament for the teams that didn’t make any of those tournaments? No? How about a tournament for teams with winning records that didn’t make any of those tournaments?
* OK, so the Chicago Bulls lost a nationally televised game. As if their 109-100 defeat Sunday against the host Oklahoma City Thunder is a matter of overwhelming consequence in the grand scheme of things (NBA and otherwise). Then again, what is? (that’s a rhetorical question, so need for an answer, OK? — and that’s another rhetorical question, so … oh, never mind).
* On the bright side for the Bulls, Nikola Mirotic had 27 points in 30 minutes off the bench. And, yes, he stands a better chance of winning Sixth Man Award than Rookie of the Year. And appears to be a potential all-star for years to come. Well, assuming he becomes a starter.
* OK, enough about the Bulls and how Russell Westbrook had 36 points against them (even if he was only 12-of-37 from the field) and how the Bulls were outrebounded 52-33 and how Joakim Noah is limited to playing 32 minutes or so and all that other stuff that might leave Bulls fans temporarily depressed.
* On the bright (?) side for Bulls fans, Westbrook had only a double-double (four assists shy of a triple-double). So there’s that.
* Today is the day after the NCAA announces the field for the men’s basketball tournament. Meaning there are dozens of outraged people about which teams were left out of the highly successful, money-making event (money-making for the NCAA, schools, coaches and administrators directly and for student-athletes — aka “players” — possibly down the road). And outrage about which teams were seeded higher or lower than ardent admirers or disgusted detractors believe they should have been. As has been mentioned around here in previous years, you can avoid a lot of that whining simply by putting the names of the schools in a hat and drawing up brackets by plucking them one by one from the cap. So simple. You’re welcome, NCAA.
* As much time as already has been spent analyzing the field and which teams have the easiest or toughest road to the Final Four, there’s still time for more. And thanks to the NCAA’s broadcast partners, you probably can find programming from now until the tourney tips off Thursday (some of us don’t count those play-in games). All in the name of research, of course.
* Speaking of the NCAA tourney, Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky was impressive in the Big Ten tournament at the United Center. The tourney Most Valuable Player likely will be back on that court for the next several years as a member of some NBA franchise. If he is around for the Bulls to select him in the first round of the NBA draft, it will mean either Kaminsky’s stock has fallen or the Bulls have risen in the draft order (which would mean they had fallen considerably in the standings). Time to focus on someone else. Or maybe the Bulls could trade up, if they were so inclined.
* Speaking of the Big Ten title contest, you didn’t have to be a Wisconsin rooter to enjoy the Badgers’ 80-69 overtime victory over Michigan State — although it helped if you weren’t a Spartans fan.
* Speaking of winning, the Cubs and White Sox did some of that Sunday. The Cubs defeated Cincinnati 2-1. Chris Denorfia’s two-run homer was the Cubs’ only hit. Left-hander Travis Wood tossed five scoreless innings of three-hit ball to give Cubs fans hopes he will pitch like that during the entire regular season. Seems realistic, wouldn’t you say? The Sox topped the Los Angeles Angels 5-3. Among the hightlights, center fielder Adam Eaton was picked off first base — presumably because you have to practice being caught in a rundown sometime, don’t you?
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