For the first time in recent memory I was glued to the telly during the NCAA basketball tournament.
I was pumped when my beloved NDSU Bison advanced to the third round with an 80-75 upset victory over the Oklahoma Sooners in overtime, but I was back to normal two days later when San Diego State sent the Green and Gold home 65-46.
From that point on, I became a Badgers fan because we own some property there and I kept a casual eye on Minnesota’s NIT championship run. I was delighted with each Wisconsin win — all the way to the Final Four.
The boys from the land of cheese were set to play the fab five freshmen from Kentucky on no less than three TV channels (TNT, TBS and TruTV). Why? I’ll never know, because I made the mistake of selecting the former.
I don’t like it, but I accept home teams giving biased media coverage at their local venues, but at a neutral gym in a national NCAA basketball tournament it’s deplorable, arrogant and contemptible.
The TV talking heads at TNT had a sickening love affair with the Wildcats. The puppets included Rob Bromley, Dave Baker and former Kentucky All-American Rex Chapman. Twice, Chapman referred to the Wildcats as “we” and admitted that he was partial. He shouldn’t have been on in the first place.
I tuned out at the half because it had a highlight film showing Kentucky’s road to the Final Four, an interview with the Wildcats captain and another with a player’s mom.
Enough already! No Badgers — a curse on these rubes from TNT. It was later revealed that TNT was intentionally for the Wildcats, TruTV was for the Badgers and TBS was impartial. If that’s the case, then a curse on the NCAA or the stuffed shirts that created this debacle is in order.
Well, at least CBS was fair during UConn’s sterling victory over the men from Lexington.
UConn had more points, but it was a dead heat on tattoos.
When all is said and done, the big story is the Huskies being numero uno in men’s and women’s basketball — at least before the students ransacked Stoors, Conn.
Name the oldest living Heisman Trophy winner?
In the huddle
Former Ponies basketball player Alex Oman made his mark at UW-Stout. Oman, a 6-foot-4 senior at the Menomonie school, finished his career in the No. 16 spot on the Blue Devils all-time scoring list. He averaged 13.1 points and 4.1 boards for Stout. Making the all-time scoring list is saying a ton…. Westin Anderson was
named MVP by the Ponies conference and section champion and fourth-place state outfit. We’re talking about boys alpine skiing here, sports fans. Anderson led six other Ponies on the all-conference team, which also included Matt Ludack, Zach Raven, Nick Skaret, Sam Skaret, Cory Carlsen and Brent Barclay. Ludack received the Len McGuire Award. Captains for next winter are Kyle Szczepanski, Kieran Downs and Carlsen. The girls’ alpine team placed six on the all-conference squad in the persons of Story Schwantes, Rachel Amos, Ashley Ludack, Claire Weber, Maddie Neubauer and Maggie Raedeke. The girls, who their third straight conference title, elected Natalie Gjermo as their Most Valuable Athlete. Schwantes and Ashley Ludack will captain the 2014-15 edition. Amos was presented with the Jane Ammerman Award…. The Ponies gymnastics team (5-4) selected Sidnee Ronsberg as its Most Valuable Athlete recently. Natalie Jantschek, Alex Holmberg and Marleigh Wise will captain the Big Red next winter…. Answer to Today’s Sports Trivia Question: Notre Dame All-American quarterback Johnny Lujack is the oldest living Heisman winner at age 89…. Longtime Ponies co-head coach Bill Simpson, a hall of fame guy, was named the Section 4 Coach of the Year in Nordic skiing. For the girls’ outfit that won conference and section titles, Vessa Pearsall was named the Most Valuable Athlete. Pearsall and Megan Weaver were all-state and the pair led all-conference performers Siri Bohacek, Haley Beech, Sophie Wicklund, Cela Peterson, Ellie Hill, Hannah Beech, Anya Nelson and Rana Kraftson. Weaver, Wicklund, Hill and Peterson will captain next year’s Nordic squad. Looking at the boys’ conference champs, we find Davis Gray receiving the Most Valuable Athlete award. Nine members of the Big Red were all-conference, including Linder Wendt, Sam Hanson, Quentin Ikuta, Nolan Noer, Matt Trumper, Reis Jones, Seth Cattanach, David Ross and Shad Kraftson. Hanson, Ikuta, Wendt and Trumper are set to captain the 2014-15 team…. Katie Kroenning led a 1-10 Stillwater synchronized swim sweep over Osseo/Maple Grove that resulted in a 29-donut victory. After Kroenning, in order, were Skyler Olson, Elise Adrian, Claire Haws, Emily Adrian, Kaitlyn Burgess, Sophie Barnes, Paige Green, Grace Gualtieri and Minna Thrall…. Brandon Jungmann scored the Ponies’ winning goal in their 2-1 section championship boys’ hockey victory over Hill-Murray. I’ll bet you didn’t know that the goal was the last one ever scored at the Lee and Rose Warner State Fairgrounds Coliseum. Jungmann scored the Big Red’s first-ever state tournament goal in its 6-1 quarterfinal loss to eventual state champion Edina. A little birdie tells me that Jungmann, who scored 20 points (9 goals, 11 assists) for the Ponies, is hoping for the opportunity to play in the Junior Hockey League next year…. Together we build courage, character and loyalty…. finis
Today’s rumination #658
The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.
• • • •
George Thole retired as head football coach at Stillwater after the 1999 season. He ranks among Minnesota’s top coaches in history with a 285-69-2 record (.805 winning percentage), including four state titles and two state runner-up finishes among 22 championship seasons. He co-authored (with Jerry Foley) “Coaching the Veer Offense,” second edition. His column appears Fridays in the Gazette. To contact the hall of fame coach e-mail: email@example.com