In My Opinion

Greg Cote: March Madness brings excess of ‘Cinderella’ references

 
 
Chris Wilson #24 of Saint Joseph's fights for the ball with Jordan Gathers #5 and Dion Wright #21 of St. Bonaventure during the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament at Barclays Center on March 15, 2014 in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Chris Wilson #24 of Saint Joseph's fights for the ball with Jordan Gathers #5 and Dion Wright #21 of St. Bonaventure during the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament at Barclays Center on March 15, 2014 in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Mike Lawrie / Getty Images

Hot list

Today: Key Biscayne tennis. Crandon Park Tennis Center the next two weeks hosts top ATP and WTA pros in a tournament sometimes called the sport’s “fifth major.” Most singles titles won here in the event’s 29-year history:

Titles Player Years won
6 Andre Agassi1990-95-96-2001-02-03
6 Serena Williams2002-03-04-07-08-13
5 Steffi Graf1987-88-94-95-96
3 Novak Djokovic2007-11-12
3 Pete Sampras1993-94-2000
3 Venus Williams1998-99-2001

Note: Two-time winners have been Victoria Azarenka, Kim Clijsters, Roger Federer, Martina Hingis, Ivan Lendl, Andy Murray, Andy Roddick, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario and Monica Seles.

What South Florida Sports Fans Are Talking About

1. DOLPHINS

Branden Albert tops team’s early free agency bounty: Miami signed star left tackle Branden Albert as well as defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, safety Louis Delmas and cornerback Cortland Finnegan in a fan-pleasing first wave of free agency. I’d imagine 315-pound Branden heard “Fat Albert” jokes a lot growing up. But you ask him that, not me.

2. NCAA BASKETBALL

Gentlemen (and ladies), start your brackets: It’s Selection Sunday, when 68 teams are invited to the men’s NCAA Tournament, 32 get into the NIT, and 16 go to the College Basketball Invitational. I don’t wanna say too many teams get into postseason tournaments, but schools that don’t even field basketball teams end up getting invited.

3. HEAT

Recent slump adds doubt, intrigue to drive for three-peat: The champs had lost five of their past six games entering Sunday’s game — another big test here against Houston. The bad news just one month before the playoffs: A three-peat seems to be in increasing doubt. The good news: Heat in the Big 3 era plays best when doubted.

4. MARLINS

Panama trip brings spring training to midpoint: The Marlins wrap up a two-game spring series with the Yankees on Sunday in Panama. The teams run similar operations, other than the Yanks’ payroll being five times bigger. These are the first MLB games in Panama since 1947. Coincidentally, the Marlins pay players as if it were still 1947.

5. TENNIS

Key Biscayne’s 30th annual tournament set to begin: The best pros will be at Crandon Park starting this week for an event that has been a Key Biscayne fixture since 1985. Sadly, tennis has grown predictable. Put it this way: Give me three players to win it all — Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal — and you can have everyone else.


gcote@ MiamiHerald.com

Welcome to “Selection Sunday,” American sports’ most famous, anticipated, talked-about Sunday not involving Roman numerals.

This is the day the men’s college basketball NCAA Tournament field is set, launching untold millions of brackets and office pools for March Madness, the annual phenomenon that got so big it burst clean out of March into April.

What a day for hoops junkies in general.

The top-ranked Florida Gators try to hone their national-title cred in the Southeastern Conference championship game at 3 p.m.

The NBA champion Miami Heat plays host to the Houston Rockets at 3:30.

Then the NCAA men’s selection show airs at 6, followed by the NIT selection show, which puts on a brave face while pathetically waiting for the crumbs that fall to it.

It could be a bleak time of snubbing, not selection, locally. The UM Hurricanes men, just one year after being in the top 10, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference and advancing to the Sweet 16, will be staying home this postseason, and the Canes women’s best hope is an NIT bid.

Personally, I’ve won already because I invested heavily in lame media references to “Cinderella.” This year’s lovable long-shots via automatic bids include schools such as Mercer, Coastal Carolina, American, Manhattan and Wofford. Oh, and another possibility is St. Joseph’s, which until this week I thought was a brand of baby aspirin.

This year, philanthropist Warren Buffett is offering $1 billion for the perfect bracket. Cannot confirm Jimmy Buffett is offering a free margarita.

President Obama will be offering his own bracket, after which angry Republicans presumably will demand equal time to deride the president’s choices and offer a dissenting bracket.

• Longtime Dolphins media-relations maven Harvey Greene now mans a newly created position as vice president of “historical affairs.” Great. Now the club’s obsession with 1972-73 is officially a full-time job.

• Dolphins owner Stephen Ross agreed to pay $350 million for stadium improvements if the county exempts the club from its annual $3.8 million property-tax bill. Hmm. I’m no mathematician, but 3.8 won’t multiply beyond 350 for roughly 92 years. So make the deal already!

• The Patriots signed star cornerback Darrelle Revis. And for roughly the 100th time over the past decade, Dolfans said, “Damn that Bill Belichick!”

• Answer: Little-known Patrick Reed won last week’s World Golf Championships event at Doral and immediately announced plans to be one of the world’s top five players. Question: What’s the quickest way to become unpopular on the PGA Tour?

• The Panthers had lost 11 of their past 14 games entering the weekend. If the Cats have not yet been mathematically eliminated in the NHL playoff chase, it’s an indictment of math.

• Minnesota Rep. Pat Garofalo apologized for a racist Tweet that implied a majority of NBA players are involved in street crime. Evidently, Garofalo was unaware that most NBA players somehow manage to avoid resorting to petty theft by being, you know, MILLIONAIRES!

• The Knicks reportedly will introduce Phil Jackson as team president Tuesday. He had expressed concerns over having to live in New York. Even worse, he would have to attend Knicks games.

• A panicked LeBron James tweeted that his cellphone had deleted all his contacts. Which is only hilarious because Samsung is one of his major sponsors.

•  Kobe Bryant will be 36 next season when he attempts to come back from being sidelined almost all of 1 1/2 years with Achilles and knee injuries. There is a word for a situation like that: “Retirement.”

• Bulls fans have taken to chanting “MVP!” for Joakim Noah. They meant to add “if LeBron, Kevin Durant and a bunch of other guys never existed,” but it made for a cumbersome chant.

• Sentences I Never Imagined Writing (one in a series): “Young Marlins pitching ace Jose Fernandez showed up for work in Jupiter wearing purple pants and gold high-top shoes by Gucci.”

• Red Sox owner John Henry faces an MLB fine for saying the Marlins should apologize for their regular-season lineup — after Miami complained Boston fielded an inferior lineup in a spring game. Henry’s best defense: Well … the truth?

•  Tiger Woods was found guilty in Miami-Dade in a minor lawsuit over a 2001 business deal. Given past infidelities, I’d offer Tiger’s lawyer a piece of advice: Next time, avoid the all-woman jury.

• Last time I checked, Miami Hurricanes baseball was ranked No. 13 and FIU’s record was 16-1. Can someone get these city rivals to play each other, please? Or does that make too much sense?

• An Italian paralympic hockey player, Igor Stella, was suspended for doping. So, evidently, the long list of things physically challenged folks can do just like everybody else includes cheating.

• Lakeland hosted a Florida Tree Climbing Championship. Cannot confirm the competition was dominated by rhesus monkeys.

• Idaho hockey fans are suing a Boise arena for selling large beers with the same amount as small beers. That’s shocking. Who knew there were hockey fans in Idaho?

•  Parting thought: This just in. Outraged mushers were crying foul this week as Alaska’s annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race was won by a turbo-powered snowmobile.

Visit Greg’s Random Evidence of a Cluttered Blog daily at MiamiHerald.com and follow on Twitter @gregcote and also on Instagram, Vine and Facebook.

Read more Greg Cote stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category