Noise or crickets, it’s March Madness worldwide

03/23/2014 12:01 AM

03/23/2014 1:53 AM

It started in mid-March, and it is building and building to its highly anticipated crescendo one week into April, as we all watch with rapt interest to see how the bracket will finally shake out.

The NCAA Tournament in men’s basketball? That, too, I suppose.

But I meant the ICC Worlds Twenty20 in cricket going on right now in Bangladesh.

You heard right: the International Cricket Council. Due to reader demand, I’ll be writing only cricket columns in the buildup to the 2015 Cricket World Cup, and the “T20,” as we insiders call it, is a major preliminary event. They’re cheering from Dhaka to Sylhet to Chittagong.

I love cricket because it is so thoroughly undecipherable to nonworshippers.

I heard a player say, “I cocked one off the splice in the gully and the blighter gathered it” — and I didn’t know whether to offer congratulations or say how sorry I was.

I heard a cricket announcer report, “ Nadeem Ahmed picked four wickets as Bangladesh lost their last seven for 23 runs” — and I didn’t know if this would find Ahmed joyous or crestfallen.

I heard another announcer boom, “AWESOME BABY!” He was the Pakistani Dick Vitale.

You can have the NCAA Tournament. Give me the ICC Worlds T20 and all its exotic mysteries.

You can have your top-seeded championship favorites such as the Florida Gators and Arizona. I have my own office-pool sure things: West Indies and Sri Lanka.

Yes, and you can have your charming Cinderellas such as Mercer and North Dakota State. I have my own slingshot-wielding bracket-busters: Hong Kong and Nepal.

This cricket thing is addicting once you get into it.

We just had our fantasy draft and my top two picks — if you can believe it! — were Umar Jawaid and Amitash Balekar.

I mean, who gets that lucky!?

• I tuned into TV’s The Biggest Loser on Friday night. I don’t mean the weight-loss reality show. I mean the Knicks-76ers game.
• The Hurricanes got bounced fast from the women’s NIT, losing 70-63 at home to Stetson. Can Jim Larrañaga and Katie Meier just sort of pretend this UM basketball season never happened?
• The Panthers are down to 11 games left in a dreary season that finds Florida a spectator once more for the coming NHL playoffs with the league’s third-fewest points in the standings and second-worst goal differential. But other than all that, it’s been a pretty good year!
• Dolphins headquarters in Davie hosted an NFL Regional Combine on Saturday. That’s for players not invited to the main Combine who are trying to work their way up from hopeless long-shot to extreme long-shot.
• At the NFL meetings in Orlando this week, club owners will consider an expanded 18-game season and adding two additional playoff teams. Fans are in favor of both, so don’t expect either.
• New NBA commissioner Adam Silver says corporate logos on uniforms are inevitable. “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome YOUR Nike Miami Heat Presented by McDonald’s!”
• That reminds me. One of LeBron James’ 3,847 sponsors just came out with “Sprite 6 Mix by LeBron James.” It’s the basic Sprite lemon-lime flavor but they added either a hint of cherry-orange or a splash of LeBron’s game-worn perspiration — I can’t remember which.
• The Knicks made it official and introduced Phil Jackson as club president. Could start a trend. Next I hear they plan to bring back a limping Willis Reed, 71. Not as an executive. To play center.
•  Tiger Woods withdrew from another tournament this week amid concerns his balky back might still be bothering him during next month’s Masters. The question of Tiger used to be, “Is he back?” Now it’s, “Is his back back?”
• Congrats to reader Scott Vogelsberg, winner of my blog’s annual March Madness Haiku Challenge. My haiku to him: “The choice is simple. Why reside in Bracketville? I choose Vogelsberg.”
• Golf’s Australian PGA Championship was played on a course that included a 26-foot mechanical tyrannosaurus rex that roared. Seriously. And these guys are bothered by the whir of a camera shutter?
•  Evander Holyfield was in trouble for comparing homosexuality to a disability and calling it “treatable.” Having had part of an ear bitten off, I guess he couldn’t hear how dumb that sounded.
• A horse named Commissioner is being touted as an early serious threat to win the Triple Crown. Even stranger: The jockey is Roger Goodell.
•  Parting thought: The patent office ruled in favor of Johnny Manziel’s rights to the nickname Johnny Football. Although, from what I’ve seen of Manziel’s plummeting draft stock and increasing doubts, his next nickname might soon be Johnny Ex-Football.

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.

About Greg Cote

Greg Cote

@gregcote

Greg Cote has been a Miami Herald sports columnist since 1995 and also writes the Random Evidence blog and NFL predictions along with his notorious sidekick the Upset Bird. He has covered Hurricanes football (1984-88), the Dolphins (1990-91) and major events including Super Bowls, NBA Finals, World Series, Stanley Cup, Olympics and World Cup.

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