Greg Cote

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

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.

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