About Last Weekend: It’s a Mad, Mad, March Madness World

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In case you were busy soothing your aching joints with an old-fashioned Epsom salt soak, here’s what you missed in sports last weekend.

  • The NCAA tournament Sweet 16 is set, and the biggest story thus far has been the run of Florida Gulf Coast University, who find themselves among college basketball’s elite after an 81-71 win over San Diego State. Based on all my knowledge of the school from before the tournament started, “FGCU,” which has probably been around for over a decade, has amassed a number of victories on their way to becoming a true school where NCAA basketball is played. The team features players, of which five play on the court at the same time, barring truly unusual circumstances, who shoot basketballs toward baskets, which is a thing those players do to get basketball points. They employ strategies regarding where they should run so that they can shoot basketballs from preferable positions, implemented by a coach with a unique backstory that I remember hearing about once but mostly forget. He might have been a baron of some sort? So mark it down in your personalized line drawing of college names: Florida Gulf Coast University is a school from Florida, probably located along the gulf coast, that plays basketball and is eligible for advancement in the NCAA basketball tournament. Up next for Florida Gulf Coast University is the University of Florida, a school that is also run by the state of Florida. Expect basketball shots, two strategic men telling basketball players what to do, and collusion.
  • Louisville, the tournament’s no. 1 seed, advanced to the Round of 16 after dismantling Colorado State, 82-56, at the University of Kentucky’s home court, Rupp Arena. Louisville head coach Rick Pitino said after the game, “Man, it’s nice to be back at the old stomping ground, playing out of the home locker room. Hey, has anyone heard how the Wildcats are doing? No? Yeah, no, me neither. That’s really unusual. But hey, tell John, old friend of mine, ‘Thanks for the hospitality.’ Also, we used all of the condiments that were in the fridge here. Hope that’s not a problem.”
  • In the game of the tournament thus far, Ohio State advanced to the Round of 16 after guard Aaron Craft atoned for early mistakes by hitting a late 3-pointer to give the Buckeyes a 78-75 win over Iowa State. “People said we’re in a weak bracket, but I don’t know,” Craft said after the game. “I mean, hold on, let me see who’s left.” After a beat Craft let out a triumphant yell that reverberated throughout the University of Dayton Arena, he added, “Arizona has a good coach in Sean Miller, and you can’t take anyone lightly in this game.”
  • The University of Miami continued their dream season as they edged a determined Illinois squad, 63-59, in Austin. Sophomore point guard Shane Larkin, who was instrumental for Miami down the stretch, reaffirmed his commitment to his school, saying in a postgame interview, “I’m going to follow in my dad Barry’s footsteps. Just one team for me. Miami for life.” When told that his NCAA eligibility would run out after another two years, Larkin got very quiet, before whispering, “I’m sorry, Pops,” and went wandering aimlessly through the Frank Erwin Center.
  • Despite the absence of Dwyane Wade, the Miami Heat ran their winning streak to 26 games beating the Charlotte Bobcats, 109-77. “I mean, even without D-Wade, I’m only gonna count that as 25 and a half,” James said after the game, before listing off the players in the Bobcats’ starting lineup with a doleful shake of the head. “Seriously, more like 25 and a quarter.”
  • The Rockets ruined a big night from Tony Parker as James Harden hit a late jumper to lift Houston to a 96-95 win over the San Antonio Spurs. “Ruined?” asked Parker as he took a drag off of a Gauloises in the locker room. “Can anything in this world truly be ruined? Or was it already created, much like we were, in a state of pre-ruination? Take the rocket, born of genius, but already sullied by the taint of war. Or the spur, which gives man his power over beast, yet also makes him slave to his need for his beast. Was tonight not already ruined, simply by our being alive for its existence?” Parker let his question waft into the air before sucking so hard on his Gauloises that he vanished into thin air.
  • The Pittsburgh Penguins had a busy weekend, acquiring Brenden Morrow from the Dallas Stars before beating the Philadelphia Flyers in overtime, 2-1. “Well, we had a busy weekend, too,” said Philadelphia superfan Christopher “Stuffy” McIntyre. “First, me and my dogs Lindros and Bobby Clarke went for a walk, and they both took a leak on a Wawa, which was hilarious. Then I was like, you know what would make this more hilarious? If I took a leak on a Wawa. So, boom. I do that. Five seconds later, cops are on me like what. I’m all like, ‘I’m just pissing here,” but they tase me like crazy. Anyway, my sister Janice came to bail me out, even though she said last time was the last time, but let’s face it, she said lots of times was the last time. Plus, I take care of her kids on Tuesdays, so she needs me out. Anyway, I get home just in time to watch my Flyers give up a goal to that prick Tyler Kennedy. What do I do? Do I kick my dogs? No, I love my dogs. Do I piss on a Wawa? Yes, but not because of this. I calmly took 10 deep breaths. Did I feel better? No. Which is why I went back out to piss on that Wawa again. Janice was pissed coming to bail me out twice in one day for pissing on that Wawa.”
  • The New York Yankees reportedly will acquire veteran outfielder Vernon Wells from the Los Angeles Angels after the Angels agreed to cover most of the cost remaining on his contract. “Whatever,” said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman when asked about the deal. “I don’t know, everyone’s hurt, he’s … I don’t know, they’re mailing us a check for $40 million, and yeah, we have to pay it to Vernon eventually, and like another $10 million more, but that’ll be fun. Big checks are always fun. Though my secretary will probably just process it herself. Or maybe they’ll just wire it? I wonder if I can still negotiate in some sort of giant check. Whatever.”
  • The United States Men’s National Team, buoyed by a strike from Clint Dempsey, secured a critical 1-0 victory in World Cup–qualifying over Costa Rica amid a deluge of snow. This is not the first time America has used a snowy home-field advantage to secure a critical international win. People forget that in 1980, U.S. Olympic officials removed the roof from the Olympic Fieldhouse to allow snow to pour onto the ice before the United States squared off against their vaunted Soviet rivals. While the roof removal cost organizers millions of dollars, and was met with protests from other competing nations, then-President Jimmy Carter, knowing he would need an electoral miracle of his own in the fall, used his influence to sway IOC President Michael Morris, who would resign in disgrace after the games. While America’s success in hockey had no effect on Carter’s re-election bid, the United States exploited the sloppy playing surface to perfection en route to a 4-3 win, remembered fondly as the “Miracle on Ice and Snow” (frequently shortened to just the “Miracle on Ice”).

Filed Under: About Last Weekend, Charlotte Bobcats, Clint Dempsey, Houston Rockets, Illinois, James Harden, Los Angeles Angels, Louisville, Miami Heat, NCAA tournament, New York Yankees, Ohio State, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Antonio Spurs, Tony Parker

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Spike Friedman is a contributing writer for Grantland and makes theater with the Satori Group in Seattle, Washington.

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