As many of you know, I’m not much for college sports, which I admit is a failing. I keep meaning to bone up on the various conferences and teams, etc., but finding a Jewish angle is daunting in many cases. After all, it;’s not like names are a “done-deal” indication any more, in either direction. A Jewish surname (Julian Edelman, B.J. Rosenberg) does not guarantee MOT status. Conversely, who would have that that Eric Nystrom, Danny Valencia, or Antonio Garay would be Jewish? And unless you’re willing to go a potentially politically incorrect route…
So as I scour the rosters of the teams, here are some non-specific links I found educational, interesting, or just plain amusing, as the nation prepares to hunker down for an event that some would say gets way too much attention. (Caveat: Depending on when you read this, some, if no a lot, of the information will be moot.) You will note these are not your Sports Illustrated/ESPN offerings. Those are easy enough to find. I was looking for something a bit more…cerebral? Anyway,
- “How to Fill Out a March madness Bracket: Stop Trying So Hard,” from The Atlantic
- “The 23 Rules for Winning March Madness,” from The Wall Street Journal
- “What to Watch for in This Year’s March Madness,” from The Atlantic
- Maybe it’s because I’m paying more attention this year, but there seems to be an awful lot of complaints about undeserving teams that were selected to participate, and deserving teams that weren’t so lucky, as in “Winners and Loser of the NCAA Bracket System,” The Atlantic
- “Which Tournament Matters Most?” The Wall Street Journal
- The many ways to get your game on, from Wired
UPDATE: Thanks to Matt Goldberg at Jewocity.com, here are mini-profiles of the MOTS in the NCAA tournament:
JEWISH PLAYERS IN THE NCAA
JOSH BARTELSTEIN is a 6’3” guard for the University of Michigan Wolverines (24-9, and the No. 4 seed in the Midwest region) who will open the tourney against Ohio. Bartelstein has played sparingly in 11 of his team’s games this season.
JAKE COHEN has had a much bigger impact on the fortunes of the Davidson Wildcats (25-7) who won the Southern Conference tourney to secure a No. 13 in the West. In the tourney finale, the 6’10” forward dazzled with 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists and seven blocked shots in a thrilling 93-91 double overtime win over Western Carolina. For the season, the junior averaged 14 points, six boards, and 1.7 blocks.
NATE LUBICK, a 6’8” sophomore power forward for the Georgetown Hoyas, has maintained averages of 3.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists. The Hoyas received a (quite generous, it says here) No.3 seed in the Midwest and will face off against Belmont.
BRANDON REESE, a 5’11’ senior guard, has had very limited action this season, but he has contributed to a terrific season achieved by his 31-2 Syracuse Orangemen. Jim Boeheim’s squad is the No.1 seed in the East and awaits a first-round contest versus the UNC-Asheville Bulldogs.
Memphis has won 11 of their last 12 games, including seven in a row by an average margin of 22.7 points. They appear to be peaking at the perfect time, although as the No. 8 seed in the West, they will face a very tough St. Louis (Billikens) team in the opener.
Pastner, just 34, has already won 72 games in his brief tenure, which is more than any other Tigers coach (including John Calipari) compiled in his first three years as head man.