5-at-10: More Madness chatter, Nantz absence will be felt, goodbye to the great M. Emmett Walsh

FILE - Jim Nantz works during the Florida Atlantic and San Diego State Final Four college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, April 1, 2023, in Houston.
FILE - Jim Nantz works during the Florida Atlantic and San Diego State Final Four college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, April 1, 2023, in Houston.

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Bracket racket, part III

The ball will be tipped today, and some of the feedback from Wednesday's chat got me thinking about the future of the Big Dance.

Why has this tournament become so beloved?

Was it Bird-Magic in the 1979 Finals?

Was it MJ's game-winner as a freshman that foretold the future greatness of the hoops GOAT? (Yes, LeBron is the best basketball player to ever live; MJ is the greatest. Not unlike Peyton and Brady. Yeah I said it. Control yourself, Spy.)

Was it Jimmy V looking for someone to hug or the impossible upset by Villanova or Danny and the Miracles or Laettner at the buzzer?

There are any number of "where were you moments" through the rise of this madness over the last half century or so.

But I contend that what has lifted March to true Madness is the brackets, and the vested — albeit casual — interest of so many folks who regularly don't know a point spread from a bedspread.

So that makes the dozens of folks who either responded in Wednesday's chat or emailed or texted me that their interest in brackets has diminished so perplexing.

I know the Madness is real, and it's spectacular.

But if the brackets get busted, will that make it less maddening?

Another thing: If the tournament expands — and there are plenty of whispers of that — how will that change the bracket?

Say what?

So I was not completely aware of this, or at least I did not remember it until I saw this story this morning.

No Jim Nantz on the March Madness broadcasts this year.

That feels wrong.

And in some ways sad.

Has Nantz passed Al Michaels in terms of all-time big-time play-by-play guy?

Who's on that Rushmore, because if I ask it this way, who has "the voice" of two more prominent events than Nantz' being forever the voice of March Madness and the Masters.

Hello friends.

Seriously, Nantz was over-the-top narcissistic — the whole necktie routine was comically outrageous and outrageously comical — but he will be missed, no?

I barely remember Al McGuire back in the day, and he was tremendous. Heck, he was Dickie V with skills.

I remember Billy Packer, and his over-the-top love of the ACC.

We all love Raferty — ONIONS; man-to-man; with the kiss — but I will miss Jim Nantz.

Goodbye, friends.

Sad day

No, this is not about Shohei Ohtani's scandal.

Heck, this is not even about the next disastrous fiscal misstep of Joe Biden, who excused $6 billion in federal loans for students as we are pondering whether Social Security will make it to the summer.

Heck, this is not even about the eye-popping numbers Wright Thompson published about Caitlin Clark's NIL income.

(True or false on a Thursday, Clark makes at least $2 million a year in NIL coin. True or false, she will be the most influential WNBA player ever. Discuss.)

Nope it's a sad day because everlasting "that guy" actor M. Emmett Walsh died Wednesday. He was 88.

And he was forever great and forever present in some of the most underappreciated comedies of my lifetime.

He was great in the criminally underrated "Best of Times" with Robin Williams and Kurt Russell. Show 'em the teeth Reno Hightower.

Walsh was awesome as the medical professional in "Fletch." Using the whole fist there Doc. Moon river.

Walsh was excellent in a bit role in the all-timer that was "Raising Arizona." No not that mother scratcher, Bill Parker.

Walsh was the assassin trying to kill "The Jerk." He hates these cans.

That's a dynamite comedy Rushmore no? And that leaves "Slap Shot" and "Back to School" — yes, he was college administrator Dean Martin in the Rodney Dangerfield comedy — and how's this for an all-time compliment.

World-famous movie critic Roger Ebert instituted the Walsh-Stanton rule that simply stated that any movie with M. Emmett Walsh or Harry Dean Stanton in supporting roles can't be bad in principle.

Good rule. Great career. Rest easy.

This and that

— Here's this week's Bets and Ballgames podcast with Brian Edwards and me. Enjoy. And yes, Auburn got even more hosed by the selection committee than I realized since a potential Sweet 16 date with UConn would be in Boston. Hmmmmmm. Did I mention that the Alabama AD was on the selection committee? Hmmmmm.

— So VP Kamala Harris released her brackets for the men's and women's tournaments. She has Tennessee in the title game against UConn on the men's side and picked Iowa and Caitlin Clark to lose in the Elite Eight. Side question: Is the first thing we have heard about the VP doing in 2024? Seriously.

— You know the rules. Here's Paschall on some UT football newcomers making a quick impression in spring drills.

— Speaking of Paschall, does anyone else miss ESPN radio being a local option on your radio dial? Discuss.

Today's questions

It's an anything goes Thursday. Yep, the world-famous AGT.

This is the best Thursday in sports, right? Is Masters Thursday a distant second, and I love the Masters more than almost anyone I know?

(Side note: Have I mentioned that I have played Augusta National — twice — lately? Discuss.)

As for today, March 21, let's review.

Ferris Bueller is 62 today, and yes, that makes me feel old.

Rushmore of best lines from Ferris Bueller, maybe?

Rushmore of M. Emmett Walsh movies?

The impossible Rushmore of movie "that guy" like M. Emmett Walsh or even JT Walsh?

Pick and choose. It's Madness friends and remember the mailbag.

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