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Baylor guard MaCio Teague celebrates after the championship game against Gonzaga in the men's Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 5, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Baylor won 86-70. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

OK, Monday turned into a rather normal 5-at-10. Good conversation back and forth to those that decided to participate, and while I did not spend as much time around the chat as normal, most of you guys continue to set an example of being able to disagree without being overly disagreeable.

Kudos.

So, Day 4 on St. Simons — this place is cool — rolls on and we're going to try to dart and weave a little more today and be more vacation. (Yes that's a directive from the boss, the Mrs. 5-at-10.)

From the satellite offices off the Georgia coast, let's do this thing.

 

The ball is tipped

OK, first, it's time to change the "One Shining Moment" song at the end of the NCAA tournament, right?

I mean is that Steve Winwood on the keyboard?

As for the title game, well, they lost me at halftime. Yes, I know the workings and the planning of starting a game at 9:20, but when you have two teams with this little connection to the casual observer, a double-digit halftime lead is more than enough reason to call off the dogs.

And, if I had to guess, this will be the least watched NCAA Final Four on record too. But that's kind of par for the course in our post-pandemic-return-to-something-akin-to-regular sports viewing.

The biggest storyline of course was the Gonzaga loss, considering the Zags were unbeaten and had their best shot ever to clear the final hurdle.

While Gonzaga opened this morning atop the odds as the college basketball betting favorite to win the 2022 NCAA title, you have to wonder now if Mark Few and Co. if the question now kind of switches back to if rather than when in terms of cutting down the final nets.

As for Baylor, check the boxes of whichever clichés you want to offer. Guard play wins in tournament time. Defense wins championships. Can't coach effort. Experience matters.

But the biggest question for the Bears, who less than 20 years ago were at the center of the worst college sports scandal ever — or at least the only one I know of that included murder — is if they can keep Scott Drew.

Drew will almost assuredly be a hot commodity at both the college and NBA levels in the coming silly season.

Whether Drew is back in the Final Four next year or not, his one shining moment is forever minted now.

 

Masters time

I've already informed the crew, I'm in for every sight-seeing, history-walking, beach-cruising endeavor you guys wants to craft. But when Thursday afternoon arrives, it's time for the tradition unlike any other.

With that, the cleat starting point is the Masterfully Mastering the Masterpiece that is the Masters contest.

You know the drill: Pick five golfers, the top four scores count. You get points for where your picks finish. (For example, if you pick the winner, two dudes who tied for third and the fifth-place finisher, then you have a near-perfect score of 12.) Low score wins.

Questions, fire away. Entries need to be sent to added to the comments below or sent to jgreeson@timesfreepress.com. Deal? Deal.

As for my entry, well, it's a work in progress. It's going to be nearly impossible to keep Dustin Johnson off the sheet.

Yes, he's chalk, and betting on him at plus-900 (bet $100 win $900) to win the tournament is not super profitable, but in a contest like this, his consistency has proven quite valuable. DJ has placed in the top 10 in the last five Masters, including last year's win.

A little bit of a longer shot that has caught my eye and my investment coin is Cameron Smith at plus-4000. Dude has a ton of confidence around this joint — he was the first and only player ever to card four rounds in the 60s at Augusta National — and has a fifth-place and a runner-up finish in the last two years.

As for the two dudes with more Augusta ghosts than a Civil War cemetery, well, as Jules noted, it's hard not to be encouraged by Jordan Spieth's recent run and his return to the winner's circle last week. Spieth's career took a nosedive in part because of his Waterloo at 12 at Augusta five year ago.

The other one is arguably my personal favorite player on Tour since Tiger's extended absences of the last few years. I genuinely like Rory McIlroy and want him to right his ship. The game is more fun when he's at his best.

But I wouldn't even bet a Bernie Sanders' socialism-sponsored nest egg on him figuring it out this week, though.

Thoughts?

 

Sign of the times

For a lot of folks, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is part carnival barker, part snake oil salesman.

For a lot of others, he represents a potential GOP presidential candidate that could appeal to the pro-Trump and the anti-Trump parts of the splintered Republican party.

No matter which camp you fall into, there are plenty of storylines in which you can anchor an argument for or against DeSantis.

And maybe that's why the "60 Minutes' hit piece with 'creative' editing of the Governor's speeches and some hollow reporting in some places and downright journalistic malfeasance in others is so alarming.

There's plenty there to make DeSantis a worthy news topic, so beyond the question of why would an institution like ever create a narrative, but what's the point? It's a like a scratch golfer who has me beat by 12 shots cheating on the 16th hole.

How faulty is the story that is built around DeSantis granting supermarket giant Publix the right to issue the vaccine in Florida because Publix gave DeSantis' campaign $100,000?

Well, so faulty at its core that a former three-term Democrat Florida state legislator named Jared Moskowitz who is now the Florida director of emergency management took to Twitter to post, "@60Minutes I said this before and I'll say it again. @Publix was recommended by @FLSERT and @HealthyFla as the other pharmacies were not ready to start. Period! Full Stop! No one from the Governors office suggested Publix. It's just absolute malarkey."

I've said in the past that as an opinion writer, if I get folks calling me too liberal and too conservative in the same week, I must be balancing the minefield of modern melodramas rather deftly.

But when your news story brings Democrats to the defense of one of the more polarizing GOP personalities not named Trump or speaking behind a Fox mic, well, congrats 60 Minutes.

Congrats 60 Minutes, you just killed half a century of your journalistic integrity for a large swath of Americans. And further damaged all of our credibility and made all of our jobs in this industry at whatever levels that much more difficult.

And I thought Chuck Todd's assassination of "Meet the Press" was the worst demolition job to a TV news institution we'd ever see.  

 

This and that

— Holy Happy Gilmore Batman, watching Bryson DeChambeau at the range at Augusta made my back hurt. And it made Vijay Singh look downright impressed which is saying something. Take a peak.

— Congrats to Hubert Davis, the former UNC star and assistant for getting the UNC gig late Monday afternoon. I hope it works out for Davis, who has never been a head coach before because college hoops is more fun with the blue bloods like UNC playing like blue bloods.

— Awful news for the Padres. Young superduperstar Fernando Tatis Jr. has a partially dislocated shoulder. It is expected to need to be surgically repaired and could cost him four-to-six months. One of the game's brightest up-and-comers, and he will be missed by those still watching MLB.

— Butch Davis, the FIU coach, filled out his staff Monday by adding offensive coordinator Andrew Breiner and special teams coordinator Casey Horny. Seriously. And yes, you can guess which one took social media by storm with the announcement. Side question: How much grief did Casey get in school? Side question about the side question: How do you think that is pronounced? Side question about the side question about the side question: Why didn't FIU announce this decision last Thursday on April 1?  

— TFP all-around ace David Paschall caught up with former Baylor School and UTC golfer Stephan Jaeger, who is well on his way to a Crash Davis-like all-time status in the minor leagues. Kudos to Jaeger, who has punched his card back to the PGA Tour with his Korn Ferry success.

— We mentioned this a little on Monday, and considering that Disney owns the Worldwide Leader in sports, it's not a surprise. This report has Paul Pierce and ESPN splitting ways after Pierce's social media video over the weekend showed Pierce partying, smoking and drinking with friends and exotic dancers. Side question: Do you think it was more offensive to ESPN that the married Pierce was partying with strippers or that the folks in the party were clearly not practicing COVID protocol.  

— Holy bleep, Steve Stone is still in the MLB booth, doing White Sox games. Who knew? How long has Stone been doing it? Well, he started when I was in between sixth and seventh grade and he was a sidekick to some dude named Harry Carey. (Here's a guy Sammy Sosa. That's A-Soos backwards.)  

 

Today's questions

True or false, it's Tuesday.

True or false, 60 Minutes fall into disgrace makes you more angry than sad.

True or false, you knew that Steve Stone was still doing MLB announcing.

True or false, with legalized sports betting, you will make an online wager on the Masters.

True or false, Gonzaga will eventually win an NCAA basketball title.

True or false, Hubert Davis will win at UNC.

As for today, March 6, let's review.

Ironically enough, on this day in 1981, Walter Cronkite signed off as CBS news anchor for good.
Michaelangelo would have been 546 today. He had skills.

Another one-name superstar, Shaq, is 49 today.

One-name sports stars active right now. Go and remember the contest.

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