A quick rant through the week in sports:
· The best thing about the NCAA basketball tournament may be its unpredictability. Seriously, who thought seventh-seeded Connecticut would be facing eighth-seeded Kentucky for the national championship?
· A 16-team college football playoff format could generate a similar amount of excitement.
· Kentucky's road to the championship game is the most interesting. The freshman-heavy Wildcats get behind every game and continue to take ill-advised shots, but somehow they keep winning.
· The run by Kentucky also helps solidify Wichita State's case as being one of the top teams in the country. If the Wildcats win tonight, the Shockers will have been eliminated by the eventual national champion for consecutive years.
· The St. Louis Cardinals are 3-3 after a pair of divisional road series against the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates. St. Louis will continue to battle division foes as the Cardinals face the Reds and Chicago Cubs this week at home.
· The National League Central could be the most competitive division in baseball again this year.
· St. Louis fell 2-1 to the Pirates on Sunday after failing to provide much run support for its ace, Adam Wainwright.
· Kansas City Royals ace James Shields knows exactly what it’s like to go without run support. Shields allowed only five hits and one earned run over seven innings during a 5-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.
· Through two starts, Shields boasts a 2.70 ERA and has nine strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings pitched. Meanwhile, he is 0-1.
· Spring football already is nearing an end for the Missouri Southern Lions. The annual spring game will be at 9 a.m. Saturday at Fred G. Hughes Stadium. Missouri Southern enters the game with a strong mix of returning veterans, as well as newcomers who are potential impact players for the fall.
· The Harlem Globetrotters brought their comedy/basketball show to Joplin on Thursday. Sure, most of the jokes are as old as Betty White. But for some reason, they always seem to generate laughs.
· The Globetrotters cruised to a win, but it wasn’t against their old foe, the Washington Generals. Instead, the Globetrotters made easy work of the World All-Stars.
· For a team that promotes itself as having the best players in the world, the All-Stars were pretty disappointing. And you have to wonder who is on the World All-Stars’ selection committee. How LeBron James and Kevin Durant were snubbed is beyond me.
· The World All-Stars’ coaching also is suspect. Despite losing every game against the Globetrotters night after night, the All-Stars don’t see any need to change their game plan.
· The World All-Stars played man defense and blindly followed the Globetrotters as their weaving motion continually led to wide open slam dunks. At halftime, I approached the All-Stars coach and said, “Coach, you might think about switching to a zone. Man doesn’t seem to be working.” After a big laugh, the coach replied, “No. I think we got our man defense figured out at halftime. We’ll be good.”
Mark Schremmer is a sports writer at The Joplin Globe. His email is email@example.com.