The Final Four is always one of my favorite events, and this year's is even more special because it might be the last one before the NCAA goes out of their way to ruin the tournament. This has been a great postseason - it boggles the mind that NCAA officials could have watched the events of the last two weeks and held that press conference yesterday. The game between Butler and Michigan State features what the Wall Street Journal argues is the luckiest Final Four team ever in the Spartans. Butler should be able to win that one, but Maryland and Tennnessee should have beaten MSU as well and failed. If Duke's shooters are on, they'll beat West Virginia. If not, they won't. Hopefully we get two high quality games no matter what the outcome is.
We don't know which one, but Fox Sports's Jeff Goodman reports that one of the two games tomorrow will be worked by referee Curtis Shaw. Shaw is the egomaniac hothead who has called 212 more technicals than any other official in the country the past thirteen years. Shaw was part of the crew for the Kentucky-West Virginia game and gave Deandre Liggins a ridiculous T before getting into it with John Wall right before the half. Shaw was so over the top with his "I'm in charge" routine that reporters noted the national supervisor of officials was shaking his head throughout the half and had to go in the locker room to try and calm him down. After that performance I had hoped we'd seen the last of this jerk since he's going to become the Big 12 supervisor of officials next year, but apparently they wanted to give him one more game on the national stage as a going away present. Hopefully he won't decide to upstage a game in the Final Four, but we're talking about a guy who's ejected mascots before so I sure don't put it past him. The fact Mike Stuart is also doing a Saturday game tells you the coaches are going to be told constantly to stay in their box, since he's obsessed with that. It also says we need better refs and a lot of them.
There's a serious issue brewing for the Georgia football team. The school's student newspaper had the original report of a married couple being harassed and assaulted during their taxi ride home from downtown, possibly by four UGA players. You can see the police report for yourself here, but be forewarned it contains some extremely inappropriate racial language that was allegedly used by the supposed players. The couple has a witness who was also in the vehicle, and the incident is under police investigation. If these allegations are true, I don't think there's any way Mark Richt can keep these guys on his team. People will put up with a lot in the pursuit of winning, but a married woman being struck, sexually propositioned and mocked with racial overtones is not going to fly with any school's fanbase. Richt's doing a Sgt. Schultz routine right now, but this could get really ugly in the coming days.
A study of the political leanings of each sport's fanbase shows that golf is the most Republican sport, with the WNBA the most Democratic leaning. That sounds about right. Most popular sport fanbases seem to lean slightly Republican, with college football and NASCAR the other two that are pretty heavy to that side. The NBA fanbase being largely Democratic didn't surprise me, but I admit I wouldn't have anticipated a heavy lean that way by WWE fans. It's an interesting analysis if you're curious about such things.
If you've read this blog for awhile - and it seems a couple of hundred people have - you know that I've been extremely reluctant to begin posting on Twitter. It's been a huge help to me as an information aggregator, but there's a certain level of arrogance to the idea of sharing thoughts with the world 24-7 that just didn't feel right to me. Three things have combined to force me to reconsider my attitude on the subject...
1. A new sports station in Minneapolis made a big deal of the number of Twitter followers two of their new staffers had in a press release announcing their hiring last month. Whether I like it or not, that seems to be the direction things are headed now.
2. I thought about why I do this blog in the first place. I started it for the purposes of remaining in contact with the audience for my Gainesville radio show. While there are people in Columbia who have found the blog and read it, I have never mentioned the existence of heathcline.com on the air at all except for a couple of times on my final day in Gainesville. Tweeting would allow more interaction than the comments section of the blog does and would give me another way to connect with those who are unaware of the site's existence.
3. Pat Dooley tweeted Sarah Silverman. Seriously, if those two people could wind up connecting then anything's possible.
Anyway, I've come to the conclusion that it's necessary for me to begin sending out messages on Twitter. In the beginning, it'll probably be mostly me retweeting stuff I find interesting during the day from other people and then we'll see where it goes from there. Feel free to follow me if you're so inclined - my Twitter name is heathradio. Hope you have a great weekend and I'll see you back here Monday.