[1) It is SATURDAY, MARCH 23. Ultra Music Festival continuing in downtown Miami. Like most genres of sound but admit electronic music not one of my favorites. Don't like a group needing a laptop in their performance. 2) Click on Duke Johnson for a 2-minute ESPN video interview with the Canes' running back. Around the 1:30 mark it sounds like the interviewer calls him Eric, but I may be wrong. 3) In the Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat miracle rally, my bracket, betting on Canes, Oreo cat. 4) Join us on Twitter @agregcote.
OC Dolphin wins March Madness Haiku Challenge!: Congratulations to blog-community giant OC Dolphin for his champion haiku: "Miami, home of roundball * Heat, second to none * Canes, joining the fun." The judges overlooked a lack of classic 5-7-5 phrasing, charmed by simplicity and use of the word 'roundball.' Runnerup: I Am Kazaam (bandwagons). Honorable mention: Sean Millerick (three -ologys), Redsky (twisted testes) and Brian S (pots and pans). Thanks to all! Aside to OC Dolphin: Email me at email@example.com with your prize choice: 2012 Heat championship book, 2013 Dolphins media guide, or segment in-studio on Le Batard radio show on 790 the Ticket.
SEISMIC: TITLE-CHASING CANES WIN OPENER, RECORD-CHASING HEAT WIN AGAIN: Probably should have called yesterday Fantastic Friday, but wasn't in an alliterative mood. The Hurricanes opened play in the men's NCAA Tournament as a No. 2 seed (winning easily; see below), and later the Heat returned home in search of its 25th consecutive victory and got it -- moving ever closer to the Lakers' venerable 1971-72 NBA record of 33. It was the ultimate smorgasbord doubleheader for a Miami basketball junkie. And it's a close call (at least to me) which is the bigger story right now: the Canes' school-record high entry into March Madness, or the Heat's run at history? Let's set the table on each, after which we offer a poll for your vote:
No. 2 Hurricanes d. No. 15 Pacific, 78-49 -- Miami was a comfortable 12-point favorite, but two No. 15s won in this round a year ago, and yesterday No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast won. (They do call this Madness, remember). Having said that, I couldn't imagine UM losing, and they made it look easy with Durand Scott's 21 points leading the way in Austin, Tex. I eschewed homerism, but admitted my beleaguered bracket was rooting for a Canes win. Up next: UM vs. Illinois on Sunday. Pictured: Yesterday's official alert for the people of the Pacific region. (Our two other state teams also debuted, both last night: No. 3 Florida handled Northwestern State, 79-47, also in Austin; and Florida Gulf Coast stunned -- stunned-- Georgetown, 78-68, in Philadelphia).
Miami Heat d. Detroit Pistons, 103-89 -- Detroit stinks and had lost nine straight. Should have been a rout, but you know how that goes. Miami (and its fans) could have used one of those drama-free routs after recent coronary-inducing comeback wins at Boston and Cleveland. They sort of got that. Detroit led into the third quarter before the Heat took over, and convincingly. So the streak goes silver at 25, lending a new meaning to the club's (pictured) anniversary logo. Click HERE for my column off last night's latest win.
Now, the poll!: Remember this is not a favorite-team poll and not asking whether you'd prefer the Heat set the streak record or the Canes win a national title. This is asking which is the bigger story right now: Heat making the most serious run ever at a 41-year-old record some thought would never be broken? Or magical Canes season continuing as No. 2 seed in NCAAs? Vote and say why. (I know. It's apples 'n oranges and you hate having to choose, but, c'mon. It's just a blog poll!)
FLORIDA GULF COAST!?! MADNESS BY THE NUMBERS (entering Saturday play): A daily tracking of upsets and my bracket in the men's NCAA Tournament. Upset watch: Total games played so far--32, excluding play-ins. Upsets by seeding--9 (28.1%). Biggest upsets by seed: 15-Florida Gulf Coast d. 2-Georgetown, 14-Hahvahd I mean Harvard d. 3-New Mexico. My bracket: Teams eliminated so far--12. Ouch. Biggest losses--Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Georgetown, which I had all winning in next round, too.
SERENA HAD IT RIGHT ALL ALONG: I was pleased to be down on Key Biscayne for tennis this week, and produced this column off Serena Williams' opening match. Critics have hit Serena hard over the years (me included) for her outside interests that seemed to convey a lack of devotion to tennis. But those outside interests and the pace of her career are what have kept her fresh and elongated her prime. She won her 14th and 15th majors just last year. She has become the oldest women (at 31) to be ranked No. 1. She neither sought nor needed vindication, but has earned it anyway.
Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...