Hello, and welcome to Selection Sunday! Daylight Saving Time still sucks! Thanks for continuing to brick the easiest layup ever, U.S. Congress!
Kind of a big day in these parts, as the Women’s Pac-12 Conference Tournament Champion Washington State Cougars will learn who and where they’ll be playing, when the tournament begins on St. Patrick’s Day. WSU probably deserves a top four seed and the right to host, so of course the committee will likely ship the Cougs some place like College Park, Maryland as a 7-seed.
Currently, ESPN’s Charlie Creme places WSU on the 6-seed line, with an opening weekend in Durham, NC where it would face the winner of a First Four game between Purdue and St. John’s. A win there and it’s a likely matchup with the 3-seed host, Duke Blue Devils. While that’s a tough (tobacco) row to hoe - I’ll be here all week, be sure to try the fish - the upside is that if WSU can somehow eke out two wins, it could possibly head to Seattle for the regionals.
The Women’s NCAA Tournament selection show will begin on ESPN at 5 p.m. Pacific DAYLIGHT Time on Sunday, and if you’re in/around Pullman, the team is hosting a watch party! Here’s your chance to watch the show live with the Pac-12 champs! So if you’re tooling around Almota and looking for something to do, head on over and watch the Cougar women react to their tournament placement in-person.
It’s also kind of Selection Sunday for the Cougar men, as they hope to garner a spot in the National Invitation Tournament for the second straight season. The Cougs sit firmly on the fence right now, and their inclusion/exclusion may depend on how a couple conference tournament results go on Sunday. As you’re likely aware, the NIT automatically includes regular season champions who do not win their conference tournaments, and who also are not selected as at-large bids into the Big Dance (aka “one bid” leagues).
Aside: Has any company become more ubiquitous over the course of conference championship week than Hercules Tires? Prior to March 4, I’d never heard of them. Now they’re everywhere! Aside from the schools, the clear winners of championship weeks were Hercules Tires and Jersey Mike’s subs, whose banners seemed to be on nearly every mid-major conference tournament floor.
Ok, we’re back. By my count (this took a while due to the fact that in 2023 we can’t seem to aggregate such information into one place for some reason), there were 10 regular season conference champions of one-bid leagues who, as of Saturday, did not win their postseason tournament (thanks, Eastern Washington). That number increased to 11 Sunday, as the Yale Bulldogs choked on a biscuit and lost to Princeton.
Going back over the last five years of normal NIT fields (2020 was canceled and 2021 was a bastardized 16-team version), the median for NIT auto-bids is 11, and the average skews toward 12 (15 teams in 2016!), so this year is pretty typical. That leaves 21 spots for at-larges. Over at the principle NIT forecast site, Barking Crow, WSU is in the field by the thinnest of margins, but doesn’t seem to have a great case according to his bubble watch.
After you watch the women’s selection show at 5 p.m., switch over to ESPNU at 6 for the NIT bracket reveal.
Cougs win! WSU took the second game of the weekend series in Corvallis, over 15th-ranked Oregon State. For a team that has struggled mightily of late against the Beavers, that is a huge victory. Let’s have a look at the highlights!
The Cougs look to take the series on Sunday, with first pitch scheduled for 1:05 p.m. Pacific DAYLIGHT Time.
This week in Parenting
It’s spring break down in these parts. How do I know that? Well, besides the fact that my kids have drilled into my head the fact that they don’t have to go to school for 10 goddamn days - to include a week from Monday because wtf??!! - the school would not let a moment pass without reminding me. I got a text. I got an email. I got MULTIPLE PHONE CALLS. AS IN MORE THAN ONE!!! YOU KNOW HOW MANY REMINDERS I NEEDED? ZERO. ZILCH. NOT A GODDAMN ONE. AM I YELLING? IT FEELS LIKE I’M YELLING!
For real, though. If you have a kid in school, and you don’t know by the new year when spring break starts, you totally suck and should not be in charge of young people. Just do society a favor and leave your offspring at the nearest fire station. As for the school, I’ve had at least one kid attending one school or another for more than a decade. This is the first time ever that I’ve received one reminder, let alone four, that spring break was coming up. A big part of me believes that these reminders go out because enough idiot parents complained about the lack of communication. All hail the nanny state.
Elsewhere, the boys had baseball practice last Sunday, and afterward we went to a local arcade/entertainment place to get them some additional practice in the batting cage. A couple weeks prior, I’d brought home some books from the local Barnes and Noble (I hadn’t been to one in many years, but the place is still really great!). That caught the ear of both kids, and after we got done at the cages, the 11 year-old asked if we could go to Barnes and Noble because he wanted a new book to read.
The next 15 seconds or so in my brain went like this:
“Haven’t I done enough running around with these bastards today? I mean it’s beer:30 for God’s sake. Then again, I’d be a pretty big dickbag of a parent if I denied my kid’s request to buy a book that he wants to read voluntarily.”
So off we went. Since I was thirsty, I gave them 15 minutes to find something. The 5th grader selected The Daughter of Auschwitz (he has a connection to the place since we visited), and the high schooler picked Frank Murphy’s Luck of the Draw, which centers on the air war in Europe. He definitely has a type when it comes to books!
Been a while! So long that I’ve made it through a couple additional selections. First was The Price You Pay for College, which I highly, highly recommend if you have children who you’d like to see proceed to post-secondary education. The book is very thorough and detailed.
After that came The Afghanistan Papers, which chronicles the invasion of Afghanistan and the slowly developing, 20+ year catastrophe that followed. Very enlightening and rather infuriating, especially if you’re someone who spent time over there. Definitely worth it if you’re into the topic, because much of it comes courtesy of people who did time over there. Another classic case of how the U.S. goes somewhere with the best of intentions, only to bungle its way through an unnecessary loss of blood and treasure because we can’t seem to figure out that most other people aren’t like us, for better or worse.
Anyway, we’re on to Cincinnati. In our case, we’re on the 1939, a book about the lives of ordinary citizens in the year leading up to World War II. I’m only about 50 pages in, but I can tell that it’s going to be tremendous. The most enlightening part so far is the fact that Neville Chamberlain, a man to whom history has been incredibly unkind, was greeted as a hero when he returned from signing the Munich Agreement in September of 1938. Most citizens of both Britain (including King George VI, who invited Chamberlain to Buckingham Palace for the first time ever) and Germany thought peace was at hand. Gulp.
There was one bad apple amid the bunch, however. Before 1939, I cracked open Simon Sinek’s The Infinite Game. I thought the first 100 pages were instructive, and I think Sinek is on to something when he talks about infinite-minded leadership, but that book could have been 50 pages, and not 300. I discarded it well before getting to the end, which I never do.
If you were in high school or college in the mid-90s, the band Live was a big deal, at least for a couple years. This story of their downfall is wild.
Who Destroyed Live? Alt-Rock Band Torn Apart By Drama, Crime, Lawsuits – Rolling Stone
How the band behind Nineties hits 'Lightning Crashes' and 'I Alone' was torn apart by an alleged con man.
No, Teen Suicide Isn’t Up Because Life Got Objectively Worse
Over the past 15 years, the mental health of young people in the United States has rapidly deteriorated. Between 2007 and 2018, the suicide rate among Americans ages 10 to 24 increased by nearly 60 percent.
The truth about Germany’s defense policy shift – POLITICO
A year after Chancellor Olaf Scholz declared a sea change in German defense, Berlin’s security policy is the same as it ever was.