Your eyes aren't deceiving you. This is a blog entry that was actually written today, on the morning of March 21st. It's actual original content, the kind I mediocre drivel I once populated this page with every day, at least until 2018 ended.
Since the new year, my focus has been less on this page and more on....other things. Not much of it is worth getting into, and none of it necessarily bad, but over the last few months, things have gotten to the point that updating this site has been, unfortunately, not much of a priority.
That's about to change.
Starting April 1st, I'm doing what I'll call a "relaunch" of my blog. The reason I'm choosing that date, and what exactly will compel me to blog more often, we'll get to when the relaunch occurs, but I'm really, really, excited about what's ahead in the coming months, and I should have more time to do something that used to be such a labor of love, but over the last year and a half or so, has become a burden, devolving into something that I've barely paid attention to.
That will change in a week and a half.
Some stuff happened that, in another era, I would've had shared online opinions on.
*The Bearcats won the AAC Tournament title. UC put together a bang-up performance against Houston that was a total 180 from their effort one week earlier. If the Jarron Cumberland who showed up last Sunday makes an appearance this weekend in Columbus, Cincinnati has a puncher's chance to get to the Sweet 16.
I don't know how well the Cats will play in Columbus, and I'll be honest, I won't love their odds if they get to Sunday. I hope like hell they can win two games this weekend,but either way, this team has been a blast to watch develop, even if they've caused more uncomfortable moments than I'd prefer.
28-6 in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year should be celebrated, regardless of what happens between now and Sunday.
*The NCAA Tournament bracket came out. I would have flip-flopped UK and UNC's seed, and I think I would've swapped Maryland's six for UC's seven (although the tradeoff of playing on Friday two hours from campus ain't bad), but really, I thought the committee did decent work. I just wish the powers-that-be would go ahead and admit that the games played on Sunday, unless a team that can't get in as an at-large is involved, mean nothing.
Also, I like the First Four. I attend at least one of the two doubleheaders every year. But man, it's watered down this process. The problem isn't that St. John's played so poorly last night, it's that even with their terrible performance, it's hard to look at one of the teams on the outside looking in and claim that they were that much more deserving.
*Vontaze Burfict was sent packing. Tyler Eifert gets another chance. It's been a while since either player was productive, but one guy's behavior is constantly putting his team at risk, does all the wrong things, and can't be counted on. The other guy is unlucky, but shares none of those same characteristics. He got, and deserves, a chance to stick with this team, especially for what it will cost.
*Luis Castillo was named the Reds' Opening Day starter. Good! He deserves it, with the way his 2018 ended. This is a huge year for Luis, now at 26 with a reasonable amount of big league experience beneath him, and even with the upgrades the team has made on the mound, he's still the guy who best projects to be a staff ace, still has the most upside of any Reds pitcher, and how he fares this season will go a very, very long way toward determining how good this team can be. I hope this is the first of many Opening Day assignments.
*The Reds outfield situation has gotten enviable. Every guy except for Winker is hitting, and with Phil Ervin having a great spring, the Reds now have an abundance of options, and some tough decisions to make. This is a very, very good thing. And that's some very, very bad analysis.
Finally, some NCAA Tournament picks...
I've always been a big believer in turning in one bracket, but in pools I'm in, I've decided to take a different approach.
One bracket is less about who I think will win each game. Instead, I've made picks based on weighing each team's chances of winning versus what percentage of people (based on Yahoo and ESPN) appear to be picking each team, in effort to take advantage of opportunities where a large number of people missed out on getting points. (The Action Network was an exceptionally valuable resource in doing this) Here is that bracket....
The other bracket is more traditional, based on the tried-and-true way of picking who I think wins each game. Here is that bracket...
It is just hard to pick against Duke in any one game, even though I think both UCF and Michigan State can make things uncomfortable for the Blue Devils. I'm going to assume that PJ Washington's foot won't be so much of a problem that UK's tourney hopes are tanked, and I'll buy into the belief that what happened to the Wildcats in the final three minutes against Tennessee can turn out to be a positive, with John Calipari stressing attention to detail on defense.
I can't pull the trigger on UC against Tennessee, but again, if the Jarron Cumberland who showed up last Sunday makes an appearance this Sunday, then I can see the Bearcats having a chance in the waning minutes.
And if they pull off the upset, I'm staying in Columbus to celebrate.
But let's be honest, neither bracket I've filled out is winning me anything.
For Thursday wagering, I'm going with LSU (-7) over Yale, Auburn (-6) over New Mexico State, Vermont (+9) over Florida State, and Michigan State (-18.5 ) over Bradley. I also like Gonzaga/Farleigh Dickinson to go under the posted total of 153.
I hope to blog again, before heading up I-71 tomorrow. Between now and then, join me at the Holy Grail for the games today.
And thank you for reading.