The Gonzaga Bulldogs lost in their bid to win the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball title, 70-86. Congrats to the Baylor Bears.
UCLA had come too far, defied too many odds in surviving March to reach April, to give in now, no matter the probabilities or the season-long perfection of its nemesis.
– Ben Bolch writing in the Los Angeles Times
Tonight, Gonzaga* played UCLA** in the Final Four of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s Basket Ball tournament (known as ‘March Madness’).
Gonzaga had everything to lose, as it is aiming to become the first undefeated national champion in men’s basketball since Indiana in 1976.
UCLA went toe-to-toe with them, all through the game tonight, and was only a point behind at halftime, 44 to 45.
At the end of regular time, it was 81 to 81.
So now came overtime. As the clock wound down, the plays were down to the wire.
With less than a minute left, Andrew Nembhard scored a 3-pointer, putting Gonzaga up 90-85.
At 48 secs left, Jaime Jaquez Jr. knocked in a 3-pointer from the wing for UCLA. Gonzaga 90-88.
At 3.3 secs left, the Bruins (UCLA) had gotten the ball back, and Johnny Juzang followed his miss with a putback jumper. Tied 90-90.
At 0.8 secs left, Jalen Suggs stopped from 30-some feet away, took aim and shot at the hoop on the far side.
As the buzzer sounded, flashing **0:00**, the ball dropped through the net, for the win.
Gonzaga 93-90. Mayhem.
(Gonzaga to play Baylor for the NCAA title on Monday night).
*The Gonzaga Bulldogs are an intercollegiate men’s basketball program representing Gonzaga University (Spokane, WA). The school competes in the West Coast Conference in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
**The UCLA Bruins men’s basketball program represents the University of California, Los Angeles in the sport of men’s basketball as a member of the Pac-12 Conference. Established in 1919, the program has won a record 11 NCAA titles.
There are three Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tournaments on the calendar this week: in Marseille, France, in Doha, Qatar and in Santiago, Chile.
Roger Federer, he of 20 Grand Slam titles fame, is making his long-awaited comeback in Doha, at the age of 39½. He last played on the tour 14 months ago (in the 2020 Australian Open), and had two knee operations after that. He said today that he is now free of pain and injury — and has no plans to retire (!).
Update Wed 3/11: Federer ousted Dan Evans (30, Great Britain) in his first match, but then stumbled and lost against Nikoloz Basilashvili (29, Georgia) in the quarter-final.
ok I’ll give, who is Tom Brady
– Igor Bobic @igorbobic on Twitter, politics reporter at HuffPost, pretending not to know.
Gazelle Bundesliga’s husband
– Casey S.@nobody_news on Twitter, mangling her name. It’s supermodel Gisele Bündchen.
It was Super Bowl Sunday.
Congrats to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their veteran, ex-New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (43), with their 31-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. One does not have to be a football expert to know that this is not the score of an exciting match-up.
The Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes (25), played with an injured toe, and his team just never got their offensive game going.
I did not need new tennis shoes right now, but I bought two more pairs from my local tennis store, nonetheless (Avanti Sports on NE 45th St).
I really don’t want them to go bust, because they string my tennis racquets. Besides, these Adidas shoes are shockingly hard to find anywhere online. They are regularly sold out at the Adidas store itself, as well.
I’m doing better, playing tennis with my mask on. I bring 4 or 5 masks — they get sweaty— and I have learned not to feel like suffocating if I start to take big breaths.
The four of us try to play three doubles sets, which is a challenge in the limited 75-minute time slot we have indoors. We usually end up playing almost non-stop: no side changes, with only one or two quick breaks to get a sip of water.
If four players play the three possible match-ups of doubles, there are only two general outcomes possible.
One of the 4 players won in all three match-ups.
He/ she has 3 wins, and everyone else only 1. He/ she is the champ.
One of the 4 players lost in all three match-ups.
He/ she has 0 wins, and everyone else has 2 wins.
It’s social tennis; it’s just for fun, but even so: no one wants to be the evening’s loser.
Well, I played tennis last night with my mask on, as mandated by the Amy Yee Tennis Center. My mask had three layers of cotton fabric. It got a little ugly at times.
As you huff & puff after a long rally — through the mask — your panicked brain roars ‘MORE OX-Y-GEN ..NOW! MORE OX-Y-GEN ..NOW! .. and it makes you want to yank the suffocating $@#! thing right off your face.
So! I’m definitely going to have to try a few more different masks.
- The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) grants emergency use authorization for the Covid-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech.
- The pandemic is far from over (more than 3,000 deaths just on Thursday).
- Texas attorney general’s ‘lawsuit’ (stunt), to try to overturn the certified election results (certifying Trump is a LOSER) in four battleground states, is smacked down 9-0 by the US Supreme Court. The AGs of seventeen red states, and 2/3 of House Republicans had joined the lawsuit. (Hey Republicans, newsflash for you: the United States is still a democracy. Your attempt at a coup is now dead.)
- The Space Needle is lit up in green, in support of the Seattle Sounders, that will take on Columbus Crew in the 2020 Major League Soccer Cup Final on Saturday.
- Update Sat 12/13: Sounders lost 0-3 to Columbus. Congrats to Columbus.
Here’s how my Sunday afternoon went.
1.30 pm Are you free for tennis? texted Harris. Yes, sure, I said. It was a sunny day (but not warm! 49 °F /9.5 °C), and now we had three; still needed a fourth.
Ardee was at Costco. Jesse was a no, as was Chuck. Jackson might be available .. checking. No, his girlfriend says no, he texted. What?! How dare she? was our reaction :-).
2.00 pm Still no luck finding someone. Alright. Let me go and scout out the courts, I offered. We were not even sure if the courts were, in fact, dry.
2.15 pm I arrive at Amy Yee Tennis Center. (Inside is closed, of course). The six outside courts are dry, kind of (big damp spots) – but already filled with players. We had no reservation. The courts can be reserved the day before with non-refundable deposits, but nobody really does that this time of year. The weather is too unpredictable.
2.30 pm Just come on out to the courts, I texted Harris & Cam: Worst case, the three of us can hit a few balls on a semi-dry court.
3.00 pm I’m still camping out by Court 5 & 6, waiting for one to open up. Alan from my social tennis club happens to play on 5. Maybe he will stay on and play with us, I thought.
3.05 pm Harris & Cam arrives.
3.10 pm Court 5 opens up. Yay! We can go on, and Alan agrees to be our fourth.
3.40 pm The thin sunlight disappears for good, behind swirling low-land fog that’s rolling in. We keep on playing.
4.20 pm Yikes. It’s becoming difficult to see the ball in the twilight and fog! Almost done, though. It’s 6-6 in the second set and we’re into a 7-point tiebreaker. Alan and I lose it 5-7.
No matter, it was just great to be able to play!
I lost what little tennis the ESPN channel offered on TV when I cancelled my cable TV subscription. So with the year-end Nitto ATP* Finals looming (it starts in London on Sunday), I had to make a plan.
I subscribed to ATP Tennis TV – very reasonable at $8 a month for streaming of year-round tournaments with no commercials. Looks like it excludes coverage of the four Grand Slam tournaments, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
*Association of Tennis Professionals. (Nitto is the main sponsor, manufacturer of high-quality car & truck tires).
There was French Open tennis very early this morning on TV: the final between Rafael Nadal (Spain, 34) and Novak Djokovic (Serbia, 33).
Nadal played like the champ that he is, against a Djokovic that could not find his footing, and won in straight sets, 6-0 ( a rare bagel for Djokovic), 6-2, 7-5.
Nadal and Roger Federer each holds 20 Gram Slam tennis titles now, the largest number amassed by any player in the history of the game.
My Samsung TV was 10 years old, and at long last it was time to upgrade to a smart 4K* TV. I picked a Samsung again, and was planning to replace my 55″ screen with a similar size .. and then at the last minute in the store, opted for one with a 65″ screen.
I paid $1,899 in 2010 dollars for the old TV (that’s $2,264 in 2020 dollars). The new one was all of $529, practically given away for free. (Alright, so not completely free).
*Smart= the TV can connect to the internet and offer all kinds of online content from providers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube and others.
4K= the screen resolution is 3840 x 2160; a fourfold increase over Full HD (1920×1080 pixels).
There were lots of sports on TV today, but I stuck it out for the 4 hours of the 2020 US Open Men’s Final.
Dominic Thiem (27, Austria) prevailed over Alexander Zverev (23, Germany) in a thrilling match: 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6).
It was Thiem’s first win in a Grand Slam tournament final.
Frances Tiafoe (22, coached by South African-born Wayne Ferreira) was last man standing of the American men, in the 2020 US Open tennis tournament. He lost against Russian Daniil Medvedev in straight sets today.
Tiafoe won the prestigious 2013 Orange Bowl at 15 years old, making him the youngest boys’ singles champion in the history of the tournament.
Serena Williams won in three sets over Maria Sakkari though, who had just beaten her two weeks ago in an earlier tournament.
From the US Open website:
In tennis, there are two ways to be defaulted from a match: through an accumulation of code violations or by a singularly egregious act.
In Novak Djokovic’s case from the US Open on Sunday, the incident was firmly the latter. After losing his service game to trail 6-5 in the opening set of his Round 4 match against Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta, Djokovic struck a line umpire with a ball hit in anger, and was ultimately defaulted from the tournament by US Open Referee Soeren Friemel.
Not only is the overwhelming favorite to have won, out of the tournament— he also forfeited his 2020 US Open prize money for reaching the 4th round (a whopping $250,000) and the ATP ranking points he would have gotten.
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
– Arthur Ashe, American tennis player (b. 1943- d. 1993)
The US Open tennis tournament starts in Queens, New York City today.
There will be no crowds at the courts, nor in Arthur Ashe stadium —the largest tennis stadium in the world (capacity 23,771).
It was 50 years ago, in Jan. 1970, when the South African apartheid government took an outrageous stand: it refused Ashe a visa to play in the South African Open tennis tournament. The fallout and damage to South African sport were extensive. It solidified South Africa’s pariah status in the sports world. The country had already been banned from the Olympics in 1964 & 1968. It would be until 1992 before South African athletes could again compete in the Games.
Our social tennis club’s management splurged on expensive tennis balls for us for tonight. The can features Roger Federer’s ‘game face’ and signature, and there is a note inside that says he worked with Wilson to design a premium tennis ball. (For a premium price, of course: a good 20% more for a case of these).
It’s offical: the name for Seattle’s National Hockey League team is The Kraken (rumors had been swirling for months). The kraken is a legendary cephalopod-like sea monster of gigantic proportions in Scandinavian folklore (per Wikipedia).
Fans will have to wait until next year’s NHL season to cheer for the team in the remade Key Arena, which will be called the Climate Pledge Arena (the world’s first certified net-zero carbon arena).
‘Een in die was, een aan die bas, en een in die kas!’
– Afrikaans for ‘One to wash, one to wear, and one to spare!’
I picked up my new tennis racquet from the tennis shop today. My social club has started playing super-safe and social-distanced tennis*, and I needed one more, as a spare.
*We play on outside courts only. Each player has his/ her own set of numbered tennis balls (to handle, and to serve with). Other players pick up & pass the server’s balls to him/ her with the racquet only, so without touching them.
Don’t @ me for anything I’ve done that has been ‘irresponsible’ or classified as ‘stupidity’ – this takes the cake.
– Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios on Twitter, commenting on footage of Djokovic and others partying shirtless, maskless and distance-less in a nightclub in Belgrade
The Adria Tour debacle is an exhibition tennis tournament series that kicked off in Zadar, a city on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast. Only: they did everything wrong, and the whole tour has now been canceled.
From the New York Times: Social distancing was not enforced in the stands during the series, and face masks were a rare sight. Players mingled freely, exchanging hugs and handshakes, playing pickup soccer and basketball, and even dancing the limbo one night in Belgrade, Serbia. At the tournament, players posed for photographs with workers, tournament officials and spectators. No systematic coronavirus testing was required of the participants before the event began, according to the organizers. Some Croatian tennis officials are calling for the resignation of Nikolina Babic, president of the Croatian Tennis Federation.
The result: Novak Djokovic (world’s No 1 player), his wife, two coaches and at least three prominent players tested positive for the virus: Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki, a Serb whose wife, Aleksandra, also tested positive. Officials in Zadar were left to scramble to try to trace and test people that had contact with those that had tested positive. There had been no confirmed infections in Zadar before the tennis.