In case you were busy celebrating your big Oscars win by drunk-dialing Matt Damon and yelling, "How ’bout dem apples!" here's what you missed in sports last weekend.
Georgetown and Syracuse played their penultimate rivalry game as members of the Big East, with Georgetown getting the win at the Carrier Dome, 57-46. While they won't be members of the same conference much longer, the two schools both suggested the possibility of future games against each other. But let's get real; we all know how this ends up. For a month or two, they'll call each other every night. But slowly, Georgetown will find itself getting very close with Marquette, as they share a faith and a set of values. Syracuse, meanwhile, will plan to come down for a game in D.C., but they won't be able to make it due to a prior commitment in New York with Duke. And as things will get serious with Georgetown and Marquette (they had been saving themselves, after all), Syracuse will drunk-dial Georgetown and say things they don't mean about Allen Iverson, and Georgetown will throw the whole Gerry McNamara thing in Syracuse's face. The two schools won't be on speaking terms for years, as Syracuse, abandoned again, will wind up in a co-dependent and destructive relationship with UConn.
In case you were busy realizing that you waited way too long to make that Harlem Shake video, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday.
LeBron James powered the Miami Heat to their ninth consecutive win as they beat the Chicago Bulls, 86-67, at the United Center. The game was notable both for James's performance and a pair of scary moments. First, James pulled up limping after being fouled hard by Bulls guard Nate Robinson. Fortunately, he's not expected to miss any time. Scarier still, a large lighting fixture fell from the roof of the arena, narrowly missing a group of spectators. While rumors of a "phantom" haunting the arena were quickly dismissed, sabotage by a man envious of James's success is suspected. Early reports describe the suspect as a bald, 6-foot-6, 50-year-old African-American male wearing a mask over his face and six rings on his fingers. He is reported to have eluded capture using his superior footwork, and remains at large.
"Wednesday at the Match Play Championship is the most underrated day in golf," said Chris Reimer, the communications manager for the PGA Tour, and I cursed in my head for two reasons. First, he was absolutely right. Second, I realized at that moment that I would have led this post with that exact same idea, except that I hadn't officially conceptualized it in my brain yet, and now I'd feel bad using it without attribution.
Damn you, Chris Reimer, for stealing my lede. But also, great call.
Besides the four majors and the Ryder Cup, the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship is my favorite tournament of the year. (Actually, I think I might even like it a little better than the PGA Championship. Sorry, fourth major.) The Match Play Championship, as I'll be calling it informally, is a five-day event featuring the 64 best golfers in the world, give or take a Mickelson. It involves a single-elimination, March Madness–style bracket that winnows the field down from Wednesday's 64 to one ultimate winner. And it's all match play, mano a mano, the way the original caveman golfers intended.
As it happens, match play is my favorite format. Think about what makes the memorable majors so great. The Sunday duels, right? Snead vs. Hogan, Nicklaus vs. Arnie, Watson vs. Nicklaus, Tiger vs. Bob May, Tiger vs. Y.E. Yang, Tiger vs. Rocco Mediate, Tiger vs. everyone else in his generation. But it takes a certain set of circumstances to make those duels possible. Sometimes, because of the stroke play format used in all four majors, you end up with a dud. Match play removes the element of chance. Every single match is a natural one-on-one duel. By pitting golfer against golfer without the protection of an entire field, it gets to the heart of what makes the competition so compelling.
So, let's set up the February Madness with a comprehensive primer. Hopefully I can answer all your main questions and a few you might not have known to ask.