In case you were out demanding that Red Lobster serve you a never-ending pasta bowl, here's what you missed in sports on Monday:
In a thrilling conclusion to the NCAA tournament, the Louisville Cardinals beat the Michigan Wolverines, 82-76, to win their first NCAA title in 27 years. Reserve forward Luke Hancock was named the Final Four's MOP after his 22-point performance in the title game. When asked if he saw his performance coming, Hancock responded, "I mean, how can you see a thing like this coming?" before Michigan's Trey Burke came up from behind to congratulate him on the win. Unfortunately, Burke's intentions were misinterpreted by a security guard, who immediately removed Burke from the stadium.
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino's good fortunes continued as he was named to the Basketball Hall of Fame's Class of 2013. Pitino, who'll be inducted alongside Gary Payton, Bernard King, and Jerry Tarkanian, among others, also saw his horse Goldencents win the Santa Anita Derby over the weekend. Pitino's great week didn't end there, as he was invited to two separate parties at the Louisville Discovery Zone this coming weekend, both of which are rumored to be supplied with both Pizza Factory pizza and Carvel ice-cream cake.
When Kevin Ware went down with a broken leg in Louisville's Elite Eight win over Duke, most of his teammates reacted with varying degrees of shock. There was, of course, the immediate cringing; it was a gruesome injury, and the grimaces and recoils only made sense. Soon, others were crying. But after turning his head with everyone else at the sight of the snapped bone, Luke Hancock was the one who came to Ware's side and gripped his hand. He said a prayer, guided him through the initial trauma, and stayed with him on the floor while the medical staff worked. It was because of Hancock, at least in part, that Ware overcame his initial horror and encouraged his teammates to keep playing, to win the game.
In the days leading up to Louisville's Final Four game against Wichita State, the question Hancock faced over and over was why he'd done it. Why did he have the presence of mind to react the way he did?
When he answered the question Friday in the Georgia Dome's media center, he probably could have recited a response from memory. He'd been the centerpiece of hundreds of stories for that one act, and was destined to be featured in a hundred more. Which is why it surprised me that his answer, simple as it was, still moved me.
What better way to celebrate the upcoming Final Four than to bust out another mailbag? I again got a ton of great e-mails, and after sifting through all the ones that were some variation of “I’m a Kansas/Ohio State fan, and I need you to help talk me off the ledge,” I was left with these. Let’s talk a little college basketball, shall we?
While watching The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels cut a promo to hype the Brock/HHH match, I couldn't help but wonder about his self-proclaimed nickname of "Mr. WrestleMania.” Even in professional wrestling, you would think one would have to have an outstanding record to warrant such a lofty nickname. But his record is 6-11, and this includes his matches while he served as the captain of the Rockers.
Is he only Mr. WrestleMania because he has competed at 17 of them? Surely it isn't because of his win-loss record.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday.
Steve Nash said that he wouldn't be coming back to the Suns next season if there wasn't some improvement in the roster, and that he'd be willing to talk to the Miami Heat about a free agent signing. "And that goes double for my pal Browning," he said, patting the pistol he wore in a side holster. Reporters asked what he meant, but he just narrowed his eyes, patted the pistol again, and said, "I am a dog, and I have the heart that Rick does not. If you'll excuse me, I think I'll mosey down to South Beach now, in fact, with a quick detour to New Orleans. I've heard the people there are merrymakers, and I do intend to join the saturnalia."
1. Ryan Madson, Breadwinner
When you say "YOLO," Andy Greenwald says "Butterscotch Krimpets":
"Pour out a little liquor — or at least a little baking soda — for Reds pitcher Ryan Madson. You know how stats dorks like to measure everything in baseball against replacement players? Ryan Madson is the replacement player. First the Phillies replaced him with Dropkick Murphys Stan Jonathan Papelbon, despite Madson’s agent, the dreaded Scott Boras, insisting that the Phillies had offered his client $44 million first. Then came the devastating disclosure that the closer’s UCL had been torn completely off the bone, requiring the replacement surgery known as Tommy John. But neither bit of news stung as much as the revelation that local hoagie-roll bakery Liscio’s hadn’t even waited for the ink on Papelbon’s contract to dry before replacing former spokesman Madson with hungry Houston transplant Hunter Pence. Stay strong, Mad Dog! May you return next year, stronger than ever and in a LeBron-esque carb cloud of double-zero flour. Like yeast, a good pitcher/bread spokesman can’t stay down for long."