Mardi Gras Madness

This just in: Tiger Woods is so hot right now.

See, Stewart Cink was pretty hot coming into Sunday’s Match Play final, but Tiger is now 8-up with only 10 to play. I thought Cink would’ve faired a little better –– I made a bet with a friend that the match would go more than 30 holes, he didn’t think it would –– but boy am I wrong.

The same friend I made the bet with asked the question, “What if he never loses again?” It seems now that this question is more relevant and plausible than ever.

We all know he’s bound to lose, sometime. But boy, at the moment, I have to admit that one of the little voices in my head is saying, “You know…maybe he won’t lose ever again…”

Watching Tiger continue this hot streak on the day after Memphis’ unbeaten season came to an end, almost a month after the Patriots’ perfect season came crashing down, really puts this debate right in my frontal lobe.

But I’m going to disengage the notion. What is really great about the Mardi Gras Madness weekend, aside from the drink-em-up-put-em-down Saturday festivities, is the fact that all of this happens at the same time.

In a Faceoff column a couple of weeks ago the idea was put forth that the weeks between the Super Bowl and March Madness are the doldrums of the sports-viewing world. I begged to differ and still do.

We have Tiger playing sparingly but also racking up strokes sparingly as well.

We have seen an incredible week from Marqus Blakely: 30 points, 20 rebounds on Wednesday against Hartford; then, 19 points and 19 rebounds in a win at UNC-Wilmington as part of the Bracketbuster weekend.

We have the hockey team streaking at the end of the season rather than the beginning, sweeping the weekend series at #18 UMass-Lowell and catapulting them into a tie for second place in Hockey East. That UNH series looms awfully large now.

But really, when you get right down to it (and I come back to it) we have college basketball, something that this time of the year makes more and more apparent each year.

Everyone goes gah-gah for March Madness and justifiably so. But, with the rest of the season overshadowed by the NFL and NCAA football, the month after the Super Bowl is nearly as important as March is for college basketball.

At last, basketball gets the face-time. At last, people feel tension for tourney time.

February and early March are the deciding months for NCAA teams –– things shake down and teams are either hot or not.

So, Memphis vs. Tennessee, #1 vs. #2. Tennessee’s gritty win only complicates the fight for #1 seeds in the Big Dance that much more. There are nearly 10 teams that could lay a claim to a top seed, depending on how they finish the season.

Unlike golf, the parity right now is what makes it so interesting.

But, like golf and college hockey, it’s here and I’m loving it.


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