Brackets, Bucks and bogies

After another weekend of high school and college basketball, I’m still perplexed by the strategies of some “big-time” coaches. For example, Michigan trailed THE by 1 point with 28 seconds left in a Big Ten tournament semi-final game and had possession of the ball with the shot clock off. Rather than either taking the first good shot early in the possession and giving themselves a chance of an offensive rebound if the shot was missed or being able to foul and have one more possession, the Wolverines chose to leave the ball in the hands of their point guard, who dribbled out most of the clock before taking a low percentage, step-back jumper as time expired. Not that I’m a Michigan fan by any means, and knowing the Bucks played solid defense, but is that the best offensive set a million dollar plus coach could draw up by this point in the season?

Speaking of THE, I am constantly amazed by the physical fitness of college players. The Bucks played four tough games in four days against quality competition and still stayed strong, although you could tell their legs were weakening as shots came up short in the Illinois game at the end. Key turnovers late doomed what was an inspired come-from-behind effort by the Scarlet and Gray.

With a number two seed in the NCAA tournament, THE has a good chance to make the Final Four in my opinion. The annual brackets return after last year’s tournament cancellation due to the pandemic; everyone becomes a bracketologist in making their predictions as March Madness unfolds. How many entries are you submitting this year in different pools? I think Gonzaga, Michigan, Illinois, and THE make the Final Four — fairly safe, uninspired picks although I’m sure there will be the usual host of early round upsets and at least one low seed team making the Sweet Sixteen. Also congratulations to Ohio University and Cleveland State for making the “Dance.” Let the games begin!

With the time change and the weather warming up, high school spring sports start to swing into full gear. The crack of bats heralds the arrival of both the baseball and softball seasons.

The Wave baseball team looks to be competitive this year in MVL play bolstered by a strong pitching staff, while the Lady Wave softball team, a perennial powerhouse as always, hopes to make another trip to the Final Four in Akron.

Track teams can be seen getting in condition for various meets around the area while the GHS boys tennis team plans to continue a long string of outstanding seasons. If you get a chance, get out and support your local teams! Here’s hoping for decent spring weather this year!

Well-known local educator, historian, and sports enthusiast Steve Gruber has expressed an interest in recalling the history of slo-pitch softball here in Greenville, both industrial and church leagues. If anyone has memories, information, etc. that would be of help in writing such an article, contact Gaylen Blosser at the Advocate.

Versailles placed two wrestlers on the podium at the State D-III tournament this past weekend. Congratulations to Carson Bey for finishing 5th at 160 pounds and Brayden Keihl placing 6th at 220. Also, a tip of the hat to Fort Loramie’s girls basketball team for completely dominating the opposition on the way to a D-IV state title — they are a tough, talented, balanced group of hoopsters!

Finally, Justin Thomas won the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass, a “mini-major,” just like the upcoming Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village in Dublin the first week in June.

If you have never been to Muirfield and get the chance to go, it’s a great experience even for the most casual of golf fans! By the way, have you ever seen professional golfers as daunted by a tee shot as on the short 17th “island green” hole at Sawgrass? The EPA was called in because of ball pollution in the surrounding waters! Until next time, stay healthy and active!

Dr. Alex Warner

Shots in the Darke

Dr. Alex Warner is a contributing columnist for the Daily Advocate