March is one of my favorite months for many reasons. Between my birthday, the Big Dance, and crucial PGA events leading up to the Masters, it’s been a great one. Here are my favorite moments of the month!
1. TWO KINDS OF PEOPLE
The Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill got an added dose of drama this year with a scaly friend.
Cody Gribble didn’t seem to have a problem with the gator in the least. Classic case of “needing a little exercise” in Gribble’s opinion.
But for others, Halloween came a little early.
Smylie, Smylie, Smylie. For someone who loves to boast about LSU pride, you sure are a bit jumpy at a little gator!
In the end, Jason Day was able to come away with the win in the first tournament since Palmer’s passing last year. In a week that was filled with memories of one of golfing’s greatest, MasterCard put the icing on the cake with this beautiful moment.
Rest in Peace, Mr. Palmer.
2. Plane Crash Boys
In my opinion, the Michigan men’s basketball team was this year’s best March Madness storyline by far and large.
ICYMI, the Wolverines were on their way to the Big 10 tournament when the unthinkable happened: their plane crashed. High winds and mechanical errors caused takeoff to be aborted as the plane careened off the runway.
Thankfully, everyone on the plane was safe. Here’s an account of the crash through the eyes of Michigan player Moe Wagner:
Due to delays, the team didn’t make it to the tournament until two hours before tipoff. Stranger yet, No. 8 seed Michigan’s uniforms were still on the crashed plane, so they played the first round of the tournament in their practice journeys.
Best news of all, THEY WON. You heard that right, Big 10 Tournament Champions.
The newly-dubbed #PlaneCrashBoys made a run deep into the NCAA Tournament as well. After a hard-fought battle, Big Blue lost to Oregon in the Sweet Sixteen, 68-69.
3. World Champs
In other news, the USA (finally) became world champions in its own pastime! In the fourth World Baseball Classic, Team USA defeated Puerto Rico, 8-0, in front of a home crowd inside Dodgers Stadium on March 23.
Cue the patriotic music!
4. SWEET SIXTEEN
There were two games in the Sweet Sixteen that caught my attention: Xavier vs. Arizona and West Virginia vs. Gonzaga.
Naturally, you have to love an 11 seed beating a 2 seed. Xavier closed on a 12-2 run to reach its first Elite Eight since 2008. Here’s the final minutes you need to see:
In other news, I learned how to say Xavier the correct way (HINT: It’s “Zay-vier”). The more you know, right?
Then you have Press Virginia. No matter how you shake it, that last possession is something out of every coach’s worst nightmare.
Also, Fabio (Nathan Adrian) spotting!
5. WBB update
Time for the 40 Acres update. After hosting NCAA First and Second Rounds, I traveled with Texas Women’s Basketball to Lexington, Ky. for the Sweet Sixteen round.
By the way, our Second Round game vs. NC State was an instant classic. Be sure to check out these highlights because Joyner Holmes is from another planet. In case you’re wondering, she’s a freshman.
After being introduced to the wonder that is Ale 8, we took on the Stanford Cardinal. Although things did not go as planned, I’ve been beyond fortunate to work for such a great program the past two seasons.
6. College Baseball
2-5-3-4-2-6 and you’re out! Baylor baseball made perhaps the most complicated double play ever, and I can’t stop watching. (I’m also so glad I wasn’t behind the stat computer for that game!)
In more baseball news, the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry was restored this month at Disch-Falk field. Knocking off an old rival (who just happened to be a top-10 team) is OH SO SWEET!
7. MORE TEXAS (SURPISED?)
Sorry for the Longhorns overload, but so many good things have happened!
First, our men’s tennis team took down No. 2 Ohio State. After the Buckeyes were one point away from clinching the win with the early 3-0 advantage, Texas won four-straight singles matches (all in three sets). It came down to a tiebreaker at No. 6 singles in the third, and it was intense!
Watch Rodigo Banzer close it out here:
If that wasn’t enough excitement for you, Texas Men’s Swimming and Diving won its third-straight national title to become the winningest program of all-time with 11 total championships.
Talk about dominance.
8. Dugout dog
UNC’s baseball team has a dog. He brings the balls to the umpire and holds his hat in his mouth during the national anthem. There are not words. I’m in love. Just watch the video.
9. ATX’s Finest
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see any of the Dell Match Play, even though it was right in my backyard.
Beautiful weather, Austin Country Club, and 400-yard drives…what more could you ask for!
10. booker goes ballin’
Devin Booker dropped 70 points against the Celtics. And he’s 20 years old. You read that right.
He joined an elite class by becoming only the sixth player in NBA history to accomplish the feat.
March, you were good to us. And with the Final Four and the Masters nearly upon us (eek!), I figure it’s only fitting to make my early predictions.
NCAA Tournament Champion: UNC
(I mean, honestly! Roy Williams has 520 minutes of coaching experience in the Final Four…the other three schools? A big fat zero. And after last year’s championship game, the Tar Heels are thirsty for revenge. )
Masters Champion: Dustin Johnson
(Man is on fire. I don’t think there is anyone who can stop him right now.)
Not to brag, but I’ve predicted two of the last four Masters champions correctly, so…
Until next time,