Three fast takes from the recent week of sports


1. Not a lot of whistles- It’s a pretty general statement, but I’ve noticed that the refs lately are really letting the players play without too many whistles, which slows down the groove of the game. Either the refs are actually calling less mundane blocking fouls, or I’m just too used to watching Big Ten zebras call hooking fouls all the time. No matter what the case might be, it’s evident that the hand-picked refs for the big stage prefer to keep the clock ticking. If I were to pinpoint a specific instance of this, I’d tell you to turn your head towards the Syracuse and Houston game in which Dejon Jarreau was fouled by a Syracuse defender on an outlet pass in Houston’s own side of the court. These types of fouls always annoy me, so it was refreshing to see the refs allow the game to continue because of what options Jarreau had in front of him. 


2. Pac 12 dominance- Before the tournament kicked off, the talk of the town was the Big Ten and Big 12’s dominant presence in the bracket. Now that we’re halfway to the finish line, the talk of the town is a bunch of “nobodies” in the Pac 12. A team with a coach with a funny name, a team with the most original names, and a team with a deadly brotherly tandem have all punched their tickets to the Elite Eight. Out of those three teams, I predict that UCLA has the best chance of making it to the Final Four because they have a few pesky players to hit crazy shots and surprise their opponents. Jaime Jaquez will most likely be defended by one of the better defenders in the country in Franz Wagner, so I’m not totally sure if he will produce numbers as he did against MSU. However, my gut tells me to go with a team on the rise.


3. Challenger? Who?- It’s no surprise that Gonzaga is leisurely riding a 29-game winning streak into the Elite Eight, and they obviously haven’t been challenged yet in the tournament. In terms of who can challenge them the most out of all the remaining teams, my faith in a groundbreaking dethronement of the Zags lies in Baylor. I wouldn’t label Baylor as a dark horse candidate to take Mark Few and the Zags down, obviously, but I would label them as their scariest matchup. For a while there, though, it seemed as if Baylor’s COVID pause bit them in the butt because they barely beat an atrocious Iowa State team and lost a barn burner to Kansas late. Nevertheless, Scott Drew has this team rolling as of late. Raise your hand all you want, but no one with a sane mind would want to play this Mullet-ridden and fiery squad right now.