In the year 2019 it seems like we always have something to worry about. Whether it’s the latest political disaster or other horrific news the threats seem to be pretty fast and furious. Of course, a major part of this is the prevalence and never ending feed that is social media. With that said, and as I always say, I’m nothing if not a follower so here’s what I’m worrying about on the local and national sports scene.
NCAA March Madness
Worry level – Check in on your Auburn friends
Quite a few years ago I decided to never let sports disrupt or keep me from experiencing something in real life. So, on Saturday I was helping my homey Neal bring in a new year on this mortal coil and had no idea about the controversial ending to the NCAA semi-final game between Auburn and Virginia. I have a foggy recollection of looking up and seeing the score at one point and saying, “Wow. Looks like it was a good game,” but that could just be a fantasy. It was a really good party.
It wasn’t until Sunday afternoon (OK, it was a great party) that I read and watched the ending of the game. Turns out, The NCAA pulled an NFC Championship. A lot of folks are talking about whether or not the late foul should’ve been called. I think there is no doubt that Kyle Guy was fouled. The Auburn defender, Samir Doughty, temporarily lost his mind and jumped towards Guy, floated into his legs, while Guy still had his ball in hand. That’s just a simple foul call and you have to give props to Guy for sinking the three biggest free throws of his life proving, once again, that if you give a team a chance to beat you during March Madness you’re going home with a case of severe March Sadness.
Unfortunately for Auburn that play should never have happened as the referees didn’t throw the flag, oh I’m sorry, I mean they didn’t call an obvious double dribble against Virginia which would have ended the game. Ouch.
Tulane Green Wave
Worry level – Surprisingly low
Look, we can obviously pick apart the pitching staff and get really worried if we want. When you have two of your weekend starters with ERAs north of five every game is a question mark. Speaking of questions — do they have the mid-week starter figured out? What is Krishna Raj’s role going to be? Are we really confident in our closers? The fact is the staff as a whole has an ERA of 4.66 so you better buckle up.
Fortunately, this team’s offense is very intimidating. If Kody Hoese were playing for a bigger program the words “Player of the Year” would be being thrown around. The kid is absolutely destroying the ball (.403 BA, 16 HRs, 11 doubles, 40 RBI) and every at bat is must see television. Yet, he’s not the only one as the Green Wave field six starters with batting averages over .300. Hudson Haskin (.356 BA, 30 RBI), a freshman, is already playing like a salty vet and Frankie Niemann (.354 BA, 19 RBI) taking over and owning the catcher spot has been a beautifully unexpected boon.
Is this team good enough to make the NCAA regionals? We’re about to find out.
Tulane (21-11) owns series wins over Cincinnati and Wichita State, two clubs that were picked to finish on the lower end of the AAC (along with Tulane). East Carolina, UConn and Houston were picked to finish atop the AAC and Tulane still has to face them all. In short, it feels like Tulane will have to steal two of those three series and not lose a series to the Memphis Tigers of the world. And every mid-week game is critical in the overall scheme of getting an at-large bid into the tournament.
Tulane travels to Southeastern Louisiana on Tuesday and hosts South Florida this weekend.
Worry level – Sweating bullets
Speaking of tournaments the UNO Privateers (16-16) from this next game have to pretend they are in a do-or-die situation. Seems odd to say with 20 games to go but this team has dug itself a major hole in the Southland Conference.
The Southland has 13 teams and only eight of those qualify for the conference tournament. Winning the tournament is the only chance the Privateers have of making the NCAA regionals. Unfortunately for UNO, they are floundering at the bottom of the conference with a 4-11 mark. Currently the eighth spot would go to Central Arkansas at 8-7.
The Privateers only have five series to make up the needed ground but fortunately for them they’ve already played the best of the conference. McNeese, Lamar, Houston Baptist are all at the bottom with UNO so the Privateers could be set to make a solid run. Coach Blake Dean has to stoke this team’s fire and get them there.
UNO travels to Southern University on Wednesday and then Lake Charles to take on McNeese this weekend.
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: Urban South Brewery’s “Carpé Rosé” Rosé Cider Ale
Playlist Recommendation: Rufus and Chaka Khan – “Tell Me Something Good”
Around the Way
The New Orleans Babycakes (2-2) kicked off their season splitting four games with Round Rock over the weekend. The club hopes to build off of a decent 2018 campaign and might have the team to do it. Why doesn’t anyone want to go to watch this club? It’s “Twilight Zone,” freakishly weird and quiet in the Shrine some nights. Oh well. Wouldn’t it be wild if the Babycakes built a contender, won the series and — whoosh — flew off to Wichita?