Three To Read: March 22

While I’m not nearly as interested in college basketball as I have been at other points in my life — considering the number of years I spent covering the sport, it pretty much was my life — the Three To Read today is all about the hoops. And it is far more fun than the editing of the annual report (which is going to take up part of my day today).

One: Yes, you really can visit seven of the Sweet 16 campuses in one day.

That’s exactly what Pat Forde from Yahoo did earlier this week. The day started at 7:30 a.m. at Louisville and included stops at Indiana, Xavier, Cincinnati, Ohio and Ohio State before finishing up after midnight at a bar near the University of Kentucky campus. It’s a fun read.

Two:No, the combination of Twitter and a key injury doesn’t give you an excuse to act like a jerk

But apparently a number of North Carolina fans think it does. Since Kendall Marshall was injured in the Tar Heels Round of 32 victory over Creighton, a number of Carolina fans have savaged — and I mean savaged — Creighton’s Ethan Wragge (an Eden Prairie kid). Gregg Doyel takes some of them to task at CBSSports.com.  It’s worth a read if for no other reason than to see how much of a twisted sense of reality some people have. It isn’t pretty.

Three:You might not know this, but Cincinnati and Columbus are two totally different worlds

You have certainly read or heard by now about how there are four teams from the State of Ohio left in the NCAA Tournament. But Ohio is a strange place and interesting state. It’s part rust belt and almost part Southern. The line I’ve heard about Cincinnati as a town is that it is either the most southern northern city or the most northern southern city. I lived there for two years and there’s a lot of truth to it. Paul Daugherty of the Cincinnati Enquirer addresses why Cincinnati doesn’t root for Ohio State.

 

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Three to read: March 16

One: Here’s a story that ran in the Des Moines Register yesterday by former Cyclone and former NBA player Paul Shirley. Basically he talks about how much of a mess Iowa State during his senior season and how the players were very tired of Larry Eustachy.

Here’s a great line: “A secret about the NCAA Tournament: Most of the time, the best team rarely wins it all. Oh, it’s one of the better teams, but being good isn’t enough. The teams that are successful in March (and April) share one characteristic: their members don’t hate each other.

Two: Maybe college kids are getting a little smarter. Today’s NYT story: Spring Break Gets Tamer As The World Watches talks about how many spring breakers aren’t being quite as crazy in part because they are afraid pictures or video of them doing stupid/drunk stuff will end up on Facebook or some other spot on the Internet. Frankly, this is encouraging. I recently spoke to a bunch of aspiring PR students and they talked about references and resumes and I said, “That’s great, but you do realize that anyone hiring is going to stalk you on Facebook and Twitter, so clean that stuff up.”

Three: Apparently at least when it comes to t-shirt sales, Linsanity is over.  So I guess this means one of two things. Either everyone who ever wanted a Lin t-shirt has bought one. Or the hype machine is starting to break down. My feeling is that Lin is a nice player who will be a solid NBA contributor for several years — he’s fearless going to the basket and he has some length that makes it tough for smaller PGs to guard him — but he’s probably not an All-Star and certainly isn’t a franchise player.

Three to read (plus a bonus video): March 15

One bizarre story in the mix and even a bonus video.

One: Books Women Read When No One Can See the Cover by Katherine Rosman of the WSJ

I am a well-established fan of ereaders. I loved both of the Nooks that I had and now love my iPad even more. It’s essentially how I read everything. But this story caught me by surprise. Apparently the rise of ereaders has led to a big jump in sales of erotic novels to women.

From the story: Kindles, iPads and Nooks “are the ultimate brown paper wrapper,” says Brenda Knight, associate publisher at Cleis Press, of Berkeley, Calif., a publisher of erotica since 1980.

Mainstream publishers are launching digital-only erotic labels to feed demand. At the end of the month, HarperCollins UK will launch Mischief Books, with the tag line “private pleasures with a hand-held device.”

Who knew?

Two: Swisher wants to be taken seriously by Daniel Barbarisi of the WSJ

During my days as a sportswriter, I covered the Oakland A’s during the last weekend of the series as they were going to be the possible first-round playoff opponent of the Twins. I think I talked to Nick Swisher every day that weekend and again when the two teams did meet. Dude is a joy. He’s funny, he’s interesting, etc. Because of that, I’ve kind of always liked the brash outfielder. And the dude can play a bit as well.

From the story: “I want to be known as a good guy in the locker room, and a bada– on the field,” Swisher said.”

That would be badass.

Three: Coach was doomed without Walsh by Harvey Araton of the NYT

I didn’t read all the NY tabs about the Mike D’Antoni’s move out of the role of head coach of the New York Knicks, so I can’t say this was the best take. But it provided great insight. And it crushes both ownership and confirmed coach killer Carmelo Anthony.

Bonus video: A friend posted this on Facebook and I’m taking it. The BBC of places did a nice story about what is essentially segregation in St. Louis. Very interesting story. Not exactly sure how to embed this video, so I’m just linking. It is worth a watch.

Crossing a St. Louis street that divides communities

Three to Read: March 14

Couple of interesting stories today.

One.Is this the NHL’s Zapruder Film by Mike Sielski from the Wall Street Journal

First, the story is really interesting as it examines whether the LA Kings got some home cookin’ from the timekeeper at Staples Center. But I find the story just as interesting because I wonder how much attention this would have received had it involved a Canadian team or the Rangers, Penguins, Bruins, Red Wings, Flyers or Black Hawks. Because it was the Columbus Blue Jackets, does it not matter as much.

Two. A Dahlman Family Tradition by Brian Stensaas at the Star Tribune

I wonder exactly how many stories I wrote at the Star Tribune that referenced Braham native and former Michigan State wing Isaiah Dahlman. Had to have been a bunch. While he never lived up to the hype, there was a lot of hype. Noah Dahlman had a really nice run in the Southern Conference at Wofford. And now the little sis is going to be the state’s all-time leading girls basketball scorer. A look at her.

Three. The 23 Rules for Winning March Madness by Jason Gay of the WSJ

A funny look at what will be the biggest sports story of the next three weeks.

Three to Read: March 13

One thing I do a lot of and am good at is consuming media. I read in the morning. I almost always take my iPad with me to lunch. And I see a lot of links on Twitter.

I have several friends who get emails from me with links to cool stories. But I’m going to now try to expand things. My goal is to post three good stories here on a fairly regular basis. There will be days when it just isn’t possible thanks to my workload at the real job and I’m not going to promise when I might post, but expect to see some good stuff here.

Topics and media outlets will be from all over the board. I won’t focus only on long stories or narratives. I’m not going to post only sports stories. I think there will be a mix.

So here it goes, the inaugural Three to Read.

One:When Mom Goes Viral from James Hagerty at the Wall Street Journal

Yes, you have heard about the friendly food critic at the Grand Forks Herald who wrote glowingly about the Olive Garden. Guess what? Her son is at the WSJ and writes about her new fame from his perspective.

Two: How Long Beach State Got In, by John Branch at The New York Times

Many of you know I have a history with ex-Gophers and current Long Beach State basketball coach Dan Monson (hint, it didn’t end well). Anyway, John Branch (who wrote the awesome Derek Boogaard series in the NYT) got great access with the 49ers at the Big West Tournament. It’s a nice behind-the-scenes story about a team that won its regular-season conference title, but has to win the conference tourney to get into the NCAA Tournament.

Three: Portland Timbers Start Their Season Singing in the Rain by John Canzano at The Oregonian

Very nice scene piece from Canzano about the season opener for the MLS’ Portland Timbers. Canzano ditched the comfortable press box to sit in the rain with the real fans. I have grown to like soccer and am fascinated by the fans. I didn’t know a whole lot when I went to a Columbus Crew game back in the late ’90s. This was a nice piece.

A great quote: There was a wonderful quote in this story about 20-somethings and hotels in the NYT

Mr. Hanson said wall-to-wall — and free — Wi-Fi service was not only demanded but expected. “High-speed Internet is almost like air to Millennials,” he added, with most considering it as essential as beds and towels.

Best e-mail of the year just arrived

The subject line even read: Best E-Mail of the Year!

What was it? Obviously it was word that my club is opening next Wednesday.

The March 21 opening will be the earliest in the 93 years the club has been around. It will be six days earlier than two years ago, when the club opened on March 27.

Yes, I’m excited.

The covers are off the greens and the supposedly look great.

 

Why am I bummed about Ricky Rubio’s left knee? Watch and see

When Ricky Rubio grabbed his left knee Friday night, it was hard to know just how bad it was really going to be. I initially thought he might have just banged legs with Kobe Bryant and things would be OK.

But when he tried to walk on the baseline during a timeout and couldn’t, it was clear that things weren’t going to be good.

Thanks to modern medicine, a torn ACL isn’t nearly as bad as it once was, but the injury still ends Rubio’s season.

Shawn Fury blogged about Rubio’s injury and the Timberwolves here and it is worth a click. He also found this highlight video of the Wolves PG. It’s less than three minutes long, but it shows exactly why I’m bummed about Rubio’s injury.

He made watching the Wolves fun for more than just NBA junkies like me. He turned the bounce pass into can’t miss viewing. His energy and happiness was almost contagious. It was simply awesome.

I don’t think the Wolves are done, but I am afraid that no Rubio = no playoffs. So watch this 2:50 of Rubio goodness. Hopefully it will get you excited about the future.