Random News: Annoying 'Madness' personalities

Random News: Annoying 'Madness' personalities

Tuesday, March, 1, 2011
9:33 a.m.

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

I am beyond all help when it comes to playing Words With Friends on my iPhone. I am a junkie. The game is taking over every second of my free time. Sometimes Ill have 10 games going on at once. Its sad. If you are unfamiliar with Words With Friends, it is a Scrabble-like game where you get seven lettered tiles (as does your opponent) and you make words based on the letters given and build off each other. Its incredibly addictive.

However, as with most things in life, there are certain 'W-W-F' annoyances you have to deal with. For example, you need the CIA to track certain opponents. Theyll make a move and then fall off the face of the earth for five days. Id start checking dumpsters looking for these people, but Im not sure I care that much. Another annoyance: you might end up getting paired with an intellectual snob who plays words like coz, qi, ag and aa. Yes, according to Words With Friends, aa is a word. I think theres a joke there but Im not going to touch it. Anyway, you take the good with the bad. 98 of the action is fun but you have to put up with the occasional tool every now and then.

March Madness is kind of the same way.

In a few weeks, your family, office or social network of choice will be distributing NCAA tournament brackets. For the sports fan, it might as well be your birthday, New Years Eve, and any Friday afternoon all wrapped into one shining moment. We love the promise and the potential of a clean bracket sheet. We think that we can predict who the next George Mason or Butler will be. Heck, I even likened my wedding invitation list to the NCAA selection committee. Even the passive fans get caught up in the excitement. The office water cooler talk actually shifts momentarily from the weather to the crazy upset that happened the night before. Its an exciting time. And your bracket is never in shambles until the team you picked to win it all goes down in defeat. Theres always hope.

But even Bracket Nation has its share of troublemakers. March Madness is, and will always be, one of the greatest events in sports. But there are five types of people in our NCAA pool that we would rather have eliminated:

The Guy With 20 Brackets

Ugh. It's overkill. This guy is so wrong on so many levels (both literally and figuratively...and we hope he's 0-for-20 when the tournament's over). The 20 bracket guy will never feel bad about losing his final four on his family pool, you know--the one through his dads cousins sons office, because he has 19 others to fall back on. And hell make light of the fact that, although he is getting torched in eight other brackets, he is still in 1,381st place on some national pool with a 100,000 grand prize payout. This guy ends every game with, Dude I called that one! Its not all doom and gloom though, because we all know that the 20 Bracket Guy never wins. And he has to put a third mortgage on the house or sell a kidney or two come April to break even.

The Bracket Novice

This sports gumshoe has Texas Southern, Cincinnati, Vermont and Long Beach State in the Final Four. They also have some interesting upsets, like Kansas losing to McNeese Statein the regional semifinal. Also noted, is their distaste for Duke head coach Mike Krizzy-zew-ski and the fact that their school, Northeastern Maryland State-Havre De Grace Campus, didnt make it into the field. These people are usually harmless until they successfully pick a six seed to win it all. Then the expletives get as loud and distasteful as a Bruce Pearl garage sale.

The Guy Who Picks With His HeartAnd Not His Brain

These people are the best to make fun of come tourney time. And the more hardcore the fan, the better chance for side-splitting comedy. I had a friend of a friend pick Notre Dame to go to the final four last year. I thought it was an interesting pick. Not that it was an insane pick, it was justinteresting. This guy gave me a Zapruder film-esque breakdown of why 6-seed Notre Dame could make it there. I bought it until, out of curiosity, I asked him where he went to school. Notre Dame he says. Then the first round happened: Old Dominion 51, Notre Dame 50. Cue the torches.

Johnny 12-5 Upset Expert

This is also the surly goof that will pitch a fit at the blackjack table if you dont split eights against a king. Yeah, sometimes it workssometimes it doesnt. Johnny 12-5 Upset Expert megaphones to you (and everyone within earshot) about the need to pick the 12 against a 5. What Johnny fails to realize is, while there have been a good number of 12 seeds that have broken through in the first round (roughly 1 in 3 to be exact), the majority go win the first game and potentially have stellar tournaments. Johnny always has a system for picking upsets. Dont even get him started on the 11-6 or the 10-7 scenarios.

The Office Pool Winner

Because your 20 is now in their wallet. Just like last year.

And the year before that.

Or something like that.

Reports: Dolphins assistant Jeremiah Washburn to be Bears' new O-line coach

Reports: Dolphins assistant Jeremiah Washburn to be Bears' new O-line coach

The Bears have reportedly found a new offensive line coach.

According to multiple reports Monday, Jeremiah Washburn will become the team's new offensive line coach, replacing Dave Magazu.

Washburn worked as an assistant offensive line coach this past season with the Miami Dolphins under Adam Gase, the Bears' former offensive coordinator.

Prior to his season in South Florida, he spent seven seasons with the Detroit Lions, working three of them as the team's offensive line coach after three as an assistant offensive line coach.

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This past season, the Bears ranked 17th in the NFL in rushing with 1,735 yards as a team. Only eight teams allowed fewer sacks than the Bears, who saw quarterbacks dropped by opposing defenses just 28 times. Bears quarterbacks were hit 73 teams, also a top-10 mark in the league.

The Bears also committed a good number of holding penalties, 1.68 per game, which was only bested by seven teams.

Magazu was a longtime member of John Fox's staffs in Chicago, Denver and Carolina.

Blackhawks' rough weekend 'a little bit of a wake-up call'

Blackhawks' rough weekend 'a little bit of a wake-up call'

Patrick Kane was summing up the Blackhawks' weekend, one that didn't go well in terms of points.

"Good way to kind of judge ourselves, where we're at," he said Sunday night. "Might be a little bit of a wake-up call to see how good we really are."

Well, in a way, it is. You can't really compare Friday's loss to Washington and Sunday's loss to Minnesota on performance; the Blackhawks didn't show up for the first game and were much better in the second. Nevertheless, it was the same result in each. The Blackhawks' lengthy hold on first place in the Western Conference ended, with the Wild taking over following Sunday's 3-2 victory.

It's not a sound-the-alarm situation, but the Blackhawks are certainly cognizant of the missed opportunity last weekend and that they came up short against the league's best.

Artem Anisimov agreed with Kane's assessment.

"We just need to play better. All four lines need to play better in all areas of the ice. Just be better in the little things," Anisimov said. "Back check, put stick in the right position, box the guy out, short shifts. All little things need to be better."

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Many of the little things that were absent against the Capitals were back against the Wild. But coach Joel Quenneville wasn't happy with mistakes made on goals allowed, especially the first two. And while Kane and the second line were a consistent scoring threat against the Wild, the other three lines weren't. It's a problem that's plagued the Blackhawks a good deal this season, even when they were stringing together victories.

There is no reason to think that, because of this weekend's results, the Blackhawks are going to falter against strong teams. They've done well against others already this season. They beat Montreal earlier this season, when the Canadiens were healthy and steamrolling everyone. They beat the New York Rangers when the Rangers and former Blackhawks backup goaltender Antti Raanta were on their respective hot streaks.

Still, Kane's analysis is correct: This should get the Blackhawks' attention. The Wild have beaten the Blackhawks in eight consecutive regular-season games now and will face them three more times this season. They have two more meetings with the Edmonton Oilers, who beat them soundly in November.

The Blackhawks' long reign atop the Western Conference standings is over. They’re currently second in the Central Division, with an eight-point cushion over the St. Louis Blues. The Blackhawks have done fairly well this season. But this weekend was a reminder that they can be better.

"The game (on Friday) was kind of like a shock to the system thinking maybe you're one of the top teams in the league, or being able to compete with one of the top teams, and we obviously got thoroughly outplayed. We came back (Sunday night). It was pretty even in chances. We might've even had more so, just kind of didn't pull it out," Kane said. "But (when) you've played two of the better teams in the league and lose, there's got to be room for improvement, right?"