Adopt-A-Team: Trabzonspor is in the top 4! This might legit be the best result that my Adopt-A-Team has posted to date. When last we checked in with them, it was mid-February- specifically, February 18th, 2019. Since then, the results have looked like this:
W vs Goztepe
L to Umraniye (QF of Turkish Cup- lost 3-1 on aggregate)
D to Kasimpasa
W vs Akhisar
W vs Buyuksehir
W vs Antalyaspor
That's a pretty good run of football! Down the stretch they've got matches against Fenerbahce and Besiktas, so there's potential to move up further in the table, provided they don't drop any games down the stretch. All in all, it's pretty awesome. (Prior years: Defensa y Justicia is sitting in second place in the Superliga- and I actually think their regular season is done already. NEC Nijmegen is sitting in 14th place in the Eerste Divisie, so the news is not so good there.)
The Arsenal: Oh the peaks and valleys of the Arsenal season continue! They were looking pretty damn good and solid for the Top 4 a week ago and then a dismal 1-0 loss to Everton sort of brought out the sackcloth and ashes again and woe is Arsenal and doom is upon us! But really and truly: there are some serious questions to be addressed in the summer transfer window and it could go sideways in a bad way if they don't either win the Europa League or finish Top 4, but Emery has done a fantastic job making Arsenal fun to watch again and not so damn frustrating. (That's not to say that their lack of consistency hasn't been incredibly frustrating, but they seem to have shaken off their tendency to shrug and say 'well, shit, we're 1-0 down, so we're done here' which is a big step in the right direction.)
The results since last we met!
W vs BATE
W vs Southampton
W vs Bournemouth
D vs Tottenham
L to Rennes
W vs Manchester United
W vs Rennes (W, 4-3 on aggregate)
W vs Newcastle
L to Everton
It's pretty damn hard to complain about a run of football that good- but Arsenal has Watford, Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Burnley away down the stretch. They're going to have to bring their home form with them on the road- because woof, their away form has been not so good.
Iowa Athletics: Iowa Basketball had a decent March-- the Iowa men surpassed expectations by beating Cincinnati and then giving 2-seed Tennessee as much as they could handle and then some by forcing overtime before coming up just short. Aside from a weird bubble of rumors that Fran might be leaving for Arkansas, on balance, I think it was a good year. I remember working some games during the Lickliter era and am honestly convinced that Iowa's basketball commentariat has the memory span of syphilitic hamsters, because kids, shit was bad back then. The hole the program was in was deep, dark and looked a lot like this. We are so much better than where we were and with time, I think we might able to climb back out of the hole and get back to where we were back in the day- or at the very least, a close approximation of it.
My baseline for the men's team is pretty simple: make the Tournament more often than not, win more than one game in the B1G Tournament and generally be in the upper half of the conference whenever possible. Intersperse some deep runs in either the NCAA or the B1G Tournament and I'm fine.
The women's team had a great March. They stormed to the Elite 8 before falling against eventual national title winner's Baylor. Megan Gustafson continued to do Megan Gustafson things and finished the season with just over 1,000 points- for the season. She also won the Naismith Player of the Year Award and a bunch of others and Coach Bluder won the well-deserved Naismith Coach of the Year award. Gustafson is also going to be attending the WNBA Draft tonight, which marks the first time ever that I've said, 'man, I need to check out the WNBA Draft tonight' ever.
Gustafson's season sparked an interesting Twitter discussion on the Iowa Commentariat with most people agreeing that she belongs on the Mt. Rushmore of Iowa Athletes right next to Nile Kinnick. Where things got interesting was who else belongs up there as well...
(Oh and Spencer Lee won another National Title for Wrestling... Penn State, however, continued their dominance of the Team Title. Dethroning them will have to wait there until next year.)
Post-Bracketology Thoughts: I was late filling out a bracket this year because we were on vacation doing vacation things, so I didn't do my usual deep dive on the field and really think about it. I went with Duke v Gonzaga and Virginia v Houston in the Final Four and actually had Virginia making the title game and losing to Gonzaga.
Obviously, that didn't happen. Looking at my bracket-- I'd say my biggest miss was Saint Mary's- I took them to the Sweet 16. Houston, I took to the Final Four- which didn't happen either. I didn't even see Texas Tech coming at all. But, I did actually sit down and watch the title game with The Quiet Man and it was a legit good game. It was also refreshing to see so many of the traditional powers fall by the wayside. Neither Virginia nor Texas Tech had won the National Title before- and Virginia's last Final Four was in the 80s, so it had been awhile since they had been to the Final Four and Texas Tech hadn't been at all. (Interestingly enough, had they won, they would have the first Texas team to win it since Texas Western of 'Glory Road' back in the day.)
Wish I would have been able to catch more of this year's Dance, but it sure seemed like an entertaining one. One day, my Zags are gonna win at all! But that'll have to wait until next year.