>The weather was great until games started: not anymore
The spring sports season has definitely started.
   Each year it seems that the weather teases us with signs of spring until spring sports events start and then winter nails us again.
   We had a beautiful stretch of weather in the 60's while most of the country was in a cold snap. I spoke to my daughter in Texas last week while we were basking in sunny weather and they had enough snow to close the Dallas airport for most of a day.
   But now things are back to normal. Wednesday we had a steady cold breeze, and yesterday it tried briefly to snow on everyone.
   I am always amazed at the parents and other supporters who will come out in freezing, wet weather and sit for two plus hours in support of their teams.
   There are some exciting things happening in Crook County athletics so come on out, sit in the cold and be amazed at some of the things local students are doing this spring. The girls tennis team is currently 2-0 as is the softball team. The baseball team won big yesterday, and track is off to their best start in as long as I can remember.
   Now on a totally different subject. March madness is officially upon us. If you are planning to fill out brackets for the NCAA basketball tournaments for what its worth here are my recommendations. In the women's bracket pick the favorites in virtually every game. Pick one or two teams that you really like and go ahead and pick them to win some upsets, but that's about it. Generally the women's tournament doesn't have nearly as many surprises as the men's tournament.
   In the men's tournament watch out for the 11 and 12 seeds every year there seems to be some upsets by them. This year the men's field is very balanced at the top leaving things like injuries or fouls to possibly decide which teams end up winning.
   It can be interesting to speculate on which bubble teams will end up getting into the tournament, but generally the selection committee does their own thing and so there are going to be surprises.
   The general consensus seems to be that the Pac-10 conference will get six or seven teams into the tournament and the Atlantic Coast Conference may only get three or four teams, and yet this week when ESPN ran a fan poll the fans overwhelmingly picked the ACC as the toughest conference in the country, the Big East as second toughest and the Pac-10 a distant third.
   The West Coast Conference looks like they might get three teams in this season, with San Diego winning their post season tournament and both Gonzaga and Saint Mary's highly regarded. Some other teams to watch out for include UCLA, North Carolina, USC, Stanford, Drake, Kansas and Texas. Duke is tough, but they don't have the size if they get matched up against the wrong team. And don't be surprised if Winthrop or Gonzaga make another good run. For all you Duck fans, if they get into the tournament they also have a chance to do fairly well as they have been playing solid basketball of late.
   Have fun filling out your brackets and enjoy the madness.
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