Courtesy of UofL Athletics

The Ides of March Madness: Your NCAA Tournament is underway, affectionately known as March Madness, and both your University of Louisville battling basketball Cardinals and University of Kentucky winning Wildcats are in the big show. Highly seeded, too. And both teams play today.

Let’s start with your Cardinals. They’re the No. 2 seed in the Midwest Region. They’ll face the Gamecocks of Jacksonville State today at 2:45 p.m. in Indianapolis. USA Today runs the AP’s quick glance game preview. They say both teams would like to win, so it’s a good thing they’ll be keeping score.

After Louisville’s loss to Duke in the ACC tournament, The Washington Post says the No. 2 seed was a big surprise. They had pegged Louisville for a strong No. 4.

The Cardinals were projected as the best of the No. 4 seeds, so landing on the No. 3 line wouldn’t have been too out of place. But a bump to a No. 2 seed was surprising for Rick Pitino’s team, which beat exactly one team in the tournament field away from home (Wichita State). In this case, good road wins count, except when they don’t.

USA Today and Newsday say coach Rick Pitino is just happy to be playing in the tournament at all, considering last year’s postseason ban. The ban was a self-imposed pre-emptive punishment for allegations claiming a former assistant used an escort service and campus parties as a recruitment tool.

Your Wildcats are also coming into the tournament as a No. 2 seed in the South Region. They’ll play the No. 15 seed — and this is an exciting entry — the Norse of Northern Kentucky University — also yours. This is NKU’s first tournament appearance. They’ll play tonight at 9:40 p.m.

To show his support, Sporting News and CBS Sports say restaurateur Jeff Ruby has pledged a steak dinner at Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse to all Northern Kentucky students should their team upset Kentucky.

Mr. Ruby estimates feeding 15,000 students could cost him over $1 million, but says it’s worth it to offer support to the team, given what the university means to the region.

Sporting News doesn’t think Mr. Ruby has much to worry about. They believe Kentucky’s greatest threat will come in round 2, predicting a matchup with Wichita State. CBS Sports agrees; they believe Kentucky has the toughest No. 2 seed path in the tournament, whether they face Wichita State or Dayton in the second round.

Regardless of who they go up against, the sponsors are going to hope the Wildcats can stick around: Forbes says Kentucky is “the merchandise powerhouse of the NCAA.” Forbes also says the ACC, Louisville’s conference, is positioned to make a lot of money from this year’s tournament. As much as $38 million, to be exact.

But the big winner for the first round so far: Northwestern’s drummer.

 

People are already cheering for Northwestern to advance just so that drummer can keep on playing.

Northwestern’s drummer is up against an old favorite, you may recall: Miami’s piccolo player. She had her own sizzle trailer going into the ACC tournament:

 

Not to be confused, mind you, with 2015’s Villanova’s crying piccolo player, Roxanne Chalifoux:

Who would later get her own bobblehead.

The piccolo is a misunderstood instrument.

 

Baked Goods: BuzzFeed takes a look at “the best bakery in every state, according to Yelp.” Kentucky’s top bakery and No. 18 overall, none other than Nord’s Bakery, just over on Preston St.

Yelper Todd P. says:

“Upon entering I was taken back to my childhood. An aroma of fresh-baked goodness greeted me as I opened the door. We were greeted with a warm smile and welcomed. We ordered a dozen to go and four to dine in. The maple bacon doughnut was possibly the best doughnut I’ve ever had. The dough was very light and airy. The maple frosting and bacon complemented each other tremendously.”

Solstice: Not much to report on the Jennifer Lawrence front this week, marking what we now recognize as the Lawrence Solstice, an annual naturally occurring phenomena in which Jennifer Lawrence is farthest from the Earth, thus media coverage is in short supply. So nothing to talk about we haven’t already covered or if we do have something, it’s questionably sourced.

For instance, there’s a great rumor back-and-forth going on these last couple of weeks as to whether boyfriend Darren Aronofsky is ex-boyfriend Darren Aronofsky. Sites talking about it are questionable and I’m not going to cover that kind of thing unless it’s so loud I kind of have to.

For the record, the latest is he’s still boyfriend Darren Aronofsky and reports of ex-boyfriend Darren Aronofsky were false.

And last week, we talked about her blooper reel for “Passengers” and its March 14 DVD/Blu-ray release. And March 14 came and “Passengers” came with it. So not much follow-up.

Forbes ran an article it ran before on “Passengers,” discussing how the movie was an exceptionally successful original film in a difficult market for original material despite mixed critical and audience reception.

But it’s a repackage of an article they’ve run before and one we’ve already talked about here, just polished up for the home release. So nothing new there.

That’s not strictly true — they do run a new featurette on building the hibernation pods on the ship that’s interesting:

Follow up on last week, we talked about the dacquoise cake at Buck’s, written up in Saveur magazine. I confessed I’d not been to Buck’s and promised to rectify that this week. And so I must confess again: that didn’t quite work out. But because promises were made, Megan made a special trip over last night to pick up the cake, which — yeah. That’s a thing worth writing about.

We also asked about great films that passed you by and heard from quite a few of you, so that was fun. I received a few “Citizen Kane” submissions. “The Godfather” came up a couple of times. Someone said “The Wizard of Oz.” To Tom who said he’d missed the “Hangover” movies — I think you’re OK, least ways in terms of the classics.

There’s a budget draft that came to light this week, filled with much of the program and budget cuts and eliminations rumored months ago, including the proposed elimination of the NEA, NEH and Public Broadcasting, among so many others.

In January of 2016, I wrote a piece on the significance of the arts in our lives and communities as well as arts advocacy as it was rumored one of Kentucky’s arts agencies, the Kentucky Arts Council was to be eliminated. Much of what I have to offer is in that piece, only now we can apply that to a national scale. You can revisit that at the link above.

But I also want to leave you with something else: Mr. Rogers.

In 1969, Fred Rogers appeared before the Senate Committee on Commerce Subcommittee on Communications to defend federal funding for Public Broadcasting.

 


See you next week.

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Kyle Ware
Kyle Ware is a Louisville-based actor, artist, educator and writer. His column, In Other News, appears at Insider Louisville every Friday.