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Mar 18 / King Kaufman

Shoutouts: March Madness productivity, great announcers, debates on video

We’re going to stay all-basketball for this edition of Shoutouts. Let’s start with one of my favorite subjects, the ridiculously stupid press release issued every year by some publicity-seeking firm that presumably does something useful the rest of the year. This release uses made-up numbers and false assumptions to supposedly estimate how much the tournament costs American business.

I regularly lampooned this nonsense in my column years ago, and this year Tom Weir picked up the baton in Bleacher Report with a piece asking, “Is the NCAA Tournament Really a Bad Thing for the US Economy?

Spoiler alert: Ha ha! What an idiotic question!

Skipped work time predates Internet streaming by decades. The NCAA version is merely a first cousin of last-minute Christmas shopping, parent-teacher conferences and the April anxiety rush to get taxes filed on time. The only difference is no one celebrates buying a gift for Aunt Mildred the way they do a buzzer-beater.

Here’s a crazy thing Weir does to counter the press release’s silly assumptions: Looks at the data. If the tournament causes this horrible annual downturn in productivity, wouldn’t that show up in economic figures?

Spoiler alert: Ha ha! What an idiotic question!

Jason King, who made an appearance in the last Shoutout with his profile of Wichita State guard Fred VanVleet, checks in again with a look at the growing phenomenon of Nebraska basketball. His piece Look out for Nebraska, a Budding B1G Power and Dangerous NCAA Tournament Sleeper centers on coach Tim Miles, who may have “librarian glasses and the big smile,” but has now galvanized two programs.

I think I could spend quite a bit of time listening to Howard Beck and Ric Bucher argue about the NBA. Thanks to the Team Stream Now videos they make together, I can do that. Two recent examples: Can Phil Jackson Help Deliver a Championship to New York Knicks? and Should Tracy McGrady Make the NBA HOF?

And finally, Dan Levy‘s series of ranking the top announcers of all time in every sport turns to college basketball. Levy’s observations and insights are always worth your time on these pieces.

Spoiler alert: Levy thinks the greatest of all time is … Billy Packer!

OK not really.