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Mississippi guard Marshall Henderson (22) reacts after he made a 3-point shot against Vanderbilt in the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament, Saturday, March 16, in Nashville, Tenn.
Saturday, March 23, 2013
This week's Q&A-Mac is brought to you by Marshall Henderson: an unlikely NCAA tournament darling.
Q: Let me guess: You're a member of the media, so you probably want the Ole Miss guard to "tone down his crazy antics" and "act like he's been there before"?
A: No way! Tone 'em up! Act like you've never been there! Shout. Strut. Celebrate. Gotta love his individuality, his authenticity, even if I can understand why he rubs some folks the wrong way.
You think about some of the stars who've grabbed the limelight in this tournament in the recent past - the Kemba Walkers, the Jimmer Fredettes, the Stephen Currys - and there's always been a wholesome quality to them. Henderson, meanwhile, seems to have embraced the role of the villain.
"I guess so," he told reporters before the tournament started. "I don't really have a choice, do I?"
Q: Does he?
A: Well, maybe he did - until he cussed out somebody posing as a Kentucky player on a fake Twitter account after the Rebels' upset of Wisconsin on Friday. Once you've done that, you're pretty much locked in on "villain."
Q: Good or bad for the tournament?
A: Oh, the tournament needs villains. Not sure how many people would be eager to watch Ole Miss-La Salle Sunday night otherwise. Now hordes will tune in - some pulling for Henderson, others against him, but all curious to see what he'll do next.
Q: Big opportunity for the ACC on Sunday, as North Carolina, Miami and Duke all vie for spots in the Sweet 16. How many will make it?
A: Have to believe the Tar Heels will have a tough time beating Kansas in Kansas City. I like Miami and Duke to advance, but Vegas isn't putting a ton of faith in either. The Hurricanes are a 6-point favorite over Illinois and the Blue Devils are a 5-point choice over Creighton. Mason Plumlee has a shot to raise his profile if he can outplay Doug McDermott in the latter tilt.
Q: The Miami Heat puts its 25-game winning streak on the line Sunday night against the Bobcats. Any interest in this streak, which is eight shy of the American pro sports record held by the 1971-72 Lakers?
A: Some, sure. I'm all for anything that can turn something mundane into something memorable, and that's what the streak has done to regular-season games involving the Heat.
Miami would be coasting toward the playoffs without the streak. With it, LeBron James and company are motivated to come back from 27-point deficits like the one they faced last week in Cleveland. It's a bit reminiscent of the Michael Jordan era, when his Bulls teams competed against history as much as they did other teams.
Q: Did Tony Stewart have any good lines during his visit to Martinsville last week?
A: A few. The best was when a member of the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce asked him how he felt about Danica Patrick making her Martinsville Speedway debut two weeks from today. Stewart, who owns Patrick's car, said this: "As an owner, I'm going to be really nervous. As a driver, I'm going to be laughing a lot."
Q: Laughing? Why?
A: Because he knows how hard it is for anybody to get around that racetrack their first time there. Of all the learning experiences Patrick will have in her first year of Sprint Cup racing, the maiden trek at Martinsville might be the most challenging. You'd have to think any finish in the top half of the 43-car field would feel like a victory.
Q: Comment of the week on the blog?
A: We have two, and they are related.
First, from Ralph: "I was already tired of that commercial with the guy talking to the four little kids and now it's on all four channels."
Second, from Crooked Road, who must be a fan of those spots: "Watching the NCAA tourney is like having an island made of candy, where all the sand is sugar."
A: Agree. Especially when Marshall Henderson sweetens the deal.
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