Mike’d Up: Problems in Sochi and one of the best college basketball seasons

Controversy is brewing at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Kelley: #SochiProblems is currently trending on Twitter. Guests of the 2014 Olympic Games have been told to not flush their toilets, to not drink the water and even to not fish in their toilets. How bizarre.

One guest, Stacy St. Clair, a journalist for the Chicago Tribune was told by the front desk to not use the water in the hotel on her face because it contains “something very dangerous.”

A Wikipedia page titled “Concerns and Controversies at the 2014 Winter Olympics” has emerged online. What a wreck of a start for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russia poured $51 billion into this production, the most ever for an Olympic Games.

This sounds piss poor. Dan Wetzel from Yahoo! offered three light bulbs in exchange for a working door handle. No joke.

Stray cats and dogs are abundant. Rumors are swirling that the Russian government is poisoning these animals to lower their population before the Olympics begin.

Man oh man, are we in store for the dramatics. Should make for entertaining Twitter feeds and outlandish news reports.

 

Kowaleski: This whole event is shaping up to be a mess, at least from a non-athletic point of view.

While we don’t know exactly how the Games themselves will shape up (it’s sure to be a spectacle), we know that the host city itself is not ready, as you pointed out by citing journalists’ nightmare hotel situations.

These conditions are inexcusable, especially because as you point out again, Russia is about $40 billion over their original budget. To compare, the fairly successful Vancouver Olympics in 2010 cost just around $7 billion. So where is all this money going?

The last concern that you didn’t mention is the looming shadow of a possible terrorist threat. After the Volgograd bombings in December, Russia’s ability to secure the Games was called into question. In a recent CNN poll, 57 percent of Americans believe there will be an attack during the Olympics. Putin certainly has his share of enemies in the country formerly known as the Soviet Union.

It would cast a long shadow on the Russian president’s dream project if a tragedy should befall Sochi as it did Munich in 1972. Pray it doesn’t happen.

 

We are slowly creeping towards a legendary March Madness Tournament.

Kelley: Syracuse-Duke was all it was hyped up to be – an epic clash of sorts between two of the great programs in the NCAA. Wichita State remains undefeated. Dark horses have emerged in the form of San Diego State and Cincinnati. Michigan seems primed for another late tournament run.

In short, college basketball has been phenomenal this season. March Madness is on par to be one of the best ever. And that is due to the parity present in the NCAA this season, a topic Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim touched on this week.

UMass and St. Louis are perfect examples. How about Creighton sneaking up the rankings after its romping of Villanova? No wonder Warren Buffett waited until this year to offer his billion-dollar offer for a perfect bracket – it is essentially impossible.

Should be one hell of a March.

 

Kowaleski: How you like my Orange, Mike?

I enjoy watching this team exponentially more than last year’s Final Four team. They’re my favorite squad since Wes Johnson, Andy Rautins, and Arinze Onuaku blew it in 2010.

Despite all of this and the near-assured fact that Cuse will take a No. 1 seed in the tourney, there are too many factors that leave me doubtful coming up in March.

Like you said, there are so many teams that could be threats when the Madness starts—a Duke team that Syracuse was lucky to beat (needing a bunch of blown calls), a typically strong Tom Izzo-led Michigan State, and undefeated Wichita State, not to mention previous No. 1 Arizona.

But one team that you neglected to include is Bill Self’s Kansas, possibly the most dangerous team that could enter the tournament. While Kansas has been largely inconsistent this year, their upside eclipses every other team in the nation. Once the young team figures out how to stay 100 percent on for an extended stretch, no one can stop them.

The first name that springs to mind when you think 2014 Jayhawks is undoubtedly the highly touted Andrew Wiggins. He’s the better NBA prospect and greater raw talent, but his cohort Joel Embiid is just as important. Add in sophomore Perry Ellis, averaging 13.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, and a savvy Bill Self, this Jayhawks team is the most dangerous when everyone is on at the same time—which, admittedly, hasn’t happened too often this season. But their talent can will them to victory.

What am I trying to pull, though? I know nothing. Anything can happen.

Leave a Reply

*