1. It’s Monday, March 16, 2015. It’s five days until spring.

2. I’m a sad Mets fan this morning after the news that starting pitcher Zack Wheeler needs Tommy John surgery to repair a tear in his elbow. You would think there’s some way to prevent this injury and the surgery that takes more than a year of recovery. And you would also wonder why this happens so much to the Mets.

I do hope Wheeler, should he go through with the surgery, has a speedy recovery; I’m looking forward to seeing him pitch when the Mets defend their world championship in 2016.

3. The problem with doing NCAA brackets this year is that, if you use your head, there’s no way to pick against Kentucky. The Wildcats are unbeaten. One game went to overtime. Most of the rest were blowouts.

Here’s the problem: I don’t like Kentucky.

Maybe it’s that I’m old enough to remember the Adolph Rupp years, when he would have nothing to do with African-American athletes. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s a basketball factory. Maybe it’s because it wins and it’s not in the Big Ten (although I really don’t like Ohio State, either).

Anyway, every time I do one of the brackets for any of the umpteen contests out there, I keep having Maryland, my daughter’s alma mater and no angel itself, knock off Kentucky in the regional semifinals.

So do I want to throw my $5 away and pick against the team that is, far and away, the odds-on favorite to win? Or do I see casting my dollar vote against the juggernaut as somehow finding a way to stop it from ultimate victory?

Go Terps! And, overall, Go Wisconsin!

4.   Speaking of the NCAAs, John Oliver was back on target last night. As much as I love the basketball tournament, there’s something grossly unfair about the way these athletes are treated.

Oliver pointed out some of the silly restrictions the players face — how, for instance, one student was suspended because a coach bought him a meal prior to a flight for a bereavement trip home. Then, on the other hand, there’s the hypocrisy of a coach getting $3 million a year saying that paying athletes would feed into the entitlement society.

The “Last Week Tonight” piece makes the NCAA hoopla seem more like a guilty pleasure. But it also makes another point. There’s nothing wrong with the tournament itself; it’s the unfairness of the system around it that’s troublesome. Those things can, and should, be fixed. And they can be fixed without the sacrifice of anything, including the lucrativeness, of the tournament.

5.   I hadn’t really been interested in HBO’s “The Jinx.” But now that I know how it ends, I’m a little curious.

6.   Bob Schieffer seemed really ticked off when he asked the wizard who came up with the Senate Republican letter to Iran, Cotton, if he planned to send letters to North Korea or anybody else. Cotton tried to smile it off. He still managed to look like a doofus.


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