Tag Archives: Final Four

How ’bout them Red Raiders?

I did not attend Texas Tech University. I have no particular allegiance to the Lubbock-based school.

I lived in West Texas for 23 years. I worked as a journalist at the Amarillo Globe-News for nearly 18 of those years. I got to know three Texas Tech University chancellors along the way — David Smith, Kent Hance and Bob Duncan. I watched the growth of the university’s School of Pharmacy in Amarillo and I’ve been cheering on Tech’s effort to build a school of veterinary medicine in Amarillo as well.

And I damn sure made plenty of acquaintances with Tech alumni. Some of them are good friends.

So I want to share in their joy today as the Red Raiders celebrate their appearance in the Final Four of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. They will be one of four teams to get through a tournament that began with 64 teams. Tech knocked off one of the tournament’s four No. 1 seeds, Gonzaga, to get to the finals.

I won’t suggest that just “being in the Final Four” is enough. I want the Red Raiders to bring the glory home to Lubbock. I am sure my friends from Texas Tech — those who still wear the red and black with great pride — will feel the love that is coming to them from throughout the vast state of Texas.

I hope this non-Tech grad is allowed to say it, but . . .

Guns up!


I want to share this ditty from my friend Jon Mark Beilue, a dedicated Tech grad. He posted this today on Facebook:

It’s time for this Red Raider alum to break out the good stuff — $7.99 per bottle on the clearance rack at Market Street — after this one. Going back to my college days in the late 1970s/early 1980s, I watched some bad basketball, good basketball and a whole lot in between. But nothing like this. I was breathing through a paper bag. This is an out-of-body experience. Surreal.

Do ya think?

Final Four matchup converts a college hoops agnostic

I am entitled in this blog to acknowledge that I spoke a bit too soon about March Madness, that annual rite involving the college men’s basketball tournament.

I tweeted something the other day about not giving a damn about March Madness.Ā In the moment, I didn’t care.

Then a member of my family reminded me that the University of Oregon Ducks were taking part in the tournament.

Fine. I’ll care about the men’s tournament as long as the Ducks are in it. I’m allowed, given that I’m an Oregon native. So what if my view of March Madness has evolved. Sue me if you wish, OK?

Here we are. The Ducks not only are “in it,” they’re one of four teams that will gather in Glendale, Ariz., to play for the national men’s basketball championship. As I’m writing this blog, the final team in that foursome has yet to be determined; it’ll be either North Carolina or Kentucky, two programs with plenty of Final Four experience. The winner of that game will play the Ducks in the semi-final round in Glendale.

The Ducks were there once before, in 1939, the first year of the NCAA men’s tournament. Oregon went on that year to win the championship. They were called the Tall Firs. They remain a legendary presence in Oregon sports annals.

They haven’t been back since. Until now!

The other two are little ol’ Gonzaga, that school in Spokane, Wash., and the University of South Carolina. They’re both going to the Big Show for the first time in their history.

There you go. The Ducks, the Zags, the Gamecocks; still waiting for the Tar HeelsĀ and the Wildcats to finish their game.

Do I care now about the Final Four? Uh, yeah! Go Ducks!

State using religion to discriminate?

Indiana seems like a nice enough place, with nice people motivated to do nice things to and for others.

Why, then, does the state’s legislature send to Gov. Mike Pence a bill that allows people to possibly concoct a religious belief in order to discriminate against others?

Pence this past week signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which prevents someone from suing, say, a business owner from doing business with you based on the business owner’s religious beliefs.

Pay attention here: The bill is aimed squarely at gays and lesbian who could be denied service from those business owners.


Reaction to this law has been furious. Business owners across the nation have declared their intention to cease doing business in Indiana as long as the state sanctions discrimination against their employees. With the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four tournament set to be played in Indianapolis, there could be a serious backlash that inhibits the money the state hopes to earn.

This law looks for all the world — to me at least — as if the state is using “religious freedom” as a shield to protect those who wantonly discriminate against those who have a certain sexual orientation.

What we have here looks like a misuse of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, which guarantees the right of those to hold whatever religious belief they wish. The state is suggesting the First Amendment takes precedence over the 14th Amendment, which guarantees all citizens “equal protection” under the state and federal laws.

Imagine a couple wanting, say, to buy a home. Can a lender refuse to loanĀ the couple the money to buy the home simply by pulling the “religious freedom” statute out of thin air — or out of some bodily orifice, for that matter? The law, as I understand it, prohibits the gay couple from suing the lender because the law protects the lender from being hassled over his or her religious beliefs.

The appearance of using religious liberty and freedom as a pretext to allow overt discrimination is a disgrace.