The ultimate bracket and ball buster

You couldn’t blame James Kiki for hoping that somebody would shove him under a guillotine.

Because the poor guy lost his head at crunch time.

Heading into Final Four weekend, Kiki is tied for first place out of more than 500,000 entries in Yahoo’s contest.

Alas, he has no chance to win the $50,000 grand prize because he didn’t pick a winner for the national title game.

I am not making this up.

When it came to picking the national champ, Kiki choked in the clutch and left that blank on his bracket.

An oversight like that would stretch me to the snapping point.

Kiki said he was planning to pick Villanova to beat North Carolina in the championship game. Now, he’s just rooting for Syracuse because that’s where he lives

Jahmo Syracuse is the name of his bracket. His Final Four is perfect, and he’s made 48 correct picks out of 60 possible games.

But all that remarkable picking is just so much meaningless foreshadowing when you overlook the denouement.

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Carson Wentz a quarterback draft prospect who could make the quantum leap to NFL stardom

With the Final Four coming up this weekend, Major League Baseball about to open its marathon season and the Masters soon to tee it up, next month’s NFL draft isn’t the immediate cup of Gatorade for most sports fans.

Except for draftniks such as myself.

To me, the most intriguing prospect in this year’s annual lottery of meat on the hoof is quarterback Carson Wentz of North Dakota State.

Wentz was quite the stud at North Dakota State, an elite program on the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision level.

A level that hardly compares to the SEC.

NFL draft experts and pundits debate like medieval theologians on the merits of prospects because the scouting of just who will be an NFL star can be a mystic pursuit even with all sorts of measurables and analytics.

That’s because greatness — that witch’s brew of talent and passion, of physical and mental vitality — many times defies foreshadowing.

Which is why very few NFL head coaches and general managers are novelists.

Wentz (6-5, 233) is a prospect who seems to have everything you would want in a potential NFL quarterback.

He demonstrated that at the Senior Bowl with a strong week that showed off his arm talent. At the combine, Wentz was the most impressive quarterback throwing the ball.

Wentz has a good arm, size, athleticism, pocket presence, field vision, experience under center, the ability to make play calls in the huddle, and potential to grow in the NFL.

The big challenge for him will be the drastic change in the speed of the game coming from North Dakota State’s opponents compared to the NFL.

I just hope that the Cleveland Browns don’t take him with the No. 2 pick.

The Browns have a sad history of drafting quarterbacks in the first round, busts strangled by a contractive spasm of insufficient skill.

This year the Big Dance doesn’t turn sour on Villanova, which waltzes into the Sweet 16

The NCAA basketball tournament is all about busting brackets and hearts.

Nobody’s heart has been busted more than Villanova’s in recent years.

Whenever March Madness arrived each spring, Villanova teetered towards ignominy.

Champs in the regular season, they would suddenly morph into chumps in the postseason.

All their assets would instantly go MIA. They would suddenly have so many weak spots that one would need to hire a patrol to find any sign of a strong spot.

Each season their fall from grace was enough to make an atheist fall on his knees, not ideal for a Catholic university.

Until Sunday when the Wildcats immolated Iowa 87-68 in the second round to advance to the Sweet 16 since their Final Four season of 2009.

Villanova had failed to advance beyond the second round of the tournament as a No. 1 or a No. 2 seed in 2010, 2014 and 2015.

So it is somewhat astonishing that the Wildcats sprinted to such an overwhelming victory Sunday, considering all the skeletons of past tourney failures chained to their ankles.

Anybody playing the Trump card isn’t playing with a full deck

Let’s face it, Donald Trump has been performing the same old carnival act for years, but the spotlight of the presidential campaign has enlarged it.

This guy is the ultimate hustler, and in this election he is hustling all the many unfortunates who have only one brain cell remaining lit.

No wonder that Trump’s pitch seems malignant and sinister to some and inspired and revolutionary to others.

He loves to start fires but he won’t piss on them to put them out. Rather, he delights in watching them burn down to ash while squirting his piss into the punch bowl of proper presidential decorum.

Donald Trump’s entire campaign has been a selfie of pure selfishness.

He summons violence with his rhetoric and has created a real firestorm at his rallies, spawning widespread altercations among his supporters, detractors and authorities.

Less than 48 hours after he canceled a planned event in Chicago and 24 hours after some nut rushed at him on stage, Trump said Sunday that he is standing by his antagonistic campaign rhetoric, rejecting any responsibility for violence at his rallies and defending his supporters who have been charged with assaulting protesters.

This dude is thicker than the core of Jupiter.

Considering that this train wreck is the Republican frontrunner, what the hell America has wrought?

With his hand back on the personnel throttle, Howie Roseman soaring like an Eagle — so far

Granted, sometimes scorekeeping is an interpretive art when it comes to NFL free agent frenzy.

But I must say that Howie Roseman upon his return from exile had quite a hoedown Wednesday on the first day of the annual meat-on-the-hoof dance.

Howie continues to feverishly chip away at the Mr. Chip former face of the franchise.

Roseman subtracted three misfits and their bloated salaries in DeMarco Murray, Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonzo; added a quality quarterback in Chase Daniel to back up the porcelain-fragile Sam Bradford; and signed safety Rodney McLeod, offensive guard Brandon Brooks, linebacker Nigel Bradham and cornerback Ron Brooks.

He also maneuvered up in the first round to the No 8 overall pick instead of No. 13, dramatically increasing the chances of plucking a transcendent player.

Of course, let us pray (it is Lent, after all) that Howie doesn’t doink the upcoming draft.

Trump claims he’s hung but he gets hung out to dry in an embarrassing, emasculating GOP debate

Donald Trump told America last night that even though he has been accused of having small hands, he has an ample package down below.

He did flash his hands but thank the Lord he didn’t flash his penis.

Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz may not be able to beat Trump, but they gave Trump a beating Thursday night.

Some of the shots Trump took must have lodged some of his molars in his kidneys.

Suffice it to say that Trump hardly was as unflappable as an English butler as he absorbed all the incoming tracer fire.

Their mantra was Trump is a liar, a con man and a fraud but pledged to support him if he becomes the nominee.

Politics sure makes for strange bedfellows, an observation you now have heard for the first time.

The only adult in the room was John Kasich, who has class, experience and the dignity worthy of a presidential candidate.

He also is smart enough not to wallow in the mud like the others.

Sadly, Kasich doesn’t excite voters because he couldn’t light up a room even if he had 100-watt bulbs sticking out of both ears.

Mitt Romney to the rescue? Good luck with that!

After Donald Trump swept through Super Tuesday, establishment Republicans are traveling down subterranean rivers of despair and crossing valleys of agony.

So they are trotting out old warhorse Mitt Romney.

Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee, will deliver a speech Thursday on the state of this year’s presidential race as the party scrambles to find a way to block Trump.

At this point, that’s a very tough job but some schmuck has to do the dirty work.

That schmuck is Romney, who was too stiff to beat a vulnerable Barack Obama four years ago.

The GOP thought they had a great grip on the White House in 2012 until something strange and surreal popped out of nowhere to shake things loose — Romney’s utterly pathetic campaign performance.

Romney, a quintessential establishment candidate, has emerged recently as a prominent critic of Trump just as his party is in disarray over the nomination race, with concern swirling that Trump would lose to likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in November and tarnish the party’s standing.

The Republicans obviously are six exits beyond Desperation City if their last gasp spokesman to derail the Trump runaway train is Mitt Romney.