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The Hoddle of Coffee for Thursday, March 16: March Madness edition

College basketball’s tournament tips off today, and it’s the best.

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Indiana Pacers v Denver Nuggets Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Happy Thursday, Hoddlers. Today is the first day of what I consider to be the greatest sporting event in the world: tip-off of the first round of the NCAA college basketball tournament.

No, it’s not the most prestigious. Nor is it the biggest. But for me, few if any, sporting events more perfectly captures the crystalized essence of what sport really is.

It’s crazy, hectic, and random. The best team doesn’t always win. In fact, the best team USUALLY doesn’t win the NCAA tournament. Upsets are celebrated. There’s the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. And best of all, it’s relatively short: the opening days take the field from 64 to 16 teams, which means wall-to-wall action for four straight days.

Even though my favorite team — Indiana University — isn’t in the tournament this year, this is my favorite week of the sporting calendar. I’m not getting a whole lot of work done today or tomorrow.

Here are a few links to get you started today.

Monaco just knocked Manchester City out of the Champions League and I feel a little better about Spurs’ group stage campaign. They are legit good.

Harry Kane is injured and Romelu Lukaku is sad.

Chelsea is considering spending £100m to buy back Romelu Lukaku from Everton (oh, and Ross Barkley, too). This is fine. Save us from ourselves, Chelsea!