NCAA Bracket Leaked On Twitter Turns Out To Be Accurate

Kansas players receive the tournament trophy following an NCAA college basketball game against West Virginia in the finals of the Big 12 conference tournament in Kansas City, Mo., on Saturday. Kansas defeated West Virginia 81-71. The Jayhawks are the overall No. 1 in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

Kansas players receive the tournament trophy following an NCAA college basketball game against West Virginia in the finals of the Big 12 conference tournament in Kansas City, Mo., on Saturday. Kansas defeated West Virginia 81-71. The Jayhawks are the overall No. 1 in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Orlin Wagner/AP hide caption

toggle caption Orlin Wagner/AP

Players from Monmouth, St. Bonaventure and even Michigan State got the bad news the way so many folks do these days — through social media.

The bracket that leaked on Twitter while CBS was in the middle of unveiling the March Madness pairings turned out to be 100 percent accurate. That left a number of teams searching for answers a bit earlier than they’d hoped — and it gave the NCAA something else to explain, beyond the selection committee’s annual handful of unexpected — inexplicable? — decisions.

For Michigan State, the news was that it was a No. 2 seed, behind Oregon, Virginia, Kansas and North Carolina — a ranking that belied the predictions of almost every self-proclaimed bracketologist in the country. For the Hawks of Monmouth and the Bonnies of St. Bonaventure, along with South Carolina, St. Mary’s, San Diego State and a handful of other bubble teams, the news was even worse: They wouldn’t be part of March Madness.

“To me, that’s very unprofessional,” St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt said.

He was talking about the leaking of the bracket, which the NCAA called unfortunate and regrettable, though he could have just as easily been speaking of the selection committee’s overall body of work.

There was, as always, plenty to debate.

In the end, Michigan, Syracuse, Vanderbilt and, yes, even Tulsa, made it off the bubble. Monmouth, which went out of its way to toughen its schedule, per the NCAA’s mandate, and St. Bonaventure, which was rated 25 in the RPI but had bad strength of schedule, were among those that did not.

“This year, they say it’s top 50. Last year, it was road wins. Two years ago, it was RPI,” said Kentucky coach John Calipari, speaking to the vagaries of the selection committee’s criteria.

His team earned a No. 4 seed, while the team Kentucky beat only hours before the brackets came out, Texas A&M, was a “3.”

Even before Kentucky was done playing, the committee had more or less made up its mind on that one, said chairman Joe Castiglione, the athletic director of Oklahoma.

Then, not too much after Michigan State was wrapping up its title in the Big Ten Tournament – which serves as the lead-in to CBS’ bracket coverage – a copy of the pairings was going viral on Twitter. It showed up while CBS was on the air, putting a big damper on the network’s selection show, which had been newly super-sized, from one to two hours.

The NCAA is investigating.

“Nothing’s secure, huh? That’s great,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “That is so typical. It’s so typical of college basketball.”

The 68-team tournament starts Tuesday, with the Final Four set for April 2 and 4 in Houston.

A few story lines to follow:

PLAY-IN GAMES: The opening-round game between 11th seeds Wichita State and Vanderbilt is being touted as potentially one of the best since the NCAA expanded the bracket to 68 teams in 2011. That game is Tuesday, along with a meeting of No. 16 seeds Florida Gulf Coast and Fairleigh Dickinson. On Wednesday, No. 16s Holy Cross and Southern meet, followed by Michigan vs. Tulsa in another pairing of 11s.

TOP BILLING: Kansas is the overall No. 1 seed. North Carolina got another of the top spots. The other No. 1s, Virginia and Oregon, were considered surprises in some circles. The Cavaliers were runners-up to North Carolina in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Oregon got less attention because of the West Coast, though Michigan State was almost universally viewed as a higher-rated team. Not that Virginia’s road to the Final Four will be easy. This is the third straight year Virginia has Michigan State in its region. If they meet, it would be at the Midwest Regional final in Chicago, which could feel like a home game for the Spartans.

BET THE OVER: Here’s a sure thing that has nothing to do with your bracket: Take the ‘over’ in the Iowa State-Iona game. The fourth-seeded Cyclones average 81.8 points; the 13th-seeded Gaels average 79.6. They are playing in mile-high Denver, which means getting back on defense will be that much tougher. Also, already, Iona is trending as a popular upset pick.

HUH?: Castiglione listed Tulsa as the last bubble team to get in. The Golden Hurricane went 10-11 against teams in the top 200, a record no team had previously overcome to get an at-large bid. Oh, Tulsa also lost by 22 to Memphis in the American Athletic Conference quarterfinals. So off the grid was Tulsa that, as Selection Sunday approached, most bubble watchers weren’t even watching anymore. Apparently, the Golden Hurricane passed the eye – or some other – test to become the tournament’s most-unexpected at-large team.

TOPSY-TURVY: Given the season, maybe the surprises aren’t so surprising. This was one of the most unpredictable years for college basketball in history. Six times, the top spot in The Associated Press poll changed hands – one short of the record. Also, there were 31 conference tournaments, and the top seed came out the champion in only 10 of those. That put teams such as Fresno State, Florida Gulf Coast and Holy Cross, with its 14-19 record, in the dance. But it ultimately took away a few bubble spots — which left Monmouth and Co., on the outside looking in.

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Sometimes It Pays To Take The New Route

Map.

iStockphoto.com

I am thinking today about my new favorite thing. It’s an app that my cousin told me about a few years ago that helps you bypass all the obstructions that might get in your way as you try to get somewhere: potholes, stalled cars, heavy traffic — and dare I say it — speed cameras.

To be honest, when my cousin first told me about it, I didn’t pay much attention. I wasn’t driving that much or we were only going to places I already knew how to go. Plus, to be fair, I learned to drive from my father — who never, as far as I can remember, ever consulted a map. I think I mistakenly absorbed the message that real drivers didn’t need a map; you somehow just magically knew where to go. It was only later that I realized that just getting a driver’s license didn’t mean you knew how to get places — that was lesson one. Lesson two came when my kids started playing on two different travel teams. The drivers in our household suddenly had the need to head in different directions, and sometimes different states, on the same day.

Suddenly my app became very meaningful to me. How did I ever manage to get to the most obscure playing fields tucked in the back corner of a remote subdivision without it?

But Can I Just Tell You? The crazy thing I have also noticed is how often I just don’t listen to it. Why might that be? Why might I ignore something I previously trusted or at least consulted to tell me about deep potholes that are almost certainly ahead? Do I think I just know better?

Or that the people who are reporting problems are somehow up to mischief, reporting phantom breakdowns that don’t really exist just for the fun of it? Or do I just prefer the old routes, even if they are actually worse?

You think it’s because I still buy into that message I inadvertently picked up from my dad — that somehow we automatically know the right way to go, even when all the evidence in front of us tells us there is trouble ahead. That we’re heading into heavy traffic and there literally is a better way, even if it’s unfamiliar.

Yes, I see an analogy to the present moment. There is ample evidence every day that some ideas, some old ideas, some long familiar ideas, will send us into a deep, teeth chattering rut. But for some reason we like those old ideas better. We like them better than an unfamiliar new route that might take us into areas we’ve never heard of, let alone visited. We may like the routes our parents taught us, even as we may acknowledge that we are traveling to places they never dreamed of, let alone visited.

It can be hard to admit we don’t know everything, hard to admit we don’t know where we’re going, hard to realize we might not even like what we find when we get there. As a person who still drives an 8-year-old stick shift and who has never stood in line for anything new, I certainly understand that. But I also try to remember the times I let go of my ego, or my fear, and learned that life could be better. Not perfect — but better. I am glad I finally listened to my cousin about that app. He was right.

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Gunmen Assault Tourist Hotels In Ivory Coast, Killing At Least 14

Employees load a body into a van after heavily-armed gunmen opened fire in the Ivory Coast resort town of Grand-Bassam, leaving bodies strewn on the beach, killing more than a dozen people. The assailants, who were “heavily armed and wearing balaclavas, fired at guests at the L’Etoile du Sud, a large hotel which was full of expats in the current heatwave,” a witness told AFP. Sia Kambou/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Sia Kambou/AFP/Getty Images

More than a dozen people in Ivory Coast have been killed in an attack on a several popular beach hotels on Sunday.

Six armed militants targeted beach-goers and hotel guests in Grand-Bassam, a historic resort town located about 25 miles east of Abdijan, Ivory Coast.

The gunmen killed 14 people, according to Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara; he says the six militants have also been killed. Ouattara is visiting the sites of the shootings to express his condolences.

The hotels in Grand-Bassam are frequented by both locals and foreign tourists, NPR’s Ofeibea Quist-Arcton says.

“Witnesses describe heavily-armed gunmen shooting guests on the beach, before opening fire on nearby hotels,” Ofeibea tells our Newscast unit.

She says Ivory Coast is currently experiencing a heat wave, driving visitors to the tourist destination.

The militant Islamist group al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the SITE intelligence group.

The capitals of nearby Mali and Burkina Faso have recently been struck by similar attacks on upscale hotels, which were also claimed by AQIM.

A hotel in Bamako, Mali, was attacked in November and more than 170 guests were taken hostage, with more than 20 fatalities. A hotel in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, was stormed in January; 126 people were taken hostage and about 20 people killed. Both hotels were popular with Westerners.

AQIM claimed joint responsibility for the Mali attack and sole responsibility for the Burkina Faso attack.

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What Would It Mean To Have A 'Hapa' Bachelorette?

Caila Quinn shares the details of her disappointment on the March 7 “The Women Tell All” follow up to ABC’s The Bachelor. Some fans are rooting for her to be named the new lead of The Bachelorette on Monday night. Kelsey McNeal/ABC via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Kelsey McNeal/ABC via Getty Images

On a recent episode of The Bachelor, the ABC dating reality show that ends its twentieth season Monday night, contestant Caila Quinn brings Ben Higgins home to meet her interracial family.

“Have you ever met Filipinos before?” Quinn’s mother asks, leading Higgins into a dining room where the table is filled with traditional Filipino food.

“I don’t know,” he replies. “No. I don’t think so.”

As they sit around the adobo and pancit, Quinn’s father talks to Higgins, white man to white man. What comes with dating Quinn, the father says, “is a very special Philippine community.” Quinn grimaces.

“I had no idea what I was getting into when I married Caila’s mother,” the father says. But being married to a Filipina, he assures Higgins, has been “the most fun” and “magical.”

This scene can be read as an attempt by The Bachelor franchise to dispel criticisms (and the memory of a 2012 lawsuit) concerning its whitewashed casts. It shows how these attempts can clunky at best, offensive and creepy at worst.

Quinn’s run also demonstrates how, as this rose-strewn, fantasy-fueled romance machine tries to include more people of color, diversification looks like biracial Asian American women.

Among the 19 women who have won the “final rose” since The Bachelor premiered in 2002, two — Tessa Horst and Catherine Giudici — have been biracial Asian-white. All other winners, aside from Mary Delgado in 2004 who was Cuban American, appear to have been white. As these handy graphics by writer and video artist Karen X. Cheng show, in the previous seven years, the only women of color who lasted into the final few weeks were of mixed-race Asian-white background.

Christopher Johnson, left, and Nathaniel Claybrooks unsuccessfully sued "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" in 2012, claiming the shows kept contestants of color out of starring roles.

Christopher Johnson, left, and Nathaniel Claybrooks unsuccessfully sued “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” in 2012, claiming the shows kept contestants of color out of starring roles. Mark Humphrey/AP hide caption

toggle caption Mark Humphrey/AP

Other women of color on The Bachelor tend to follow a familiar pattern: they may face hostility and racial anxieties from other contestants, then disappear from the screen early in the season. The latest example is Jubilee Sharpe, this season’s black military veteran who fielded microaggressions from other contestants and suffered tension with the two biracial African-American and white women. On the show, these conflicts were coded with euphemisms: Sharpe was “layered” and “complicated” and “different.” Sharpe stuck around longer than most black women, but was still eliminated within the first half of the season.

Now, ABC executives have hinted that the next woman to lead the spin-off show The Bachelorette will be — for the first time — a woman of color. Who is the rumored lucky lady? Caila Quinn, whose father tried and failed to sell Higgins on the advantages of Filipina wives this season. Anointing her as the first bachelorette of color would be a safe, predictable choice for the franchise. Producers could hold Quinn up as proof the shows are changing, while continuing to reflect and reinforce racial stereotypes.

To understand why only a narrow group of women of color — biracial Asian-white women — survive in this world is to delve into romantic tropes, the stuff The Bachelor is made of.

“As objects of beauty, these women are benefiting from two helpful stereotypes about female desirability,” said Ann Morning, associate professor of Sociology at New York University. One is whiteness as the persisting standard of beauty. The other is Asian women as sexualized, exotic, and submissive.

Taken alone, the first stereotype can be detrimental. “Today, being white is often perceived as a kind of boring, colorless identity,” Morning said. But that stereotype about whiteness can work to balance negative stereotypes about Asian women.

Lily Anne Welty Tamai, curator of history at the Japanese American National Museum (and a friend of mine), explained where these stereotypes about Asian women come from. The trope of Puccini’s 1904 Madama Butterfly paved the way for American incarnations of a tragic love story between an American soldier and Asian woman in the mid-twentieth century, when American soldiers brought home war stories — and sometimes brides — from Asia, where women were often part of the conquest. Popular narratives included the 1957 film Sayonara and the 1989 musical Miss Saigon. (“I guess they just never got around to making the Korea version,” Tamai said.)

These stories cemented in the American consciousness the idea of the Asian woman as the foreign sex toy: the geisha, the china doll, the “Me love you long time” sex worker.

“Asian American women today still experience the wrath of those legacies every day,” said Joanne Rondilla, a lecturer of Asian Pacific American Studies at Arizona State University. Rondilla pointed to the Creepy White Guys tumblr that collected offensive messages sent to Asian American women via online dating platforms. In a similar vein, last year Mia Matsumiya created an Instagram account to post the thousand-plus “messages from creeps, weirdos & fetishists” she’s received over the past decade. My personal favorite calling out of these dating dynamics is comedian Kristina Wong’s incredible I’m Asian American and… episode in which she collects “reparations for yellow fever” on dates with white men.

On The Bachelor, producers exercised these stereotypes about Asian American women the last time they cast a single-race Asian American woman. In 2010, contestant Channy Choch was introduced to viewers and bachelor Jake Pavelka with her inviting him to have sex with her in Cambodian. Later, she laughingly spoke to the camera about how Pavelka “needs a little bit of Cambodian fever.”

“All her moments on screen highlight her Cambodian heritage and her sexual desires—usually both at once, drawing a link between these,” Rachel Dubrofsky told me by email. Dubrofsky, associate professor of Communication at the University of South Florida, wrote a book analyzing The Bachelor franchise, and found that women of color only win the prize of a proposal when their “racial difference is treated as not only unimportant, but as non-existent.”

What’s exciting on Tinder, the show communicates, becomes unacceptable when matrimony is involved. “If this show was called The Hook Up, and contestants were having one-night stands, we’d see more racially diverse pools of people,” Morning said.

Mixed-race Asian-white women become the perfect vehicles for diversity on this show because they are “white enough to present to the family,” as Morning said, while still being exotic enough to fill a quota. Morning suggested they also get a boost from the model minority myth and the recent idea that being multiracial is “cool.”

Until this season’s Quinn family dinner scene, the ethnic identities of hapa women have been largely unremarked upon onscreen. Instead, only a vague, alluring, comfortable kind of distinction might be mentioned. “She was different,” bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis said of contestant Sharleen Joynt, a Chinese-Canadian opera singer from season 18. “She was elegant, and I was like, surprised. She was so classy. And she’s sexy.”

Outside the final media product presented by makers of the show, more explicit exotification can happen. In 2007, bachelor Andy Baldwin chose Tessa Horst as his final pick. Throughout the season, Horst’s Chinese-white background is never mentioned and, as Dubrofsky noted, “is only briefly apparent during the hometown date where her [Asian] mom appears…. Her mom, however, barely speaks, and is mostly seen in the background.”

Only after the season had ended did we glimpse how Horst’s race might have played into her relationship with Baldwin. At a press conference in Waikiki, Baldwin said of his choice, “I always say the mutts are the most exotic and beautiful.”

This is the kind of comment mixed-race Asian American women contend with outside the sanitized space of The Bachelor. “We’re exotified for being mixed,” said Athena Mari Asklipiadis, a board member at Multiracial Americans of Southern California. “If a man has an Asian fetish, he’ll play that up in what he sees in me.” She said fetishization also can come from Asian American men who see her whiteness as exotic.

If Caila Quinn is cast as the first bachelorette of color, producers will probably continue to omit thornier realities. Her casting could represent some form of progress, though, if producers continue to highlight her Filipina heritage, however awkwardly. Portraying an Asian American woman as the ultimate marriage material — and not as a sexualized joke — could signal a step toward better humanizing people of color in this space. But it also could be just another spin on the “model minority” myth.

And there’s the question of how diverse her suitors would be. A bachelorette of color presents a dilemma for producers: either an interracial romance — still controversial to some viewers — or a relationship in which neither person is white (who will the white audience relate to?).

Myra Washington, assistant professor of Communication at the University of New Mexico, predicted an increase in black contestants if Quinn becomes the bachelorette. “Not Wesley Snipes-black, because this is still TV,” she said. She guessed there would be more mixed-race African-Americans, brown-skinned men, Latinos. But colonial legacies and systems of power die hard. “I think she’ll ultimately end up with a white dude,” she said.

Akemi Johnson is a writer whose work has appeared in The Nation, The Journal and The Asian American Literary Review.

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Blast In Ankara Kills At Least 27, Wounds At Least 75

An explosion ripped through a busy square in central Ankara on Sunday, killing at least 27 people and wounding 75 more.

An explosion ripped through a busy square in central Ankara on Sunday, killing at least 27 people and wounding 75 more. Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images

The capitol of Turkey was struck by a large explosion on Sunday; the death toll is at least 27, and at least 75 people have been injured, according to the Ankara governor’s office.

The blast, which media reports suggest may have been a car bomb, struck near a central square in Ankara. It hit a transportation hub with several bus stations, NPR’s Peter Kenyon reports from Istanbul.

“Rescue crews scrambled to account for the dead and wounded among the travelers returning from weekend trips,” Peter told our Newscast unit.

No organization has yet claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.

Just a month ago, a bombing in Ankara killed 29 people and injured more than 60. Istanbul, Turkey’s capital, has also been struck by several explosions in recent months.

“Officials have blamed supporters of the Islamic state, Kurdish militants from the PKK and extreme leftist groups for various attacks inside Turkey,” Peter says.

Peter also notes that Turkey’s media watchdog has banned media coverage of Sunday’s explosion — “but several channels continued to broadcast live from the scene,” he says.

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Where Sanders Might Have His Best Shots Going Forward

Bernie Sanders waves as he leaves the stage at a rally in Illinois.

Bernie Sanders waves as he leaves the stage at a rally in Illinois. Paul Beaty/AP hide caption

toggle caption Paul Beaty/AP

Bernie Sanders was able to win in Michigan, upsetting Hillary Clinton, with the support of white men. (NPR’s Tamara Keith laid that out in this post this morning). Sanders won 62% of white men in the Michigan Democratic primary, while Clinton won 68% of black voters. That is a big share, but wasn’t enough — and certainly smaller than the margins she’s gotten among black voters in Southern states.

Looking at that difference, between white men and black voters, the chart shows where Sanders and Clinton might have their best shots in states going forward with significant delegate hauls. This analysis is based on 2008 exit polls and takes the difference between what white men were as a share of the electorate as compared to black voters.

Using 2008 exit polls in the Democratic primaries, the chart shows the difference between white men and black voters as shares of the electorates in upcoming states with big delegate hauls.

Using 2008 exit polls in the Democratic primaries, the chart shows the difference between white men and black voters as shares of the electorates in upcoming states with big delegate hauls. Domenico Montanaro/2008 and 2016 exit polls hide caption

toggle caption Domenico Montanaro/2008 and 2016 exit polls

A couple notes:

-No exit polls were conducted in Washington state in 2008, but it probably looks similar to Oregon. Census data shows Washington state has a marginally higher African-American population.

-Hispanics were not factored into this analysis, and they will certainly make a difference in California, Arizona and Florida. Clinton won a large share of Latinos in Texas, though Sanders split with her in Nevada, according to exit polls. Sanders also won Colorado, a state with a large Latino population, though no entrance or exit polls were conducted at those caucuses.

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Trump On Rally Violence: 'Don't Accept Responsibility,' Might Pay Legal Bills

Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the International Exposition Center on Saturday in Cleveland.

Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the International Exposition Center on Saturday in Cleveland. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Speaking on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday morning, presidential front-runner Donald Trump told host Chuck Todd that he doesn’t accept responsibility for violence at his rallies.

He repeatedly said he “doesn’t condone violence,” while indicating that he might cover the legal fees of a supporter of his who punched a protester in the face.

Todd played clips of Trump speaking to crowds and expressing support for violent actions.

“I love the old days, you know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out in a stretcher, folks,” Trump had said of one protester. Then: “I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell you.”

After Todd played that clip, Trump said that he did not condone violence, and does not accept responsibility for any atmosphere of violence at his rallies.

At an earlier rally, Trump had said to his supporters: “If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. Okay? Just knock the hell — I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees.”

Trump told Todd that then, too, he was not condoning violence.

He repeatedly brought up the idea of self-defense.

As an example, explaining why he called on supporters to “knock the crap” out of anyone with tomatoes, he said: “If you get hit in the face with a tomato, let me tell you, with somebody with a strong arm at least, let me tell you, it can be very damaging.

“If people are there doing harm, you have to go and you have to use equal force.”

He also said that the young man who was sucker-punched in North Carolina had been “taunting,” “loud” and “disruptive,” and was holding up his middle finger — “a terrible thing to do.”

The man who punched him, Trump said, “got carried away, he was 78 years old, he obviously loves this country, and maybe he doesn’t like seeing what’s happening to the country.”

Trump, who insisted yet again he does not condone violence, had instructed his people to “look into” the possibility of paying the man’s legal bills, he said.

You can find the full video — where Trump also says he loves the American flag more than Chuck Todd does, and repeats a hoax about a protester being aligned with ISIS before saying “I only know what’s on the internet” — on NBC’s website.

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