Welcome to the return of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast! On today’s episode (March 19, 2019), we discuss Mike Trout’s deal before we jump into March Madness. It looks like conference tournament wins didn’t help out with bracket seeding for a few key men’s teams, and Jay Williams of ESPN’s “First Take” makes the case that the tourneys shouldn’t be considered. We also ponder why UConn was awarded a second seed in the women’s tournament — and if geographic advantage is an appropriate consolation.
In our second segment, we weigh recent moves in NFL free agency and hear Colin Cowherd of Fox Sports Radio contemplate the role of culture in structuring a young team.
Finally, our Rabbit Hole of the week is a deep dive into Geoff’s very specific ideas of what makes a great NCAA mascot.
Here’s what we’re reading this week:
- In the wake of Mike Trout’s new historic deal, we’re looking back at Neil’s piece reflecting on Mike Trout’s dearth of championships.
- Our March Madness guides for both the men’s and women’s bracket — which wouldn’t be complete without our full predictions for the tournaments.
- Kevin Clark put together a great retrospective on the NFL free agency period for The Ringer.