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Why MLB Ditched Georgia

First, we talk about the endings of the NCAA Tournaments. Stanford and Arizona kept it lively up until the very end on the women’s side, but the Baylor and Gonzaga men didn’t exactly give us a showdown for the ages. What may (or may not) go down as a shot for the ages, however, was Jalen Suggs’s buzzer-beater over UCLA in Gonzaga’s semifinal match. That shot’s reputation may suffer because Gonzaga didn’t ultimately win the title, but probably not by a lot. Legendary game-winners like the Miracle on Ice or the Shot Heard ’Round the World didn’t win championships, either, even though we think of them as defining moments. We talk about our favorite buzzer-beaters in NCAA history — the team has different levels of reverence for Kris Jenkins’s title winner for Villanova in 2016, but it’s hard to top Christian Laettner’s iconic shot that sent Duke to the Final Four in 1992.

Next, we turn to golf and the Masters, where fun stories abound. Jordan Spieth rides into the first major of the year having finally broken his nearly four-year-long losing streak, though he’s likely not the favorite. Dustin Johnson is looking to repeat his 2020 performance (from five months ago in November), but the Hot Takedown team thinks Bryson DeChambeau may actually be the heavy at Augusta — and not just because he seems to have refined his bodybuilding regimen. We also focused on Rory McIlroy being discounted by oddsmakers, Jon Rahm being a proud new dad and Lee Westwood continuing to live his best life. The Masters isn’t really a tournament that favors true underdogs, but we’re excited to see the top players take advantage of Augusta at its best. 

Finally, in the Rabbit Hole, we have a very special guest! Harry Enten, CNN senior political writer and analyst, returns to his old FiveThirtyEight podcast stomping grounds and joins us to talk about MLB’s decision to pull its All-Star Game out of Georgia over objections to new changes to its voting laws. Harry breaks down why the move was slightly odd for MLB, the most right-leaning of the three major American sports leagues, but it may simply be a case of a business putting the happiness of its corporate sponsors ahead of any potential blowback on Twitter.   

What we’re looking at this week: 

Sarah Shachat is Hot Takedown’s producer.

Sara Ziegler is the former sports editor at FiveThirtyEight.

Neil Paine was the acting sports editor at FiveThirtyEight.

Geoff Foster is the former sports editor of FiveThirtyEight.