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The Daily Mauling and Open Thread: 3.17.2022

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Top o’ the morning to ye, on this grey, drizzly afternoon. Kent O’Brockman live on Main Street, where today everyone is a little bit Irish. Except, of course, for the gays and the Italians

Denver Post Archives Denver Post via Getty Images

The Rock Chalkboard

2022 NCAA Tournament Bracket Preview: South Region - Blue Wings Rising
The South region has a lot of strong teams, with Arizona, Villanova, Tennessee and Houston all in the Top 12 of both Kenpom and T-Rank. Sprinkle in some enticing Cinderella possibilities in Chattanooga, Loyola-Chicago and UAB, and it's the perfect recipe for an entertaining region from start to finish.

2022 NCAA Tournament Bracket Preview: West Region - Blue Wings Rising
The West region is packed with storylines. Gonzaga is back on the one line trying to return to the title game. Memphis is in the field after turning around its season without its best freshman and NBA prospect. Former Michigan State Spartan Foster Loyer is now with Davidson and will face his former team in the first round. Oh, and Coach K is retiring after this tournament. Not sure why no one has talked about that.

2022 NCAA Tournament Bracket Preview: Midwest Region - Blue Wings Rising
Selection Sunday was littered with pronouncements that the Midwest Region was the weakest overall and that Kansas had been given a clear path to the Final Four. But upon closer inspection, while this region has teams at the top that grade out to be quite middling, it is full of interesting matchups in the earlier rounds that could cause more in the early rounds.

ERaser Dust

Ukraine Mounts Counteroffensive to Drive Russians Back From Kyiv, Key Cities - WSJ
KYIV, Ukraine—Ukraine said its military had launched a counteroffensive in its capital, Kyiv, and other key cities, as President Volodymyr Zelensky urged the U.S. Congress to provide more weapons and increase economic pressure on Russia.

Biden on Putin: 'I think he is a war criminal' - CNNPolitics
It was the harshest condemnation of Putin's actions from any US official since the war in Ukraine began three weeks ago. Previously, Biden had stopped short of labeling atrocities being documented on the ground in Ukraine as "war crimes," citing ongoing international and US investigations.

Russia claims to have ordered payment as it seeks to avoid historic debt default
Russia’s Finance Ministry claimed Thursday it had fulfilled crucial interest payments on two dollar-denominated eurobonds, saying the order had been made to payment agent Citibank in London.

Ukraine’s Zelensky pleads for military aid in speech to U.S. Congress - The Washington Post
In a 16-minute presentation, Zelensky cited the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. — and played a searing video of the carnage inside Ukraine — as he sought to push President Biden and lawmakers to further action. He called on them to layer potent air-defense systems and new Russian financial sanctions on top of the military transfers, humanitarian aid and economic salvos that the United States has already delivered since Russia began bombarding Ukrainian cities last month.

Liam Gallagher announces new 'Down By The River Thames' live album
The former Oasis frontman performed a special set on a barge as he travelled down the Thames in London in December 2020, when full-scale concerts were still prohibited under COVID lockdown laws.

Kanye West suspended from Instagram for 24 hours after directing racial slur at Trevor Noah - CNN
West posted a slur directed at Noah on Wednesday, after the talk show host had addressed the rapper's treatment of his former wife Kim Kardashian and her boyfriend comedian Pete Davidson in a "Daily Show" segment Tuesday.

House leaders want to take up daylight saving time bill — later | TheHill
“I think it just caught us all by surprise that the Senate actually produced something and sent it to us. Usually — usually bills go the other way,” Rep. Pete Aguilar (Calif.), vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus, told reporters early Wednesday.

Class-action suit alleges Whitefish’s impact fees unlawful | Daily Inter Lake
A class-action lawsuit has been filed in U.S. District Court of Montana against the city of Whitefish alleging that the city has been charging “unreasonable, unlawful and unconstitutional” impact fees for new development.

Julia Fox Says Kanye West is Harmless, Poses No Danger to Kim or Pete
Julia says Kanye wouldn't follow through on any physical threats, and thinks it's all just creative expression. While she does admit her ex comes off aggressive, she dismisses it as nothing more than talk ... despite what D.L. Hughley or Trevor Noah might think.

MLB free-agency grades - Freddie Freeman makes a stacked Dodgers lineup even better
It's official. Freddie Freeman is not returning to the Atlanta Braves. We knew this, even before ESPN's Kiley McDaniel and Jeff Passan reported that Freeman had agreed to a six-year, $162 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers late Wednesday night. We knew this, in part, because the Braves had already acquired his replacement, former Oakland Athletics first baseman Matt Olson. But we knew it mostly because Freeman himself made it Instagram official. That's when you know it's real.

NASA’s $10 Billion Webb Space Telescope Reaches Huge Milestone – New Image Released
Following the completion of critical mirror alignment steps, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope team expects that Webb’s optical performance will be able to meet or exceed the science goals the observatory was built to achieve.

Retiring assistant superintendent highlights career, opening Glacier High | Daily Inter Lake
Callie Langohr, outgoing Kalispell Public Schools assistant superintendent and Glacier High School’s first principal, is retiring June 30 after nearly three decades with the district.

Planning board supports Tronstad Road development | Daily Inter Lake
“If we don’t get something stopped in the future, pretty soon that whole rural area out there is going to start looking like a city, and I don’t think anybody who lives in Montana wants to see that,” said nearby resident Jeff Muller.

2022 NCAA Tournament Bracket Preview: South Region - Blue Wings Rising
The South region has a lot of strong teams, with Arizona, Villanova, Tennessee and Houston all in the Top 12 of both Kenpom and T-Rank. Sprinkle in some enticing Cinderella possibilities in Chattanooga, Loyola-Chicago and UAB, and it's the perfect recipe for an entertaining region from start to finish.

2022 NCAA Tournament Bracket Preview: West Region - Blue Wings Rising
The West region is packed with storylines. Gonzaga is back on the one line trying to return to the title game. Memphis is in the field after turning around its season without its best freshman and NBA prospect. Former Michigan State Spartan Foster Loyer is now with Davidson and will face his former team in the first round. Oh, and Coach K is retiring after this tournament. Not sure why no one has talked about that.

2022 NCAA Tournament Bracket Preview: Midwest Region - Blue Wings Rising
Selection Sunday was littered with pronouncements that the Midwest Region was the weakest overall and that Kansas had been given a clear path to the Final Four. But upon closer inspection, while this region has teams at the top that grade out to be quite middling, it is full of interesting matchups in the earlier rounds that could cause more in the early rounds.