Thumbs up and down

Mar. 23, 2014 @ 05:01 AM

THUMBS UP: College basketball

The folks up in the Hoosier State may consider themselves the most basketball-centric place around, but it’s hard to argue that Indiana has anything on the Tar Heel state when it comes to roundball.

Four of our teams from the Triangle — Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State and N.C. Central — made the “Big Dance” by being included in the field of the prestigious NCAA men’s basketball tournament. They joined two other teams from our state, Davidson and High Point, in post-season play; the two smaller schools advanced to the National Invitation Tournament. And folks down east were also rewarded: East Carolina went to the tournament.

Basketball fans in our state have lots to brag about and cheer for. Of course, we’ve come to expect great basketball in North Carolina.

Congratulations to each of these teams for an outstanding season and advancing into post-season tournament play.


THUMBS UP: Shaggin’ in the Sandhills

Congratulations to the Sanford Area Society of Shaggers and its supporters, who held their 25th annual Shaggin’ in the Sandhills event Saturday night at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center.

This event has become well known for its good-time dancing and music, but even more importantly for its contributions to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and other charities.

The group has raised more than $300,000 in its annual dances. That’s a lot of money to go for such a good cause as Make-A-Wish, which helps children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases have one of their dreams come true.

Thank you, Shaggers, for helping others.


THUMBS DOWN:Spring tease, freeze

Spring sprung nicely on Thursday, the day when the long winter of 2013-14 officially ended. The day’s warmth and beauty were almost enough to make you forget the nasty weather conditions that were decidedly winter-like during the early part of this past week. Then — as if on cue — the sun came out Thursday morning and burned winter away, providing us with highs in the upper 60s and nary a single cloud in the Carolina-blue sky.

But Mother Nature was just messing with us.

After a nice Friday and Saturday, forecast temperatures for today — and the next few days — are for highs in the 50s, some lows below freezing and for intermittent chances of rain and — sigh — the possibility of snow on Tuesday.

First the tease, then the freeze.

The chill may last a bit longer than we’d like, but the seasons will eventually look and feel more like you’d expect, looking at your calendar. A new forecast by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released this week is predicting warmer-than-normal temperatures for the spring. Even so, however, the NOAA is calling for cooler-than-normal temperatures the rest of this month and into April, plus higher-than-normal amounts of rain. In other words: the weather roller coaster rolls on for us.