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It Seems That March Madness Has Arrived Early

It seems that March Madness has come early this year. Honestly, less than a week into the month -- and still two weeks shy of the U.S. college basketball tourney that brandishes the March Madness moniker -- and it's already beginning to seem as though March may be a month of full moons.

We thought that the month might be slightly off-kilter from the outset when it was learned that Dennis (The Worm) Rodman, the National Basketball Association Hall of Famer known for his resolute rebounding, tenacious defense, forever-dyed dome, and assorted offensive acts of idiocy and aggression over the course of his long career, had taken his insatiable need for the spotlight to North Korea. There, he hosted basketball exhibitions, met the reclusive nation's supreme leader, Kim Jong-un, built a bridge (in his mind) between North Korea and the United States, and (again, in his mind) likely saved the world from possible nuclear confrontation.

Oh, and got his name and mug back in the news.

According to Sports Illustrated, which understatedly assessed Rodman as a "relentless publicity whore" (an affront to relentless publicity whores everywhere!), The Worm "gleefully allowed himself to be used as a publicity prop by Kim Jong-un, who runs one of the world's most brutal regimes." SI further noted that this would all be over-the-top hilarious -- funnier than when The Worm showed up at a book signing (yes, Virginia, Rodman's a writer, too) in a lovely lacy wedding dress -- except for all that, you know, oppressive tinderbox stuff that North Korea's up to: the torturing of its own citizens, the building of a nuclear arsenal that threatens world peace, etc.

Still, The Worm felt the urge to let the world know that his new BFF is "an awesome guy" and that all the tension between the U.S. and North Korea could disappear if only U.S. President Obama would just pick up the phone, give Kim Jong-un a call, and... talk some hoops. Yeah, apparently they have that in common.

Meanwhile, back in America, kicker Lauren Silberman was seemingly determined to score points for the advancement of women in athletics. Specifically, she had been given an opportunity no other woman had ever had: a tryout before a collection of curious scouts at the National Football League's regional combine.

Well, without mincing words, Silberman sucked.Two kicks for a total of 30 yards. She claimed to be injured, having hurt a quad, but watching her it became apparent in her warmup, approach to the ball, and actual boot that she knew less about kicking than I know about quantum physics. Or even regular physics for that matter.

We're talking huge humiliation. On an international scale. However, rumors are now circulating that she was in it solely for publicity purposes, the proverbial 15 minutes of fame. And any publicity's good publicity, right?

Seriously: just how bad was she? A rep for the Legends Football League (formerly the Lingerie Football League) said that if she requested a tryout she would be given a great, big "no thank you" because the LFL has standards and wants only "real" football players. Ouch.

Finally, speaking of "ouch", young Rory McIlroy may have a toothache. Or not. At this point no one (beyond Rory and maybe the McIlroy entourage) knows for certain. What the world does indeed know is (a) the 23-year-old superstar golfer is having a less-than-Rory time on the links of late (b) after ascending to an embarrassing 7-over-par during the second round of last week's Honda Classic, he up and quit the course. Taking a slice of his solid reputation with him.

At the time he told reporters that he was "not in a good place mentally." Later, he said that he had teeth problems, which certainly surprised those who had talked to him and played with him. Now, rumors are rampant, running the gamut from girlfriend issues, club problems, legitimate teeth troubles, or (courtesy of The Wall Street Journal) the sudden realization that he'd left the oven on.

Regardless, the optics are all wrong for a champion who looked more like a petulant pup as he played well below his abilities and then packed it in. For his part, Rory is repentant, and is now saying that while his teeth were in fact bothering him, he left the course in frustration over his swing. So, you see: it wasn't his oven.

"What I did was not good for the tournament, not good for the kids and the fans that were out there watching me," McIlroy told SI. "It was not the right thing to do."

Bang on: it was not the right thing to do. Alas, apparently there's a lot of that going around. It's early March. Already there is more madness than one man can deal with. And there remain 14 more sleeps until the real March Madness even tips-off.

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