Friday, March 31, 2006 

Bracket Contest Update

First off, I will be in Vegas this weekend celebrating my buddy Alec's Bachelor Party, so you will have to do your own musings on Monday. Second, I wanted to inform everyone that I just very proudly made a $185 donation to the American Cancer Society on behalf of the participants in this year's WAD March Madness Pool. That, of course, leaves $185 left to by divided amongst the winners. Here is how the payout will break down:

$115 - Winner

$40 - Second Place

$20 - Third Place

$10 - Last Place

That being said, there are still ten brackets that have not been paid for, including some that are in contention. Please have checks to me by the time I get back to the office on Tuesday, or email me in that time to make other arrangements to get me your payment. After a weekend in Vegas, I doubt I'll feel much like coming out of my pocket for anything.

Thanks!

 

Top 7 - Final Four Style

Two things to get out of the way before moving on to the business at hand:

1) I’ve been wanting to write about “The O.C.” for the past couple of weeks, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. I mean, it’s just gotten so painful. It’s just the same old story: Marissa’s drinking and losing control, Sandy is battling against evil, Julie Cooper-Nichol is marrying a rich dude, Seth is quirky, Summer’s clothes are still way too baggy, blah, blah, blah. Why do I keep watching? Well, on the bright side, we had the first mention of Ryan’s illegitimate love child in a while last night. So, maybe we’ve got that to look forward to?

2) My buddy Andy emailed me last night and asked why I haven’t been giving out the caption contest award lately. Well, quite simply, it’s because Fite is dominating. In fact, Fish emailed me yesterday and suggested we put up a random afternoon picture just to test his skills. Well, with the Al Roker comment, he passed with flying colors. So, the die has been cast boys. It’s time to raise your game and dethrone the reigning king.

Okay, now that the housekeeping is done, let’s talk about the Final Four. Well, I think I’ve been pretty clear that I’m not exactly excited about this year’s Final Four, but it’s still going to happen, so we can’t just ignore it. Well, I guess we could, but I couldn’t think of anything else to write about. The fact of the matter is that the only two nice things I can think to say about this Final Four are that we get two more days worth of Masters commercials (I still get pumped every time I hear Nantz saying “A tradition unlike any other…The Masters on CBS.” Goosebumps.), and even if we have to endure a Championship Game of LSU vs. Florida (I know I promised no more negative comments about LSU, but I just couldn’t resist one more! Sorry Ben.), at least we have “One Shining Moment” waiting at the end. Let’s just say that goosebumps don’t even begin to describe what happens to me during “One Shining Moment”!!! Okay, I’ll move on.

Well, since I think this year’s Final Four doesn’t have a single team worthy of calling itself a Champion, I’ve decided to turn back the clock to better times and give you my list of the Top 7 Most Memorable Final Four Moments of Our Lifetime. By “our lifetime”, I mean the last 30 years. Here we go:

Honorable Mention:

Grant Hill’s Dunk- 1991 Championship Game
Two nights after shocking the world and taking out UNLV, Duke took home their first title against Kansas. The most memorable moment from this game, however, came in the opening minutes when Grant Hill reached over his head and behind the backboard to catch an errant Bobby Hurley pass and dunk it. I’ve seen the clip a thousand times, but it is no less retarded every time I see it. Unbelievable.

The Top 7:

7) Will Bynum- 2004 National Semifinal
So, I’m biased, but really, how many times has a game been decided by a 5’2” inch kid hitting the game winning layup with 1.5 seconds left? Who cares if neither team could score consistently if they were playing 5 on 4? Great game, great finish, and very memorable to folks in Atlanta and Stillwater.

6) Keith Smart and Indiana – 1987 National Championship Game
Down 1 with the clock ticking down, Keith Smart went baseline and drained a 16 foot jumper with :04 left to give Bobby Knight his third National Title. This was an electrifying finish to an electrifying game that featured legendary performances by Steve Alford (7 three’s) and Syracuse freshman Derrick Coleman (19 rebounds), as well as a match up of two eventual Hall of Fame coaches. Smart, however, was the biggest star as he scored 12 of Indiana’s last 15 points including the shot heard round the world.

5) Webber’s Timeout – 1993 National Championship Game
Down 2 with :11 seconds left, the face of the Fab 5 picked up his dribble in the corner, wheeled around wildly and called timeout. Only one little problem…Michigan had no timeouts left. Technical Foul. Game over. Webber and Rose went pro, the Fab 5 was finished, and now you can’t even find their names in the record books. But hey, they took the long shorts to a whole new level, and forever ended the era of the nut huggers. So, shouldn’t we all be fans of the Fab 5?

4) Michael Jordan – 1982 National Championship Game
Carolina battled back from 5 down with less than a minute to play, and as the clock ticked down, Jordan stroked a 15 footer from the left wing to give the Heels a one point lead. Seconds later, Fred Brown decided to go ahead and end the suspense by tossing the ball to James Worthy. Aside from the dramatic finish, this game will always be remembered as the birth of a legend. How many games can make that claim?

3) Villanova over Georgetown – 1985 National Championship Game
In what may have been the greatest Final Four of all time, David truly slew Goliath. In a Final Four that featured names like Ewing, Williams, Thompson, Mullin, Jackson, and Carneseca, it was Pickney, McClain, a reserve guard named Jensen, and a coach named Massimino that cut down the nets in Lexington. As an eight seed, the Cats are still the lowest seed to ever win it all. Couple that with the fact that they lost to Georgetown twice in the regular season, and the fact that it took a remarkable 78% shooting performance to overcome the Hoyas in the Title Game, many people consider this the greatest upset in college basketball history. I, however, am not one of those people, but more on that in a minute.


2) N.C. State over Houston – 1983 National Championship Game
You all know the story. You all know how there was no way Hakeem, The Glyde, and the rest of Guy Lewis’s Phi Slamma Jamma was supposed to lose to Jimmy V’s Wolfpack. But, you also know that Drexler picked up four fouls in the first half (what was he doing on the floor with three fouls? Not even John Brady would have done that! I know, I’m stopping. I promise.), and most of all, you know that Derek Whittenburg’s “pass” found it’s way into Lorenzo Charles’ hands, and Coach Valvano looked for someone to hug. You know it all happened, but when you see it in writing, it’s still hard to believe. That night in New Mexico is the stuff legends are made of. For the record, I’ve asked Coach Whitt many times how it feels to have hoisted the most famous air-ball of all time, and his answer never changes. He always says, “It went down as an assist, so it must have been a pass. Hey Mike, I dished the most famous assist of all time. What have you done?” Good point Coach Whitt.


1) Duke over UNLV – 1991 National Semifinal
One year before, UNLV hammered Duke 103-73 in the National Championship Game after they escaped Lethal Weapon 3 in the semis. (Did you really think I wasn’t going to mention that?) Well, nearly 365 days later, Duke was again faced with the Rebels. This time the stage was the National Semis, and UNLV was riding a 45 game winning streak and was flirting with immortality. In short, nobody in America, NOBODY, thought Duke would keep it close, much less win the game. How could you? I mean, Vegas had possibly the greatest starting five of our lifetime: Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon, Greg Anthony, Andersen Hunt, and George Ackles in the middle. Simply disgusting.

As the game drug on and Laettner, Hurley, the Hills, and Brian Davis managed to keep it close, you still couldn’t believe it was possible. You just knew that at any moment Vegas would go on one of its patented 15-0 runs, the crowd would start that haunting “REEEEBBBBBEEEELLLLLSSSS” chant, and the Rebels would ride off into history. But, it never happened. The key moment came when Greg Anthony fouled out with 3:51 left, and Vegas had to enter the last four minutes of a game in trouble for the first time all season, and their floor general was on the bench. With :04 left, Larry Johnson passéd up an open three to tie the game, dished off to Andersen Hunt, and Hunt missed a desperation three as the buzzer sounded. In all my years of watching sports, I’ve never been more shocked than when that ball clanged off the back iron. I was flat out stunned. I’ll never forget sitting on the floor of my living room and putting my hands on my head with my mouth wide open, but no words could come out. To this day, I’ve never been this shocked at the outcome of a sporting event, and I’ve never seen a better coaching job and a guttier team than Duke that night. Coach K could win 20 national titles, but nothing could ever top what his team pulled off in the 1991 national semifinal. It’s not only the most memorable Final Four moment of my lifetime, it is the most memorable college sporting moment of my lifetime that didn’t involve Georgia Tech.


Well, that’s my list. I hope you take a few minutes to let us know how you would shake the list up. By the way, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that 6 of my 7 moments all came before the era that the best players either skipped college or only stayed for a year or two. But, that’s a whole other column.

Thursday, March 30, 2006 

Caption Contest - An afternoon delight

Tried to stay away from a sports picture for the afternoon but couldn't resist this one, which depicts what must be an athlete engaging in a fierce eating competition...and anytime you're wearing a helmet while eating (I've only done it a few times), you've got to be one of the top ranked. Have at it...

 

Caption Contest


I figure we might do a few today. Check in tomorrow for Final Four Weekend Preview, which could include our first Masters talk of the year. At any rate, have at this picture for a while and send me any others you think would work nicely.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006 

Television Tuesday....On Wednesday

I’m not sure if I’m more shocked that George Mason is in the Final Four, or that Kerry Wood and Mark Prior both just went on the 15-day DL, or that ESPN.com draft expert, Chad Ford, now has L.S.U.’s Tyrus Thomas as his potential #1 overall pick? Don’t get me wrong, I’m surprised about George Mason, but I’m just blown away that neither Wood nor Prior could make it out of Spring Training without hitting the DL, and that NBA GM’s would become so totally enamored in a kid’s athleticism that they would overlook the fact that he can’t shoot or dribble the basketball. Okay, so I’m being a smart ass, but it’s been a long week and it’s only Wednesday! By the way, this little shot at Tyrus is the last shot I will take at L.S.U. or any of its players or coaches. Honestly, I’m starting to fear that my buddy Ben (the biggest L.S.U. fan on the planet) is going to go all Michael Douglas in “Falling Down” on me. He’s not a violent guy, but he’s coming to the end of his firm’s fiscal year. Let’s just say that’s not the time you want to press the wrong button on an attorney. Trust me on this one.

Well, now that I’ve indulged my smart ass side, let’s move on to my favorite part of the week: Television Tuesday. So what if it’s Tuesday?

“The Sopranos”

Shock of all shock, Tony’s not going to die. Well, based on some of what we saw Sunday night, he may end up wishing he did. For example:

1) Vito is out of control. I mean, where did this guy come from? Until his little front seat rendezvous last season, I couldn’t have even told you his name, and now, this guy thinks he should be the boss of North Jersey? Where does he get off? Not to mention that while his significant weight loss is admirable, he’s still not skinny!!! Would somebody please tell him this? Unless he gets a hold of himself, all his new figure is going to do is make allow his wife to buy a normal size casket. By the way, Vito getting clipped can’t happen fast enough for Phin.

2) Tony’s wife is now seeing his shrink! This is worse than cheating. Nothing good can come of this.

3) Tony’s son is a punk. Not much more to say here. Faced with the choice between death and dealing with A.J. on a daily basis, death has to look pretty good.

4) Christopher, while possibly the most likeable character on the show, is absurdly ungrateful. I mean, Tony hadn’t been out of a coma for 10 minutes and Christopher was lecturing Tony that he owes him the chance to make a movie because he told him about Adriana!!! What???? Are you kidding me??? The man is still pissing into a bag, and you want to lecture him about what he owes you? This was such a self involved and selfish act that I will never be able to look at Christopher again without seeing Sandra Oh’s face. Simply disgusting.

5) Now that Jackie has died of cancer, and Tony clipped Pussy, his best living friend is Syl, and now Syl is laid up with a heart attack. Not good times.

6) He still has Janice as a sister.

In the face of these six factors, I’m pretty sure Tony might re-think his decision not to give Buschemi that bag and walk through that door.


“24”

I’m just going to say one thing about this week’s episode, and one thing about the preview for next week’s episode:

1) I’m not convinced just yet that Audrey Raines isn’t lying. Call me nuts, but I’m just not sure she and her father aren’t in this up to their necks. Jack was just a little too quick to believe her. Maybe I’m just paranoid, but I lived through the Nina Meyer’s nightmare, and I just can’t shake the feeling we might be headed down that road again. Then again, I picked LSU to lose in the first round of the Tournament.

2) You just had to know that the First Lady’s assistant would play some role in all this. I mean, if she didn’t, her character would have served no purpose at all. And, we all know that no character on “24” serves no purpose. Hell, even the cute new CTU computer analyst is going file a sexual harassment complaint against Bill Buchanan. Nobody gets airtime on “24” without a reason.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 

Airball

Sorry everybody, I'm throwing up an airball today. Too late a night at the office last night and just too much to do today. It stinks when work gets in the way of your hobbies! At any rate, I'd encourage ya'll to use today as an opportunity to:

a) roast me for my atrocious NCAA Tournament picks (I've gotten plenty of emails and phone calls, why not let the world know just how moronic I am?)

b) let me know if you have ideas for upcoming articles or features. I enjoy doing this for ya'll, so it's important that I'm writing things ya'll want to read. Your ideas and opinions are always more than appreciated.

c) If you haven't paid for your Bracket entry (you know who you are), cut me a check and put it in the mail today.

Have a good one, and I'll be back tomorrow.

Monday, March 27, 2006 

Monday Musings...Abbreviated version

Not much time this morning, so here's an abbreviated version of the Musings:

- If this were a VHI Behind The Music, we could only pray that this was Rock Bottom for College Basketball. Seriously, with 2 SEC schools, a mid-major, and a team that scored 50 points in a Regional Final all making the Final Four, there can be no doubt that the talent pool has been diluted to disastrous proportions. I saw L.S.U. live and in color on Saturday, and they are just as bad in person as they were on T.V. Yes, they play great defense...well, so long as the refs swallow their whistles...but, offensively they are a complete disaster. Big Baby, at least, is a ton of fun to watch. Not to mention, he may have single handedly made Rudy Gay the first pick in the draft. I don't care how LaMarcus Aldridge works out for NBA Teams, it's going to be tough to erase the memory of his soft ass performance on Saturday.

- Speaking of soft ass performances from Saturday, I learned that my "The Final Eight is one of the most exciting events in all of sports" statement needs a major caveat. In other words, it should go a little something like this, "the Final Eight is one of the most exciting events in all of sports, unless the majority of the fans in the building are SEC fans." Seriously, if you don't care then just stay home. Not until the final two minutes of regulation did anybody in the building seem to care. I mean, my buddy Dave and I were probably the two most excited people in the building, and we didn't really care who won! Very sad.

- One last thing about Saturday. I've started a new tradition. Not caring who won on Saturday, but knowing that I was going to the game, and that I've been looking for an excuse to buy a Texas hat ever since Vince Young went all nutty in the Rose Bowl, I stopped by Lids at Lennox and pimped a new Texas hat and t-shirt($6.99 @ Champs - how could I not buy it) to the game. Let's just say that it made for some good comedy on the MARTA train and in the stands. There was nothing better than the embarrassingly drunk L.S.U. fan behind me trying to taunt me when L.S.U. would do something good (I use the term "good" as loosely as possible), and me just turning around and saying "dude, that was awesome. That guy is the man." This confused him so badly that he ultimately resorted to trying to be my friend. He even went as far as to tell me that he had offered to lick my (Texas's) cheerleaders' sweat off the floor. Now, I found that disturbing, but not as disturbing as the fact that not more than 3 minutes later he was talking to someone on his cell phone and he said, "daddy loves you. Geaux Tigers. Put Mommy back on the phone." Gross.

- Okay, one quick comment on the officiating in the NCAA Tournament. Everybody knows where I stand on it, but I want to make sure that I'm clear about it. It's been bad all around, and it's not like the refs are intentionally favoring one team over another (well, with the possible exception of the palming call late in the George Mason/UConn game - ARE YOU KIDDING ME???), but the apparent decision to evidently call NO fouls in this tournament has certainly allowed teams like L.S.U. and Florida to take full advantage of their athleticism, size, and over aggressiveness. The problem with this type of officiating, however, is that you take what is already an average product (current state of college basketball) and you turn it into a re-creation of the Knicks/Heat rivalry and make it un-watchable.


- Finally, I hope you caught Ed Bradley's interview with Tiger last night. I saw the first half and it was truly entertaining. Tiger is an animal. He doesn't just want to win, he wants to rip your heart out and embarrass you in the process. That's why he's the greatest athlete not named Jordan of our life times. I hope everything starts going better with his Pops and we can see Tiger chase number 5 in two weeks at Augusta.

Friday, March 24, 2006 

Caption Contest


Here you go boys. This will be much funnier for the Tech folks:

 

How Sweet It Was And How Sweet It Will Be Again Tonight

I told you that you better get Duke in the Sweet 16 if you wanted to get them. Well, Big Baby and the Tigers got ‘em! Before getting to a preview of the D.C. and Minneapolis Regionals, here’s a few quick observations from last night’s action:

1) The officiating in the L.S.U./Duke game was abysmal. It broke both ways, but with a different officiating crew there is no way L.S.U. would have won this game. The refs let this thing deteriorate into something that resembled a Knicks/Heat playoff series from back in the day. Simply unacceptable at this level. There is no way the names Bruce Hicks, David Hall, or Jim Burr should appear at the bottom of another box score in this tournament!

2) The best thing to come out of the L.S.U./Duke game is the chance that if L.S.U. advances to the Final Four, they will replace the 2004 Georgia Tech team as the worst fundamental team to ever advance to the Final Four. That’s a good thing. I mean, it says a lot when the nicest thing the announcers can think to say about your coaching ability is “L.S.U.’s best offense is a missed shot.” Sorry coach Brady, you just aren’t very good.

3) One more thing about Brady…did you see his wife, Misty? Not since Lyle Lovett scored Julia Roberts has someone been so far out of their league. My buddy Joseph summed up the shock when he called and said, “what’s going on there? Misty isn’t a Russian name!” Unbelievable. Not only is he a horrifying coach who has somehow made his way into the Final Eight, but he has out-punted his coverage by 60 yards. I officially hate him.

4) Memphis has a very good chance to win the national championship. Like L.S.U., they are incredibly athletic and tough. Unlike L.S.U., however, they have a coach that can actually coach. (Have I abused John Brady enough? Fine! I’ll stop.)

5) I’m pretty sure that Bradley is the first team to ever make the Sweet 16 that I had no idea where the school was actually located. I wasn’t alone, the roommate had no idea either. Turns out that it’s in Peoria, Ill in case you care. What did we do before the Internet?

6) Nobody told me that Ala Abdelnaby had put on 30lbs and was playing for Gonzaga! Oh, that’s J.P. Batista. Are you sure? (that’s a shout out to old school ACC fans)

7) I’ve seen hockey teams with fewer white dudes than Gonzaga. Mark Few might actually be the greatest coach of all time. There’s just no other explanation.

8) Sorry to pile on the Dukies, but after watching Redick and Morrison back to back, it’s strikingly clear that Morrison is the better player. He’s just smoother. He gets open easier, and he never has a problem getting his shot off. Above all that, however, the biggest difference is that Morrison has “it.” He’s a stud and he knows it. There is never a moment that he doesn’t carry himself like he’s the best player on the court, and he’s always the coolest guy in the gym. Yea, he may be a tree-hugger, he might be a psychotic spas, and he may be stoned, but he’s the best player in America, and he has a chance to make a big impact at the next level.

9) You got to love Len Elmore. He was all over the one sided nature of the officiating in the Gonzaga/UCLA game. Based on the message Vines left me with 11:41 left in the second half, I think it’s safe to say he felt the same way. I’m not going to harp on it, because I think Elmore said all that needs to be said, but I will say this: These games are just too important to have poor officiating. Whether it be one-sided, or cut against both teams, it doesn’t matter. The constant poor officiating in this tournament is embarrassing. End of story.

10) That being said, what UCLA accomplished last night was simply astounding. Down 17 points, apparently playing against the best player in America, the rest of the Zags, and the officials, and never really finding their rhythm all night, they still managed to pull off one of the most remarkable comebacks I can ever remember. They could have packed it in about 50 different times, but they just kept fighting, and then they pulled off the W with a frenzied and heart stopping finish. Unbelievable! Very few teams have ever earned a victory the way the Bruins earned this one. This was the type of game you will never forget.

11) Am I the only one that thinks if Kevin Pittsnogle was six inches shorter he would have quit high school in the 11th grade, gotten married at 17, rented a double wide, and would spend every Friday night drinking Natty Light and listening to old Skynard records while sharing a can of Spam with his wife?

12) Anybody else think Pittnogle definitely knows all the words to Kevin Federline’s “Popozao”?

13) Okay, one more…anybody else think Pittsnogle’s tattoos look like shit?

14) LaMarcus Aldridge went for 26 points and 12 boards in a big game. That’s what you like to see from a potential #1 overall. Were you paying attention Rudy Gay?

15) What a classic game West Virginia and Texas played! Just like the Bruins win over the Zags, this game was truly special. It had it all. Great players making great plays and hitting huge shots at big moments, and a classic finish. Now, no matter what he does in life, Kenton Paulino’s name will never be forgotten. That, my friends, is what March Madness is all about! If anybody ever asks you why this Tournament is such a big deal, all you need to do is pop in the tape of last night’s Texas vs. W.V.U. and UCLA vs. Gonzaga games and that will tell the whole story.


Enough about last night, let’s talk about today. On to D.C. and Minneapolis.


D.C. Regional

Sweet Sixteen


UConn over Washington - This is a very dangerous game for UConn. Washington is tough. They are athletic, they have the vigor of youth with a touch of veteran leadership, and they are very well coached. Lorenzo Romar has quietly built a very solid program at Washington. Combine all that with the fact that this game is essentially a Final Eight game with the winner a mortal lock to advance to the Final Four, and emotion will be running high. You can probably tell that I would really like to pick Washington, but…well…I can’t. UConn played uninspired basketball in the first two rounds, but the fact remains that they are the most talented team in this tournament. Not to mention that the guy running the show from the bench has two National Championship rings. I just can’t pick against them.

George Mason vs. Wichita State – Who Cares?


Final Eight

UConn over Whoever - Does this really require any analysis?


Minneapolis Regional

Sweet Sixteen

Villanova over B.C. – By now, I imagine most all of you could predict how I feel about this one. As a little experiment, I figured I’d let my roommate Hans give it a shot. So, after many shout outs her on The WAD, it’s my pleasure to introduce for the first time, my roommate Hans:

The WAD asked me to eloquate [not sure if that is actually a word, but it sounds like something the wad would say when he is preaching on his soapbox] his thoughts on Friday night's impending BC/Nova game. He is probably expecting me to discuss at length the many shortcomings that befall BC's powerhouse of a coach, Al Skinner. He probably expects me to discuss how AJ Foye [I know it's randy, but AJ just sounds better, doesn't it?] had a rough childhood, and that Allen Ray is missing an eyeball, and how Nova is the great, feel-good story of the season. He is sitting over there, sprawled out on the couch with an empty bag of cheetos on the floor [true story] assuming that I am going to write about Nova's poetic style of basketball compared to BC's in-your-face Thug/street power game, and that Nova just plays the game fundamentally and "the way it should be played." What does that mean anyway? I know this because I just sat through the Duke/LSU game with the man, and there are several pertinent similarities between the styles of these 4 basketball teams. Let me preface by saying that, to me, Duke basketball is akin to UGA football, which is to say that I would rather them...um...lose. So, granted, my views here might be a little skewed and maybe a bit more than usual because I am watching this game with the only person who slurps Mike shoosheski at a level similar to Dicky V. That being said, to the WAD...LSU is to BC as NOVA is to Puke, er I mean, Duke. LSU is an aggressive, streetballin', no backing-down kind of team, which to the WAD means [paraphrased] "they foul a lot" and that they are poorly coached [Personally, I think the officials let the boys play]. From the onset of the game, I could tell the wad was rooting for Duke, and to his credit, despite my fervent hatred of that basketball program, he kept his cheers muted. [Anyone who is familiar with the Wad, knows this is quite an accomplishment.] Anyways, after my vocal cheering for LSU teetered on the brink of being flat-out obnoxious [for the record, I didn't know a single player on the team before this evening, but I am now going to buy a Glen Davis jersey], the wad OPENLY began cheering for the Blue devils. I was aghast...but he claimed he had to cheer for Duke simply because they are in the ACC and because he HATES the way LSU plays them. Well, BC plays exactly like LSU; BC has a shitty coach just like LSU; Al Skinner's wife is just as hot as the LSU's coach [yeah, I don't know about that last one, but neither do you]. For the reasons I wrote many, many sentences ago, The WAD is picking Nova to win this game. Firmly. Emphatically. And yet, I pose a question to The WAD. BC is, in fact, the last ACC school left in the tourney. So, who are you gonna root for, ACC-boy? (And don't give me that "they aren't a real ACC school" shit, because they are here to stay and we might as well embrace them.)

[Disclaimer: I don't really know shit about either of these teams, or college basketball for that matter - the coach just gave me the rock and told me to shoot, and I ain't quit dropping raindrops since. So, take my "analysis" with a grain of salt. But I do know the wad...and the aforementioned points are EXACTLY what he is thinking about tomorrow night's game. In a nutshell, it's a contest between teams that represents all-that-is-right-in-the-game against all-that-is-wrong-in-the-game. More simply, a classic matchup of good versus evil.]


Wow! That was pretty dead on, right down to the empty back of Cheetos. I just have two follow up points:

1) Yes, BC may officially be the only ACC team left, but I don’t care. They haven’t earned the right to carry the conference banner, so as Ivan Drago might say, “If they lose…they lose.” Or, as I might say, f**k them.

2) If somehow John Brady faces off against Al Skinner in the National Championship game, I may never watch college basketball again.

Georgetown over Florida – So, here’s the thing. If I picked Florida, I’d have to root for them on some level, and that is simply not an option. Let’s put it this way, if Billy Donovan was coaching a team full of angels vs. a team full of demons coached by Satan, I would have to think long and hard about which team I was backing.


Final Eight

Villanova over Georgetown Holy 1985, it’s the Cats vs. Hoya Paranoia. They met once earlier this season, and the Cats handled the Hoyas by ten. I’ve got four reasons for you why Villanova will win this game: Rand Foye, Allan Ray, Kyle Lowry, and Mike Nardi. The NCAA Tournament is all about guards, and Nova has four of the best guards left in the field. If that’s not enough for you, consider the fact that Jay Wright has supplanted Rick Pitino as the best dressed coach in college basketball. That’s got to count for something…right?

I hope everybody enjoys the weekend. If the next three days are anything like last night, this will be a tournament for the ages.

Thursday, March 23, 2006 

Very Sweet Sixteen

As great as last weekend was, in many respects, this weekend actually marks the beginning of the NCAA Tournament. In the first weekend, we are enamored with the David vs. Goliath drama playing itself out over and over right in front of our eyes. As exciting as that drama is, the harsh fact remains that no matter how many times a 12 beats a 5 or a 14 beats a 3 (thanks Kansas! It still hurts), there is NO WAY a 12 is ever going to cut the nets down on “Monday Night.” (one of my favorite little quirks of the college coaching fraternity is that no coach ever refers to the national championship game as the “national championship game”, they all call it “Monday Night” – good times.) So, with the exception of whoever survives the Wichita State/George Mason game, we no longer need to concern ourselves with Cinderella, and we can get to the business of figuring out who gets to take the nets home with them.

Over the next two days, I’m going to break down each region. Today, we’ll deal with Atlanta and Oakland, and tomorrow we’ll dive into D.C. and Minneapolis. Before getting into the breakdown, I just want to take a minute to give a little public service announcement: For those of you that live in Atlanta, you need to do whatever it takes to be in the Dome on Saturday. Trust me when I tell you that no other sporting event takes on the intensity of a Regional Final. Just think of everything that’s on the line. I mean, each and every kid on the floor is forty minutes away from realizing a life long dream. This is why kids dream of playing D-1. Plain and simple. If you make the Final Four, people remember your team forever. If you lose in the Final 8, you are just another team forgotten in history. Just ask Mark Gottfried and the 2004 Alabama Crimson Tide.

The drama doesn’t end with the players. Every coach realizes they are forty minutes away from not only etching their name next to some of the all time greats, but they are also just minutes away from attaining the most elusive thing in a college coach’s life: job security. If you don’t believe me, just ask yourself how long you think Mike Davis would have lasted as the head coach at Indiana if he hadn’t made the Final Four in 2002? I’ve been lucky enough to attend more great sporting events than a man should ever be lucky enough to attend, but nothing other than the ACC Championship game comes close to the passion and intensity of The Final 8. I’m pretty sure that if you gave all the players immunity for their crimes, they would seriously consider shanking each other like the cast of “Oz” to get to the Final Four. As long as I live, I’ll never forget seeing Alan Iverson coming off the court at the end of Georgetown’s Final 8 loss to UMass in 1996 and collapsing in the arms of John Thompson and crying like a child. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen somebody, an athlete or otherwise, care as much about something as A.I. did that day. Moments like that transcend sports, and that’s why the NCAA Tournament transcends sports.

Well, now that I’ve sufficiently waxed poetic, let’s take a look at the Atlanta and Oakland Regionals.





ATLANTA

Sweet Sixteen

Duke over L.S.U. – well, I picked L.S.U. to lose in the first round to Iona, so I guess L.S.U. fans would put my credibility right up there with John Brady’s coaching ability. Man, they really don’t like this guy, but that’s a whole other story. Well, regardless of what L.S.U. fans think of me or their coach, the fact remains that, thanks to the heroics of Darel Mitchell, the Tigers and their fans are coming back to the site of their football teams embarrassing loss to UGA in the SEC Title Game and its embarrassment of Miami three weeks later in the Peach Bowl. So, will this weekend be more SEC Title Game or Peach Bowl? I think it depends on one thing: will Shelden Williams stay out of foul trouble and keep Glen “Big Baby” Davis and the rest of the Tiger front line away from the basket? I think this game is strikingly similar to Duke’s collapse against Indiana back in the 2002 Sweet Sixteen. Duke is the better team, they have the better coach, and they have the better pedigree, but L.S.U., much like that Indiana team, is more athletic than Duke and can cause them fits on the boards. Unlike that Duke team, this year’s version has Shelden Williams and not the embarrassingly soft Carlos Boozer. (In case you hadn’t heard, Boozer is currently suing Prince for painting purple stripes on Boozer’s mansion when he rented it a few months ago! Wow!) Boozer’s failure to rebound single handedly cost Duke that game and earned Mike Davis a couple of million dollars in the process. As long as Shelden can stay in the game and clean the glass, the Devils should be fine. If you don’t agree with that analysis, then just ask yourself if you can really see Coach K and Duke losing to an SEC team not named Kentucky. I’ve tried, but I just can’t see it.

Texas over W.V.U. - I’ll keep this real simple, with three future NBA first rounders, P.J. Tucker, Daniel Gibson, and potential #1 overall pick LaMarcus Aldridge on the floor, there is no way W.V.U. beats Texas if the Horns are firing on all cylinders. With the way the Mountaineers shoot the three, however, the Horns better not come out slow, or they might find themselves fighting an up hill battle all night. This could be a huge problem against W.V.U.’s gimmicky 1-3-1 zone. I think John Beilein is too good a coach, and Pittsnoggle and Gansey are too good and experienced to go quietly into the night. At the end of the day, however, I think talent wins out. Don’t go to bed early, however, because this one is going to be a classic.


Regional Final

Duke over Texas – Yes, I’m pulling a complete 180 on this one. Last week in my tournament preview I picked Texas to beat Duke in the Regional Final. What can I say? It’s my blog, so I reserve the right to change my mind. Here’s the deal. Even after their ACC Tourney run, I still wasn’t sold on how Duke was playing coming down the stretch. In fact, I fully expected them to struggle last Saturday against GW. Well, something funny happened last Saturday: Duke rolled past a very good GW team, and J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams only combined for 37 points! That’s a much bigger deal than you might think. With increasing production from McRoberts, Paulus, and DeMarcus Nelson, the Devils might just be peaking after a brief dip into the valley at the regular season end. All that being said, this pick comes down to this: You have to be nuts to pick against Coach K in a regional final. He’s 10-1 all time in Regional Finals. Go back and read that sentence again! That is disgusting. If you are going to pick against Duke this weekend, you better do it tonight. Not that 11-4 in the Sweet Sixteen should give you much more confidence! (I obviously wasn’t thinking clearly when I picked Duke to lose this game last week. I have no good explanation. Just a total airball on my part.)


Oakland

Sweet Sixteen

Memphis over Bradley - I won’t waste anybody’s time here. Thanks for the memories Bradley. It was fun. Well, unless you picked Kansas to go the Championship Game! In that case it was more horrifying than fun. At any rate, if there is anybody out there that thinks they can provide a rational explanation of how Bradley could win this game, feel free to email it to me, and I will be happy to post it. By the way, is anybody else struck by the fact that Memphis could possibly make the Final Four by beating four mid majors? And, yes…Gonzaga is a mid-major, and I refuse to argue this. Moving on…


Gonzaga over UCLA – I really hope my old law school roommate, Vines, doesn’t read this. If he does, there is a good chance he will be hopping a plane tonight to beat me to a pulp. I just can’t help myself here. I think UCLA is collectively more talented, and I think Ben Howland is quickly gaining elite status among the nation’s top coaches. Everything tells me to pick UCLA here! But, here’s the thing: Adam Morrison is REALLY good. I must admit that I hadn’t really watched him intently until the second half of their first round scare against Xavier. I have to tell you, it takes a lot to leave me speechless, but this kid did it. He, however, didn’t have the same effect on my roommate Hans, as he consistently yelled “He’s the f**king man” the entire second half. It was strangely amusing. At any rate, I know it was a 14 vs. a 3, but still, the way Morrison single handedly put his team on his back and led them to a W by pouring in 35 points was beyond impressive. I’m sold. He’s the real deal. He can stroke it from deep, he has a mid range game, and when he goes to the rack, he goes with the evilest of intentions. I’m not old enough to remember the way Bird lifted a bunch of no-names from Indiana State to the Title Game against Magic, but I get the feeling it looked a lot like Morrison and the Zags.


Regional Final

Memphis over Gonzaga – Well, I guess Bird and Indiana State looked a little different than Morrison and the Zags. This game is really tough for me, because you already know how I feel about Morrison, but what you don’t know is that I feel pretty good about Darius Washington, Jr. too. Washington is, of course, not the scorer that Morrison is, but he’s a great floor general, and every time he’s on the court he seems to be playing like it’s the last time he will ever play. He’s truly a rarity…a star that plays like he’s afraid he’s going to lose his job. He’s kind of like a kid that played for Georgetown ten years ago that I already discussed at length above. Another problem in picking this game is that I think both coaches are great. Mark Few takes his squad on the road every November and December and takes on elite competition, and consistently out coaches elite coaches. Coach Cal, of course, is one of the best in the business. So, when it comes to stars, I guess Gonzaga has the edge, when it comes to coaches, I’d give Memphis the slightest of edges, so what’s left? The answer…tempo! Ultimately, Memphis will make this a 94 foot game, and the ball is going to have to be in the hands of the other four Zags more than they can handle. The less Morrison touches the ball, the worse the Zags chances are. Look for there to be tons of points in this game, and look for Morrison to make a heroic effort, but at the end of the day, he just won’t be able to get enough touches.

Could this be the year that we get four #1’s in the Final Four? I guess you’ve got to watch the games tonight and check back on The WAD tomorrow to find out!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006 

Something to Chew On...

Well, as soon as I read Doyle’s comment last night confirming that Rich McKay and the Falcons pulled off the John Abraham deal, I couldn’t wait to write a few hundred words about how this was a huge deal for the Falcons. Well, Shalloway pretty much summed it up in his comment last night. If I’ve learned anything in my short time as an attorney it’s that when the point has been made, sit down and shut up. So, that being said, have a look at Shalloway’s comment if you want a concise break down of why this deal is a BIG DEAL for the birds. You know, I owe Shalls for this one, because there are some days when the office duties coupled with the need for sleep make it difficult to come up with a good topic for The WAD. Well, today happens to be one of those days. Don’t worry, however, I’m not going to leave you hanging completely. Here’s a few random thoughts to chew on:

1) So, Vinatieri signed with the Colts. I guess the whole winning Super Bowls and playing with one of the most clutch quarterbacks of All Time thing got old.

2) With the Bears signing Brian Griese, Kyle Orton is now a third string quarterback. But wait, he went 10-4 as a starter last year. I thought being an NFL quarterback was all about winning games? At least one team in the league expects more than mediocrity from its quarterbacks!

3) Speaking of Griese going to the Bears, the Bucs are officially committed to the Chris Simms era. I’m optimistic, but I’m still reserving judgment.

4) What must Steve Alford be thinking right now? I mean, Indiana isn’t even interested in talking to him! Holy crap, they must have been paying attention to the fact that Iowa has only been to three NCAA Tournament in his 7 years. Sucks for Steve. On the other hand, are they really going to hire Randy Whittman? Seems like a good idea to me. Really, I don’t think it’s a problem that he hasn’t been involved with college basketball since he was a player for Coach Knight in 1983. I can’t imagine why this wouldn’t work out. (Would somebody PLEASE hire me as an A.D.? It just pains me to watch some of the decisions these guys make!)

5) Every day that A-Rod is on my fantasy baseball roster, I die a little inside.

6) Best T.V. line I’ve heard in a long time came last night from the phenomenal Denny Crane on “Boston Legal”: “I take the stairs every day…elevators are for Democrats.” I honestly think this should be the G.O.P’s new slogan.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006 

Television Tuesday & A Little Tech Talk

“24”

It just keeps getting better and better. In a matter of three weeks we've gone from the fears that this should be the last season to the realization that we may be watching the greatest season yet. It's a resurgence more startling than Mark Brunell's 2005 Season or the fact that companies are actually wiling to pay Kobe to endorse their products! Every episode just brings with it more twists, turns, and shocking moments than you could possibly expect. As usual, after last night, there are more questions than answers, so here we go:

1) Did anybody else feel a little weird about Jack double crossing the German intelligence agent?
Look, nobody is more in favor of taking whatever means are necessary to stop terrorists than me, but there was something jarring about seeing Jack break his word. Sure, he’s killed hundreds, possibly thousands of people through the years, but Jack Bauer has never broken his word. Couple that with the fact that Tony Almeida is actually dead, and it’s a whole new world. There is no telling what we will see next.

2) What information could Wayne Palmer possibly have that would prompt a covert government team undoubtedly working at the direction of the Vice President to try to kill him?
I mean, the last time we saw Wayne he was still in his brother’s hotel room grieving after the assassination. Since then, Jack has killed half the terrorists in the world and President Palmer is taking care of the other half on his new show, “The Unit.”(By the way, “The Unit” is phenomenal. It’s a combination of “E-Ring”, “24”, and “Over There.” Simply unbelievable. Not to mention, President Palmer is involved, so it’s a can’t miss hit). I’m very curious to see how this plays out, but I would be willing to bet the mortgage (easy to do when you actually live on a sun porch) that the Vice President is involved in this!

3) Is Collette Stenger the hottest terrorist of all time?
Well, she’s smoking hot, and she’s definitely hotter than Nina Meyers. There is one little terrorist, however, that might give her a run for her money. Her name is Mandy, and she’s popped on in every season of “24” except season three. In fact, she’s the woman that brought President Palmer to his knees by shaking his hand and infecting him with a flesh eating virus in the last scene of Season 2. In season 1, she was hired by Ira Gaines to help assassinate Palmer. As I said, she was nowhere to be found in Season 3, but she played a huge role in Season 4 where she held Tony captive, received a Presidential pardon for her past crimes, and led Jack to Marwan. So, there’s her history. Her name in real life is Mia Kirshner, and guess what….according to imdb.com, she’s scheduled to make a return this season! The hits just keep on coming!

4) Did Audrey Raines really sell information to terrorists?
I can’t think of one good reason why she would do this? Maybe she was so disillusioned after Jack was offered up to the Chinese and ultimately killed…well, at least she thought he was dead...that she turned on her own government. Maybe she was acting at the direction of her father, the Secretary of Defense, in some twisted plan to make Logan look like a jack ass. Or, maybe she didn’t do it, and Collette Stenger is leading Jack to the biggest mistake of his life. Who knows? It’s questions like these that make Tuesday through Sunday unbearable.

5) Where’s Kim Bauer?
Two episodes is all you are giving me? Are you kidding me? I refuse to believe that is it. C’mon writers, throw me a freaking bone.



Gailey:

I’ve received several emails asking if I was going to comment on Chan Gailey’s latest contract extension. So here goes: I just don’t care anymore. Okay, that’s not true, I do care…too much. The truth is, these contracts don’t mean anything. The only important part of the contract is the buyout. As long as we can buy Gailey out after he wins 7 games again this year, I’m cool. I refuse to believe that Dan Radakovich abandoned what appeared to be a near certainty that he would be the next A.D. at L.S.U. to come to Tech and wallow in mediocrity. In other words, I don’t believe he came here to watch Chan Gailey coach his football team. Things will take care of themselves in due time…I hope.

Monday, March 20, 2006 

Monday Musings and Sopranos Talk

  • As usual, the first weekend of the NCAA tournament was chalked full of upsets and near misses. The signature moment was probably Northwestern State’s buzzer beater over Iowa, but the most memorable moment for me was Kansas’s first round exit at the hands of Bradley. Why is that the most memorable? Well, let’s just say that when one of the teams you have in the Championship Game loses in the first round, you tend to remember that for a while

  • All the experts said this tournament was a proving ground for the mid-majors. In other words, with teams such as George Mason, Wichita State, and Bradley getting at large bids, the mid-majors needed to make some hay to validate their positions. Well, as someone who believed that the mid-majors got too much love from the Committee, let me be the first to say that I was wrong. Don’t get me wrong, the realization that George Mason or Wichita State is going to be in the Final 8 still makes me queasy, but I will shut up now. Now, if we could only be lucky enough for Billy Packer to do the same thing!

  • Just when I was considering turning the corner and re-embracing NASCAR, I got caught in the Sunday afternoon Atlanta Motor Speedway traffic. For those of you that have never endured the hell that is Atlanta traffic on a daily basis, you can’t even begin to understand the horror that is race day traffic. Nothing like spending an hour and a half sitting still on the interstate with tens of thousands of race fans to remind you why you don’t follow NASCAR. (FYI – this is an EXTREMELY watered down version of the rant my buddy Colby was forced to endure while I was sitting on the I-75 parking lot. Sorry about that Colby…hope your ears have recovered.) Here’s the thing…NASCAR is a great sport, and its fans are tremendous, but it has no place near a city like Atlanta. NASCAR should be in places like Rockingham, Darlington, Bristol, Richmond, Dover, etc….Either small towns or second and third tier cities. There is no good reason why a major metropolitan area should be crippled by an event, and that is what happens every time NASCAR comes to Atlanta.

  • WAD poll time!!! Has anybody’s stock risen more in a shorter period of time than Jamie Lynn-Sigler? Divorce definitely agrees with her. No doubt she’s walking away with this year’s Most Improved Player Award.

  • SEMI SOPRANOS WARNING: Speaking of “The Sopranos”, with Lynn McGill’s selfless act of martyrdom on last week’s “24” (granted, the whole mess was his fault, and he really had no choice), I thought “Grey’s Anatomy’s” Dr. Yang would enjoy a long and uncontested reign as the most reprehensible character on television. Well, hold the phone…I totally forgot about Janice Soprano! I can’t believe I forgot about Janice! I hate myself for this. I feel very stupid. After her meltdown when she saw Tony’s wound on last night’s episode, it hit me why not even Dr. Yang can challenge Janice’s reign. Here it is….being around Dr. Yang would make a person suicidal, but being around Janice would make a person homicidal. No contest.

  • FULL FLEDGED SOPRANOS WARNING: Okay, we are now two episodes into Season six, and other than the fact that I hate Janice, I don’t have a clue what to make of any of this. The most entertaining part of the first two episodes, other than Meadow’s little dance at the start of episode one has been Vito suggesting that Eugene might have killed himself because he was a homosexual and didn’t have anybody to talk to about it! Are you trying to tell us something Vito? (Think back to Vito’s little rendezvous in the front seat of a car at a construction site last season….think about….yes, you got it, that’s why that’s funny!) So, after two episodes, here are just a few of the multitude of questions running through my mind:

    Is Tony going to die? More importantly, what the hell is going on with this alternate life Tony is envisioning in his coma? Is this simply a comatose Tony envisioning what life would have been like as an regular guy? Did you ever think you’d see the day where Tony would get bitch slapped by a Buddhist Monk? (who cares if it was fake Tony, it was still stunning) Is A.J. possibly coming around? Now that he has flunked out of school, will he really put a bullet in Junior’s head and launch his mob career? If he does, will he have to cut his hair? Is the mob like the Yankees? Does every member have to have short hair and no facial hair? Does George Steinbrenner run the mob? Okay, I’m definitely babbling, but I do think this whole Steinbrenner/mob angle is worth further examination at some point in the future!

    Here’s the crazy thing about “The Sopranos”, I am petrified about where this season is going. More specifically, because these first two episodes have left me confused and ultimately unsatisfied, I’m scared the greatest show in television history may have lost its fastball. But, somehow, despite all this confusion and fear, I’m loving this season. It just feels really good to have the Soprano family back in my life. Seriously, as screwed up as they are, who wouldn’t want to be a part of the Soprano family? Life would definitely be more interesting.

Friday, March 17, 2006 

So Much To Say...

so little time until Arkansas and Bucknell tip it off. All five of my upset picks went off yesterday. One of them paid out (Texas A&M), three of them lost in true gut wrenching and heartbreaking fashion (Pacific, Xavier, and San Diego State), and one of them hung in for 30 minutes until finally getting blown out (Iona). Speaking of that Iona game, LSU did a real nice job of closing that game in the last ten minutes. So many teams struggle to do that in the first round of the tournament that it actually stands out when somebody does it. It's a sign of good coaching and mental toughness. Let's just say those aren't two things I'm accustomed to seeing out of SEC teams.

Expect more of the same today. David battling really tough for 39 minutes and then having what my buddy Colby and I call "the jersey moment." That is, the underdog looks down at their jersey and says something like "oh shit, we're Pacific. There is no way we can win this game. Let's find ways to choke away a six point overtime lead to the worst coached team in this tournament!", or "oh shit, we're San Diego State. It's time we forget the simple rules of the game like over and back, and give this game to Indiana with a bow on top." Simply Horrifying. For every upset that actually comes to fruition, it seems we have four painful misses. In fact, it's almost become so predicatable that it's not worth watching some of these games. For instance, last night, I only paid half attention to the Gonzaga/Xavier game, because I knew there was no way Xavier was going to hold on. But, of course, I couldn't bring myself to turn it off, because there's always a chance....

Thursday, March 16, 2006 

Pacific....

just ripped my heart out. So, I take a four hour lunch. Go have some food and watch some hoops. Great times. Well, except for the fact that Pacific almost pulled off the stunning upset over B.C.. I don't have to tell ya'll how satisifying that would have been for me, but it turns out I wasn't the most disappointed member of The WAD Nation at the outcome. I got this email from Stats just moments ago, and at his request, I'm sharing it with the world. You've got to love March Madness!:

Dunn,

Dude you got to hammer out a PM post on the wad for pacific shooting their wad in double ot. They blew a 5 point lead in the first ot, and along with it tons of peoples brackets who picked BC far, your documented call over Barry, and my +7.5 spread. How do you not cover 7.5 in overtime? Double overtime?!!!
I take evil solace in the fact they will forever remember this chokejob and will always wonder what it would have felt like to pull the upset. I hope BC wins it all now so pacific might actually think they were the 2nd best team in the tournament... or the best that just choked. I dont care if that makes me a bad person or should i say worse. Please call them out on the wad and tell Barry he got lucky, i'm just dying for any media outlet to unload on these pacific chokers. they deserve all the public castration possible.
ok i feel just a little better now after venting
Ryan



Following the receipt of this rant, I had this email exchange with the above-referenced Mr. Barry:


Me: Just got back from Jocks and Jills. Pacific almost made me look smart.

Drew: Almost, it doesn't matter how you win. Just advance.

Unfortunately, Drew is right. It's like Jimmy V said, "Survive and Advance." Why do I have the sneaky feeling that Pacific just ruined my bracket?

 

Caption Contest

I'm going to try to sneak out of the office at noon and go watch the games this afternoon. There's a big party being hosted by 790 The Zone at some place I've never heard of or been to here in Atlanta, but I thought I might give it a shot. Anyway, I figured I'd go ahead and give you guys something to distract you this morning. First, we lost Nick and Jessica, and now it looks like Steph and Larry are on their way out? Well, it was good while it lasted....what's that? The are 17-45? Well, maybe it wasn't so good, but the break up is turning out to be amusing.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 

NCAA Question and Answer With Drew Barry

Well, today is a great day for the readers of The WAD. Instead of listening to me go on and on about the NCAA Tournament, you actually get to hear the thoughts of somebody that knows what they are talking about. The person I’m talking about is former Georgia Tech All-ACC performer and NBA point guard, Drew Barry. Drew played at Tech from 1993-1996, and he was possibly the best passer to ever play at Tech. In fact, he was honored this past weekend as one of the All Time Legends of the ACC Tournament. After leading Tech to the Sweet Sixteen in 1996 (with a little help from Stephon Marbury and Matt Harpring), Drew played three seasons in the League, and spent several others playing professionally overseas. Now, Drew has moved on to his new profession of working for the Man, but more importantly, being a husband and a father to his beautiful daughter Kylie and his brand new baby boy, Christian Grant (I know what you’re thinking, but he swears Christian’s name has nothing to do with Duke). Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that Drew is one of funniest people you will ever meet. Think Vince Vaughn in Nikes. Drew was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions I sent him to give you some expert help as you fill out your brackets. I’ve done some small technical editing and, of course, I’ve added a smart ass rebuttal or two (in the red font), but all Drew’s answers are his words verbatim. Many thanks to Drew for taking the time out of his incredibly busy life to contribute to The WAD. This is definitely a step up in quality in content. Okay, that should satisfy the slurping quota...here's what Drew had to say....

Q: Alright, you played in two NCAA Tournaments in '93 & '96, and you were a redshirt on another tournament team in '92. What are the kids feeling this week as they get ready for the Tournament? Excited? Nervous? Indifferent? Pissed because they are missing Spring Break in Cancun?

DB: Pure excitement. It all starts on Sunday when you hear your name called and who you will be playing. Then on Monday or Tuesday you get the gift bag from your sponsor (Nike, Adidas etc.). You get to sport the new gear and shoes around campus and get the football players mad. The next few days is all about preparation. There is so much Buzz around campus and the Madness. Once you get to the city, you practice in front of thousands like you are a Rock Star. There is nothing better.In 1994 and 1995 I was pissed I missed spring break. I was in the Not Invited Tournament one year and the next I was injured and we declined the NIT invite. I turned down a trip to the Bahamas on SEA BEAR, Jack Nicklaus' 85 ft. yacht. My friend was Mike, his son, and he invited a few of us to go down for Spring Break. Can you imagine being in the bar and telling some hot chick, " Do you want come to our yacht?" It would have been a great few days needless to say. (I think it's safe to say that Mrs. Barry isn't a reader of The WAD!)

Q: The two biggest questions going into every NCAA tournament are 1) Who's making the Final Four; and 2) Who's going to pull off the first round upset? So, who do you have in your Final Four?

DB: I like UCLA, DUKE, BC and UCONN.

Watch out for Winthrop. UT does not play defense. UT should of been a 3-4 seed. Could be upset city. Others to watch out for are South Alabama against UF and Kent State against Pitt. Pitt could be tired and down after the loss to Syracuse in Big East Championship.

Q: Now, about those first round upsets...I hate even writing this, but, you were a part of one of these big upsets back in '93 when you guys came of an ACC Championship and lost to the Bobby Phils led Southern University Jaguars in the First Round of the Tournament. That being said...1) what does it take for one of these lower seeds to pull off a shocker?; 2) Any teams you see in the bracket that have the potential to pull off the big upset this year; and 3) How late were you, Travis Best, James Forrest, and Martice Moore out enjoying the Tucson Nightlife the night before that Southern game? Seriously, it's been 13 years, and I'm still trying to make sense of how ya'll ruined my bracket!

DB: You have some balls bringing that up! I will never forget it. Here is the inside skinny. You and your readers are privileged to get it. First, Cremins had us pack for the Sweet 16. If that isn't the kiss of the death! Second, Travis injured his back 5 minutes before warm ups. He was stretching and Ivano Newbill pushed his back and he pulled a muscle. Third, Some 6' 7 guy had 27 pts and 23 rebounds against Malcolm Mackey, our 6' 10 post player. How does that happen? Mackey had 27 pts as well but who was named CBS player of the game? Me, with 13 pts 9 assists. Enough said about Mackey's performance. We were up 20 in the first 10 minutes and lost by 20. I will never forget the famous Southern band playing Boys To Men "End of the Road" with about 5 minutes to go in the game. (let me wipe my tears)

The Mid Majors have a chance to make a name for themselves this tourney. They have more teams than ever and they need to make a statement. I am not for all these Mid Major at large bids because if they played the schedule of Cincy, FSU, Maryland and others, they would struggle to be .500. The NCAA committee should not say these are the best 34 at large teams because they are not! I do love to see the under dog just like everybody else in America, and I believe that is why they get in. South Alabama, Murray State, Bradley and Kent State are ones to watch. You know someone will choke and lose to one of these teams they shouldn't. That is why it is called March Madness.

Q: In '96, you played in the Sweet Sixteen. What was the difference in intensity between the first weekend of the tournament and the second weekend? I was actually in the crowd at that Sweet Sixteen game against Cincy in Lexington, and I've been to several other Sweet Sixteen venues, but I just remember that atmosphere being particular intense. Maybe it's because Cincy is only about two hours away from Lexington, and the place was packed with Bear Cat fans, but that arena seemed a lot smaller than 25,000 seats that night! (Don't you love how I can turn a simple question into a long and rambling statement...that's talent my friend.)

DB: Oh, you are so talented. You have a great way of finding the questions that bring back terrible memories. Thanks. I watched one Sweet 16 and played in another. I was on the bench red shirting for the Miracle in Milwaukee shot by James Forest. I also played on the team that dominated the first 2 rounds and then fell apart against Cincy. I think the Sweet 16 is way more intense. The reality of making the Final Four is right there in front of you. All you need to do is win 2 games and you're there. Plus, the match-ups are usually great. Factor in the "Win or Go Home" motto and you have one intense battle. In 1992 we lost to Penny Hardaway in a OTgame where Geiger missed 2 free throws to ice the game in regulation. In 1996, I will never forget watching UCONN lose to Miss State and thinking there is the break we need. Then I remember Cincy walking out and hearing the crowd erupt into a standing "O". A little daunting. It was like playing on their home court. I give Cantwell, our assistant, crap until this day. His said Damon Flint couldn't shoot. He only knocked down like 6 three's. I was 2-12 and Steph stunk as well as Matt Harpring. It was the first time we all played bad on the same night. Bad timing for that to happen. (Just a few comments here: 1) As I read this, I felt like Jim Grey, and it feels awful...I can't apologize enough; 2) If Geiger makes those free-throws, we beat Cincy in the Elite Eight and go to the Final Four. No doubt about it. I'm getting mad just thinking about it. If I ever meet Matt Geiger, I might punch him in the stomach so he knows how I felt; 3) In that '96 Sweet Sixteen, that MSU vs. UCONN game went into Overtime and it was almost 10:30 P.M. before our game started. I might just still be in denial, but I still think that long delay coupled with the pro-Cincy crowd just took the wind out of us, and we were out of the game before we got our bearings. Not to mention that it's never a good sign when Juan Gaston is hoisting up threes in the first half. Okay, I'm babbling...back to the expert...)

Q: One more thing about that '96 team. I just checked the stats and you averaged over 13 points/game that season. I just have one question...how was that possible? I mean, did you have to threaten Steph and Harpring with physical violence to be able to get off any shots? This is actually probably the most impressive stat from your career. All I can figure is that you shot close to 80% from the floor.

DB: That is better. Pump up my ego after you tear me down with the last 2 questions. I shot like 8 shots a game so now that I think about it, it was damn impressive. I remember scoring 30 at UNC and joking with Cremins, "see if I shoot it more, I will score more" "get me the ball". I will tell you one thing, that 1996 team was 6-7 after the preseason and went on a run over the next 15-18 games. We played some the best team basketball I have ever been a part of. It was awesome. Steph finally realized if he gave me the ball he would get it back and Harpring started to actually run some plays. 13-3 in the ACC. We were a lethal trio. Not as good as maybe the Lethal Weapon 3 of Scott, Anderson and Oliver... but close. (No doubt about it. The casual fan only remembers '90 and '04, but that run through the ACC after the loss to Steve Nash and Santa Clara was the greatest run in Tech basketball history. There has never been a Tech team that was more fun to watch. I've always felt this was Coach Cremins' greatest coaching job.)

Now, I want to ask you a few questions about some particular teams, players, and coaches in this year's tournament...
That is right, ask permission! I trained you well

Q: You've played in the NBA and professionally overseas, and you've seen J.J. Redick play in person. Please settle this once and for all...will Redick be able to get his shot off in the league? At absolute best, I see him being a Peja type player. At worst, I seem him being like Casey Jacobsen. Which one is it?

DB: He is a competitor and feisty. He will be a lottery pick because there are not 13 players I can see going before him. I do not think he has a chance in the NBA. Who is he going to guard? And he doesn't play point and is too small for the 2. How will he shoot over the 6'5 6'6 NBA 2 guard. If he goes to the right team where the bigs draw double teams he could have some success. I liken him to Tradjon Langdon, Shawn Respert. Great shooters/scorers, but their game doesn't fit the NBA. I think Jacobsen would be the right call, Peja is 6 '9. Three out of the four previously mentioned are out of the NBA. Peja being the only one still playing. FYI- I didn't think Duhon was an NBA player, and he just signed for $9 million. So what do I know? I wish him well. (Chris Duhon just signed for $9 million? I'm sorry, my head just exploded!)

Q: Let's talk about Boston College for a moment. You saw them in person this past weekend in Greensboro. Am I insane picking them to lose in the first round?

DB: Yes. They pound you in the post and Craig Smith is a beast. He will carry them to the Final Four. Throw in Dudley and their guard play and you have a solid team that plays defense. You have them lose in the first round? You can forget about winning the pool!! (Okay, so I'm an idiot. Excuse me, but I have to go change my brackets.)

Q: Of all the coaches in the field this year, which coaches are real difference makers? In other words, what teams should we give more respect to just because of who is leading the huddle?

DB: Coach K. He always needs to be mentioned. I watched Duke live and they have 3, maybe 4 good players. He has done a tremendous job with this team. Roy Williams, Bill Self is doing a great job, Weber at Illinois, Calipari and Ben Howland at UCLA.

Q: Did you see Tyler Hansbrough play in person this year? If so, should the rest of the ACC be paying pro scouts to talk this kid up and somehow convince him to leave early? If you think this has a chance of success, I will start the collection. This kid looks unstoppable at times.

DB: My style of player. Plays hard, within the offense, never complains and doesn't have an ego. In todays sports it is hard to find a star who isn't a pain in the a##. They all have egos and think they are the greatest. This kid is special. Roy will do everything he can to hang on to him. He needs to stay. He has limited post moves and just powers players. He can't do that in the NBA. I think he will stay but the NBA draft is so down he would be lottery. Tough to pass up all that money!!

Q: Alright, you gave us your Final Four...any predictions on who wins it all?

DB: UCONN is so strong. They are deep, big and athletic. They are definitely my favorite. UCLA is interesting. They are like UCONN and have better guards but weaker bigs. I will go with UCLA as the surprise pick.

I can't let you go without asking you a few Georgia Tech specific questions....
NO

Q: We all know it was a struggle for the Jackets this year, but everybody keeps saying "wait until next year." Well, what do you think? Is this recruiting class going to be enough to turn the Jackets from a 17 loss team to a tournament team?

DB: I don't think the class is the answer. Those guys will surely help. The point is the biggest question that needs to be answered. I am not sold on Criterion (?) as a point. He likes to score. Can he run a team like Jack, Marbury, Best, Barry (I had to put me in), Anderson, Price, Neal? We will see. The other factor is they are freshmen. The league is tough on young players but with the NBA early entries, being a freshmen isn't so concerning. This Young kid is the player to watch out of all of them. Hewitt told me he was top 10 in NBA draft projections. The best thing this team has going for them is the amount of experience the young players got this past year. They can build on this awful year and know more of what is expected to be a team that can challenge for the title. (If you talk to Thad Young could you just tell him to make sure he doesn't hit three shots in the row, because that's evidently the best way to have Hewitt yank you out of the game! I wish I was kidding. Sorry, I digress...)

Q: Can you give the folks your favorite Coach Cremins story? I know this is hard. I was just a film guy and manager, and I have about a thousand, but does any one stand out over the rest?

DB: There are many, but most I have to keep off the record. In 1996 we were playing Maryland in the 2nd round of the ACC tourney and we were up 6 with 2 minutes and taking the ball in bounds at the other end of the court. Maryland's press was ridiculous and could cause many turnovers. Check my stat sheet. Of course, I was the passer and had to in bound the ball. Cremins spent the time-out directing his Xs and Os on his board. He must of changed the play 5 times. I looked around at the guys and everyone seemed confused. Especially Maddox, he wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed. Hi Mike, just joking! The buzzer sounds and I look at everyone and say " Someone just F**king Get Open!" We head to the court and Cremins grabs my arm and says "Your an a**hole" and starts laughing. It was priceless. (Absolutely classic!)

Q: Here's another tough one, but we'll give it a shot. What was your favorite moment at Tech? The '93 ACC Championship? The Sweet Sixteen in '96? Watching Steph shoot off the side of the backboard on the final play against Wake in the '96 ACC Championship game with four wide open teammates?

DB: The ACC championship, of course, because it was a ring and a banner, but the run we went on after being 6-7 was awesome because all the papers and non-believers jumped on the bang wagging and swung from our nuts. Can I say that? (Sure Drew, you can say whatever you want)

Q: I told somebody the other day that if you were playing point for the Hawks they would have at least 30 wins. Should I stop drinking, or do I have a point?

DB: You should stop drinking because you will get fatter!! Remember in Tommy Boy when he asks "does this jacket make look fat" and the response was " No but your face does." I needed to get back at you for all the tough questions. HA HA. I want to know what you are you smoking? I was in the league for 3 years and didn't get any minutes. I do agree with you that they need a point. How good would Paul look in the Hawks uniform right now? Certainly this bald guy isn't the answer. I appreciate the love and sorry about the fat joke! (Really, it's okay. I'm not mad. Afterall, I was still skinny when you lost to Southern!)

Q: Finally, any parting shots for the readers of The WAD? Are you ashamed that you know a dude that has a blog? I get that a lot.

DB: I love the blog. You have some writing talent that is for sure. However, I am a little worried on how your getting billable hours when all you seem to do is this. I may have to call your boss up! Readers of the WAD, good luck, keep reading and I hope you liked my answers. Just old retired washed up athletes opinion!! OUT!!! (Hey, what can I say? When you are a single fat insomniac, you can find the time to write a blog!)


Thanks again Drew! And, everybody please remember to put Drew's knowledge to good use and fill out your brackets for The WAD pool. As long as your checks are postmarked by today, you are good. And, don't forget that half the entry fees are being donated to the American Cancer Society. There's nothing better than having some fun and helping a good cause at the same time.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 

Shall We Dance?

I don’t know what was more shocking…the news that my buddy Collin dropped a rock and got engaged this weekend to a wonderful woman, or Tennessee getting a two seed? In all sincerity, congratulations to Collin and Tennessee. I mean, neither one of you really deserves your good fortune, but I’m happy for you both. Just kidding. Well, at least about Collin. He’s a great friend that deserves nothing but good fortune in life, and I couldn’t be happier for him. As for the Vols, I think their seeding compromises the integrity of the whole seeding process and they should feel worse about it than the Steelers should feel about stealing the Super Bowl, but I’ll talk more about them later.

With the shout outs and Tennessee bashing out of the way, momentarily at least, let’s get on to the business at hand. Let me just say that I love this time of year. I was born a hoops junkie, I grew up a hoops junkie, and I’m a hoops junkie to this day. Unfortunately, now that I’m older and have a job, bills, responsibility, blah, blah, blah….suffice it to say, I don’t get to watch as much hoops as I’d like to these days, but for the next three weeks, the Tournament takes precedence over everything. That being said, it’s time to unveil my 5th Annual NCAA Basketball Tournament Preview, and the first edition on The WAD. Let me take a minute to explain how this is going to break down….on second thought, I don’t want to overestimate your attention span, so let’s just get to it.

I. THE FIRST ROUND UPSETS

No tournament is complete until a 12 beats a 5, a 15 scares the hell out of a 2, and Dickie V annoyingly uses both as examples of why more mid-majors should get in the field each year. Seriously, at this point, I would give up this year’s Final Four in exchange for a fight to death steel cage match between Dickie V and Billy Packer. I can’t tolerate either one of these guys, but at least I could escape the sole survivor if one of them wasn’t around. It blows my mind that CBS still insists on putting Packer on the air during the Final Four. Is there one person in America that prefers Packer over Bill Raffetery? If there is, I’ve never met them. Wow, that was an All American digression.

At any rate, let me take a few words to define what I consider an “upset”. It’s real easy. Any time a team beats a team seeded five spots or more above them, it’s an upset. For example, an 11 over a 6 is an upset, a 7 over a 2 is an upset, a 13 over a 4 is an upset, an 8 over a 1 is an upset, but a 10 over a 7 is NOT an upset. Three years ago, I was talking to some guy at law school and he told me that he was really pumped because one of his upset picks had come through. I think his exact words were “I was pretty nervous picking a 10 to beat a 7, but I figured you have to pick at least one upset.” Needless to say, I threw him in front of a moving cab, then I dumped his body in the East River. Okay, that’s not true, but he would have completely deserved such a fate. Alright, so I think the rules should be clear, so here are The WAD’s upset specials:

1) #12 Texas A&M over #5 Syracuse - This may come as a shock to those of you that have been reading over the past week. Yes, nobody has ridden the Syracuse bandwagon harder than me over the past week. But here’s the thing…this game isn’t being played in Madison Square Garden. Not to mention that two incredibly powerful doctrines are colliding together at full speed in this game: 1) A 12 always beats a 5, and 2) When you get a team from a major conference seeded 12 or below, you HAVE to pick them to pull an upset. Somebody is going to pull an upset, so why wouldn’t you pick a team that has won a lot of games in a major conference? I guarantee you that when Coach Boeheim saw the Aggies waiting for him at a 12, he wasn’t f***ing thrilled.

2) Staying in the same bracket, #13 Iona over #4 L.S.U. – I can already hear my phone ringing with my buddy Ben on the other line asking me why I’m hating on his Tigers. Well, I just couldn’t help myself. This seems like a good time to share three of my favorite things to look for when picking a potential upset candidate. The team trying to pull the upset needs at least two of the these three things: 1) Great guards, 2) experience, and 3) a superstar capable of getting points when momentum is shifting against his squad and in crunch time. Well, Iona has all three! Steve Burtt and Ricky Soliver make up a tremendous backcourt, The Gaels start four seniors, and Burtt, with his 25 points/game average, is capable of getting points when they need him. Plus, you just can’t underestimate the toughness of these New York City kids. There will be no fear when the Gaels take the court against the Tigers. Plus, if you are going to pick an upset, why not do it against an SEC team? Your odds have to go up exponentially when doing so.

3) #11 San Diego State over #6 Indiana - This one is really dicey. The Hoosiers have really turned it up and done a tremendous job even getting in the field after Mike Davis’ resignation. However, I’m banking on the emotion of the past several weeks finally wearing on the Hoosiers. And, don’t forget that Steve Fischer is the coach of the Aztecs, and he has won a national title and coached in two other Title games. Be careful with this one though, because if the Hoosiers get out of Round 1, they could be very dangerous. Mike Davis, despite all the issues he’s encountered through his years in Bloomington, still seems to truly be one of the best motivators in the game, and his kids appear to really be selling out for him. In other words, I’m picking the Aztecs, but could really live to regret this one in a big way.

4) #14 Xavier over #3 Gonzaga – Let’s put it this way, Xavier is better than St. Mary’s, Loyola Marymount, and San Francisco, and all three of those teams have been within a hair of the Zags in the past three weeks. I just can’t help myself here.

5) #13 Pacific over #4 Boston College – I don’t care that they looked great in the ACC tournament. I’ve been waiting for four months to make this pick, and I’m sticking by it. Just think back to the coaching debacles that destroyed the Eagles in 2001 against Texas, and 2004 against Georgia Tech. If the game is close, the deck is stacked against the Eagles. When something happens once, you can’t put too much stock into it. When it happens time and time again, however, you are a fool if you ignore it. Somebody asked me this weekend why I think Al Skinner is so bad. Well, here’s a subtle example from Sunday’s ACC Championship Game that probably costs the Eagles the ACC title: With 8:45 left in the second half and Duke in the midst of a huge run, Skinner refused to call a timeout because he wanted to wait until the under 8 minute T.V. timeout. Well, 53 seconds and two J.J. Redick bombs later, the under 8 finally came. You might be able to get away with this shit at home in February, but mental lapses like this destroy you in March. By the way, with 4:40 left in the same game, Coach K was faced with the same situation. Guess what? That’s right, he called the timeout, stopped the run, and the Devils went on to win. You see, just because a team wins a lot of games doesn’t mean you can trust the Coach. In order to judge the quality of a coach, you have to pay attention to the nuances of the game. This is why I often times find the coaching storylines more fascinating than the teams themselves. I could give you dozens of examples, but why throw anybody else under the bus? Coach Skinner should do for now.
One more reason to pick against the Eagles is that, even if they win, it probably won’t kill your brackets because even if they win, the Eagles shouldn’t survive Nick Fazekas and Nevada in the second round.

II. THE SWEET 16

Now, we’ve got the upsets out of the way, and let’s start getting to the heart of the matter…The Sweet 16. Here’s the 16 teams that should be dancing into the second weekend:

1) Duke

2) Texas A&M

3) West Virginia
4) Texas

5) Memphis

6) Kansas

7) Xavier

8) UCLA

9) Uconn

10) Washington

11) UNC

12) Seton Hall

13) Villanova

14) Nevada

15) Oklahoma

16) Ohio State

III. THE ELITE EIGHT

Here’s the eight teams that will be knocking on the doorstep of destiny and why:

1) Duke - There is nobody in their bracket that can beat J.J., Shelden, and Coach K to this point.

2) Texas - Much like their match-up earlier this season, I think their Sweet Sixteen battle with West Virginia could be a classic. I think the Horns’ perimeter defense and athleticism will be too much for Pittsnogle, Gansey, and the Mountaineers.

3) Kansas- after starting 3-4, the Jayhawks are 22-3. The freshman are playing like seniors, and Bill Self is one of the five best coaches in this tournament. The other four, in case you were wondering, are Coach K, Coach Boeheim, Jim Calhoun, and Roy Williams. At any rate, I think Kansas outlasts Memphis in a high scoring and very exciting Sweet 16 match-up. By the way, Coach Cal is probably the sixth best coach in the tournament.

4) UCLA – Even if this bracket doesn’t open up for the Bruins like I’m predicting, I don’t see them getting beat by Gonzaga. Let’s just say that the committee didn’t go out of their way to give the Bruins a tough road to the Final 8.

5) UConn - On the flip side, the committee must hate Jim Calhoun. If the bracket holds to form, The Huskies will have to go through Kentucky, Illinois, and Carolina to get to the Final Four. Yikes. Well, I don’t think they are going to have to deal with Illinois in the Sweet 16, but Washington isn’t much better. Lorenzo Romar’s squad is solid, and will be a handful for the Huskies, but I’m confident they survive a tough one, and make their way to the Final 8.

6) UNC- Despite their ACC Semifinal loss to BC, the Heels are playing as well as anybody right now. Tyler Hansbrough is the real deal, and last time I checked Roy Williams had a pretty decent track record in the Tournament. Not to mention, even if my second round upset pick of Seton Hall over Tennessee doesn’t come to fruition, I don’t think the Volunteers put too much of a scare into the Heels. Whoever they play, I think Carolina will have the most convincing Sweet 16 victory of anybody.

Here it comes! Brace Yourselves! And....begin rant: Let me just take a minute to say what a joke Tennessee as a two seed is. It’s embarrassing. Every year the committee does something completely reprehensible (i.e. making a second seeded Miss. State team play a 7th Seeded Texas team in Dallas a few years back – this was the game that single handedly led to the “pod” seeding we have to deal with today). If you honestly believe the Volunteers deserved a #2 seed, then I suggest you immediately report to the closest AA meeting you can find.

7) Villanova - Do I need to say anything about these guys? It should be clear by now that I love these guys. If everybody can keep their eyes in their sockets, the Cats should take advantage of a relatively weak bracket and sail into the Elite 8.

8) Oklahoma - Here’s a surprise for you. Kelvin Sampson’s teams are always mentally tough as nails. Billy Donovan’s teams aren’t. Hence, the Sooners will deal with the Gators in the Second Round and they should be able to win an ugly battle against Ohio State in the Sweet 16. (By the way, don’t be surprised if Davidson knocks off Ohio State in the First Round) Regardless of who wins that Sweet 16 battle, however, they have to face Villanova in the Final 8, and I’ll let you guess how I think that’s going to shake out.

IV. FINAL FOUR

1) Texas – Hey, J.J. had a career high against the Longhorns earlier this year, and Duke beat them by 31. So, it only makes sense that Texas will beat Duke to advance to the Final Four. Right? See, here’s the thing…I truly believe there are two ways Duke loses. One is Redick running out of gas and having an off game. The other is Shelden Williams getting in foul trouble. When you have to play two very emotional high intensity games in three days, both these things are very likely to happen. It’s been a great run for J.J., but it comes to an end in Atlanta, and the Horns go to the Final Four.

2) Kansas – I’ve got the Bruins and Kansas squaring off in the Final 8, and I’m taking Kansas for two reasons: 1) they have more talent; 2) Bill Self is a better coach. Pretty simple when you think about it.

3) UConn - Just too much firepower for Carolina in the Final 8. When a team this good gets this close, its damn near impossible to beat them.

4) Villanova - My favorite team in the field got the easiest draw of any one seed, and they will take advantage of it. It will be good times when Jay Wright brings the three piece suit back to the Final Four.


V. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Texas vs. UConn: Texas will win the rematch of the Big 12 Title Game when the Jayhawks finally realize they are here one year too early, and UConn’s size is just too much for the Wildcats in the other Semi.

VI. NATIONAL CHAMPION

I wish I could be more original, but I let my feelings be known a few weeks ago, and they haven’t changed. At the end of the day, I think UConn wins the Big East/Big 12 Challenge that is this year’s Final Four and denies Texas of the National Championship sweep. This, of course, could all change if Vince Young decides to come play point guard for the Horns.

Monday, March 13, 2006 

Monday Musings

First and foremost, I’m abstaining from making any comments today about the Selection Committee’s decisions as to bubble teams or seeding. Trust me, I will have PLENTY to say about this tomorrow in my Official Tournament Preview. Here’s a word of warning: tomorrow’s column will be long. I’ve been writing tournament preview and sending it to my friends every year since ’01, so I’m really excited about posting it on The WAD this year. Now, just a few musings from the weekend to get the week off to a good start:

  • I’m not sure enough people are making a big enough deal out of what Syracuse pulled off this weekend. This team finished the regular season with three straight losses, including a 39 point loss to a dreadful Depaul team. Then, out of nowhere, they run off four straight heart stopping victories in four straight days against four very good teams, three of which, including the #1 team in the Nation, were ranked and made the NCAA Tournament field. Seriously, read that last sentence again. I’ve been trying for two days to think of another run in our lifetime that compares to this one, and I just can’t. I don’t think it’s overstating things to say that Syracuse’s run was nothing short of historic. Even if they lose in the first round of the Big Dance, four days in NYC made this one of the greatest seasons of Jim Boeheim’s Hall of Fame career.

  • Is Jerry McNamara a first round draft pick? Before you spit out your morning coffee, think about these numbers. He’s 6’2”, 182 lbs., averages 16.4 pts/game, 6 assists, and he’s undoubtedly the most clutch college player since Christian Laetner. If you are a solid NBA team with no glaring needs, why wouldn’t you take a flyer on this guy? I mean, if Dan Dickau can pull down $2.25 mill/year, why can’t Jerry Mac?

  • WARNING: IF YOU DIDN’T SEE “THE SOPRANOS” SKIP TO THE NEXT POINT! I’m not sure I’ve ever looked forward to a television show as much as I was looking forward to the sixth season premier of “The Sopranos” last night. In fact, I had planned to write a special piece on the show today. After last night’s premier, however, I’m rattled, confused, and a little worried. I don’t really what to make of what happened. Things started off with a bang with Meadow doing a fun little strip tease for what I assume is still her fiance’, then it settled into nearly an hour long focus on a guy I can’t ever remember seeing before until he finally hung himself (Seriously, Hans and I said no less than 30 times “who is this guy?”), and the show concluded with a disoriented Uncle Junior shooting Tony in the gut! What? Are you kidding me? In short, I’m not writing any more, because I just don’t know what to write. We’ll certainly revisit this next week.

  • Just when I thought Lynn McGill (Sean Astin on “24”) had become the undisputed most reprehensible character on television, Dr. Christina Yang on “Grey’s Anatomy” goes off and does something like this and totally redeems herself! Did you see her with that baby? There’s not a woman alive that could hate children and look that uncomfortable with a baby if she tried! Not to mention, she’s so self consumed that she is jealous that Burke is actually being a friend to O’Malley. She’s miserable. Simply a horrible person. I don’t care is she’s a fictional character. Ole Rudy is going to have to come up with something awfully despicable this week to regain his crown. I’m pretty sure that the writers of “24” and “Grey’s Anatomy” don’t know what’s going on here. It’s a game of “whatever you can do, I can do better” we haven’t seen the likes of since ‘Nique vs. Bird in Game 7 in 1988.

  • In case you got lost in the March Madness hype, Lebron scored 47 on national t.v. yesterday. Sure, the Cavs lost to the Heat, but he’s 21 years old and went for 47 points on national t.v. I’m 28 years old, I spend most of my life in my office, and spend the rest of my time watching t.v. and writing a blog. Do you think Lebron would trade lives with me? I’m guessing not.

  • Edgerrin James singed a 4 year $30 million contract with the Cardinals. So, the team that had the number 1 ranked passing attack in the NFL last year and the worst rushing attack goes out and signs a 27 year old tailback that has probably already cemented his place in the Hall of Fame in only 7 years in the league. I know he had the big knee injury, but I’m sold. In a league where bad teams become good teams in the blink of an eye, let’s just say I’m putting “lay $50 on the Cardinals at 70-1 to win the Super Bowl” on my list of things to do when I’m in Vegas in a couple of weeks. Don’t worry, I haven’t lost my mind. It’s just a little tradition of mine to blow about $200 on ridiculous futures bets every time I’m in Vegas.

  • Good thing NASCAR suspended Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief, Chad Knaus. I mean, with two wins in three races, they seem to be really slowing him down.

  • I never thought I’d see the day I was rooting for Duke as if they were my team, but that day came Sunday. If BC had won the ACC Tournament its first time around, I wouldn’t have been able to handle it. Thank God J.J. got hot down the stretch. Wow, that’s a sentence I would have never in a million years dreamed I would write.

  • According to Chris Mortensen, the Dolphins are pursuing Drew Brees. Where do I buy my tickets to that Cardinals v. Dolphins Super Bowl. (Unlike the Cardinals, I’m not necessarily kidding about the Dolphins.)

  • Don’t forget to check in tomorrow for the Tournament Preview and don’t forget to fill out your brackets and send me your entry fees. Remember, you can enter as many brackets as you like and half the entry fees go The American Cancer Society. Please don’t forget to tell as many people as you like. We want to make as big a donation as possible.

Weekly Top 7

All-Time Top 7 Sports Movies

7) Kingpin - "The world can really kick your ass. I only have a vague recollection of when it wasn't kickin' mine" - Roy Munson

6) Caddyshack - "Don't sell yourself short Judge. You're a tremendous slouch." - Ty Webb

5) Major League - "Want me to drag him outta here, kick the shit out of him?" - Rick Vaugh

4) Eight Men Out - "Say it ain't so Joe. Say it ain't so." - Pee Wee

3) Rocky - "If I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I'm still standin', I'm gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren't just another bum from the neighborhood." - Rocky Balboa

2) The Natural - "I coulda been better. I coulda broke every record in the book." - Roy Hobbs

AND...

1) Hoosiers - "My team's on the floor!" - Coach Dale

MAN OF THE WEEK


Getting this Laker team into the playoffs is the best coaching job Phil has ever done. Now he can list "The WAD" Man of the Week right next to his 9 rings on his list of accomplishments. Is there any reason for him to keep going?

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  • From Atlanta, Georgia, United States
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